Timbavati really suffered badly and continues to suffer from the lack of rainfall that the whole country was experiencing, and whilst Madikwe has since had some decent rainfalls, the same cannot be said for Timbavati. We find it amazing that somehow nature and wildlife are aware of what lies in the future and this can be demonstrated by the impala population. In 2014 the “impala rutting season” was in mid April which meant the “impala drop” would be scheduled in mid November, when the grass was already lush from the summer rains so too supplying the much needed nutrients for the babies. For some reason, and one can only think it is impala intuition/instinct, the 2015 rutting season only commenced in the middle to late May, which meant the “impala drop” would be a month later as well, in December. This was very fortuitous as had the newly born Impala arrived in November, there was no fresh grass at all. At least by now scheduling a late arrival in mid December, meant the chances of decent rainfall would be a great deal higher so assisting the young impala survival rate hugely. The lack of rainfall meant that only those dams that were pumped contained any drinking water, so whilst this drought wasn’t helping the wildlife population at all, it did allow us many close and stunning predictable sightings at the few pumped water holes still in existence. With the camp itself overlooking two of these pumped waterholes, our photographic opportunities didn’t end once back at the camp, but continued all day long at the camp as well!!! Large herds of elephant were seen and photographed throughout the year as was the huge buffalo herds that traverse the Greater Kruger National Park. Impala, kudu, warthog and baboons were also all present taking in waterhole overlooked by the camp. There is nothing more thrilling than being surrounded by huge numbers of these animals who just pass on a look that says “you owe me money” or which walk on by without a any concern about the clicking cameras.
Four male cheetah all trying to make sure that they get something to eat!!
It would be very remiss of me if I didn’t mention the word “cheetah” in this newsletter. Having been travelling to this same area regularly since 2011, I had never, before this year, been fortunate enough to see cheetah in the Timbavati!! Well, 2015, more than made up for this, as I saw cheetah 4 times during 2015, including 4 young males suddenly coming across a grey duiker and killing it just a few meters away from our game vehicle. It was over in a matter of seconds thankfully, so no long term psychological effects were experienced by any of our clients or myself during this sighting. But what a thrill to see these beautiful regal cats walking and stalking through the bush and allowing their opportunistic culture to take over at a moments notice. A sight never to be forgotten and of course captured through our lenses!