Another month has passed, with very little rain falling. The bush is extremely dry at the moment. One would not believe that the Nhlaralumi river in front of the camp was flowing a few moths ago. Most afternoons the clouds build up only bringing humid temperatures. All the creatures are struggling with the heat and lack of rain.
We also have a new guide that has joined our team, Grant has taken up an assistant management role with his girlfriend. Grant has many years experience in the bush and in the Timbavati and will make a great addition to the team.
The Ross pride was seen numerous times this month with one guide (Moses) seeing them on a variety of kills, including buffalo, kudu and on many a night they were seen hunting large herds of buffalo. During one feeding the Mabande and Birmingham males came to join them and chased off the two young males in the Ross pride. They stayed away for a few days honing their own hunting skills and eventually caught a young giraffe. An awesome sighting was finding an adult zebra who had died from unknown causes, the Ntima male leopard was enjoying his prize until a clan of hyenas interrupted him. The noise the hyenas made drew in the Mabande and Birmingham males who finished the entire carcass.
Spoilt is the only way to describe how the leopards have treated us this month. The Marula female and her two cubs were seen on a duiker kill, close to Rockfig Camp. Again the joker was trying to eat off the kings table as many scavengers were harassing them and waiting for any tip bit to fall out of the tree. Some guests even got a treat and had her watching them disembark their flight as she was resting in the heat of the day in a large tree next to the airstrip – what a welcome. Some sad news is it seems that the Nthombi female only has one cub remaining as when she has been sighted or tracked we have only seen one fairly skittish cub. Should we see both cubs again we will definitely keep you informed. She has been moving her den site fairly often, but still remaining the territorial female around the Kings Camp lodge. The Rockfig Jr female and her cub are still providing us with spectacular sightings and seem to both be doing very well. Soon that cub will be a year old and hopefully that will mean that she will be able to make it to adulthood.
Buffalo have been seen almost everywhere due to the lack of water. The lodge has had many herds and individuals drinking at our waterhole. The herds seem to have numerous calves at this time and these youngsters have entertained many a guest. I had an interesting walk one morning as I bumped into four “Dagga Boys” returning to the bush after quenching their thirst at the camp waterhole.
This month I was contacted by a representative from The Endangered Wildlife Trust who gave us some interesting info on the different packs of wild dogs seen in our area. Firstly the pack that denned on Umlani last year is known as the Investec pack (6 members ). The Orpen pack (30+ ) had an individual collared in the Manyelethi Game Reserve and this pack has a home range of approximately 900 square kilometres. We managed to see both of these packs this month and soon it will be their mating time again. Lets hope they choose our property to den.
The guides were also lucky this month to be involved with a university from England in the microchipping of a young rhino bull. We were taken to the Klaserie Game Reserve one morning and given a talk by the warden of the reserve. We were then introduced to the veterinarian who would over see the operation and he explained the procedure. Then the helicopter arrived and it was from the air the animal was darted. We moved in with the vehicles and the microchipping was done and all other details were taken. It was another incredible experience.
Thats all from the ranger this month see you again soon.
Report written by Head Ranger Dean Robinson & Ranger Moses Ntlemo
Photos by Head Ranger Dean Robinson