Let’s get out there!
Masungulo’s schedule is arranged around your personal routine. A typical day could begin with early morning game viewing, followed by a scrumptious brunch back at the lodge, some free time spent game-viewing on our deck overlooking our waterhole, hitting the gym or indulging in our spa, a high tea, followed by the afternoon game drive.
- Game viewing at Masungulo takes place in individually seated open game vehicles. The vehicles are fully equipped with spotlights for night viewing, radios for communication, mosquito repellent, ponchos for wet weather, and individual blankets to keep guests cosy during chilly morning and evenings.
- All of our experienced and professional guides are fully accredited, and are always accompanied by skilled trackers who know their surroundings well.
- Afternoon game-viewing is followed by a sunset sun-downer stop, and your day is perfectly rounded off with a magnificent dinner in our open-air boma around a fire (weather permitting).
Game viewing is exceptional, with an abundance of elephant, buffalo, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, waterbuck and warthog, together with their attendant predators: lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena.
The critically endangered African wild dog is also a regular visitor to the Timbavati Reserve. The larger and rarer antelopes such as Roan, Eland and Tsessebe have been slow to return to this area and their numbers are still critically low.
The White Lions of the Timbavati
When the White Lions of the Timbavati were discovered in the mid-1970s, they became the subject of much interest and debate. The story of the “White Lions of the Timbavati” has been told by several people, most notable of whom was Mr. Chris McBride who published two books about the phenomenon: The White Lions of the Timbavati’ and ‘Operation White Lion’.
Chris was the son of Timbavati member Cyril McBride who at the time, together with his brother Robert, owned the farm Vlakgezicht. The famous white lions of the Timbavati were first sighted by Cyril McBride’s daughter Lanice van den Heever in October 1975.
McBride relied heavily on the expertise and knowledge of two local trackers, Jack Mathebula and Mandaban Hlongo, in his efforts to track the white cubs. These men had grown up in the bush and had intimate knowledge of the behaviour of lions. There have been various “spiritual” powers attributed to the white lions and many people were and still are of the opinion that the lions are a different species. The truth is that this is a natural phenomenon that occurs due to “leucism” as detailed below. Every so often we are treated to glimpses of these incredible animals.
The white coats possessed by the “White Lions of the Timbavati” are not the product of “albinism” (a relatively common condition resulting from a failure to develop pigment), but from another condition called “leucism”, in which the pelt is white but eyes and skin are pigmented. This rare event (also termed a “chinchilla mutation”) is thought to represent an evolutionary stage in the progressive loss of pigmentation. The white mutation, which affects two of the pigments involved in coat colouration, is expressed only when two conditions pertain:
Both parents carry the recessive “white gene”; and
The offspring inherit the recessive gene of each parent. If a cub receives a dominant “tawny” gene from either parent, its pelt will be tawny. Thus a litter may be comprised of both tawny and white cubs.