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Our swansong safari and great to share with a first timer.


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Day 9 June 3rd

A quiet drive to start with but still very interesting. A hyena was on the track and we watched as it marked its territory totally ignoring us. There was already defecation from another hyena which was very very white and the hyena sniffed around and defecated, urinated and pasted on nearby grass. Ruben said it was not something he had often seen.

Little to see for some time then went looking for rhino that had been sighted. Tried offroad several times then went round to the other side and into the block and Beth spotted one and then we saw that it was a mother and large calf. Mother had a full horn and was huge, a really great sighting.




On the way to stopping for the morning drink we saw a small herd of elephants and a giraffe. At the dam where we stopped there were lots of terrapins and they came almost right up to Beth. We also saw a saddle bill stork fishing for frogs.








Going back to camp saw Zebra with a very young one and on the breastwork of the dam some Waterbuck also with young ones.




Ruben told us about the big five Lion     Leopard     Rhino      Buffalo           Elephant

And the little five who all have corresponding names

                              Ant lion    leopard tortoise  rhino beetle  Red Buffalo weaver  elephant shrew.


Again quite quiet. A highlight was finding the Young Avoca male lion and his sister. We wonder if we saw them as tiny cubs when we were here in 2019 as they estimate their age as 3.5 to 4 years.







Interesting sunset with very unusual spiral cloud






Edited by KiwiGran
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Day 10 4th June

Another lovely sunrise




Saw a Gymnogene now called African Harrier Hawk but too quick for a photo. I have now seen 7 different predator birds on this trip.

A nice sighting of a female giraffe as I could clearly see the fluffy ossicles.

Hyena,  then elephant female with older calf and a younger one. Neat to watch the younger one was getting really good control of the trunk.




A late call for lions and we all agreed we wanted to see so we had a fast drive to the main dam and as we drove in I spotted the female and then we saw the Young Avoca male. A really good sighting, they were very active and walked incredibly close to the vehicle right past the tracker and past me. Awesome!




At our morning stop we looked at an old stump that the warthogs use as a rubbing post – they go to the dam to drink, wallow in the mud then rub on the stump which gets rid of the ticks.

Also had a brief view of a pair of grey duiker.



A really good drive.

Went looking for the lions but couldn’t find them. Round a corner and 2 rhino mother and older calf. They weren’t settled so we didn’t follow them but really good to see.

Elephants – 2 mothers with 6 to 12month old calves

Grey Heron at the dam

Round another corner and there was a giraffe, a nice big female. Going for drinks when we got a call for wild dog so did a Ferrari safari and managed to spot 1 dog, beautifully coloured. Beth got some good photos. Possibly from a pack of 17, we tried to find the others but no luck.



Spotlighting more chameleon and we had a lot of fun photographing the full moon



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Day 11 June 5th

An amazing morning, the animals all came out this morning! A duiker on the way in, a ground hornbill in a tree then the first great sighting was a breeding herd of elephants. 40 to 50 elephants with young of all sizes from a tiny baby to teenagers. One Mama crossed the road with her about 1 to 2year old calf and came so close to the vehicle our tracker could have reached out and touched her. She fed beside the vehicle for sometime totally relaxed. On one side of the road a tiny calf feeding from the Mum, elephants of all sizes crossing the road in front of us, further down the road two teenagers tussling with their trunks. Just elephants everywhere you looked, a totally wonderful experience that I just absorbed and enjoyed without worrying about taking many photos. Just wished Beth was with us but she had gone walking with the guide and another guest and was having an exciting elephant experience of her own.




A brief sighting of 2 rhino (dehorned) but very skittish so didn’t follow them.

Next up was a big group of zebra probably 30 or more along with impala and wildebeest. Several young zebra with them, a lovely sighting.




Then we got a call that a leopard had been sighted so the pace quickened as we headed to the area of the sighting. The other vehicle had lost sight of the leopard so we started searching, going offroad into the block. After a while we had a brief sighting but came to a deep drainage line where we couldn’t follow so went round to the other side of the block but no luck there. Our tracker spotted a giraffe across the road from the original sighting, its behaviour, looking intently in one direction, indicated to him that the leopard was somewhere there so we went in and after several attempts we at last located him. It was Bizaan a beautiful 4 year old male. We followed him for some time getting wonderful views, such a gorgeous coat. Then he stopped and sat in the grass giving us awesome views, we were only about 5 to 7 metres away from him. As we started to pull out he got up and wandered along a bit and then lay down in the shade. Visually he just disappeared into the long golden grass. I found myself with tears in my eyes, knowing this will be our last safari, feeling so privileged to have this amazing sighting and  so grateful to our guide Ruben and tracker Oxide for working so hard to find Bizaan.




Heading back to camp  for breakfast we saw a group of helmeted guineafowl, 2 giraffe and then 1 very dark and beautifully patterned giraffe





A last duiker, a warthog, a yellow billed hornbill with a spider and the end of an amazing morning drive.



A quiet drive, looked for the leopard but couldn’t find him. Back to the hippos and one was sunbathing out of the water.




Day 12 June 6th

Another exceptional morning drive.

Checked for leopard tracks on the cutline between 2 properties, spotted 2 rhino on the neighbouring property. I think they were dehorned. Then got a call for leopard and we found him walking through the block. Awesome to see Bizaan again. Followed him for sometime and then he went up on to a termite mound and posed for us, first sitting down and then lying down grooming himself. One of the guests with us on his first drive said “Crazy!” We all were in awe – such a magnificent animal.




On the way back to camp we saw elephants and we went a little way offroad to get closer to them. But the females weren’t at all happy to see us and gave us a charge, ears flapping and trunks up. They were protecting their young but once we stopped they settled down and started feeding again.

When Ruben started the vehicle again to pull out they became agitated again and chased us for some way down the road, trumpeting loudly. Such a different reaction to the herd the day before – why was that? It was quite windy and all the animals were alert and restless and the other reason was that we went into their space whereas the day before we were on the road and the elephants came to us.




We also saw 2 juvenile African fish eagles, another Tawny eagle and a Grey Heron at the dam





A wonderful last drive of the trip.

Highlights were seeing Bizaan again this time sleeping up in a beautiful Marula tree. This was something I had always wanted to see, we have had many wonderful leopard sightings, a cub feeding up a tree at night, an altercation between male and female leopard and she went up the tree again at night in the spotlight but never sleeping in a tree in the daylight so I was overjoyed and we all got some great photos.





And on the way home in the spotlight a genet – another first for Beth.  And first of the trip for us, having seen one clearly in Sabi Sands a few years ago.


Day 13 June 7th

No drive for us today as our transfer was too early. We had an early breakfast, packed and said our goodbyes. This was our 5th stay at this camp and we had made many friends and this time new friends. Ruben and Oxide were a superb team and worked really hard to get us the best sightings.

We have been so privileged to have had 6 trips to South Africa, every one was wonderful, every drive special and different, so amazing to spend time with the animals, to watch, to learn, just to be there.

This trip was all and more than we could have asked for. Beth was a joy to have with us and so special to share her first sightings. I have kept a list of animals seen since our first safari in 2012. Of that list, not counting animals we saw at Marrick and Mokala, there were only 6 that Beth didn’t see – Honey badger, African civet, Africa wildcat, Bushbuck, Marsh mongoose and Reedbuck.

We saw 40 different species of mammal and reptile and countless birds but it is so much more than ticking the names off a list. This time we saw lions and leopard on the hunt, lions at the kill, 3 different species of snake ( we hadn’t seen any snakes previously) , more chameleons than we have ever seen before,  the hyena pasting and marking his territory, the 2 species of jackal together at the carcass and so on.

Thank you to all who have viewed, liked and commented on this report. It has been a joy to do and to relive the trip.

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A really nice way to end the affair, with everything from an iguana to cheetahs. So glad Africa gave you such a successful trip this time.


One of the white-backed vultures has a large number tag attached. Possibly on the way back from a ballroom dancing competition?

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That's a great suggestion re the vulture with the tag @pault! Actually it is part of a research project.

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Lions were pouring out of every corner for your swansong! and beautiful sunrises to imprint on your memories. 


Thank you for sharing, but never say never more. one just never knows. :) 



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Thank you @Kitsafari. As you say never say never more - we would love to do more safaris, we never tire of those but the travel to get there is just so stressful now. Lions certainly were in abundance.

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Thank you for sharing @KiwiGran.  I enjoyed your report and loved each photo!  Especially,  Bizaan sleeping up in a beautiful Marula tree. 

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Thank you @TravelMore. Yes Bizaan sleeping up the Marula tree was very special.

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On 7/9/2023 at 7:27 PM, KiwiGran said:

As we started to pull out he got up and wandered along a bit and then lay down in the shade. Visually he just disappeared into the long golden grass. I found myself with tears in my eyes, knowing this will be our last safari, feeling so privileged to have this amazing sighting and  so grateful to our guide Ruben and tracker Oxide for working so hard to find Bizaan.


Tears in my eyes reading this, but good ones on balance.


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A great report, and very moving 

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Many thanks @TonyQ. We are just so happy to have had our 6 trips and have such great memories of each one.

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Indeed, a great final trip, but I´m hoping with all my heart it won´t be your final trip after all. Thank you for sharing.

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Alex The Lion

Great to read and sounds like a wonderful swansong.

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  • 3 months later...

Thank you for a wonderful report. So sad that it was your last.


That side-striped Jackal: I don't know if it's just that they are more nocturnal?

Edited by Peter Connan
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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you @Peter ConnanWe have wonderful memories of all our safaris and I can always read other members experiences on SafariTalk! Yes it may be that the side striped jackals are more nocturnal, I do recall seeing a pair at Shindzela on another trip and that was in the evening. But it was great this time to see the 2 species together.

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  • 1 month later...

@KiwiGran- thanks for a great report and sharing amazing photos! FYI, you answered my recent question in the Planning section about places to stay in Timbavati. Thanks to you, we are now considering Manyeleti as well! I am going to see if I can figure out how to private message you with a few specific questions about the camps you stayed on this trip.  Hopefully, you'll get to do ANOTHER swansong safari (I do know about travel getting harder, but the reward!!!!). And if you don't, you have incredible memories and photos to take you back there.


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