Wow what an incredible start to this month, with real healthy rains falling in the beginning of the month bringing the otherwise sandy “Nhlaralumi” (which means bite of the python in the lock spoken language Shangaan) river bed into full flow. With that I welcome all to another of our monthly rangers reports here at Kings Camp in the Timbavati. The river also stayed flowing for about 15 days it was a real special treat in this area which is otherwise very dry. Now the waters have subsided leaving large pools of surface water scattered along the course of the river, which creates gorgeous landscapes. Vegetation also had a last boost of green but since those rains which stopped on the 6th it has been dry since and now the grasses have adopted back their slight tinge of yellow which also is an obvious indicate of the cooler months.
The good rains brought great sighting to guests visiting Kings Camp. The “Machaton” (one female and 3 sub adult cubs) lions were around for at least half the month. These lions even making a kill of a large buffalo 300m away from our lodge. The guests at Kings witnessed a lion kill from the kill to the lions getting their share to the hyenas and vultures moving into position to wait for their turn. A sighting that lasted a good 4 days. With the slight temperature drop it has urged many of the animals to start their courting display or even start mating. A personal highlight was the mating wild dogs. This pack of about 30 was also in our traversing area for about 10 days which is really special because these amazing endangered predators can move great distances and stay away for months.
Our great rhino sightings were even better because we were able to witness the sweetest “sweet-talking” rhino talk as a huge male bull was trying to court a female in his territory. He didn’t appreciate our presence much giving us a couple of armless mock chargers. The very elegant and common impala are also starting to get very vocal; the males are starting to keep an eye on each other for the next rutting season which is just around the corner. Rutting season for impalas is the time of year when males fight each other for dominance (breeding rights) and establish little territories which they defend. Unfortunately also with the change of season we say good bye to our colourful migrant bird species, some heading as far as Russia. Leopards sightings have been just been Timbavati great, with all our famous leopards making an appearance at one stage or other.
There is also an attractive hyena den in the south that has been providing a lot of our guests with a real inside look at the complex and sophisticated social structure of the hyena clan. Giving most of our guests a far greater appreciation of these lovely animals that do a real service for hygiene in the bush. Unfortunately in documentaries they often only play the role of the shrewd scavenger and not known to be successful hunters that they are if need be.
With all these lovely memories of another exciting month in the bush behind us. We here a Kings Camp in the Timbavati look forward to you joining us on our next outing into the wild. So I wish you all a great April and write to you next month. Take care and have fun.
Report by Jade – Assistant Head Ranger
Photos by Dean – Head Ranger