So, yet another amazing month has come to pass at Kings Camp Game Lodge and what a month its been. Things kicked off with a bang from the get go! We were fortunate to receive our first rains quite early in the month. Even though it was only about 20mm up until now, well take any drop we can get. We are hoping for much needed rain in the months to come as the area is extremely dry at the moment. The majority of our waterholes is bone dry which resulted some amazing sightings at the bigger dams, needless to mention the waterhole in front of camp. Apart from the common residents, elephants were seen daily quenching their thirst which put all our guests in awe at meal times!
Typical summer sunsets and sunrises has put everyone in awe. We truly live in a special piece of paradise!!!
One positive aspect of the dryness is that we have crossed paths with the smaller more secretive and elusive creatures our piece of paradise has to offer.
As I mentioned earlier, sightings have just been out of this world, especially leopard sightings, as we virtually crossed paths with all the resident leopards of our traversing area. I’ll start off with Ntombi, the queen of Timbavati. As usual she surprised us a lot as she often do. Even her three-month-old cub delighted as on many occasions. The cub is looking to be a healthy bundle of for and we are proud to mention it’s a female cub. Up until now she has only raised male leopards to independence so we are hoping this female cub makes it through the crucial first two years of her life. Leopards have an extremely high mortality rate, due to many different reasons such as pressure from new dominant males pushing closer to female territories.
Mazinyo, our resident big male leopard also made his appearance on more than one occasion. The name Mazinyo derived from the local Shangaan language means teeth. He has one skew canine that’s easily noticeable when you encounter this big Tom cat.
Even the extremely rarely seen blue eyed princess, Thumbela female made an appearance as we were fortunate to see her stalking some Impalas on the banks of the Machaton River far to the South-East of our Traversing area.
Ntsongwaan the elusive big male was seen way to the South-West as we were fortunate enough to admire his beauty up a Termite mount on a rather hot afternoon. He is one of Ntombi females’ successes and what a delight to see him grow up into the big male he’s meant to be.
A new face delighted us as we found this newly seen female leopard called Cleo female. She entered from the west as we found her with an impala kill hoisted high up a tree. Lets hope for more fantastic sightings of this beautiful cat.
Lion sightings have also been very productive. The highlight must be the Zebanine pride. They have been moving in and out of our Traversing area and has graced us with their presence on almost too many occasions to remember. Its just such a delight to watch the two cubs growing up into two beautiful lions. They are in excellent conditions as the seem to have full bellies every time we cross paths with them. The medal for the greatest mother most definitely must go to their mother!
After being rather elusive for a while the two Mbiri males made their return. They were also seen quite a view times. It seems as though they have been in a bit of a quarrel. Possibly with other dominant males trying to push into their territory, but from my experience male lions recover from injuries like we can’t even Imagine as they seem to look in better condition every time we find them.
The River Pride keeps on surprising us on more and more occasions. The pride of nine lions has blessed our guests with some tremendous viewing opportunities. Its always such a delight to cross paths with a large pride in the area. The five males in the pride is getting bigger and stronger every time we encounter them. One day soon they will most likely form a coalition and a strong force to recon with.
We also headed up to the way north of our traversing area to admire our biggest pride of lion, the Western Pride. Unfortunately, it seems as though one of the cubs got killed by new dominant males pushing in from the far north to claim territory. This is a really brutal act of nature, although very common amongst your big cats. By doing so the males can start mating with females with the hopes of siring cubs as quickly as possible. Survival of the fittest!
Even though rather large herds of buffalo have somewhat become a long distant memory due to a three-year drought in the area we have been lucky to see a number of small to medium sized herds passing through.
As usual Wild Dog sightings have been surprising us when we least expect it. Its Like I always say. You don’t find them, They find you!
o even though only a handful of different bird species have arrived for the summer, some amazing birding encounters delighted us this month! European Bee eaters have added some beautiful colours to our skies and the Wahlberg’s Eagles can be seen all over the show!
Until next month,
Field Guide, Neil Coetzer