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!




‘South Africa Weather Warning: Tropical Cyclone Freddy …’ dominated news headlines as the super storm approaches from the distant coast of Australia, breaking records at it charges toward the African continent. Reading the warnings, I knew it would be a wet safari, but nothing could prepare us for the onslaught that would eventually come.

Sunday 26th February was the start of a 4-night safari in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, and after collecting our private guest at Eastgate Airport we set off for the reserve which is situated adjacent to Kruger National Park between the Sabi Sands and Timbavati Reserves. The road to Manyeleti took over an hour longer than normal due to flooding and severe road damage so after picking up at 11:30, we only arrived at North Gate at 13:30.





Five minutes after entering North Gate, my wheels came to a standstill as I watched a sea of water flow across the road, reaching several meters above ground level. A quick U-turn pursued before once again I was blocked off by another powerful river, halting us with incredibly efficiency. Buffelshoek Camp was blocked off from the world, and the only way in was through the flowing waters …



After navigating through deep waters and seemingly impassable roads, we finally entered the South Gate and stopped at Ndzhaka Tented Camp, only to find the shocking reality of a camp completely sunken under water! The usual picturesque little camp on the banks of a dry riverbed was submerged under the mass of murky flood waters, and as we stared in horror, a large snake swam past slowly to further increase the dreadful eeriness of the scene.



Throughout the following 5 days we received no less than 250mm of rain, carving up roads and damaging infrastructure with sinister effect. Manyeleti became a desolate wasteland in front of our eyes, with main roads resembling war-like battle fields, as thick mud swallowed its motorized victims like a bullfrog swallows a canary with gruesome mercilessness.



However, with every heavy cloud there is a silver lining, and we enjoyed great adventure as the elements provided the most challenging conditions I had ever worked in. The rain never dampened our spirits, and we enjoyed several incredible sightings including lions crossing a river, a leopard sighting to ourselves and plenty of hyena and vultures!



The overcast skies and active behavior of the wildlife also presented us with incredible panning opportunities as we slowed the shutter speed down to 1/5 second.





Dramatic skies presented spectacular photographic opportunities as the remains of Cyclone Freddy passed in the background.



In between the sightings, we spent some time rescuing other vehicles including a late-night rescue which was an adventure in itself as we left camp after 8pm!















The last two drives provided open skies and we enjoyed the gentle, warm touch of the sun on our damp cheeks as it finally cut through the dense cloud. It had been an adventure beyond our expectations, and in the end, we enjoyed the insatiable laughter that the storm brought along, all the way from Australia!



Every safari that our guests enjoy, become a part of their legacy; a story book of adventure produced over a lifetime of unforgettable moments. Some safaris are remembered by sightings, others by unusual events and some by adventure. This one will surely go down as the most adventurous safari I had ever been on.



For more about our Manyeleti Photographic and Private Safaris follow the link provided: Big Cats of Kruger Safari and Workshops.

Article and Photography by Armand Grobler [owner of Rhulani Safaris].