Sorry it is a tad late… Enjoy the November updates! The rest will follow soon.
The summer rains are here! The bush has now fully changed color and the green scenery is absolutely gorgeous. The Impalas have started lambing and there is an ultimate freshness in the air. The Giraffe, Zebra and Wildebeest populations are on the increase again with all of them following the greener pastures.
I have an amazing story to share with you regarding the Machaton Lion Pride. One of the lionesses from the pride disappeared in 2004/5 into a fenced property next to the greater reserve. We thought after so many years that all was lost for her survival as she was alone. Goodness knows what happens on neighboring properties that are not part of the conservation area. Since then, this property has joined the conservation area and to our great surprise a “foreign” lioness appeared back in the Machaton‘s territory. It soon became evident that she was indeed the lost lioness and was accepted back into the pride by her Mother, Aunt, and Cousin (who was only a cub when she went missing). She was in estrus when she came back and was seen mating with one of the Timbavati boys towards the end of the month and hopefully we will be able to report the birth of new Machaton cubs towards March or April 2010.
The Leopard sightings this month were “Out of this World”
Let me start with some really great news. Rockfig Junior has given birth to her first litter of cubs toward the end of the month. The two bundles of fluff were hidden in a large fallen Leadwood log for quite some time and Mommy was very proud and happy to allow us a few sightings of the little ones. We will limit the activity around the den sights so that the youngsters gradually get used to the movement of vehicles. We will keep you updated with their progress!
Nkateko has shown that even though she is already a good hunter she still has the urge to “play” as a young leopard. She caught and toyed with a baby impala for almost One and a half hours before she eventually killed it. She killed two adult female impalas in the week before, but with this baby impala the urge to play was to big and she entertained her spectators with her little toy.
Kuhanya has also delivered some amazing sightings. We had a very strange phenomenon that caused the Impalas (especially females in a weaker state due to pregnancy) to die. Research showed that the sudden burst of nutrients in the much greener vegetation caused the deaths. It was a case of too much good nutrition too quickly. Now as you can well imagine for the leopards it was like having an open buffet with all the carcasses around. Kuhanya was one of them that did not hang back on being greedy; she ate two impalas in six consecutive days! Talk about opportunism?
Morné & the Kings Camp guiding team!
Written by: Morné Hamlyn
Photography: Morne Hamlyn