As another seven days of 2021 whizzed past, it is once again time for another instalment of the Tanda Tula Week in Pictures series. It was a week of contrasts both in terms of weather and sightings! We experienced some properly chilly mornings to start the week, but by the end of it we had our hottest day of the Spring so far (36 degrees), before the wind picked up and it cooled down. Almost following the patterns of the weather, our fortunes with game viewing also varied, and the week started off with our predators being difficult to come by, but the second half of the week more than made up for their absence to begin with!
The lions kick started our week with two pairs of mating Skorro males and Mayambula lionesses, but they then disappeared, and with the River Pride having moved west into Klaserie, we had two lionless days. After tracking the Skorro males east towards Kruger, and the limping Nharhu male north, on our concession on two successive drives we finally managed to find them again.
Glen and I went out after breakfast to see if we could break the drought, Glen’s skills and persistence led to us to the River Pride near Nkhari Homestead, all looking in good shape. A couple of days later this pride was found feasting on a wildebeest kill to further enhance their condition. We had been tracking the Mayambula Pride that same day, and Glen did manage to track down some of the members of the pride in the east. When I woke up the next morning with the death bellows of a buffalo emanating from north of Tanda Tula Safari Camp, I was very uncertain as to which lions were killing the buffalo!
Heading out I soon found tracks of two male lions in the area and with a little bit of tracking, and the assistance of a colleague, we found the seven Mayambula pride members, as well as the two Skorro male lions on a fresh buffalo bull kill. The pride made quick work of the meal and were finished the carcass in a little over 24 hours! There were reports of the five Vuyela males and four of the Sark Breakaway females just to the west of our concession, and we could actually hear them roaring whilst watching the Mayambula Pride on their kill – it will be interesting to see if they do decide to remain in the west, or push further east. What the position of these lions does mean is that the River Pride seemed to be getting squeezed into an ever decreasing amount of safe space and if these pressures continue, the lionesses may opt to move out of the area.
On the leopard front, the week began with the gorgeous N’weti feeding on an impala kill near our northern boundary, and later in the week guides to the north of our concession reported that she was seen with a single cub they estimated to be between 6-8 weeks old. They are being very sensitive around the area at this point, but I am sure it won’t be long before she moves back south with the cub.
Xigodo young male also pitched up near Safari Camp this week. While Ginger was following him as he made his way towards the workshop, the leopard ambushed a duiker and hoisted it up a marula tree less than 100m from our camp, giving us a couple of day’s worth of good leopard viewing! Nyeleti was also seen this week, and we found a kill for what we assume was the pale eyed male in the east, but despite it being a fresh impala kill in the tree in the morning sans leopard, by the afternoon it had somehow fallen down and the patient hyenas waiting below got their just reward!
Speaking of hyenas, we had some very regular hyena activity this week, particularly around impala dam to the west of camp, and I am growing more and more convinced that they must have a den site close by that we will hopefully be able to find.
The rest of the big game played along very nicely too; besides having one less buffalo bull, we again enjoyed the presence of two large breeding herds of buffalo throughout the week, with a herd of 200-odd buffalo being a permanent fixture over the past seven days. The elephants also made their presence known, both around the camp and out on drive with some large herds being seen daily. The giraffes have not flooded into the area as I had hoped, but then the knobthorns flowering season also seems to be a little muted this year, but we still saw these gentle giants on a daily basis. I added a sighing of a migratory wood sandpiper to my list this past week, but they have probably actually been around for a little bit already. We also saw a group of three ostriches several times this past week to make for a week of good diversity.
For now, that is that, and please be sure to check out some more images on our Facebook page.
Until next week, keep safe and stay well.
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