A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GAME RANGER by Luke Street

A WEEK OF DOGS AND GIANTS – 1st November 2019

Even though the area around Tanda Tula Safari Camp has had some rain, around 15-20mm by now, it has all come in rather small and sporadic downfalls.  Although there are a few trees like the Knobthorns and Sjambok (shambok) pods that have started to show a little green, the bush is still dry and stark for the most part.

This week has been an interesting, or rather I should say ‘testing one’, with temperatures hitting over 40 degrees celsius a number of times during the beginning of the week. However, towards the end of the week, the heat has been replaced by thick and heavy clouds which have provided us with some relief from the heat, but sadly have not supplied us with the downpour that we so badly need. I am so looking forward to the first proper African thunderstorm of the season!

The major theme of the last few days has been elephants – lots and lots of elephants! We have had some incredible sightings of these gentle giants, so many of which occurred right on our front door, at Camp Dam. On a few occasions we have even postponed afternoon game drives for a while, just so we could sit in awe of these magnificent beasts as they drank and played in the highly sought-after water. It can be a bit treacherous for other thirsty animals at this time of year as elephants tend to become more and more possessive of the water sources. Of course, nothing really gets in the way of the true kings and queens of the bush and they would rather just wait their turn. There have, however, been a few sightings of some buffalo bulls who just so happened to trespass at the wrong time.

Away from the lodge, the huge herds of elephants gather with awesome sightings of sometimes 80 or more in just one place!

The highlight of the week has definitely been the wild dogs! Over the last few days we have had a pack of 34 endangered wild dogs moving through the area. This really is a sight to behold and I can guarantee that I have never seen a pack so large (few wild dog packs exceed 30 animals). A sighting of this many dogs is almost like seeing a wave of playful, energy-filled, muppets rushing towards you – it’s really awesome!

The cats have been a little scarce over the last few days, however Nyaleti Leopardess treated our guests to a little in-house kill as she decided that a good place to hang her steenbok kill would be in a tree just behind tent 7 and 8! Sadly, we weren’t able to see her during the day as I’m sure she wanted nothing to do with all of us as we walked around doing human things.

At night, that all changed with the cat becoming increasingly confident and happily allowing some of our lucky guests to watch her from the foot path (under the professional guidance of Scotch) as she tucked into her dinner. If you would like to see more of this scene then please check out our Instagram for a few short clips from a camera trap that was setup nearby – she even had a hyena visitor!

I look forward to the impending seasonal change and that ever elusive thunderstorm, but until then I will enjoy the dry openness of the bush and the remaining beauty of winter.

Until next time, happy snapping ~ Luke Street

By courtesy of the Tanda Tula Safari Camphttp://www.tandatula.com/blog/

https://www.instagram.com/tanda.tula/

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