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Timbavati - 4 nights at Kambaku River Sands


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pomkiwi

@@martywilddog @@Hads Thank-you for your kind words. Although the density of wildlife was not always great there were some lovely sightings and I certainly found that having a vehicle to myself meant we could spend time at some of the encounters with interesting photo opportunities.

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Day 1 SWISS got me to JNB on time and FedAir did the needful to Hoedspruit. First impressions of Kambaku are positive and it feels much more open to the bush than the lodge I stayed at in the Sabi S

Day 2 'Local' wildlfe Kambaku River Sands does not have any boundary fencing. It also has a pool adjacent to the dry riverbed into which a small waterhole has been dug. Elephants seem to prefer the

Day 3 Just a few minutes to comment that the third day remained cold but dry. The wind dropped. Again a day with lots of elephants, some sleepy lions and some nice zebra photos. Highligts were my fir

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pomkiwi

On my last morning I still had the private vehicle. I had been a little unsure about this as the fact that I was leaving later that morning reduced any chance of a delayed return if things got interesting. As it turned out a final leopard sighting was only possible because of this arrnagement.

 

The day dawned cold and clear again. The light and dust allowed for some good landscape images.

 

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The light also added some interest to some buffalo images.

 

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A steenbok was unusually relaxed in our presence.

 

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We saw an example of how different species feed off of different levels of vegetation in the bush.

 

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As we came to a water hole that had almost disappeared we could see catfish flapping in the puddle and mud that remained.

 

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A trio of fish eagles was witing for an opportunity to grab some breakfast. One adult and two juveniles.

 

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One by one they moved off, unfortunately not to hunt and not in our direction!

 

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Somehow nearly two hours had passed and we drank coffee by the waterhole.

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pomkiwi

The previous day we had spend some time following a large herd of buffalo in the hope of finding some lions also following. We were not successful.

After coffee we headed off as fresh lion tracks had been seen close to where the herd now was. A single male lion had been glimpsed earlier but we came across a pair of brothers.

 

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Intially they seemed to be settling in for a hard day's sleep.

 

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Just as we were about to go they stood up and started to move methodically through the bush.

 

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They were alternately smelling previous scent marks and then adding their own. They were calling softly and the guides told us they were trying to locate the single lion in order to drive him away.

 

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After 20 minutes or so we needed to leave and on the way back to the lodge met a small group of elephant with a baby having a morning doze.

 

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A mother rhino was feeding her offspring just around the corner.

 

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Reports of a leopard on the move came over the radio and although we were close to 10am I asked if we could fit in a few minutes with her. This was agreed and we had a brief period of rapid progress (a bit of a shock after the gentle place of the previois drives). We reached the sighting just as everyone else left.

 

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The leopard was the same one I had seen on the first morning drive - easily recognisable by the pink nose.

 

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We watched her moving between shadow and shadow and got a few portrait shots before heading off for breakfast, packing and home. A nice way to finish this safari.

 

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pomkiwi

So to sum up. I enjoyed my trip to the Timbavati. The varied terrain was much as I had expected although the effects of the drought perhaps worse. The sightings were in general very good and I saw a number of 'firsts' for me.

Having said that the sheer number and variety of elephant encounters was unexpected and 4 active leopard sightings in open ground (3 different animals) was better than I had hoped for. No sightings of the white lions and still no kill witnessed in 3 trips - both resons to return :)

 

The lodge was great, I particularly enjoyed the fact that it was truly open to game wandering through and I have already been very positve about sightings from the deck. The quality of the guiding was generally good especially on the days I had my own vehicle. z

 

In the end pehaps the best verdict is that I have decided to return for 5 nights next May and will be bringing my son across from Australia to join me and provide a photographic rival!

 

Thanks to all who read, commented or 'liked'.

 

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elefromoz

@@pomkiwi, a great trip and report. Beautiful Leopard profile in #78.

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pomkiwi

@@elefromoz Thank-you. I did like the way that the small branches almost frame her features in the last shot - not sure how deliberate the composition was though!

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Wonderful finally thanks @@pomkiwi, i enjoyed your Report alot.

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michael-ibk

Very cool Ele reflexion shot - is that the pool? And thanks for the report - the fact that you are returning clearly shows that you had a good time. And as every TR of the area proves it's really the perfect place for finding Leopards, I'm always amazed by the quality and quantity of sightings.

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pomkiwi

@@michael-ibk The reflected elephant was at the lodge plunge pool - I posted a few more in a similar style on page 3 of the report. I will have another play when I return next year - hopefully in better light if the elephants come a little earlier!

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TonyQ

@@pomkiwi

Thank you for a very enjoyable report - excellent photos and engaging writing.

You had some great leopard sightings and your photos show what beautiful animals the.y are.

I really liked your giraffe necking sequence - and the terrapins on the hippo back

You booking for next year is a good advertisement for the lodge!

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pomkiwi

@@TonyQ Thank-you for your comments. As well as the lodge offering enough for a return visit there is no doubt that South Africa works well for a short trip from the UK. I hope to get further afield before too much longer but will need a day or two longer - not easy to achieve as my wife has no interest in joining me!

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Alexander33

@@pomkiwi

 

And sometimes the audience just gets distracted temporarily by work and other life obligations, until the day they realize that something is missing. Then it finally dawns on them that they haven't tuned into any Safaritalk trip reports in quite awhile, and they return for days of binge reading, and all is better.

 

I really loved our time in Timbavati, too. Your last two drives were certainly productive. The photos of the elephant and that gorgeous leopard in the beautiful late afternoon light (post # 71) are especially lovely.

 

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I look forward to your follow-up report after your return trip next May. And with your son along, that means we'll get twice as many photos to enjoy and savor, right?

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Kitsafari

thank you for taking time to write the report. I completely sympathise with your sentiment about TR-writing fatigue and losing audience. I get that feeling as well but my TRs are far more rambling than yours and with less clear good pictures as yours too!

 

I love that picture with the light filtering through the trees. Reminds me of Tadoba India somehow!

 

all the leopards transported me back to Sabi Sands, and I'm so pleased you got to see the female leopard and her cub as well. the teenager will be grown up and will be independent when you return another time, so the chance to see them together again must have been so special.

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pomkiwi

@@Alexander33 Thamk-you for your comments. Sometimes I wonder if the occasional episode of trip report 'fatigue' is a reflection of just how many photos need sorting and editing There will indeed be a large number of photos taken next May - the boy has a better eye than mend I am looking forward to some comparisons. He's already working out which additional lens (es) he needs and how to get me to pay for them!

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pomkiwi

@@Kitsafari Thank-you for your encouragement! Having been to the Sabi Sands (Nottens in the south) twice last year I was very impressed with the leopard sightings in the Timbavati. We never saw mother and cub together on the last trip but as you say they will be separated by next year. Interestingly of the five separate leopards I have seen at close range so far all have been female. The only male I have seen was a fairly young one but across a valley. That and the famous white lions would be great next year.....

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Kitsafari

@@pomkiwi all good vibes for the white lion. it eluded us last year too. but a good reason to return to search for it!

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martywilddog

Thanks for this report! I truly enjoyed reading it and am thinking of a trip to the Timbavati in 2017 ;)

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