The Timbavati is a place that gets me excited every time. The Reserve offers a certain X-factor, that anything could happen at any stage, as long as you are willing to put in the hours.
Arriving at Umlani Bushcamp, it was great to see familiar faces of not only the staff, but the three ladies that travelled with me, Deborah, Martha and Katie, all of whom are regular travellers with Wild Eye.
Enjoying our delicious lunch whilst overlooking the dry riverbed in front of Umlani, we discussed what our plans were for the next 4 nights, and what images we had in mind and what we would like to focus on.
The weather gods were unfortunately not in our favour during our stay, as we felt the presence of the cold Winter mornings, and with a cold front moving over the interior, most days were overcast and chilly.
An active Spotted Hyaena den made for great photography and entertainment as the Cubs who are now slowly starting to explore their surroundings, often came to inspect our vehicle.
Although the overcast weather made it tough photographically, it didn’t stop the game from coming out in their numbers, and a special thank you must go to Sean and Ephraim who made an effort for us to stay out longer than everyone else, giving us maximum photographic opportunities.
We had some incredible sightings during our stay, and even though Lion sightings were a little hard to come by, it was replaced by some phenomenal Leopard sightings of three different Leopards. For those who follow the Leopards around the Timbavati closely, Nthombi is still around and gave us some amazing sightings. It also looks like she might be pregnant again, which could be her last litter, fingers crossed her cubs make it do adulthood. The other Female Leopard we saw was Marula, and a first time for me to encounter this magnificent female. She put on quite a display for us, having just finished a Duiker kill, she elegantly strolled into the dry riverbed, laid down a few meters from our vehicle, and stared at us with her gorgeous eyes, almost posing for images.
One of the many advantages of having a private vehicle is that the departure times for the Safaris as well as the duration is entirely up to you. This gave us some amazing and very different photographic opportunities from early morning light, mid day light, late afternoon light and night photography using a spotlight.
Thank you Deborah, Katie and Martha! Without you this safari would not have been possible.
It was another exciting and successful Safari in the Timbavati, a place where if you are patient and put in the time, magic can happen.
If you’re thinking about your next South African destination, the Exclusive Timbavati Safari is most certainly one to consider.
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