We spent our first two nights at a camp called Tanda Tula, which was about a 45-minute drive east of the Hoedspruit airport. Tanda Tula is what’s known as a ‘tented’ camp. There were twelve individual ‘tents’. We use the term ‘tents’ loosely as our tent was really more of an upscale cabin that happened to have canvas walls and ceiling. Here are a few photos of our ‘tent’, #8.
We toured the bush in a Land Rover pictured below. We could get very close to the animals without alarming them because they think the Land Rover is just another large animal. We had to maintain the shape of a the vehicle because if we were to stand up, the animals would think our vehicle was a different animal, potentially an enemy, and they would attack or run away.
We came across two male lions catching some sun on a dried up riverbed. The younger lion does not yet have a mane, which typically comes in when the lion is 6-7 years old. They were taking turns keeping watch and snoozing. We later caught the same two lions in a field. Take note of the younger lion here. He put on a bit of a performance for us which will be highlighted in a future post…
The Timbavati Reserve and much of the Kruger region abounds with elephants. In fact, there are too many elephants, which is a problem because they eat trees nonstop. There was an attempt to relocate some elephants to Mozambique, however, they soon found their way back to Kruger. At least we were able to benefit by seeing lots of them!
We saw loads of these guys too.
This is apparently one of the more elusive animals to spot. Unlike lions, leopards are typically solitary and are harder to find during the day. On our second day, we saw this in a tree on our morning game drive. This is a freshly-killed impala, pulled up into a tree by a leopard the night before. We searched the area for the leopard but to no avail – in fact, we ended up with a flat tire after driving over some sort of small tree and had to abandon the hunt.
Another animal that is fairly rare to glimpse is the wild dog. These are similar to a large domestic dog, and they travel / hunt in groups. We were lucky, and came across a pack of wild dogs that had just killed an impala. Soon afterwards, a group of hyenas stole the kill, chasing off the wild dogs! This all happened right next to our jeep and we got to see the hyenas fighting over the kill up close. They also had a baby, which had to fight for a few bits of the carcass just like the others. Hyenas are slow and therefore rarely hunt for their own kills. They are, however, vicious, move in large groups, and typically take kills away from many other types of animals. Unfortunately, this all happened after sunset, so our photos are a bit blurry, but it was amazing to see.
After our game drive, everyone warms up with an Amarula hot chocolate before dinner. Then the entire lodge eats together - either fine dining style or a typical braai (BBQ). We enjoyed many different game meats that Chris surely write about in a future Culinary Delights post!
We had an AMAZING time at Tanda Tula - stay tuned for more safari adventures from our next stop, Nottens Bush Camp!