Watching a buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant or any other African animal right in front of you is always a special experience, but what about first finding their tracks, working out what it is and then spending some time locating them?
Tanda Tula, a collection of safari camps located in the heart of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (forming part of Greater Kruger National Park), has launched a rather fun social media challenge – #trackitthursday. Each Thursday, Tanda Tula uploads an animal track/spoor on to their Facebook page and Twitter and invites fans and followers to guess what they think it is. Some are going to be easy, and some a little more difficult, but with so many safari-goers focused on only getting up close to the big five, this is a fantastic fresh approach to how game viewing can be done, and how it can be far more exciting than simply sitting in a vehicle and watching game pass by.
Here is the first one, can you guess what it is?
Imagine the thrill of setting out on foot, coming across a track and working out what it is. Then, heading off in the direction you think it is moving to later see it grazing or walking a short distance away (with your trained and armed guide leading the group of course). That is a true safari experience and the team at Tanda Tula are all too familiar with the excitement that comes with tracking game in such a way. They are, after all, well-known for their walking safari experiences.
Today the first track went out on social media, and if you were wondering what the answer is, it is a LION!
Many of you will know that the lion, one of Africa’s most iconic animals, is part of the big five and of the genus Panthera. The lion is no small cat, as some can reach weights of over 250kg. Lions have four distinct toes, with one large main pad with three lobes at the back. Male tracks are slightly longer than female tracks. This track is a little tricky as it is in soft soil and there is the appearance of claws, however this is because it is the tracks of young females playing (based on a sighting at the same time).