Chad Cocking | A Week In Pictures
As I sit on my deck overlooking the Mara River in Kenya’s Masai Mara typing this blog, my mind keeps drifting a few thousand kilometres back south to the Timbavati and wondering about how “my” animals are doing, and exactly what I am missing out on! This got me thinking about my previous trip to the Masai Mara when I excitedly arrived hoping to have a feast of cheetah sightings on the vast open plains that make this area famous. By the end of the week, I had only enjoyed one solitary cheetah sighting. During that particular period, cheetahs were an absolute rarity in the northern Timbavati so I found it annoyingly ironic that during the week I travelled half way across Africa in search of cheetahs, the guides back at camp had more cheetah sightings in the woodlands of the Timbavati than I did in the Masai Mara! If this were an isolated incident, I don’t think I would presently be suffering from too much FOMO (and before you ask Dad, that means ‘fear of missing out’) due to being away from my home for a month. The truth is, a few years ago I was starting to think that I might actually have been cursed as it seemed as though the animals only came out once I left the reserve; some “friends” went as far as giving this phenomenon a name; Chad’s Curse.
Now I am far too scientifically-minded to be superstitious, but the regularity with which animals showed themselves in abundance when I went on leave was beginning to make it feel like there was definitely more to the trend than mere coincidence! The pattern first started emerging when a particular pride of lions in the northern Timbavati began pitching up only during my leave period. The first time this seemingly new pride arrived on the scene was during the middle of my leave when they killed a buffalo close to camp and spent several days feeding on it, before sleeping off their fat bellies for the next couple of days. I arrived back and did get to see them at the camp waterhole the next day, but this was the last time the pride was seen during my subsequent 4-week work cycle. My next leave cycle arrived, and who should pitch the day after I left the reserve? This pride (now identified as a young splinter group from the Jacaranda Pride) once again spent the entire week of my absence in the area until I arrived back at work. This time the pride was courteous enough to hang around for another two days before I caught up with their tails disappearing into the Kruger National Park and out of view. There are no prizes for guessing when they next arrived on the scene!!! Twice may have been a coincidence, but when they arrived back for the third time in a row as I departed for leave, I seriously started to get a complex about this curse of mine!
It wasn’t just these lions playing around with me, and it also wasn’t just me noticing this trend. A few months later after a very quiet couple of drives, I headed on leave once again (some may simply argue that I am on leave too often!) and departed for the drive back to Johannesburg just before the afternoon game drives headed out, and exited the reserve half an hour into game drive time at around 4pm. A friend who had been on game drive sent me a message as soon as he got back from game asking at what time I had left the reserve. I found it a bit odd, but answered him by stating that it was at around 4pm, only for him to reply “that’s what I thought…thanks!”. It turns out that it was at exactly this time that all the cats and critters suddenly popped out of hiding and completely spoilt the guests on their afternoon drive. His next message was along the lines of asking how much the lodge would have to pay me to stay leave permanently in order for the guests to continue to have exceptional game viewing in my absence!
For those reading this that have an upcoming trip to Tanda Tula during the month of June the good news is that you are bound to be in for a cracking month of game viewing with me not only out of the reserve, but also out of the country! I know that the mother cheetah and her two young cubs had been hanging around just before I departed, and I am almost certain that guests visiting the Timbavati this month are going to see more cheetah cubs there than I will see here in East Africa!
So you must all enjoy the great game viewing that side, and I expect you to make me very jealous until I return!
I will catch up again with the blogs and sightings (and what I missed out on!) when I return to South Africa next month, but until then, keep well!!
(and as I type this, a friend has just told me about the Mayambula Pride and their eleven cubs on a buffalo kill east of Tanda Tula Safari Camp, as well as the fact that the Giraffe Pride have had two giraffe kills closer to Plains Camp…interestingly, the last time this pride killed two giraffes I was also on leave – told you it was a curse!)
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.