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A Week of Easier Going in Pictures

Chad Cocking | A Week In Pictures

Welcome back to this another “Week in Pictures” blog, and after feeling like we all worked hard for little reward last week, the past seven days have provided us with much less stress and some wonderful game viewing here at Tanda Tula Plains Camp. 

The cats were indeed much better behaved this past week, and we experienced some lovely viewing of both the spotted and non-spotted felines.  On the leopard front, the impressive Ntsongwaan male spent much of the week in the area, and following a couple of days of this dominant male leopard with a young warthog kill, we got to see him staking out yet another warthog burrow.  After spending some time watching the leopard investigate the hole and then go and sit in the long grass to wait for the hogs to come out, we left to allow some of the other guides and guests to come through.  After stopping for a coffee and heading back into that area, another guide that had the same idea popped in and found a cloud of dust settling, from the dust emerged a leopard with a squealing warthog in its jaws.  We sat hoping that Ntsongwaan would hoist his kill up a tree, but he opted to keep it in some dense bush before taking it up a tree later that day.  Thumbela was seen a few times in the east; the first occasion was a bit saddening as she was not in a great condition and sporting some wounds indicative of having had a recent fight.  She looked sore, but when we caught up with her on the remains of a bushbuck kill close to Tanda Tula Safari Camp, she was looking in better shape, and although she still had open wounds, should be on the road to recovery.  In the west, on the one afternoon that we had no game drives going out, the Savannah female leopard spent the day close to Plains Camp, and we are hoping that this is a sign of things to come. 

 

It wasn’t only the leopards going for warthogs this week!  We spent a good part of one evening drive watching one of the Vuyela male lions trying to dig a warthog out of its burrow.  The lion spent close to an hour digging in the hole, and had no sooner stepped back to catch his breath when the warthog went dashing out of the burrow and into the darkness leaving the lion with no chance.  Another Vuyela male appeared close to Plains Camp later in the week too.  The day after the excitement with the warthog, Steven and his guests watched a lone lioness try and tackle a large male wildebeest!  The lioness managed to grab a hold of the wildebeest, but after several minutes of struggling to get him onto the ground to finish the job, the wildebeest eventually managed to shake off the lioness and run to freedom!  This lioness was seen a few times over the week, but I haven’t yet confirmed her ID, although I suspect it could be the Hercule’s lioness.  In the east, the River Pride made an appearance and were seen feeding on a waterbuck kill late in the week, and after much absence the Mayambula pride – or at least part of it – started spending more time around their old haunts, and we suspect that one of the other lionesses may have given birth to a new litter quite recently based on the evidence of suckle marks around her teats.  Although the Giraffe Pride remained frustratingly elusive, there were at least more signs of them having come into the area this past week, so maybe they will show themselves over the coming days. 

 

Our hyena den continues to delight guests and help change perspectives on these often-misunderstood predators; it was also pleasing to see that both litters presently at the den consist of two cubs, and not only a single cub each as I had previously mentioned!  We look forward to watching them grow over the coming weeks! 

 

The week also saw more large herbivores out and about, with elephant bulls being the order of the day in the west, but as the week drew to a close, the breeding herds started to become more evident.  Apollo also made a reappearance in the area (quite usual for him at this time of year) and was at our airstrip to greet the one set of guests as they arrived.  There were a couple of buffalo herds hanging out in both the western and central sections, and, and the usual bulls were stationed down by the river.  There was also a return of the plains game in the west, with loads of giraffe sightings, good numbers of zebras and the ever-present wildebeest being seen each drive around Plains Camp. 

So all in all, it was a very enjoyable week out there, and with a busy camp over the coming seven days, I am sure that we will have some more great sightings to report to you all at the same time next week. 

 

Until then, cheers! 

 

Chad 

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