The Manyeleti – A Hidden Gem

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The Manyeleti Game Reserve is a beautiful 23000 hectare or 57000-acre reserve that borders the Sabi Sand to the South, the Timbavati to the Northwest and the Kruger National Park to the East.This unique position gives you an incredibly diverse system and a constant flow of animals from all these areas, providing amazing game viewing opportunities.

Tintswalo Safari Lodge would be our home for 4 nights. Boasting one of the lowest vehicle densities in the Greater Kruger, guests are spoiled to uninterrupted game viewing experiences, we could not wait to start exploring its wilderness.

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Tintswalo Safari Lodge Entrance

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Due to the infinite possibilities that the flow of animals in the Manyeleti provides, we had a target in mind for the trip: catching up with the Birmingham Pride – who have two white lions in the pride! These are only two of the known three wild white lions within the Greater Kruger National Park, with the third being found far East into Kruger National Park.

We arrived at Tintswalo Safari Lodge around lunch time and were greeted by extremely friendly staff and were introduced to our Tracker, Domingo, who was to be my right-hand man for the next four nights. A group of elephant bulls were waiting for us to share our welcome drinks, enjoying the fresh water they get from a well-placed water fountain for them. This fountain drew elephants all day during the heat of the day, giving a constant view and with a well-hidden hide, you can view these guys up close and personal.

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High Tea with Elephant at Tintswalo Safari Lodge

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After being shown to our spectacular rooms and a quick bite to eat, we met up with Domingo to head out on our first safari. It was then that he informed me that the young male white lion, along with his two brothers had been spotted feeding on a large buffalo bull carcass earlier on. I couldn’t believe our luck, and somehow managed to keep it as a surprise for Chris and Michelle. We meandered slowly up to the area, spotting loads of elephant and plains game. The northern part of the of the reserve is dotted with large open areas and so lots of zebra, wildebeest and ostrich were seen on the trip up.

As we arrived at the sighting, one of the brothers was feeding on the carcass, while the white male was resting with the other brother close by. He is spectacular! A beautiful specimen, very large for his age and showing signs of being a large male in the future. What a start for any safari!

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White lion spotted during a WanderingThru Privately guided safari[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

We spent the next three drives viewing these boys taking turns feeding on the carcass, resting, or grooming. On the last morning when we arrived to see how they were doing, we found that they had been joined by their fathers and so we had five male lions on the kill.

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While the male lions where certainly a highlight the we were treated to some great game viewing In between. Large herd of buffalos, countless elephants, two gorgeous leopards, lots of baby impala, two sets of rhino cows and their calves, both species of jackal, African wild cat, and lots of hyena.

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Tavangumi Male Leopard spotted in the Manyeleti

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The birding opportunities were great too, with lots of birds of prey about, beautiful storks and waterbirds at the dams. From jacanas to vultures, to Pratincoles the Manyeleti certainly also delivered great opportunities of viewing some feathered creatures.

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The lodge itself was fantastic, with great service and great food! They allowed us to dictate our safari times which was fantastic… For seasoned safari aficionados, it did mean 4:15 wake up calls but was worthwhile as after a quick cup of coffee, we were spoilt by some incredible sunrises.

Waking up early certainly pays off when you’re on safari (as difficult as it may sound). We were reminded of this as during our last morning, as we were treated to a female cheetah and her sub-adult male cub on the move. Mom looked like she was keen to hunt, but the young cub was keener on playing, trying to coax mom into a game of chase. They posed beautifully for us, going up onto large termite mounds and a fallen over tree, getting a vantage point. There was no meals to be had during the time we spent with them and so eventually we left the two as they settled in the shade to hide from the already warm morning sun.

Cheetas in Manyeleti

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A coffee stop at the dam was interrupted by a large herd of elephants and a big pride of lions was a roadblock on the way back to breakfast! Not a bad last safari for now!

Tintswalo Safari Lodge and the Manyeleti Game Reserve are a Hidden Gem, and I can’t wait to get back to explore the area more and see what else it has to offer!

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Would you like to travel to the Manyeleti with Ryan? You can email Ryan.j@wanderingthru.com to start planning!

 

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