TRIP REPORT: MANYELETI PHOTO SAFARI JULY 10 – 14
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.
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.
Article written by Armand Grobler, Owner and Operator of Rhulani Safaris.