DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER By Chad Cocking

6 APRIL 2018 - A week of skies and landscapes
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday – 11th April 2018

All of us can enjoy God’s love and His presence. But why don’t we? Is it because we feel that we can do it “my way” and do it alone in our own strength and our own wisdom? What did Moses do when he was confronted with leading the Jews on the exodus from Egypt? He knew that he could not manage 2 million people, how was he going to provide for them? What did Moses do…he prayed for help. “If Your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” Exodus 33:15 Putting it another way Moses preferred to go nowhere with God than anywhere without Him.
 
YOUR WORD, O LORD, WILL LAST FOREVER; IT IS ETERNAL IN HEAVEN. YOUR FAITHFULNESS ENDURES THROUGH ALL THE AGES;
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER By Chad Cocking

29 MARCH 2018 - Four seasons in one week

Even in the limited number of hours that a single week posseses, Mother Nature has somehow managed to cram in all four seasons! We went from sweltering summer afternoons to cold, windy days that forced us to don jackets and crank up the heaters (even us guides had to give in and put on a pair of long trousers!). The Timbavati may have had it all on the weather-front, but I can tell you it wasn’t half-bad on the animal front either!

The lions remained very prominent in the first part of the week, with the Ross females and Mbiri males spending time in the area around Tanda Tula Safari Camp. However,as the weather conditions worsened, they became a bit more difficult to track down with certain areas becoming muddy and water drenched which makes it almost impossible to go off road and follow these big cats.

It was a good week for leopards, the highlight being the aging Nthombi female who was found mating with a new male. We are referring to him as the Tamboti male and it seems that he is starting to establish himself in the area. Guests were extremely fortunate as the Marula female was viewed several times over the past few days, regardless of the weather conditions. Then, incredibly, the Madzinyo male leopard was found one morning with a young wildebeest kill, but nature is harsh and sadly he was chased off his feast by some hyena.

On the large mammal front, the elephant herds remained very active in the central and western areas of the Timbavati. We were also treated to the return of a large buffalo herd, a group of between 250 and 300 animals, who spent most of the week in our concession, eventually moving out when the Mbiri male lions found them. Unfortunately for the lions, even after a couple of attempts they failed to catch one.

With the arrival of a further 27 mm of rain later in week, the general game returned to the eastern sections. There were giraffe and zebra aplenty across the reserve as the natural pans once again filled up. The late rain also brought out a number of insects, supplying a feast for the migratory birds and allowing them to build up their energy reserves as they prepare for their imminent long flights back north.

My only disappointment this week was my failure to get a photograph of a stunning, albeit brief, daytime viewing of a gorgeous caracal a few days back! Some alarm-calling Guinea fowl alerted us to the area, and upon investigating we were surprised by a brief glimpse of one of these rare cats. It was my first sighting since 2007 so I was happy to forgo the picture and just celebrate the rarity of seeing such a beautiful and scarce creature!
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday

First picture… Where do we run?
Second picture… What is our cover?
 
PSALM 147 : 1
Listen! This is the hour to receive God’s favour; today is the day to be saved!
2 Corinthians 6 : 2
 

DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER - 26 MARCH 2018 By Chad Cocking

Day of the Dog

Last Friday was just one of those fantastic days at Tanda Tula. The Timbavati was literally heaving as the guides were spoilt for choice as to which animals to go and show their guests.

Did they want to go and see the two gorgeous Mbiri male lions resting in the Nhlaralumi riverbed a little downstream from camp? Or the Marula female leopard living up to her name in a Marula tree, west of the camp? There was also the option to go to the copious number of elephants moving all over the concession, or make a trip to the west and see a large herd of buffalo. But the real draw card was the possibility of finding Africa’s second most endangered predator, and my personal favourite, the African wild dog. As we had enjoyed some fantastic sightings over the last few drives, we decided to be bold and make a move towards the ominous looking clouds in the west in the hope that our luck would continue.

The safari started well with us finding that Marula was having a lazy day. She was still resting in the same Marula tree that she had ascended late in the morning. As she was showing no signs of waking up any time soon, we decided to carry on west. Once in that part of our concession, we were treated to stunning sightings of a herd of elephants, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, impala, hyena and kudu before we eventually made it to an area where a large buffalo herd had just moved into a thicket near one of the dams. While quietly enjoying the buffalo, we were rudely interrupted by a crash of rhinos that arrived to drink at the dam.We were watching the rhinos when Antony radioed to let us know that his hunch had been correct, and the African wild dogs that he had come looking for had showed up, just at the very spot he had decided to turn off and wait for them. Needless to say, his guests were speechless!

One of the reasons I love spending time with wild dogs is because of their active behaviour when they are on the hunt, and this afternoon was no different. Antony had already seen them chasing after impala, wildebeest and baby giraffes before we arrived. When we joined them, a nearby herd of impalas began scattering in all directions as the wild dogs set off after them,. Sadly for one young ewe, the pack’s incredible hunting efficiency struck and we found two of the 18 dogs with the kill right next to the road! It was as peaceful a scene as one could get considering exactly what we were watching. That was until a hyena suddenly stormed the scene and dashed in to grab the carcass off the two wild dogs. Chaos erupted! The dogs tried their best to get their kill back, but with only two of them, they didn’t stand much chance. Although, this didn’t stop them from nipping at the hyenas vulnerable rear end as it ran off with their hard earned meal.

Two weeks ago we read Luke’s blog about the incredibly rare and tragic sighting that he and his guests witnessed when a pack of hyenas killed and ate a wild dog (if you want to read this story click here). This time around, the rest of the pack were close at hand to come and give their two members some assistance in retrieving their kill from the hyenas. Within seconds, wild dogs came running in from all directions, and they immediately began harassing the hyenas to the point where they were able to retrieve the meal. The power of team work amongst the dogs was clear to see, and even though half a dozen larger hyenas came to investigate the commotion, without the same coordination as the wild dogs, they were never going to win this fight! The antics between these two apex predators carried on until it was too dark to view them anymore, and with the rumble of thunder getting louder, we decided to call it a night and started making our way back to camp.

It had to have been one of the best wild dog and hyena encounters I had ever seen, which helps explain why the guests were absolutely elated with what we had just witnessed; so much so that not even the rain on the way home could dampen our spirits!
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday 28th March 2018

Below are the words of The Seekers song, a song of long ago a song that has always held a special place in my heart. On Monday I went through a heart procedure called a cryoablation. Was I worried? Can you worry and have faith at the same time? I can, maybe people will say I have not got enough faith but I do know that no matter what I go through God is with me though the results won’t always turn out the way I want them to He will be with me so that I will cope. On Monday this song kept going through my mind. I kept on repeating it as if it was to God. I hope and pray that you also find the words useful.
 
PSALM 11 : 1 - 2
But those who proclaim God’s message speak to people and give them help, encouragement and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14 : 3

LET US PRAY FOR

Our Ministers
We praise and thank You, Lord, for those You have given us to minister to this congregation. You have inspired him by Your Spirit, and teach him the message that You desire Your people to hear. Bless and help him each day, Lord, to live as You require, and to be helpful and caring to all people. Fill him with Your Holy Spirit, and may his heart know love for all people. Bless him and his family Lord, as they serve You each day, and bring them close to learn more about You. Thank You for Your call upon his life, and his acceptance of Your will and way each day.

Church
We thank You Lord, for gathering us together in this place You have provided for us. As we meet as Your family may we be encouraged through worship and service to live each day as Your own. You have gathered us together to be able to hear Your word preached, and the lessons taught to us all. You have given us a place where we can worship and honour You, and grow closer to You through the teaching that is given here. Bless us Lord as we gather together in Your Name, seeking Your will and way for our lives.

Church Leaders
There are many who have stepped forward in answer to Your call to serve You. We thank You for the opportunity to teach others about You, and to encourage them to grow in their walk of faith. As they teach and help people may they be used by you to spread the Gospel message to many. Thank You for each one who has stepped up and is prepared to serve where You require them to be.

South Africa
God, bless South Africa, we pray. Many have answered Your call to help others to know about You, and we thank You for their response. May they be strong in their desire to help others to live as You require. Bless those who are in Government, Lord, and guide them according to Your will and way. Bless the leaders of our land and may they serve honestly and with integrity, doing their best to advance South Africa for the betterment of the people and our country. We pray too, for rain to fall in those areas where drought is still prevalent. God, bless South Africa and her people!
 

It’s Colin’s Wise Wednesday!

“My devotions the other morning told a story about a young child who was relating to his Dad what he learnt at Sunday school and told him that it was his favorite verse: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last the beginning and the end.” Rev 22:12-13. 
 
IN THE ASSEMBLY OF ALL YOUR PEOPLE I HAVE NOT BEEN SILENT ABOUT YOUR LOYALTY AND CONSTANT LOVE. LORD, I KNOW YOU WILL NEVER STOP BEING MERCIFUL TO ME.
 

DIARY OF A GAME RANGER – CHAD COCKING - 2 MARCH 2018

Tomorrow, the 3rd of March 2018, is the UN-sponsored World Wildlife Day with the theme, “Big Cats - Predators Under Threat”. In South Africa we try to celebrate and focus on these animals constantly, as well as any other species that need protection. In light of this, we have dedicate today's blog: “The Week In Photos” to celebrating the Big Cats that call Tanda Tula their home.

Despite our regular encounters with various big cats in the Greater Kruger Park area, we sometimes forget that these species face threats from many sides. It is imperative to raise awareness of the pressures being placed on big cats today throughout the world mainly through habitat fragmentation and loss. We support the UN’s goal to celebrate our planet’s beautiful and diverse wildlife whose intrinsic value provides so much to ecological, social, economic, scientific, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of our human well-being and sustainable development.

The following images of some of the big cats found in the Timbavati over the last seven days were taken by Chad Cocking. We hope that by showcasing these beautiful big cats on World Wildlife Day we can help create awareness.
 

Python Sandwich for a Leopard

Courtesy of the Tanda Tula Safari Camp where Chad Cocking is a Game Ranger http://www.tandatula.com/blog
 
PRAYER GUIDE
AS FOR ME, I WILL PRAY TO YOU, LORD; ANSWER ME, GOD, AT A TIME YOU CHOOSE. ANSWER ME BECAUSE OF YOUR GREAT LOVE, BECAUSE YOU KEEP YOUR PROMISE TO SAVE.
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday

Colin's Wise Wednesday
inspired by Max Lucado
 

16 February 2018 : Another day in the Life of a Game Ranger. God’s creation in the wild.

 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday

 

PRAYER GUIDE
 

Colin’s Wise Wednesday’s - 7th February 2018

God will go before me Ps 59:10 NIV
 

09 January 2018 : Another day in the Life of a Game Ranger. God’s creation in the wild.

09 January