Photo credit: Chad Cocking - 23 Ostriches at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa
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A Week Of Avoiding The Cold in Pictures

Chad Cocking | A Week In Pictures

I know that many of you laugh at my utterances of it being “cold” here in South Africa’s Lowveld. In fairness yesterday probably touched 30 degrees Celsius, but that doesn’t mean that it is always so pleasant. Last weekend was a case in point when three days of cold, windy and occasionally drizzly weather descended upon us.  Guests and Guides alike were wrapped up warmly in beanies, blankets and bravado (I still wore shorts).

I was rather relieved to see that it wasn’t just us humans that were struggling with the cold.  On these icy cold days, even the animals were doing their best to stay warm; from cuddling jackals to hyenas hiding in holes, and squirrels clinging onto one another. Even the leopards took the day off to simply curl up and hide in the grass until warmer weather returned…and return it did!

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - 3 little squirrels huddled together trying to stay warm on a very cold day at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - A Leopard snuggled up asleep in the grass at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - Two very cold looking jackals at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

I was once again not out on drives for too much of the week, but on the cat-front the leopards cooperated to a far greater degree than the lions.  Xigodo young male provided for consistent sightings as he has still apparently not got the hint that his mother is not coming back for him. He continued to move around the area where she last left him. Fortunately, his hunger will soon get the better of him and he will branch out into a life of independence.

We caught up with Nyeleti earlier in the week when she was found close to Tanda Tula Safari Camp.  Thumbela and her son finished off their kill early in the week and disappeared back east, with one further sighting of Thumbela a few days later.  N’weti was roaming far and wide this week, and following her afternoon spent sleeping out of the wind quite deep within our concession, the next we heard of her was that she was on a kill way to the north of her territory. Based on this movement and tracks for the two different male leopards pursuing her, I can only imagine that she is coming into estrus and seeking out a male to mate with.

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - Leopard at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

I also saw an unknown young female leopard in the west this week. She had the scanty remains of an impala kill hoisted up a tree. She was fixated on something to her eastern side and soon descended the tree and walked off in the opposite direction.  I think she might have been scavenging some of the kill from another leopard or what, but she didn’t hang around for long after that.

In closing our leopard log for the week, our Nkhari guests got to see a reasonably relaxed female leopard near our Field Camp as the week drew to a close.

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - A regal male lion lion at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

As for the lions, the Sark breakaway Pride did pay us a brief visit last weekend, but the cold conditions got too much for them.  The three members that were present were not in any mood to do anything besides resting off some well-rounded bellies.

Far off in the distance we could hear the Nharhu males roaring, but that was about the only evidence they left for a couple of days before taunting us with tracks roaming across the eastern side of the concession.  Later in the week we awoke to the wonderful sound of the two males roaring just outside of camp and I shot out of bed to go and find them.  As for the River Pride, they were around at the start of the week and found again on the last day, but in between those periods, they remained very elusive.  One of the cubs has an injured back and front paw, but fortunately, it was still mobile enough and hopefully makes a full recovery.  Sadly we didn’t catch up with the cubs again to report further on his condition.  The Giraffe Pride were reported in the far west earlier in the week before being seen crossing into Klaserie.

The large herd of buffalo remained very active in the west and was reported daily, with a number of buffalo bulls hanging around Tanda Tula Safari Camp.  We even had a few herds of elephants visiting the camp dam a little later in the year than usual, but with water still being quite abundant in the bush, they are not short of this life-giving liquid.

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - An elephant in the Woodland at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

The general game in the east picked up a little, and I had a particularly enjoyable sighting of a large herd of zebras that included two boisterous young stallions fighting one another on the burnt area.  It was also very enjoyable to have some good ostrich viewing in the south-east with a small pride of three spending the entire week in the area.

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - Ostriches at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

Photo credit: Chad Cocking | A Zebra flight at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati Game Reserve, South Africa.

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - A herd of curious Impala at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

So, it was a chilly week to begin with, but it warmed up and so did the game viewing.  As always, it was another enjoyable week as we passed the winter solstice, and we can now look forward to lengthening days, warmer weather, and a slow march towards our next summer!

Photo credit: Chad Cocking - Baboons perched in a tree silhouetted against the sunrise at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

That’s it from me for now – be sure to also check out our Facebook page for more images!

Until next time, stay safe

Cheers

Chad

Photo credit: Chad cocking - A White-faced owl at Tanda Tula in the Timbavati, South Africa

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