Manyeleti Photo Safari Highlights from April 2023

Photo Safari Highlights with Armand Grobler and Rhulani Safaris

Manyeleti Photo Safari. Standing on the top platform looking across the Buffelshoek Camp plains of Manyeleti Game Reserve, soaking in the fresh air and warm light, in such contrast from last months “Storm Safari,” was true bliss. The bush has started drying out and turning into various shades of yellow. For the first time I noticed a thick layer of frost covering the short, cut grass around camp in the early mornings, giving the camp an icy feel!

There are few places that can compare to the early morning Buffelshoek atmosphere. We enjoyed a crisp cup of coffee while watching the sun peek over the horizon, lighting up the sky in bright hues of orange, red and yellow. The chirp of birds, distant roar of lion and howling hyena created a n African symphony so typical of this incredible camp. Those who have experienced Buffelshoek will know exactly what I’m talking about!

The sightings on our Manyeleti Photo Safari in April were fantastic, and guests were treated with rare opportunities to see serval, a hunting African wild cat and a tiny lion cub of no more than 3 months old, giving us a spectacular display its bombastic and curious behavior. It was the only cub in the pride and in such need of attention, frequently attacking its older siblings, then running back to mum when they started playing rough.

One morning we were contacted via radio that lions had killed a buffalo overnight and were feeding on it right in the Ndzhaka Camp vicinity. After discussing with our guests, we decided to rather search for our own sightings before responding to what would be quite a chaotic sighting. This proved to be a tremendously good decision, as we found the lion pride with the tiny cub perched on top of a termite mound, admiring the rising sun and playing with valor. We spend a total of just more than 2 hours alone at this sighting, enjoying the tranquility also known to Manyeleti.

Other highlights during our Manyeleti Photo Safari included hippo’s fighting, a tiny hippo calf also only 2 or 3 months old, a rather large elephant tusker and a pair of white rhino foraging in the setting sun.




Next month we return to Botswana for an exciting 4 weeks, exploring the wilds of the Okavango Delta where we will be hosting our 2023 and 2024 photographic safaris!



Manyeleti means ‘Place of the Stars,’ in the local Shangaan language – a great depiction of the places’ unique tranquility and natural splendor. However, after our July safari at Buffelshoek Tented Camp, I have nicknamed Manyeleti, ‘The Place of Miracles’ after what we had experienced being nothing short of utterly miraculous! It was a photo safari experience of the ages and couldn’t have been better orchestrated by an expert planner.

Leaving camp on July 10th with two wonderful guests from the UK joining me on a private photo safari, we set out to find and photograph Africa’s iconic wildlife, paying particular attention to the spotted hyena. After 8 trips to Africa, our one guest had not seen a single wild hyena, and this was at the top of his list to see – and photograph! A quiet first drive was forgiven when we found a pride of lions the following morning slowly following a herd of buffalo. Seeing the interaction between the two specials, although being at a distance was quite amusing.

Leopard in Tree.

The following afternoon highlight was a large, striking male lion roaring deep into the night right beside our vehicle; the sound vibrating like shockwaves through our bodies. Nothing prepares you for such a powerful experience, and no matter how many times you witness this spectacular event, it never ceases to amaze – the pure brutality and authority of the roar! Retreating to our tents that evening, the bush fell quiet without as much as a breeze stirring until 02:30 when I was abruptly woken by a lion roaring from inside the camp!

Buffelshoek is an unfenced camp with a local water hole only meters from the rustic rooms, a natural magnet for animals such as lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo along with other general game like zebra and giraffe. On this particular early morning our guests – who were also woken by the chaos – walked outside and sat on their porch watching a pride of lions surround the camp. However, it wasn’t only the lions that caught our guests’ attention, as another large and menacing predator roamed nearby.

Finally, after 8 visits to Africa our ecstatic guest had finally found his hyena, who was closely following the pride in search of any potential scavenging opportunities. Hyena howls and lion roars then filled the night with a typical African symphony, enjoyed by our guests with a ‘private show’ right from their porch.

Over the course of the next few days, we enjoyed multiple big cat sightings including 4 different leopards (2 cubs and 2 adults), a huge pride of lions resting picturesquely on a dam wall, 2 cheetahs on a fresh impala kill and even a final hyena 30 minutes before the end of our safari, slowly walking down the road. Other interesting sightings such as ground hornbills feeding on a scrub hare and a side striped jackals also completed our wonderful photo safari experience – a successful trip that left us all in awe.

For more information on our Private Photo Safaris and Workshops at Buffelshoek Tented Camp in the Greater Kruger Park click here.

Read our previous Trip Report from the world renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Article written by Armand Grobler, Owner and Operator of Rhulani Safaris.