Sunday, October 18, 2015

Photographic safari - Second stop - Tanda Tula

Eight week old Lion Cubs
The Timbavati is privately owned land and is adjacent and open to Kruger National Park making it part of a ecosystem of more than 2 million hectares. Indeed one of Africa's finest wildlife areas. With its relatively flat typography and wooded bushland it is quite different from the more open and undulating Mashatu yet still as exciting. Our camp of choise was Tanda Tula, a tented camp along the now dry Sharalumi river. Its one of South Africa's flagship tented camps. But don't be fooled. This luxury camp is super comfortable yet with a warm personal touch evident throughout. 

White-faced Scops-owls
I have always maintained that due to the more wooded landscape the Timbavati (or Greater Kruger) is a land of surprizes. Game is not seen from a kilometer away but one never knows what the next bend in the road may yield. This was beautifully illustrated when finding a pair of symmetric White-Faced scops owls roosting in a Combretum tree. 

Dwarf mongoose
No drive was without excitement. We encountered a very obliging clan of Dwarf moongoose in a similarly surprizing manner and because everyone was interested in everything nature had on offer even that provided excellent viewing and photographing opportunities ( and my first decent images of these cool little carnivores).

Stunning Leopard drinking at last light.
Thats not to say we were not interested in the predators. Leopard visited camp every night which we loved and we saw three individuals during our time at Tanda Tula. Another unique feature of this neck of the woods is the effort and skill employed in getting quality sightings. This striking image of a drinking leopard was purely a result of the combined skills of our guide Scotch and his tracker Patrick.

Boisterous cubs 
Our first lion cubs of the safari were seen at Tanda Tula. Catching up with them just before nightfall provided great viewing as the two of them started playing (and bullying) one another.

Early morning White Rhino.
The Timbavati is also one of the best places to see and photograph White Rhinos. The second largest land mammal is becoming increasingly under threat due to the poaching pandemic flooding Africa. Comforting to know though is that a heavy presence in the Timbavati is halting this problem.  

View over the Sharalumi River from the Deck.
Now off to our last stop. The incredible Mala Mala.

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