A Timbavati Trip Review

Date 2024/07/09 08:03:03 by Darren Donovan

The Timbavati Nature Reserve, which is part of the larger Kruger National Park, is a safari destination that consistently provides remarkable wildlife viewing opportunities. During a recent photo safari I hosted in the Timbavati, the area once again offered an exceptional wildlife encounter, as it often does.

The guests were traveling to Mashatu after visiting the Timbavati region, so I was not overly concerned about encountering Lions or Leopards, as Mashatu is known to offer some of the most impressive predator sightings in Southern Africa. The purpose of the Timbavati portion of the trip was to observe and photograph species that are not typically found in Mashatu, such as Rhinoceros, Buffalo, and the elusive African Wild Dog.

At first, the progress was somewhat gradual. We focused our attention on elephants and birds, but we also managed to catch a few glimpses of rhinoceroses and a large herd of several hundred buffaloes. Our objective was to explore more innovative photographic techniques, with a particular emphasis on backgrounds and harnessing contrasts in lighting to generate more impactful and visually striking imagery.







We were able to spot a few Leopards and Lions during those first four drives, but they were not behaving in the way we had hoped. However, everything changed dramatically on the third afternoon. Prior to this, I had been telling the guests that the Timbavati region had never disappointed me, and that I always departed with an extraordinary sighting. That third afternoon provided me with precisely that kind of speechless, remarkable encounter.

We were fortunate to encounter a pack of African Wild dogs, which was a highly anticipated sighting during our visit to the Timbavati region. This destination is particularly renowned for these endangered predators. Initially, the dogs were resting, but they soon became active and alert. Tracking and observing these wild canines is an exhilarating and challenging, and we were able to follow them for a period. We briefly lost sight of them, but shortly thereafter came across one of the dogs chasing and successfully catching an Impala, which it quickly killed. More wild dogs arrived on the scene, but the commotion had also attracted a group of Spotted Hyenas, leading to a dramatic confrontation between the two species. We were left in awe of the intense predatory interaction we had witnessed.

As we continued our safari, we had sightings of Lions after dusk, and experimented with innovative techniques for spotlight photography. During the rest of our time in this outstanding reserve, we were lucky to see not only lions but also leopards. We also discovered many fascinating subjects in challenging yet invigorating situations.

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Images & Blog by: Darren Donovan