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)
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.
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!
“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!
“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)!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
ELEPHANT AND CAPE BUFFALO:
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!
WHITE RHINO: See special sightings…
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.
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Umfana eating broken horn impala.
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Machatons on giraffe.
[FMP width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.seasonsinafrica.com/lodges-in-south-africa/timbavati-private-nature-reserve/kings-camp-private-game-reserve/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/20120601-elephant_river.flv[/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.