Sorry for the delay in posting on the blog, but personally I delt with a crashed PC and only recently managed to sort out my files and photo’s. Please enjoy the July 2010 report…
The winter days are nice and warm, this is very welcome after the early morning chills we have been having. Sightings in general were good in the month, with some of the larger herbivores being very active in the North in the Mopane (Colophospermum Mopane) thickets.
This tree has a high protein content (+- 22%) with the fruit and leaves retaining a high percentage of nutritional value even after they have dropped to the ground in the winter. The dry fruit and leaves are eagerly eaten off the ground because of the high protein and phosphorous content that makes it an important food source toward the end of winter.
The M‘bali female was seen for the first time in a long while. We had her and an unknown male one evening on our Northeastern section and it was evident that they were mating. Let‘s hope this works for the best and that we may have good news in the not to distant future.
Ntombi brought out her cub for the very first time this month. The youngster is still very unsure of vehicles and shies away from time to time. Progress was made and after a few sightings it seems to be fine with vehicles, as long as they don‘t move too much. The best sighting we had of them was when Ntombi killed a bushbuck just outside of camp. The vehicle activity was limited and the sighting was amazing!
Rockfig Jr. ‘s two cubs turned 8 months and entertain us with the most amazing sightings. She now leaves them for longer times whilst she hunts and sometimes only returns after 4 or 5 days to collect them. They are now very successful bird, squirrel, dwarf mongoose and lizard hunters.
Sightings of the Xakubasa pride were frequent during the month and we had them on a Zebra kill close to the camp. On that same evening we witnessed some amazing interaction between them and about 16 Hyenas, which eventually chased them away from the last remains of the carcass. They spent a lot of time around the camp and we had the most amazing sightings of them playing in the early mornings.
The Machaton Pride spent a lot of their time in the Southeastern part of our traversing and it was very evident after they were not seen for some time that the two younger lionesses were very pregnant. Right towards the end of the month around the 30th or 31st it became known that the one has given birth as sounds of calling cubs were heard close to Tabby‘s Crossing. The other lioness should be giving birth about 5 – 7 weeks after her. We‘ll keep you updated on any progress.
The Timbavati Boys kept themselves very busy further down South but showed themselves quite often especially the more dominant one that spent more time with the Machaton girls. Around the 27th they killed an adult buffalo cow, which kept them busy towards August.
The neighboring pride from the Klaserie, known as the Ross pride, visited us three times during the month. The first time we had them on a buffalo kill not far from the camp. The other two sightings were about two or three weeks after that and they only spent one night on each visit. The composition of the pride is two big adult males, 9 lionesses and 2 or 3 younger ones. Maybe in the future the sightings may be more frequent as they often follow buffalo in from the West.
CAPE BUFFALO AND ELEPHANT:
Big herds of buffalo frequented our traversing over the month. Again the super herd was the man attraction and it is not difficult to understand why. The number of individuals exceeds 1000 in number!
Elephant sightings were on the scarce side of things but fortunately towards the end of the month the larger herds moved back into the mopane woodlands.
The larger group of 6 – 8 was seen frequently in our Southern Traversing, close to a new big male called “Vuvuzela”. The base of his horn is as wide as the trumpet tip of the world famous instrument that was made famous by the Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Mtenge-tenge was ever present and spent some abnormal amounts of time in the Northeastern bits of our traversing.
The Nhlangula male is also back in the Northwest and was seen frequently to the west and north of the camp. A few times he was seen with about 4 other rhino‘s in the Klaserie.
The second special sighting of the month was FOUR Cheetahs on an impala kill (Female and three, 14-15 month old, youngsters). This was also a very welcome sighting. Like the dogs this is also a very endangered predator and always special to see.
Morné Hamlyn and the Kings Camp guiding team!
Photography: Morné Hamlyn (www.wix.com/mbhandzu/mbhandzu)
Written by: Morné Hamlyn