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February 2024

Viva Safaris has always attempted to engender in our tourists an awareness of good conservation practice.

If you have the time, please look at the Home Page of

A much younger version of yours truly appears on the video entitled “Kruger Park Safaris with Viva Safaris” and my final words are “If we can pass on our commitment to conservation to our tourists, then we’ve done a good job”.

There were two illustrative events that happened this month at Dumela Tented Lodge.

1. A young banded mongoose fell into a drain and its squeals alerted Charlotte, the fiancé of Camp Manager, Charl. The purists may say that we need to be unemotional in such situations and allow nature to take its course. What we need to understand is that man has impacted on the natural environment (in this case by building a drain) so, in my opinion, it is simplistic to believe that we should never intervene. The mongoose was retrieved and taken to Moholoholo Rehab Centre.

2. Charl, also on the Dumela/Katekani properties, noted a hyena with a snare around its neck. Again, we cannot simply dismiss this as an unfortunate accident. Some human set the snare. We have erected a trap on the property and hope to catch the poor hyena and have the snare removed.

It is thanks to the massive conservation efforts of so very many dedicated and passionate people that we can share the (as always) fantastic photos below, all taken with Viva guests on safari this month:




2 white rhinos at Barnards property, Ngwenya dam during the afternoon game drive. Balule Nature Reserve.

An elephant crossing just after Phelwana bridge towards Orpen, on the H7 in KNP.

Lions on the road near Talamati in Kruger.

Inquisitive Hyena pups on the S 12 in KNP.

Big herd of buffalo spotted on the H7 near Phelwana bridge in KNP.


Lion pride resting along the side of Marula Road, Balule Nature Reserve

White Rhino wallowing in the mud, Ngwenya dam Barnards property. Balule Nature Reserve

Young elephant bull walking towards our vehicle on Olifants road, Balule Nature Reserve.

Male lion relaxing along Marula road, Balule Nature Reserve


Piero and the Nyalas welcome to Marc’s Camp

Nyala at Marc’s Camp

Lions and Luke on Tremisana

Monkeys eating ripe marula fruit at Tremisana


On H1-3 before Nwanetsi Bridge in KNP

At Tremisana dam BNR.

At H7 Phelwane bridge in KNP.

At Barnard property east of Ngwenya dam BNR


All photos in BNR. 

Kudu cow, Rome 1

Male Lion attacked and killed wild dog, Barnards

White rhinos, Barnards

Leopard kill, Campfire


White lion cub near Orpen in Kruger

Leopard up in a tree H7 west of Girivana turnoff S12 Kruger Park

A pack of wild dogs Marula road Balule Nature Reserve

Buffalos west of Impalabos Balule Nature Reserve

Lioness with cubs H6 east of Satara Kruger Park


12 February we saw one male elephant in Kruger National Park trying to get close to our car and that makes my clients happy cause they took very nice pictures. 

On the 17 February we saw 4 very nice white rhinos at Barnards near Xighamba dam BNR.

On the 23 February we saw wild dogs near Sausage Tree on Sable road, BNR. 

On the 24 we saw a very nice male Buffalo in the Timbavati river, KNP.

Zulu Rome 4 BNR

Hippopotamus on Barnard at Xingamba Dam BNR

Young male lion S100 Kruger Park

Rhino on Rome 1 BNR.


Wild dogs in Hluhluwe

Buffalo in the hills of Hluhluwe

White Rhino mother and calf in Hluhluwe


Close to White Rhino on Barnard property Balule

Lion pride on Tremisana property, Balule

Dinner visitor at Tremisana Lodge Lapa

Sleeping Hyena near Satara in Kruger

Elephant enjoying shade at Tremisana carports


Guests looking at Zebra on bushwalk, seen close to Masango Camp

Buffalo seen on bushwalk, close to Marc’s Camp

Kudu seen on bushwalk close to Marc’s Camp

Chameleon seen on bushwalk close to Marc’s Camp

Thanks to Brass from Campfire:

Tents on Campfire property

Thanks to Rewald of Nambu Camp:

Viva vehicle near newborn lion cubs


Luke, Head Guide:

Monthly Report February 2024 

It has been a very successful month for wildlife sightings in Balule Nature Reserve. The lions have been popping up on a regular basis across our traversing area. 

Our monkey friends at Tremisana Lodge alerted us to several nearby lion sightings. Monkeys have great eyesight and are always alert to the dangers around them. 

Listening out for the monkeys alarm calls, can often lead you to a great predator sighting. Tremisana dam is not far from the lodge and is often used by the lions, either to stalk the resident impalas or enjoy a refreshing drink of water. 

On one particularly warm day, the monkeys alerted us too two lionesses making their way slowing towards the dam. The goal was not to drink water, but rather stalk the impala herd cooling of in the shadows. The one female headed straight towards the impala while her partner in crime snuck around behind the herd. The lionesses were not successful, but an exciting experience it sure was. 

The white rhino sightings have been great too, often cooling of in nearby water holes during the heat of the day. 

The walks along the Olifants River on Rome 1 have once again provided some up close encounters with elephant herds and lone bulls. The feeling of being in the massive animals presence is so worth the walk. 

Elephants have not been the only sightings on foot this month, we’ve had a variety of exciting encounters. The Olifants River along which we walk attracts a huge variety of wildlife. We’ve had buffalo on foot, hippos, giraffe, lions, baboons, kudu, impala to name but a few. The last lions sighting took place across the river from us, while walking towards our spot for drinks. We spotted a pride of lions moving along the rivers edge, towards two buffalo bulls.  The buffalo are often relaxing on the rivers edge , enjoying the mud and green grass. They were not impressed with the lions, both buffalo stood their ground ready to take on the lions.  Buffalo are intimidating creatures even for the likes of a lion pride, with massive horns and powerful builds. A Buffalo does not back off for much.  The lions changed their direction and headed away from the river into the thicker bush. 

The beauty of being on safari, nothing is ever the same each trip offers a new and unique experience.

Nyarai, secretary, staying at Tremisana:

Tremisana Report February 2024

It is still quite warm in the Balule plains. I am still waiting for the rains to come down. The warmest day for me was when the temperature was a scorching 42 degrees Celsius. This time of the year sunscreen lotion has to be your best buddy. A night of lightning gave me hope of a big thunderstorm but I am still waiting in expectation. Spent a few minutes one evening trying to get the perfect lightning picture from a very safe distance of course.

The numbers of guests at Tremisana is slowly increasing. Sightings around the lodge included elephants, giraffes, zebras and honey badgers at the waterhole during dinner. Catch the smiling zebra sent in by one of our guests Kirill from Arizona.

The month of February is that a lot of celebrate love on Valentines Day. This month was more special because it was also a leap year. The red roses, the chocolates, spending time with people one cares about. Growing up we even had those musical cards and mugs. 

Love is the foundation that would make the world a better place. It is the one thing that is able to change the human heart. If we had large doses of it imagine how conservation of the environment would be easy. Taking care of each flora and fauna like our own. Poaching would not be an issue. Excuse my dreamers thoughts but one would agree it would be a wonderful world.

Have you ever seen the love that flows within a herd of elephants. The way a birthing mother is protected by the herd while she gives birth. Knowing that she is at her most vulnerable the other elephants surrounding her with a ring of love and defence. How the babies are looked after within the herd as though they belong to every elephant that is part of the herd. If that is not one of the deepest forms of love I don’t know what else is. As humans we could take a few notes.

I hope the celebration of love goes beyond Valentines Day. May love flow in each and everyone of us each day of our lives. Taking ownership of this great earth and endlessly giving care to each animal and plant for the generations to come. 

Till next month stay safe and take care

Charl, Manager of Viva’s Southern Camps:

Marcs Camp

A while ago on bush walk some guest may recall me seeing a hyena that I said potentially had been caught in a snare. This month I was able to visually confirm the snare and we have been hard at work tying to catch the individual to remove it. Unfortunately snares are quite a common way for poachers to obtain bush meat and unfortunately they end up catching and harming other animals. Currently we have two sites monitoring for movement of this individual one is just a bait to get them interested in coming to the area the other is a bait and a trap cage to try out luck unfortunately it has been about 2 weeks so far with no luck at all. But we keep on trying our next option will be to try and call the individual in by playing vocalisations of different hyena calls and try call it in to dart. We are adamant to save this individual and will keep at it till we are fortunate to catch it. 


Between Katekani and Dumela Tents across the road we have quite the large family of banded mongoose who were successful at breeding and raising quite a few pups this year. Unfortunately while they must have been foraging through the gardens something must have spooked them could be a bird of prey this spooked them and them must have left in a hurry unfortunately leaving behind a baby. We spoke to the guys at Moholoholo wildlife rehabilitation centre to get some advice on what to do, they informed us that the best thing to do is to place the baby in a box with some water and shelter and it will call for its family, the hope is that when it calls and they return you can just tilt over the box to return it to them. Unfortunately they never returned and we had to make the decision to take the mongoose to Moholoholo where it would be grouped up with 7 other babies that they had already received to form a group that can be released together mongoose are very gregarious animals so one can’t release an individual as soon as they are big enough to be released Moholoholo will do so.

Pumusa Camp:

Having a cool dip with staff at Pumusa Camp in Hluhluwe


Elephants on Olifants River seen from Ezulwini River Lodge


Viva Safaris has always been pleased to cater for tourists of very differing financial means. We have gone a step further to assist our budget – conscious guests. Along with the complimentary water supplied on arrival and on days we go to Kruger proper, we have now arranged for the free supply of municipal drinking water.

Our arrivals for February 24 are on a par with those of February 23. The outlook for March is promising.

What we have noticed is that more tourists are booking longer period safari packages. A possible explanation for this trend is that the average daily differential is around R 1600 (about 82 USD).  For those tourists who have time on their hands, this is an eminently affordable figure for another full day on safari !!!
We are pleased that Ricus, our talented mechanic, has been able to restore yet another Landcruiser and another Kruger Park OSV (open sided vehicle). We now have 6 Landcruisers and 6 Kruger Park OSVs in operation.
What is even more impressive is that we have not had a single breakdown in the last 6 months since Ricus took over !!!! Well done !!!

Some recent reviews from February 2024:

Excellent service

Giuseppe, UK
Difficult to find the words to describe this amazing experience.

Thanks to Viva Safari to made my dream a reality.

If you love adventure, nature and good vibes Viva Safari is the place to go .
Strongly recommended.

Thanks again

A Dream
Victoria, Italy
It was a dream. The lodge is quiet, in the middle of the bush, and from the Lapa during lunch or dinner you can spot elephants, hyenas antelopes.

The staff are friendly and efficient, and the guides are fantastic. the Morning walk was a beautiful and instructive experience.

Thank you for everything!

Viva Safaris was absolutely outstanding!
simon.lenses, Germany
Viva Safaris was absolutely outstanding. A special thanks goes to Nadine and her game drives. I can fully recommend Viva Safaris. These photos were taken on game drives in Olifants West Nature Reserve and Kruger National Park. The team really does everything they can to ensure you see all the Big Five and have unforgettable experiences with Africa’s wild animals.

The guides’ passion and knowledge helped ensure that every trip was an adventure. The organization was impeccable and the accommodations were comfortable and well located. I am grateful for this wonderful experience and can’t wait to come back.

Beautiful 6-day Safari
Max Ruppio, Germany

When planning our trip, we had the choice between many different safari providers. In the end, we decided in favour of Viva Safaris, which turned out to be absolutely the right decision. Before the trip, Marco from Viva Safaris was available to answer all our questions and we got answers quickly. From the hotel transfer to the entire organisation of the activities on site, everything was perfectly organised.

We received a warm welcome when we arrived. The resort is not too big, so there is a family atmosphere between guests, staff and the owners. The trips were very varied and exciting. A big compliment to all the guides who put a smile on everyone’s face with their good humour. They catered to our wishes and always looked after us. On day three we had seen all the big five except for the leopard. So Smiley (one of the guides) did everything he could to find it and he did. An incredible experience. I would advise everyone to arrive hungry as there is a lot of good food.

In the end we had an unforgettable 6 days and would advise anyone to book their safari trip with Viva Safaris.

Many thanks to the whole team and a special thanks to our guides: Smiley, Lucky, Rocky, Nadine and Ray!!

The perfect addition to my trip
Neha V, USA

LOVED staying here.

My luxury tent was amid the forest where I could enjoy the sounds of birds and relax in my personal pool.

The room is extremely spacious and has a homey rustic feel. The staff is amazing and so kind and the food they cook is amazing.

We also received this wonderful email from recent guests Sara and Simon:

Dear Viva Safaris Team,

Once again, thank you for providing us with an adventure we will cherish forever.

Congratulations to you both!

Until next month,  

With kind regards,
General Manager
Viva Safaris