Greetings all, hope none of you have been holding your breath for this report but better late than never. Actually things flowed so seamlessly from March that only now in early May have I realised April has come and gone, that’s how good it’s been. Having worked in this Industry a fair while now and having grown up visiting the bush on a regular basis, I’d of thought I’d seen nearly most things the African Bush has to offer but it never seems to amaze me that not only every month, or every week, but every day the bush has a surprise in store and another beautiful secret to reveal.
April has to be my favourite time in the bush with crisp mornings, warm days and cool evenings, all accompanied by beautiful light. With late rains in March a lot of our dams were able to fill with a bit of water and it was also enough to have the bush spring to life with a green flush reminiscent of summer. That in itself was out of the ordinary and with it, it brought along significant change to animal behaviour. The herds of both Elephant and Buffalo returned which in turn drew out our Lions and other predators. As you all know we don’t struggle for Leopard but not to be out done by their competitors they also made themselves very much seen this past month.
The Machton’s started the month off well with both female moms and their respective cubs avoiding the onslaught of the two coming of age males that have been chasing Mbande and the pride around. Unfortunately towards the end of the month while following a herd of Buffalo into Klaserie we lost contact with them for a few days and when they returned they were minus the older female and the younger of the two moms was carrying a serious leg injury. Over the next few days we found mom plus all the cubs doing ok but of recent we are only finding mom plus one adolescent cub, there has been no sign of the other large female or the other adolescent and the four smaller cubs. It would also appear that Mbande has been chased out as the two young males move around his territory marking and being very vocal and reports from Klaserie have him there on a regular basis. The White Lions also reappeared this month after a few weeks absence and we were spoilt to see them mating, way to make a return.
Our spotted friends, Rockfig Jnr and Nyaleti spent some time together as they shared kills. This was great to see as Rockfig Jnr was carrying a very serious leg injury that she now appears to have recovered from. Ntombi is still spending time with her cub Mondsweni, but it shouldn’t be long before he will have to start fending for himself as Ntombi and Rockfig Jnr seek out a male to start the next generations. Staying with new generations Ntombela, Rockfig Jnrs first cub, has revealed her second cub to us and there is also a rumour that Marula Female has new cubs across in Klaserie, let’s hope we get to see them in the upcoming month.
As predicted, with the current dry conditions that predator numbers would be on the increase as they take advantage of the weakened prey, Hyena’s have taken full advantage as all the pups at the den are looking in great condition and many of them are now to be found joining the clan on their nightly wonderings. We are also finding that the smaller lion prides are being pushed off their kills as our Southern Hyena clan use their formidable numbers to overpower them.
I think my two highlights that stand out above the many from the past month, had to be two fights. The first involved two male Zebra fighting on an open plain while the rest of the herd watched on. It was amazing to see how they raised onto their back legs like prancing horses and kicked out at one another, this was followed by a whole lot of chasing about and even more biting of one another’s hocks and necks. In another fight, two male giraffe were trying to settle a dispute, this one was a surprise for our guests as although when viewing Giraffe we mention they fight with their necks and heads I don’t think people quite grasp the brutality with which they do it. In this sighting we arrived to find one male giraffe lying flat on the ground with the other standing over him swinging his head at him on the ground. They were both battered and bruised with blood all over their faces. When the aggressor couldn’t get in the blows he wanted he took to standing and kicking the other until he raised his head and neck with which he would swing his club head and knock him over again, this repeated itself several times until the victim kept to the ground and pretended to be dead. Lying motionless on the ground, waiting patiently until the aggressor dropped his guard, at which he sprung up and fled. I don’t think myself or the guests that experienced this sighting will be able to look at Giraffe in the same light.
Well, that’s a wrap from my side. Almero, a new guide to the Kings Camp team will be posting next month’s report and from what we’ve seen already it will be one not to miss out on!