November was a good month, not only for excellent wildlife sightings, but also for both sunsets and sunrises. We had a good 40mm’s of rain this month. This was enough for all plants, trees, grasses and flowers to grow successfully and this meant that there was food again for the primary consumers. Let’s hope we will get a lot more rain this season.
In November there were so many great sightings from birds like the migrants that came back, E.G. Woodland Kingfishers, Red-Chested Cuckoos to mammal and reptile sightings and even the big5.
Two sightings that stood out for me was:
1. Hercules Pride killed a buffalo
My Tracker Sunnyboy and I were preparing the coffee station one morning just before the 05:00 am wake-up call when we heard lions calling from the west (contact-calling) and then Sunnyboy went outside to listen carefully to the sound. He came in and told me that he could also hear a buffalo giving a distress call – we both knew that the lions killed a buffalo somewhere far west of Waterbuck Villa where our guests were staying.
After our guests had woken up and had their coffee we went out looking for the possible kill. Not even 10minutes into the drive we came across 3 hyenas running into the area we heard the sounds and immediately knew that they were going to the kill. We followed them for a minute and then we were rewarded with a great sighting. The lion pride on the buffalo kill.
The lions were feeding quickly and a lot of intra-specific competition over the kill (what a great audio). Eventually the hyenas started to call for back-up and after approximately 20minutes there were no longer 3 hyenas but 24. They gathered around the lions and intimidated them and this was enough to chase the lions away from their kill – at least the lions had a good small ‘breakfast’ to start off the day. This was special for Sunnyboy and myself to have heard everything and then to find the lions on the kill and later to be chased away by the hyenas – a rare sighting.
2. Timbavati males killing a young hyena
We were the only vehicle in a lion sighting (The two TIMBAVATI males), they were sleeping but still aware of what was going on around them in the area. One of our guests asked: “What will happen if any prey specie happens to walk past these sleeping lions, how quickly will they respond?” His words were not cold when the hyenas started to communicate from their den which was not that far away. IMMEDIATELY the two males jumped up and started walking through the thicket towards where the sounds came from. As we followed them for a good 5minutes we got to the den and the males were stalking the young hyenas which were playing around their den (Not knowing about the presence of the lions). The two males started running at full speed towards the den and that was when the hyenas noticed the two males and immediately bomb shelled towards the den. Unfortunately one of the young hyenas was too slow and was killed by one of the two males. At that moment the two males started vocalising together with the adult hyenas in order to remind the hyenas who the Bosses are. This was sad to see as everything happened right in front of us, BUT that is nature and was a 1st for me.
(Unfortunately there are no pictures, BUT the video can be seen on our Instagram page).
This is what I love about the bush – ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!
Have a GREAT Festive season,
Almero and the Kings Camp Team.