Thankfully this past week warmed up a little bit following the previous cold snap, but there was still a very distinctive wintery feeling about the Timbavati this week. Our winters are characterised by chilly mornings and brilliantly clear blue skies and then warming up nicely in the day. We’ve had good game viewing and a landscape that is looking a little drier with each passing week.
We will start off with some interesting developments in the lion dynamics. Last week I mentioned that I was hoping that the limping Nharhu male hadn’t succeeded in finding the Mayambula Pride and chasing them off, and thus unsettling them just as they started to move back into the area. Well, it turns out that he must have found them, and indeed succeeded in chasing at least the younger portion of the pride away but this had the exact opposite effect on the four adult lionesses! Rather than running away, these lionesses were found throwing themselves at the two Nharhu male’s last weekend!
It was the first time in close to a year that I had got to enjoy a sighting of these strong and beautiful females. It was fascinating to watch how they were doing their best to flirt with and appease the new males and making sure that their attention was focused on mating, and not wandering off to look for the dozen sub-adults that would be at risk during the pride take-over.
After watching them mating, we found tracks for the rest of the pride not too far away, but sadly for us their tracks went straight into the Kruger Park. A few days later we did have tracks for what appeared to be a portion of the young breakaways, but sadly our efforts at tracking them were hampered by the fact that about 80 elephants had walked through the area and obliterated any sign of where they may have gone.
This does make for an interesting shift in dynamics; how much time with the Nharhu males spend with the River Pride now if they have new interests further east? And will the River Pride still venture into the south-eastern parts of the territory with the Mayambula Pride returning? As the week played out, the Nharhu males returned to the River Pride and spent the last half of the week with them, and the River Pride interestingly started using parts of their old territorial core to the north of Tanda Tula Safari Camp, an area that they have largely ignored for the past few months.
There is more than enough space for both prides to utilise the area, and we are all keeping fingers crossed that this is indeed how it plays out.
The River Pride were seen on a daily basis during the latter part of the week and were looking in good shape following a kudu kill. The injured Nharhu male is still limping quite badly, but he managed to hobble around on all four legs when mating with the Mayambula ladies, so hopefully this is some encouraging news on a slow recovery for him. We didn’t spend any time in the west this past week, so there were no reports on the Sark Breakaways during this reporting period.
As for the leopards, Xigodo young male once again stole the show, and he spent three days with an impala kill about 300m from Safari Camp. This gave us daily sightings of him both at the kill, as well as when he came to drink at the dam (as well as the bar!). A very interesting sighting was also had of this young male leopard when he decided to climb the thatched roof of my house one afternoon to get a better view of his surroundings! Thumbela and her son also showed themselves one day with the scant remains of a kill in the far southern reaches of her territory, and although there were some tracks for them later in the week, they proved to be a little elusive.
The two buffalo herds were around for most of the week too enabling us to continue a good run of buffalo viewing. We also had daily visits from a large group of buffalo bulls, which made Xigodo’s life difficult as they were invariably around when he wanted to come and have a drink. It was also a week that saw several particularly large groups of elephants converging in the area, and we spent several drives surrounds by dozens and dozens of elephants. The general game remained good, and one of my personal favourite sightings was coming across a very large grouping of close to fifty zebras and a herd of wildebeest gathered on a small clearing.
So, all in all, it was another fantastic week to end off yet another month in the bush! I will be going away next week, so won’t be able to post about the latest sightings, however, be sure to check back again as I give a review on the highlights of the first half of 2021.
Until next time folks, keep well and stay safe!
Rates are quoted in South African Rand (ZAR) and include VAT. Rates are reviewed quarterly and are subject to change.
Bookings can be held as provisional for up to 14 days, after which the booking is required to release or confirm. A 20% refundable deposit is required to confirm the booking.
Once confirmed with a 20% deposit, the booking is held on a status of ‘confirmed with refundable deposit’ until any of the following becomes true:
Final payment is due 60 days prior to arrival. Any outstanding balance on the total reservation value shall be required to be settled at 60 days prior to arrival.
All refundable deposits, commitment fees and full payments are held in a separate call account and do not become part of the operational cash flow until the guest has stayed.
The amount stated on the invoice is what must be received by Tanda Tula nett of bank charges.
Cancellations must be received and acknowledged by Tanda Tula in writing.
‘Confirmed with refundable deposit’: bookings carry no cancellation fees up to 61 days prior to arrival.
‘Confirmed with commitment’ or ‘Confirmed with full-payment’: in the event of any reservation being cancelled after Tanda Tula has issued a confirmation, for any reason other than a WHO-recognised pandemic that impacts the booking, the following cancellation fees will apply:
All cancelled bookings that qualify for a refund, will be refunded less a handling fee valued at 5% of the refund amount.
Tanda Tula will allow postponement of a booking for up to 12 months, if travel is cancelled with a commitment fee or 60 days or less prior to arrival due to a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the guests’ ability to travel (e.g. lockdown, no flights, guest not allowed to board a flight, guest falls ill due to a pandemic and unable to travel).
In the event of a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the ability of Tanda Tula to meet its obligations with respect to the booking, all monies received, including the commitment fee, will be fully refunded (e.g. lockdown in RSA, government restrictions on trade).
Any refund is given at the discretion of Tanda Tula management and will be charge a handling fee valued at 5% of the refund amount.
All travellers are advised to take out fully comprehensive travel insurance with ‘cancellation for no reason’. This insurance must be able to fully cover cancellation of travel fewer than 60 days prior to arrival.
The Terms and Conditions are subject to change without notice.