August 2016 is almost done and dusted and we are looking forward to September 2016, and that means SPRING TIME and that the rain season is on its way… We really need the rain to come quickly! It is extremely dry and animals are suffering, some of the less fortunate species didn’t make it, but in return it was easy food for the predators/scavengers, but on the positive side, most species somehow still manages to survive, and are still looking good.
August 2016 was a good month for sightings (both small and big animals).
Many herds of elephants with their young was spotted all over, walking great distances in search for water and pushing trees over to get to the roots. If you come on game drives then the Kings Camp Guides will tell you WHY they dig out the roots!! Together with herds of elephants we saw many buffalo, both small and big herds. One herd which stood out the most for me was a MASSIVE herd of approximately 250 buffalo all over on an semi-open plain close to camp. This was quite impressive to see them early in the morning as they got active and started to move north in search for water.
Nyaleti is still doing great, at the beginning of the month we found her in an African-Weeping Wattle, feeding on a young male Nyala. As always she was happy to pose here and there for us between sleeping after the big meal. On a few other occasions we got to see her, still moving around within her mother’s territory.
Rock Fig jnr, was also spotted a few times. Once very close to camp when she pulled down a duiker and fed for three days. Otherwise she is doing very well and great news is that she is pregnant. We can’t wait to see her bragging with her young.
Ntombi and her son, Mondzweni was seen together on a Impala kill close to camp and on a few other occasions they were seen separately. On one occasion Sunnyboy (my tracker) and I followed their tracks/drag mark which eventually led us to their small-spotted genet kill, but they moved off as they finished the small carcass.
The one Machaton female was seen a few times around on Kings Camp’s property and she is also doing well. One evening as we followed her, she ran towards an African weeping-wattle tree and was rewarded with an impala carcass which still had approximately 40% flesh left. We assume she stole it from a leopard.
The Giraffe Pride was seen together on a multiple buffalo kills (both cows + calves). We only found them as they finished off the carcasses. The one white lioness also looks like she is pregnant – great news. Let’s hope for many youngsters.
One male Lion was seen on a young buffalo kill, as he went to the dam to drink, hyenas came to steal some of the little meat remaining. Later that evening, there was less than 10% meat left and Hyenas chased the lion away from its kill.
The sighting of the month for me was when we were viewing an old male lion laying in the dried river-bed sand with a male leopard also laying down approximately 60metres away on the bank. Both species were in the same area as they were scavenging of a hippopotamus carcass (the hippo died through natural cause) at different times. I was quite surprised that the lion showed no interest towards the male leopard. As the sun was busy setting and getting darker, a big clan of hyenas arrived (we counted at least 19 individuals), a few ran towards the leopard and chased it into a tree while the others went to intimidate the male lion. Because he is old and was in a bad shape – due to a lack of food, he didn’t want to move too much and waste energy. Instead he lay down and growled at the hyenas as they came closer and closer. This was a first for me in my 6 years of active guiding.
The Hyenas outnumbered the lion 19 against 1, but they still respected the fact that the male lion is King of the bush. They went closer and closer and eventually one hyena came about half a meter from the male lion and as it tried to bite the lion on his rear, the male lion jumped up, turned around and faced the hyenas whilst growling and roaring and this caused the hyenas to bomb-shell. This was so amazing to witness this rare animal behaviour and pictures or videos won’t do it justice. One need to be here to experience, see and smell for oneself.
At the end, the male lion was seen two days later feeding on a buffalo carcass (we think he chased away the Hercules pride from their kill).