Wildlife Report for January 2011

By Morné Hamlyn on February 11, 2011

First report for 2011… Enjoy!

I hope you all had a blessed start to 2011 like we have!

It has been raining beautifully and we had amazing sightings of general game in the area. The grass is green and still very palatable. Daily sightings include large numbers of Impala, Zebra, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Kudu and Wildebeest.
Impala after thunderstorm
Due to all the water around we also regularly have great sightings of water birds in the area.
Pied kingfisher
Leopard sightings were good as always. We shared special bush moments with our resident leopards from the South right up to the North.

Ntombi and her 10 month old boy were seen frequently in the nearby vicinity of camp. One sighting that stood out was when she didn‘t allow him to climb into a tree to join her for a rest. He attempted a few times, but once he realized that there wasn‘t enough space he let it be and rested on the ground below. The youngster is now almost as big as his mother, so her kill rate needs to increase to supply both of them with enough food.

NtombiNo space next to mumNtombi's boy
Rockfig Jr. and Tumbela (14 months old) spend less time with each other now. Tumbela was seen more regularly than her mother and on quite a few occasions with smaller kills of her own ranging from scrub hare to Steen buck and baby impala. Mom still collects her when a sustainable kill is made and this typically ends with an over-excited Tumbela driving her mother insane to get to the kill in a hurry. Tumbela will probably associate with her mother for another 4-6 months before tension between them will split them apart. Tumbela has a great chance of survival as she learned expert skills from her mother and successfully started making kills at only 11 months old.
Rockfig Jr. collecting TumbelaThe kill
Tumbela respondingStunning Rockfig Jr.
Time is getting less

Xinope-nope spent most of his time between Reflection Dam and Tanda Tula camp. This young male is growing to become a beautiful adult and has amazing presence in the area. He was seen on Impala kills twice and still frequent on the turf we regularly see him in.
Now for an update regarding some of our Northern Leopards

The 13 year old M‘bali female surprisingly reappeared on the Jaydee property. This is the oldest leopard we currently follow in our traversing and many of you may recognise her as the “bad luck” mother when it comes to raising babies. She seems to be back in parts of her old territory in areas we haven‘t seen her in for ages. She has now lost her Canine teeth on the left side of her mouth and only uses the remaining ones on the right to make kills. She is still successful and we saw her on kills four times during the month.
Granny M'bali
We‘ve been lucky seeing the Argyle male a few times in the month. This large male leopard is just an amazing sight to behold and satisfies many of our guess with the quality of the sightings he provides.
Argyle male
The Xakubasa pride provided us with the most regular lion sightings during the first two thirds of the month.
White lionessesPlayfull lions
One particular event stands out. The pride killed a giraffe close to Hide Dam and managed to seed there for four days. Both male coalitions were in close proximity to the kill and we feared that they would loose the kill soon but luck was on our side, and theirs, and none of the males showed up.
19 Month old White lioness

RestingGrumpy at the kill
We did however witness some amazing interaction between them and the Rockfig Clan of Hyena. There were 10 of them and daily they would put so much pressure on the five lions. These are very brave Hyenas (I have witnessed them in many fights with lions) and a pride of lions with a very low tolerance for them. The lions did turn out victorious and managed to finish the whole carcass before the hyenas moved in.
The staredown
The Machaton pride made up for the remaining third of our month‘s lion sightings. All four of the cubs (all male) are still alive and looking very good. They did share a kill with the Timbavati boys and it looks like the cubs will be getting come cousins soon!! The other young lioness is approaching the end of pregnancy and may give birth very soon in February. Watch this Blog!!!
Machaton cubMachaton cubs eating with daddy (Timbavati boy)
The Timbavati Boys spent most of the month far down south with another pride of lionesses. Two of them did visit a few times but most of our “maned” lion sightings belong to the Mahlatini Coalition.
2 of the 3 Timbavati boys
These three lions were seen on numerous occasions following herds of buffalo in from the Klaserie and Umbabat reserves.
2 of the 3 Mahlatini males
The Buffalo heard move slower now with all the water and green grass about. Sightings were mostly of bachelors in close proximity to the dams and water holes.

Numerous elephants moved through the traversing, but closer to the end of the month the numbers got lower and more bachelor groups showed up.
African Elephants
Very few sightings during the month, but we did on a few occasions see a group of three roaming the North and North Western parts of our traversing. I think our resident bulls may be following females in neighbouring areas, so we‘ll wait for them to finish with their “honeymoons”.
Female White Rhino
The pack of 10 wild dogs was seen frequently and entertained numerous guests with special sightings of very rare animals.
African Wild dogs
We had one sighting of the Rockfig Clan of Hyena that deserves special mention in this section. It was a very hot morning and the clan decided to leave the shade they occupied close to the kill the lions had and moved to Hide dam for a swim!
Swimming in Hide dam
It is not uncommon to see then resting in shallow water when it is hot, but to see the whole clan swimming and playing in the water was very special and indeed rare enough to put it into special sightings.
Spotted Hyena
Cheetah sightings are less frequent than the wild dogs and right at the end of January we got to see three of them east of the camp!

A research team is based in the far south of the reserve and they send out regular newsletters updating us on Cheetah numbers in the area and how certain individuals are doing.

Please click HERE to see the current newsletters and visit the website on

Hope to see you soon!

Morné and the Kings Camp guiding team.

Report written by: Morné Hamlyn (
Photography: Morné Hamlyn

28 thoughts on “Wildlife Report for January 2011

  1. As ever fantastic photo’s Morné.

    We are off to 3 reserves in India Tiger spotting next month – so keep your fingers crossed for us.

  2. Thanks Morné! I concur with Laura, the monthly wildlife reports allow me to "escape" for a moment where I can return to the most amazing place in the world.



  3. Great images Morné, Kings Camp has 2 great photographers in you and Patrick. Like Todd & Laura I too look forward to the Blog and keeping up to date with all the comings and goings is magical. I hope to get back again one day……..twice just wasn’t enough! All the best to everybody


  4. Amazing photos again, i love looking at your photos it brings back so many good memories of our own trip to your wonderful home.

    keep up the good work Morné all the best from Sally and Pete.

  5. Morné, thanks for the report and these absolutely stunning photos! Great job!

    Stay well, stay safe.

    Kindest regards.


    ps…are the white lions really that skinny or is it an illusion because of their pale colour.

  6. Hi Morné!

    Don’t know if you remember me, but you were my guide in 2007 during my stay (the best!) @Kings Camp. This photos are absolutely magnificent!!! Gave me chills as I viewed them and made me ache with wanting to get back there…some one of these days. Hope all is well with you and with Patrick, Warren, and the rest of the pack there.

  7. Morné & Melissa

    Like you I was thrilled when in India

    last year to see tigers in the wild.

    They are the most magnificent of all the big cats. I share with you too an impressive visit to the Taj Mahal.

    Don Bird 20/02/2011

  8. Inspiring photos and narrative Morné. Thank you for bringing Timbavati a little closer to southern California. You and your guests had some awesome sightings. I thrill at the information about the Leopards. The circle of life happens so quickly in the bush. It is so great to hear about the multi generations that have grown up in such a few years. The Timbavati Boys look as strong and proud as ever.

  9. Morné….Wonderful pictures as always. My dream is to see the white lions…maybe in August! Keep up the great work. Hi, Melissa


    Camp Run a Muck

  10. What fun! We miss you guys and its so delightful to see some of the gang that we also have photos of. It lets us know that they are still about and remain healthy. It was such a pleasure visiting your Ralph Lauren to the 5th gorgeous camp. I can shut my eyes and recall every detail of our room. We agree that some of the photos from your camp — well we call them postcard shots because the animals are so beautiful that they almost appear to be posing. The photos of Rockfig Jr.resting on a rock with paws crossed just so. WOW. Please keep up the good work and thank you so much for sending these great newsletters. All the best and thanks for the terrific memories.

  11. We look at your photos with such wonderful memories! We visited during the summer of 2009 and think of you all almost daily!

    Our plan is to bring our two girls after they graduate from high school so they too can experience the beauty you are so fortunate to live with!

    Sarah and Dave Kuipers

  12. Hi Morné

    Thank you for the update. The photo’s are excellent. It is wonderful to experience the "wow" of nature in my office. – Bring back good memories!

  13. Warren

    Thank you so much for sending us the monthly reports. Seeing the pictures and learning of the activities of the wonderful animals we witnessed when we were at Kings Camp continues to make our time with you one of the most special of all of our adventures. Please continue to include us on your e-mail list

  14. What a treat to catch up on the Kings Camp activities. I so look forward to seeing the reports and the postings. Sure makes me feel a little closer to the Timbivate! Miss you all.


  15. Warren,

    I look forward each month to the updates and beautiful photographs of the animals at Kings Camp. They create a reminder of the wonderful safari I enjoyed in December, 2009. Please continue to send these updates.

  16. Thanks Morné for the amazing photos. As always i love hearing the reports from King’s Camp.It brings me back to our fantastic stay with you 2 years ago.Hi to Colbert.

    Maybe see you all next year..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *