Happy 2013 to all our regular blog readers, I hope this year brings us more great sightings at Kings Camp. Well this year started off as normal with some scorching days with the temperatures getting into the late 30’s and early 40’s.
During this time last year was when we had the floods in the reserve and nothing changed this year, we received between 350 – 400mm of rain towards the end of the month. All the rivers were flowing and many of the dams are overflowing.
The dominant Mabande males have been around a lot this month. They were seen numerous times mating with two different females, so hopefully there will be some cubs in the next few months. One of the ranger/ tracker teams, Cynet and Sam, were extremely fortunate to watch these two males kill a sub-adult buffalo right in front of them. The Machaton pride was very scarce and now seems to be numbering 2 ( one older female & a sub- adult male ), hopefully there are a few more remaining members still alive. The Mafikizolo pride made a few appearances and unfortunately the one male seems to have lost an eye.
The leopard viewing has been great once again. The Rockfig Jr female was seen numerous times, letting us into the life of the usually shy animals. Her sub-adult youngster is still doing well and being left for longer periods by himself. Ntombi female was seen on a few occasions and on one of these took up an awesome spot on a termite mound viewing the impala she had killed recently. She then sauntered down the mound to a small pool of water and drank only 3 meters from the vehicle.
Her son seems to be growing up very quickly and loves the attention he receives from the visitors to Kings Camp. The Marula female is still hanging around the area west of the lodge and providing us with some great viewing. The old grandmother of the area Mbali seems to have given the guides the slip this month as she was not seen very often but her tracks were seen along with a male in the north, so who knows maybe another litter is on the way?
Cape Buffalo & Elephant
A breeding herd of Cape buffalo has been making its way around the southern portion of our traversing. The usual “Dagga boys” still around the lodge keeping us guides on our toes during our bush walks.
There were literally tons of elephants seen this month. The breeding herds were fairly well scattered all over the traversing area. This time of the year these huge animals are spoilt for choice when it comes to food. It is always interesting to watch how selective they are when feeding picking out their favorite grasses, leaves and fruits.
The African Painted Wolf ( Lycaon pictus ), or Wild Dog gave us many spectacular sightings. The pack of 29 seems to have split, but that hasn’t stopped them. I think every impala on the property feared for its life as these killing machines moved through.
One morning whilst out we were fortunate to witness a honey badger digging for what looked like dung beetle grubs, unfortunately it was on one of those wet mornings and my camera was still fast asleep in my room.
On one of the last days of the month something extra special showed up almost on our front door, two cheetah were seen on the aptly named Cheetah Plains, they were a little skittish but great to see none the less.
Stay tuned for next month’s report.
Dean & the Kings Camp guiding team
Report written by Dean Robinson
Photography by Dean Robinson & Warren Moore