Safaris & stories
Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel

Written and photographed by: Greg McCall-Peat

From baron landscapes to animals in distress, the drought that the Greater Kruger has been experiencing has been very well documented over the past few months. 


However, it’s all part of natures cycle and as hard as it is to take a step back and remove our emotions from the situation, it must be done. One thing I have learnt is that nature will always sort itself out without human interference and, even in the most trying times, it will provide.

Recently we have been seeing animals beginning to circum to the harsh conditions, particularly the buffalos and hippo. This means a time of plenty for the predators, balancing out the eco system as nature does. However, it is never easy to just sit back and watch it happen and just when we were beginning to think of stepping in, nature gave us the answer. The heavens opened up and we received some much-needed rain. Although not enough to break the drought, it was enough to fill dams and start the process of new plant growth. Being able to witness this transformation is an amazing spectacle as within a day of it raining the bush erupted with new growth.

Over the last week, the animals have all come out and shown themselves in celebration and we have enjoyed some incredible sightings here in the Timbavati. Here are some of our latest sightings:


A young male leopard peers at us through a thicket. He had stashed his kill in this bush to escape the prying eyes of vultures and other scavengers.


Warthogs feeding on the dry meat of an old giraffe carcass. They are possiblytrying to get extra nutrients during this harsh time of drought.


A male lion listening to the distant calls of a lioness before heading off on a night time patrol.


Buffalo have probably been the hardest hit by the drought and it can clearly be seen in their poor condition. Now that there is some new grass growth, they should begin to fatten up once again.


An elephant calf was born just after the rains. He came into this world at just the right time, with an abundance of food for his mom to feed on which will in turn allow her to produce milk for this baby.


Often, in trying times, different species are forced together and we have been seeing a lot of this lately especially when it comes to the water dependant animals like rhino and elephant.

Although it was a reprieve from the drought it was only a small one and we hope that the rains continue to fall and properly break the drought. We have all become weather watchers and by the looks of it, there is plenty for rain to come in the coming weeks, so we continue to hold thumbs and pray for even more relief.

Umlani Bushcamp

Umlani Bushcamp is located in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park. This is true Big 5 territory and guests have an opportunity to see lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino on safe, expertly guided game drives and bush walks.