Welcome back to all our regular readers and to those who have just joined. The month of spring arrived and with it some amazing sightings. Temperatures soared up to 40 degrees and the leaves of the knobthorn trees have started to appear.
We were spoilt with the lion viewing this month, seeing numerous different prides. The Jacaranda pride spent most of the month on the north eastern section of the reserve, they were seen on many buffalo kills. The nomad males were named the Rockfig males and they have provided us with some great viewing. It is incredible how quickly the larger of the two males has accepted the vehicles. It was only a few months ago he constantly moved away. These two males seem to be establishing themselves in the south and western section of our traversing area. They too have been seen hunting the numerous buffalo herds. The Mafikizolo pride was seen late in the month on a waterbuck kill, which they brought down along the Nhlaralumi river. The Machaton pride was a little more scarce this month due to the presence of the Rockfig males. Our neighbours invited us on one occasion to view some members of the Giraffe pride which included one white lion female, the guests were ecstatic when they saw her. A cherry on the top was when we were able to see the Ross pride, totalling 9 lions and these included two cubs which we estimate at about three to four months old. These two cubs were full of life and gave our guests numerous photo opportunities.
Another superb month of leopard viewing this September as Nthombi and her two cubs put smiles on many a guests face. She managed to make a few different kills, one of which was a grey duiker and the one cub nearly finished it on his own. The Xiviti male was up to his normal exploits in the north and seems to be expanding his territory. Unfortunately no news on the Rockfig Jr females cubs, but she has been seen around the Kings Camp and our neighbouring properties. The Marula female has been extending her territory further into the Rockfig property and was seen making a duiker kill. She ended up dragging it into the confluence of two rivers, which our vehicles could not access. Our manager, Warren had an unforgettable experience one evening whilst hosting. He was looking out towards the camp waterhole whilst on the dining deck and suddenly heard a noise in front of him. Not five meters away was one of Nthombi’s previous male cubs. Fortunately the leopard got a fright and ran away! We also managed to see the Umfana male south of Machaton dam on a bushbuck kill.
Elephant and Cape buffalo
At some stages of the month there were up to four different herds of buffalo (+/-3000) on our traversing area. They were constantly being given a hard time by one lion pride or another. Our guests were treated to some superb viewing right from the lodge as these herds along with many different elephant herds frequented the camp waterhole. We also had an interesting experience with a musth bull whilst in a leopard sighting.
Once again the secretive pangolin was seen, surprisingly during the day. It was a first for one of our guides. He was extremely pleased to see this animal which many guides never get to see, even after spending many years in the bush. Some of our guests were treated with a honey badger sighting and many saw the nocturnal African civet.