The last couple of months have been incredible here in the Timbavati. There’s nothing quite like a Lowveld winter. If you’re fortunate enough to find yourself in this special place at this time of the year, you’re going to be treated to fantastic game viewing because the vegetation thins out dramatically, making that lion sleeping in the grass or that shy steenbok much easier to spot. My guests often ask me when the best time to safari is, and while I’ll always point out the advantages of whatever season they happen to be asking in, my heart really belongs to winter. When the veld is various shades of grey and brown and that hot pink Impala Lily suddenly jumps out at you from a distance, you’ll know why. Winter’s a time for unexpected treats, splashes of colour and fuzzy hot water bottles in the morning game drives.
For me personally, this month has been extra special. As a new arrival in Timbavati, I’m getting to know the resident animals and I can honestly say that I’ve experienced more leopard sightings within a few short weeks than I have in my entire life. I’ve worked as a guide all over South Africa, but never in a place where you can sit in silence and watch a leopard stalking a warthog just meters from the car. Or where you can follow one casually down the road as it marks it territory. In fact, until Kings Camp, most leopard sightings for me had meant catching a quick glimpse of a tail or a flash of spotted fur as a nervous leopard disappeared into the darkness. I cannot tell you what a privilege it is to be here and to be having these extraordinary up-close encounters with such an elusive animal. When suddenly you find yourself in their presence so often, you fall in love with their quirks and their elegance all at the same time. Their strong, solitary nature; the flicks of their tails; the way their feet pad the ground and their shoulders roll when they’re ‘on a mission.’ That leopard who’s eaten so much he looks like he may fall out of his tree and the cool looks he shoots down at the hyenas circling and waiting for scraps to fall. No matter what they’re doing, I just can’t get enough of leopards! How incredible it is to be able to introduce these Timbavati leopards to my lucky safari guests…
So far, my short span at Timbavati has given me some of the wildest safari sightings I could have ever imagined, as well as my newfound ‘spirit animal’, the leopard. With so many new discoveries in these first few months at Kings Camp, I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
See you all soon,
Hailing from the UK, Anna fell in love with safaris while she was studying a Masters in African Studies, and she never left! She has guided in different areas around the country and loves the diversity of South Africa.
One thought on “Ranger Report: An Update from Anna Tinker”
Hi Anna – just re-read your post from 8/22 and felt your love and enthusiasm for Africa all over again. We had an amazing time with you and Albert and are already planning when we can arrange a return trip. We hope you continue to be well – all our best to the team at Kings Camp. Fondly, Larry & Erica Gray