Another month has past and winter has definitely arrived. The crisp early morning drives are accompanied with hot water bottles and blankets. Cooler weather is welcomed after the steaming hot summer. The days are still nice and warm, with evenings chilly once the sun sets. Once again the wildlife has treated us well with some amazing sightings.
The Ross pride was the highlight of the month with Vicky and Elvis having an unbelievable sighting. A herd of buffalo was moving east one morning, suddenly two lionesses were seen following them. The entire Ross pride managed to grab hold of an adult female buffalo. After a huge struggle the buffalo managed to throw the lions off. However later that morning they did manage to kill a young buffalo calf. For many guests this will be a once in a life time experience. A few days later the buffalo got their revenge as we found a young lioness from the Ross pride dead, with lots of buffalo tracks in the area we assume that is how she met her end.
The Machaton males are still moving huge distances being seen regularly far south then coming to visits us. They were seen at one of the waterholes in the area thinking about a hippo for dinner, not realising they were boxing out of their weight category.
About six weeks or so ago we were lucky enough to witness the two white lionesses and a tawny lioness mating with an individual male ( lucky boy ) but it seems that it was unsuccessful with one of the white ladies as, this month again saw one of them mating. But this time there were two males from the Trilogy coalition fighting for her attentions.
The Machaton female and Mabande male are still making frequent trips to Machaton dam, but unfortunately the 4 cubs are still too young to travel. They are doing well but still kept hidden along the river.
More unbelievable sighting from the “Queen” of the Timbavati, the Rockfig Jr female has provided us with more incredible sightings. Her daughter is becoming the star of the south with more and more appearances. Some on her own and some still with mom. One morning it looked like she had lost a kill to a clan of hyenas, but instead of making an escape just watched them from a nearby tree, looking quite puzzled at what all the fuss was about.
The Malula female has still been seen infrequently, and seems to be spending more of her time in the south west. Her young male cub is still doing well. The reason she might be so scarce is that the Ntsongwaan male is being seen fairly often in her territory and with her young male being potential competition, she might want to keep him away from this now very impressive male.
Nthombi and her cub have been a common sighting this month providing us with some spectacular sightings as this little one becomes more and more accustomed to the safari vehicles. One morning we witnessed both he and Nthombi moving from tree to tree. It seems like a game of who can climb up first so that they could push the other back down. She has been seen moving greater distances with her cub. We have seen Nthombi and her cub on numerous kills this month which has resulted in him growing very quickly, he is about half the size of mom now.
African Buffalo & Elephant
An unbelievable amount of elephant herds have been seen this month, moving throughout our area with some herds numbering over 50 individuals. There have also been a few “musth” bulls which have kept us guides on our toes, as they seek out receptive females to mate with. The young calves are also very entertaining when they try to intimidate a vehicle for of guests by running at the car with their ears out and trumpeting at us.
The drier times have brought the herds of buffalo to us and we are regularly seeing them drinking from the camp waterhole. The lions have also enjoyed the return of these nomadic animals. The old dagga boys still frequent the same waterholes and have become regular sightings.
Other interesting animals
We seem to have found a new hyena den on Kings Camp property as a large female was seen digging into an abandoned termite mound, she has been seen resting near or on the mound regularly indicating she may have given birth inside. On more than on occasion the hyenas have been very busy around the camp and one night killed a large kudu bull at our “Bush Wedding Venue”, the sounds that come from that sighting were indescribable.
It seem like the wild dogs will be looking for a den site fairly soon as the pack of 10 has been seen regularly in the area and the alpha female looks heavily pregnant. Lets hope she chooses a den near us.
Well thats all from the Kings Camp guiding team this month.
Report written by Head Ranger Dean Robinson
Photography by Dean Robinson and Vicky Wallace