Wildlife report for May 2012

By Morné Hamlyn on June 1, 2012

What a month!!

Winter mornings are very chilly and the guests savour our famous “Choco-rula” (Hot chocolate mixed with Amarula) during the breaks in the morning to warm up!

The Impala rutting season is also in full swing and daily fights between males in bachelor groups are a common sight full of photographic opportunities! During this time the rams are often killed by predators, especially Leopard, as they lose focus of almost everything except fighting off the intruding ram.
These males fighting were very entertaining and the guy with the shorter (broken) right horn turned out the victor with his “jabs”. The following day his luck ran out as he was killed by “Umfana” male leopard. (see Leopard)
Stand offChaseMove off!
Two new Hyena dens were discovered. One down South from camp and the other more to the East (possibly the “Rockfig” clan). The young ones are not very active yet, but we‘ll keep you updated throughout the next few months.
Outside the den
Other photo‘s:
Argyle sunsetPearl-spotted owlet

Both “Ntombi” and “Rockfig jr.” were seen regularly during the month and we are HAPPY that both the boys are quite approachable by the vehicles!

“Ntombi” and her 5 month old boy spent a lot of time in close range around the camp and were found several times on kills, ranging from Steenbuck and Duiker to large adult male Impala. The youngster was very nervous at first but during the last 3 weeks, after a few approached kills, he started to show more confidence towards the vehicles and people talking. We are sure to have more exciting sightings of them as the lad grows up!
Ntombi and boy on rockNtombi and boy playing.
“Rockfig jr.” and her 6 month old boy were also seen frequently with highlights being the confident attitude the cub developed which will be beneficial to his survival in the future. He is very clued up and vigilant about happenings around them when they are on a kill!
Rockfi jr waiting for boyMom and boyTree lookout
“Umfana” (Ntombi‘s previous cub, grown up), made up a decent portion of May‘s leopard sightings. He spends a lot of time in the East (“Rockfig jr.” territory) and often run into some trouble with this experienced female. He does however stand his ground at his kills if she shows up and drives her away. Even though she has experience on her side he is much larger than her.
He managed to kill that male impala I spoke about earlier and dragged it off into the riverbed close by. Here he had some visitations from another well known leopard, “Tumbela” (Rockfig jr.‘s previous cub, 4 months older than him)!
Umfana with broken horn impala

We had AMAZING lion sightings during the month!!

The Machaton pride spent a lot of time on our traversing and was seen three times on good sustainable kills.
Midway through the month they killed a large buffalo cow and after two days they got chased off by two new males from Avoca to the far South of the reserve. A few days later they killed a calf from the same large herd of Cape buffalo, but finished that in less than 6 hours.
GrannyYoung boyResting in riverbed
at the waterNyati pools
PlayfulPlaying with adult
Avoca male 1Avoca male 2
Not long after that kill they got lucky with a young giraffe but got chased off again by the same two males on the second evening!This was quite brutal and one of the young boys got killed in this encounter… The rest of the pride scattered and was seen on different locations and in split compositions.
Machatons on giraffeLots for all
Tucking inAvoca 1 after the steal and kill
Two lionesses and two youngsters made it off to the South, but one lioness remained searching for the remaining four youngsters. During that night the last remaining “Timbavati” boy showed up investigating the area after a very long absence. He his now struggling to maintain the bigger territory by himself, hence the intrusion from other males seeking territory!
Timbavati boy
He caught up with the grouping of four on yet another giraffe kill! One day later the remaining lioness got the other four boys rounded up and tracked the pride down up to the kill!
Timbavati male tucking inEating with daddy
Machaton lionessYawning
The “Ross” pride from the Klaserie reserve showed up for a quick two day visit! The group composition was 2 large adult males, 6 adult lionesses (4 pregnant or with cubs) and 2 young sub-adults.
One of the Ross malesPortion of the pride
We saw two young lionesses from the “Jacaranda” pride twice up North and both times we saw them they had full bellies. Clearly an impala per day keeps the doctor away! LOL
Young lionesses
The “Mafikizolo” pride completed our lion show for the month and we saw them on a few occasions following a big herd of Cape buffalo around.
One Mafikizolo male


I can not even describe the numbers of both species that frequented the WHOLE traversing during the month! All I can say is WOW! Herds and herds of them ALL over!
Large tusker, bad lightCape bufalo

WHITE RHINO: See special sightings…
Please help us!? White rhino's
Any of our Rhino sightings! Not much information to be mentioned as per usual, but we did get lucky to see a Black Rhino!! Click for more.

Video highlights:
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Umfana eating broken horn impala.

[FMP width=”640″ height=”360″][/FMP]
Machatons on giraffe.

[FMP width=”640″ height=”360″][/FMP]
Ellies in riverbed.

Greetings from Morné Hamlyn and the Kings Camp guiding team.
Report written by Morné Hamlyn.
Photography by Morné Hamlyn.
Video clips by Morné Hamlyn.

16 thoughts on “Wildlife report for May 2012

  1. Stunning Report Morné!

    Wish I could have been on more drives with you and the guys this month… You really had a good one…

    Ek lief jou…

  2. Awesome Morné!

    That photo of the lions in the riverbed looks like you had them pose professionally, incredible!

    Many thanks (as always) for the report. By far, the highlight of my day!



  3. Wow! Can’t wait for our adventures with you in late August. terrific report!

  4. Great report as usual, shame about the Machaton youngster. What happened to the other Timbavati boy? Would luv to come back to Kings Camp one day but have some great photos from our visit there. Keep the reports coming, always my favourite email of the month Regards to all Chris

  5. Hi Morné,

    thanks for sharing the news, pictures and videos! Great that the young leopards are more easily to approach now! And hey, you got a lot of lions last month. Really sad though, that one of the Machaton pride youngsters got killed. 🙁 What happened to the other Timbavati Boys? They were 3, right?

    Hope to see all of you in October/November!


  6. As usual, a splendid report and great pics and videos.

    Good to know that Tumbela is doing well, plucky girl! The Timbavit male reminds me of the old Sobele guy with his beautiful red mane. Hope to return next year.

    Love to all! Joy

  7. I was there in May and the Game viewing was out of this world ! Great report – thank you !

  8. I am so excited to read your report, Morné, having just been there with you all from the 15th through the 23rd! We had the best time of our lives and will never forget the fond memories with Ntombi, RockFig Jr, all 26 different lions including the two mystery guys with the collar who visited briefly and all the others you mention. It was the family trip of a lifetime. Please give Cynet, Sam, Melissa and everyone else our very best! The Callan’s will be keeping track of all your updates and hope to be back SOON!! By the way, Patrick was going to send me a link to his photo of RockFig Jr and her cub crossing the road because our photo is of their backs and his jeep was facing their faces! Hope to see that!

    Cheers and thank you, for ALL!!!

  9. Thank you for the interesting report Morné. Your exciting narrative had me on the edge of my seat. The game sightings sounded spectacular. It is unimaginable to have that many Lion prides coming into Timbavati. Your Leopard population is growing. On top of all this… Black Rhinos. Amazing.

  10. I love hearing about all the sightings and seeing your wonderful pictures. Brings back fond memories of our May visit. When I show my photos, people are astounded at how close we were to these magnificent animals. I can’t wait to return.

  11. wow. wonderful photos and exciting stories. from Seattle USA Alan and I send our greetings and love reading your reports.

    keep writing.


  12. Thanks Morné for the report just got back from the Timbavati, I was with Rod on his drives and spoke to you at one of the stops. Keep the reports coming William

  13. Hi everyone, Morné another brilliant

    report and photos.

    I can’t believe how many animals are about for you all.

    keep up the good work, it’s so interesting to see and read.


  14. Looking forward to the Chocorula! Wonderful pictures…looking forward to the sights at the end of August!

  15. Thnk you for keeping us up to date , its been nearly 5 Years since Rohan and I visited you , everytime we get your update , which we love as it brings back so many good memories , we are ready to come again soon .

    Kindest Regards

    Dagmar o’Brien and Rohan Nicholls

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