Fine Dining – Rough Dining!

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Tonight the guests at Thanda’s Villa iZulu had just finished a delicious dinner and we were still sitting around the dinner table when a high screeching sound cut into the conversation. After a few seconds of stunned silence we rushed outside onto the observation deck to see what happened.

At the small waterhole in front of Villa iZulu a pack of Hyenas had just killed an Nyala antelope bull. Illuminated by a floodlight more than ten of these strong carnivores where fighting over the kill and started having their rough dinner!

We all agreed that this was certainly one of the most fascinating and memorable dinner of our lives!

The picture shows a few of the Hyenas on the kill in front of the illuminated Villa iZulu.

Clean-up Crew!


Hyena are one of the most fascinating mammal species to observe . They are an important part of the bush clean-up crew and play a vital role in the circle of life.

With their grinning smiles and their awkward walking style (their very strong front legs are longer than the back legs) they are often disliked by many people.

But in this picture one of Thanda’s Spotted Hyenas shows itself from its “cute side” 🙂

Strange Encounter!

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At the small waterhole in front of Thanda’s Villa iZulu a Spotted Hyena and a journey of Southern Giraffe met and interacted for almost an hour. This image shows Bheki in between the actors in this early morning drama. 

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… The Hyena had come to the waterhole when the Giraffe interrupted its morning drink…

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… It moved off when the tallest land mammals came in to have their drink …

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… But not far – at one time the carnivore ventured almost to “kicking distance” …

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… We left after watching this scene for almost an hour – On the way back to Thanda’s  Safari Lodge we ran into an Elephant road block. The matriarch was having an eye on us while we followed the herd slowly until they made their way through the bush to another waterhole. What a morning!

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They are well!

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We saw the Thanda Cheetah mum today with her two cubs. Both of the cubs have grown a lot and are looking very healthy – they look like real Cheetah now 🙂 – What a sighting!

During the same game drive I got my first picture of a Pygmy Kingfisher and we had sightings of our two male Cheetah, three Lions and two Spotted Hyena feeding on a kill.

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Unusual Sightings

On the last day of our work cycle we had some unusual sightings. The Thanda guests on today’s morning game drive enjoyed a Spotted Hyena crossing the savanna in full daylight (a very rare occurrence).

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We caught a glimpse of a young Leopard before it retreated into very thick bush and …

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… we ended the game drive with an unusual view of the Elephant herd on the side of a hill, on which we cannot drive with our vehicles.

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We also saw Cheetahs, a White Rhino, Giraffes and a Yellow-billed Kite on the same drive. A great morning!

After a very long work cycle (26 instead of 21 days) I will now be off for eight days before I leave for another “Trails Guiding Contact Session Course” with African Nature Training – ANT (  in the Sabi Sands. I will return to Thanda on 24 March.

There will be fewer blogs during this time, but look out for the unusual ones 🙂

What a morning :-)

When it has rained as much as it did the last few days we cannot drive off-road for quite a while. So game viewing becomes rather more difficult, especially when looking for carnivores.

This mornings game drive was therefore a great surprise. We left the Lodge looking for Lions. About half an hour into the drive we came across a male Leopard walking down the road towards us. Luckily he took his time moving off the road.

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He was followed a few minutes later by a Spotted Hyena, which did not run immediately as usual, but stayed for a “photo shoot”.

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And when we stopped for our morning coffee break a dazzle of Zebra nearby did not run away as usual, but approached us quite close. Two of the males in the group started fighting which resulted in an interesting series of pictures.

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What a morning 🙂 Have a good week!

Spotting Spotted Hyena!

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It does not happen often that we see Spotted Hyena at daylight. So my guests were very happy to see this Hyena just after sunrise on the Thanda savanna.

PS: I will not be posting anything until early next week. I am spending this weekend at Amakhosi Safari Lodge on the Mkuze River near Pongola 🙂

Caught in the Trap

On Tuesday morning the camera trap (in front of my tent) picked up this Hyena (it was at 1:30am in the morning). I was sound asleep at the time but it only passed a few meters (feet) from my feet.

The night sounds around my tent are incredible. Before I go to sleep I can hear all kinds of animals calling including sometimes Leopards, Hyena and Elephants! What a place :-).

I will finish the first half of my course on Friday and then I will be back at Nkombe camp for the second part after the Advanced Rifle Handling Course, the Land Rover Driving Course and the Snake Handling Course.