Day 1 – September 15
After a relaxing night and a top of the world dinner at the Tzaneen Country Lodge in the Blythe River Canyon, it was on to our second safari – Tanda Tula Safari Camp!
The Driver and Guide, Chaplain, from Dive The Big Five was so helpful in our drive through Hoedspruit and into the gates of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.
Again, what a delightful surprise. While still a thatched roof, canvas luxury tent, it was different from the one in Mashatu. Instead of doors, there was only screening (with canvas that could be rolled down in inclement weather) that had to be fastened at all times to keep the monkeys out. The extras were just fabulous! We were told about three important things: 1) The rechargeable flashlight that needed to be charging at all times when we were not in the tent. Since electricity is provided by generator it was likely that we would lose power at some time during our stay. And we did! 2) The walky-talky – since there was no telephone, that was our only way of communications back to the main camp area. 3) An air horn – if anything (other than the monkeys) tried to enter our tent, we were to sound the horn so someone could come down with a gun! To add to our safety, we had to have an armed Guide escort us after the end of our evening “drive”, return to get us to go to dinner, and finally, escort us back to our tent at the end of the evening! We loved it!
We arrived in time for lunch and were thrilled to meet the chief-extraordinaire, Ryan. His meals were like a work of art. Not only were they beautifully presented, they tasted out of this world! He knows how to present a gourmet meal in the bush!
After lunch we wandered down to the waterhole before going to our tent to relax and take our afternoon siesta. What a delight to see the hippo and the elephants!
After “High Tea” it was off for the evening “drive”. Our talented Guide, Godfrey, and the great Tracker, Glenn (Godfrey’s nephew), continued our adventure by showing us sooo many things – steemboks, giraffes, elephants. Even the lilac-breasted roller showed his brilliant colors as he posed in the tree for us.
It was really exciting to see our first rhino. We had seen three of Africa’s “Big Five” while in Mashatu, and were hoping to see the other two – rhino and cape buffalo. (The “Big Five” refers to lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and cape buffalo. The label is because of the difficulty in bagging these large animals, mostly due to their ferocity when cornered and shot at.) Godfrey and Glenn did not disappoint. We saw a rhino and then another one with her baby, which was just breathtaking!
What a fantastic first drive in Tanda Tula. Just before we stopped for the evening we saw a beautiful African sunset!