Wildlife report for JANUARY 2010

By Morné Hamlyn on February 7, 2010

Happy new year to one and all!!

Hope you enjoy this month’s report…

We have had some good rain, but this January has been one of the hottest I have ever experienced
Saddle-billed Stork pair.
Game viewing has been very good though and we even had a few sightings of the more endangered wildlife around.

Sightings of the Timbavati White Lions have been AMAZING! It looks like the Kubasa Pride have moved in and it looks like they are here to stay.
Resting in a river bed.@ Hide dam.

The two older Machaton lionesses, (Djuma & Sengela) had an unfortunate run-in with this pride close to the camp and came out second best. The two larger lionesses from the Kubasa Pride chased the other lionesses away from a young giraffe that they had killed earlier that morning. The two Machaton girls were left to lick their wounds further south of Kings Camp deeper into their territory.

After the giraffe kill they struggled a bit, but managed after about 10 days to kill a large buffalo bull in Elephant Dam. They attacked the bull during the night and with severe injuries he decided to lie down in the water to try and stay out of trouble. They stared each other down during the whole day but finally at about 19:00 the two lionesses braved the water and went in for the kill. This was very action packed with very excited cubs that were not keen on getting wet.
The stare down...The take down...
Excited cubs join...Good grip...
Splashing around...Cubs not liking the water...
Aftr about 20 minutes it died.
After the fight the Machaton Pride re-grouped and joined the young Machaton Male. He soon got pushed out again by one of the Timbavati Boys and was joined by the 6 yr old female. The three older lionesses and the Timbavati Male moved vast distances in search of food without a lot of success, whilst the other two managed to kill a buffalo calf close to Hide Dam. The Rockfig Clan of Hyenas completed a nice scene and caused a brawl to break out over the buffalo carcass.
Young Machaton male.Timbavati male with Machaton pride.
The now nomadic Schobele boys were also interested in some buffalo after being alerted to the upset bovine, which were bothered by the Rockfig Clan.
Rockfig clan member.
The hyenas were trying their luck at getting some smaller calves in the herd and got chased straight into the area where the lions were resting. They soon realized this and made a U-turn back to their den to rest out the shock.

The Schobele Boys are looking fine and it seems that they are getting used to being Nomads.

Rockfig Jr. has moved the cubs quite a few times since I reported on them. We had a few sightings of them late in the month and the youngsters are very relaxed with vehicles. We are still treating these sightings with sensitivity because of their age but we will keep you updated on how they are doing. They are now about 2 to 3 months old and she should start bringing them out to kills soon. Her kill ratio was good this month and we had her on Impala kills most of the times she had food.
Rockfig Jr.Dragging an Impala.
Loving mommy.Playing around.

Nkateko was seen numerous times in the eastern sector and she was very entertaining. One morning she decided to practice her stalking abilities with a herd of buffalo. This got exciting! A soon as the Buffalo realized that a “cat” was following them, they chased her into the thickets.
Stalking Leopard
My Favorite Leopard, Ntombi, kept us very busy with sightings. With the greater portion of her territory right around Kings Camp itself we are blessed with sightings of Leopard often in close proximity of the camp. The resident troop of Monkeys often “Report” to us if they spot her from their high perches in the camp trees.
A young Male leopard was seen at Makulu Dam and only tolerated our presence from the opposite bank of the dam. This was however a good sighting and he looked very full. Hopefully he will stay around and become more tolerant of vehicles.
Young male leopard at Makulu dam

The large “gray phantoms” were scarce through patches of the month but towards the end we started seeing more herds moving in around the riverbeds and larger dams to swim and cool off from this summer‘s heat.
Big bull in a river bedBreeding herd cooling down

Buffalo sightings were very constant with up to four herds on our traversing on a single drive. That is close to 2000 buffalo in +-20 000 ha (50 000 acres)!
Cape Buffalo bull

Our favorite Mtenge-tenge finally came “home” after his absence to a neighboring property to court a female there. He is back and entertaining as only a rhino can be in his favorite “spas”.
A day @ the Spa
Sightings of the other rhino‘s in the area were also good. Groups of up to 8 together were reported through the month.

Cheetah was seen 3 times this month!
The first sighting was a female with two cubs on an impala kill. The kill was made in the morning and by the afternoon they were gone.
Cheetahs generally consume their food very fast in order to avoid the competition with other predators. They are timid animals and loose their kills often to leopards, lions, hyenas and even large numbers of vultures. Kills are often made in the heat of the day and this helps to avoid direct competition with the other predators.

The other two sightings were also of females. The female in the last sighting also killed an impala in the morning. She was slightly more nervous but Patrick managed to get nice pictures of her dragging the kill to cover. Please check this link…

A large pack of Wild dogs was also around through the month. It is the same pack as last year and the pack number is now at 17. That is 11 adults and 6 puppies.

One sighting that stands out was on the one morning drive. We were watching the Machaton Pride of lions and the call of “Madach” came over the radio. They were close to us and we left the lions to go see the dogs. It was only a portion of the pack, 2 adults and 6 pups. We got to the location and watched them chasing some Wildebeest calves and Zebras. They missed and we followed them all the way back to where the lions were. Close by they located on a leopard‘s kill under some thickets next to the riverbed. The adult dogs pulled the nearly whole carcass out and allowed the pups to feed in frenzy.

What surprised me was the fact that barely 60 meters away from them the lions never reacted on the noise. The lions only gave chase after one of the dogs nearly ran over them. The dogs re-grouped after that and moved further west. All 17 were seen close to the camp on the 25th and hopefully they stay in our traversing for another while.
One of the pack members.
Take Care!

See You Soon

Morné and the Kings Camp Guiding Team

Report Written By: Morné Hamlyn

Photography By:Morne Hamlyn

17 thoughts on “Wildlife report for JANUARY 2010

  1. Hi Warren, agree with your comments : Morné’s leopard shots (and the white lions of course !)are wonderful ! Deb and I are excited about getting back to Kings in May…..hope everyone is well …Matt also sends his greetings to all your team.

  2. Hi Morné. goeie foto`s. Dankie vir die foto`s en al die nuus oor die kamp en die diere. wens ek was da om dit te kon beleef. Hou aan met die goeie werk en inligting.

    Baie groete

    Manie en Mariaan

  3. I will always have wonderful memories of my visit to your camp. When I am asked what was the best vacation I ever had–I always say staying at King’s Camp and going out twice a day to see the awesome animals. Thanks so much for keeping me updated.

  4. Hey Morné,

    As I would expect from you, great pics and reports. Hope all is well with you and your pretty girl. Life in Oklahoma, USA will never be the same now that we spent time at Kings Camp. Keep up the great work that you do.. Hope you got your package

  5. The white lions are very special – what a treat. It is always startling to be reminded of the natural law, survival of the fittest. All we hear about in the US is how we have to protect everyone from bad outcomes.

  6. What a special treat to be able to "relive" the cherished visit to KIngs Camp last year. Memories are not quite enough, but these pix make it real.

    From Atlanta, GA

  7. I can’t tell you how much Nancy and I enjoy your news letters . Your naming of the animals heightens the interest and makes the dialog so much more enjoyable….enabling continuity from month to month.We keep saying it’s time for another "Africa Fix" and Kings Camp will be first on the list.

  8. All this wonderful information will make our next visit to KC so much more meaningful. Great report, Morné.

    Lief jullie allemaal at KC

    Cheers! Joy

  9. as always we really enjoy these newsletters. I’m reminded of the special memories of my first African safari with you last year.We will be back…..

    Thanks again.

    Maria and Niall

  10. Morné and Warren: Fabulous pictures and very interesting about the white lions. Camp Run-a-Muck loves to be updated on all of these terrific sightings. Morné: Congrats on the engagement!


    Anne (CD)

  11. As always your pics are amazing Morné and the report fantastic – wow leopards, lions, buffalo, rhino, cheetah, and wild dog what an amazing place. Fantastic memories and we will return one day. Take care and keep the fantastic pics and reports coming. Kind regards Heather and Steve Beswick (a very special place)

  12. interesting, amazing ……..

    thank you once more for going to all this work.

    looking forward to reading your new reports.

  13. Having seen the white lion cubs at rest with their moms and then seeing these pictures makes me relive my entire vist in early February. Thanks for sharing

  14. Hi Morné; thank You very much for the Pictures. It was a trip of a lifetime and You made it special. Hope to return some day! Give our best wishes to Melissa.Good luck to both of You. Greetings:Hans (with Jimmys Birthday group New Glarus Wis.)

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