< Back to all

A week of waning hope in pictures

Luke Street | A Week In Pictures

The first signs of summer are starting to make an appearance for the first time, in what feels like an age! This week has been a rollercoaster in terms of weather, from cold mornings to very hot afternoons and even the first spring rains. With this changing weather comes a rejuvenation from the many trees and plants found around Tanda Tula Safari Camp,and life is just starting to breath back into the Timbavati.Soon this landscape will take on very different and vibrant form, I can’t wait!

The gentle giants continue to dominate the surroundings with herd after herd of elephant moving through the area. We even had a great sighting of two of the Big Five when two young white rhino bulls decided to do a bit of elephant viewing themselves. These two species often just avoid each other, but when they do come into contact – it is generally a peaceful affair. Unless of course, the much larger elephants are feeling a bit confrontational. Thankfully, the sighting was very peaceful and I even managed to snap a shot of Given coming face to face with one of the large pachyderms.

I’m still dumbfounded as to the strength of the Mayambula Pride. All 10 cubs are still around and getting bigger and stronger by the day. They really do have four very impressive mothers to have achieved this in such a harsh and unforgiving environment. The cats have made a number of kills during the week but with 14 hungry stomachs to fill, they never seem to last long, and we have mostly been greeted by ‘flat cats’ lying (un)comfortably with fat bellies in the air. Interestingly, the Mbiri males have not joined up with them once over the last week. This is due to the powerful coalition broadening their territory even further and mating with some new females in the neighbouring Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. The Zebenine female along with her sub-adult cub have been sighted a few times recently and they both seem to be doing well, which makes me extremely happy.

We had a great sighting one afternoon of a sizeable herd of buffalo going for a drink. As is tradition with buffalo herds, they were kicking up a lot of dust around the watering hole and so we decided to actually photograph into the sun in order to create some fairly dramatic and dusty scenes.

All the guides and trackers in this area of the Timbavatihave been waiting and hoping for the return of the famous leopardess, Marula. I am one of those people that often refuses to give up on animals, my hope does not wane easily. Especially for a cat that I have grown to love over the last three and a half years. A cat that I often proclaim to my guests to be the favourite leopard that I have worked with. It has now been almost 5 weeks since she was last seen and I am now facing major doubt as to whether I will ever see her again. It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career to follow her story over the last few years, to see her go from moments of struggle to moments of elation and everything in between. I feel the loss of this leopard will reverberate harshly through this area for years to come. I have posted one of my favourite images of this beauty here for you to enjoy, my hope will never truly die.

We were lucky enough to see Ntombi, another famous leopardess, this week. She had killed a young steenbok and my guests and I were treated to a great sighting of her taking the kill down an admittedly very precarious tree, in search of something a bit more comfortable to sling it up in and feed off. Her sub-adult male cub seems to really be branching out on his own now and hasn’t been seen alongside his mother all week. And with that the old queen has seen yet another cub reach fruition, a new chapter in the story begins.

Until next time, happy snapping,




View rates & promotions >

Find Us

We’d love to have you join the family.

Sign up for exclusive access to early bird promotions and other exciting offers, news and updates.

Booking Terms & Conditions

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:

  • The booking is cancelled in writing by the agent.
  • Another request is received with overlapping dates. At such a time, the 20% refundable deposit shall be required to be converted
  • into a 20% non-refundable commitment fee. At this stage, the booking status changes to ‘confirmed with commitment.’ • In such an event, Tanda Tula will contact the client and give them the option to either confirm with the non-refundable
  • commitment fee or reschedule their dates, or, failing that, to release the booking.
  • At 60 days prior to arrival, when the full payment is due, the booking status changes to ‘confirmed with full-payment.’

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:

  • ‘Confirmed with commitment’: if cancelled more than 60 days prior to arrival, the cancellation fee shall be equal to the 20% non- refundable commitment fee.
  • ‘Confirmed with full-payment’: if cancelled between 60 days prior to arrival, the full reservation value is forfeited.

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.