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Wildlife report for November 2010

By Morné Hamlyn on November 21, 2010

I am putting this up slightly earlier than usual because I’ll be in the UK during the beginning of the month…

GENERAL:
Rain, Rain, Rain!!! The rain started towards the middle of the month and slowly but surely the bush recovers to its full green splendour.

Game viewing remained spectacular through out and we shared some special moments with our guests.

LEOPARD:
Rockfig Jr. and Tumbela now spend more time apart from each other, but when Mom makes a larger kill she still collects her 1-year-old cub to join in the feast.
TumbelaRockfig Jr.
Tumbela has now officially during the month killed a young Impala and two steenbok by herself! I‘ve only witnessed young leopards killing larger pray like this at ages of 15-17 months before. This indicates to me that she could potentially live up to her mother and grandmother‘s reputations of being super hunters.
Mom and daughterTumbela with kill
On one of the morning drives Cynet found the two of them close to “Rockfig Koppies” looking at two hyenas that had scavenged their kill. They soon left the area and split their ways, Mom to look for food and Tumbela exploring like young cats should. I followed Tumbela and she soon took us to her Steenbok kill that she must have made about two days before. The carcass wasn‘t open yet and this shows that after she made the kill her mother called her to the one they lost but as leopards do she came back to finish her prize.

Looking up at the killJumping into the tree
Tumbela resting
Ntombi and her boy were seen on numerous occasions and gave lots of our guests amazing time with leopards. One evening they even showed up for a drink at the waterhole while our guests enjoyed dinner in the dining room.
Ntombi and boyNtombi
Xinope-nope, growing into a handsome male was seen frequently on our South and South Eastern traversing. He has made a few successful kills but still has a tendency to locate on his mother‘s kills and steal them away from her. It is quite common for young males to “overstay their welcome” with the mother for up to 5 or 6 months after independence. He will soon stop this and hopefully spend more time looking for a decent territory to stay in.
Xinope-nopeWhat a pose...
Drinking waterFull belly
The big Argyle male made a few welcome appearances in the North. We saw him on kills on two occasions and this always proves worth its while to visit him. More often than not we witness amazing interactions between him and other predators.
Argyle maleLarge boy
One afternoon drive I went north to go see him on an impala kill. We arrived while it was still quite hot but it soon cooled down. He got active and moved east away from his kill to locate on the foetus of the impala female he had killed. While feeding on this some hyenas showed up and chased him into a tree. Another leopard then showed up. This was a young female called Ixongile. She noticed that the big male was not at his kill and climbed into the tree and started feeding. The Hyenas heard this and moved from the male to the female leopard. This gave him a chance to get out and as soon as she and the Hyenas saw him the hyenas chased him away and Ixongile made a run for it. The next morning I got a report that Kuhanya another female found out about this and also got a bite to eat from the same kill.
IxongileEating her dad's food

Three leopard sightings over two days at the same kill… AMAZING!!!

LION:
The Machaton pride provided the bulk of our lion sightings this month.

The three lionesses and all four cubs are looking very good and healthy. The little cubs are so undisturbed by the vehicles and often come up and play right next to us. I had a careful look and we can confirm that it looks like three boys and one little girl.
Proud mommyMom and four babies
Making my first killHold still
The Timbavati boys were absent for nearly four weeks, but finally showed up towards the end of the month. I got information on them from people further south and they confirmed the boys were mating with lionesses from one of the southern prides. This all beyond our traversing and the informants say they also spent some time with other lioness and cubs from the same pride.

The Mahlatini coalition spent most of their time up North but gave the eastern area much further south of their range, a surprise visit. This could be due to the fact that the “Timbavati boys” were absent for such a long time.

After months of speculations the “Xakubasa” pride finally came back “home”. They arrived with a bang killing a buffalo calf up in the North. They slowly came further South after finishing that kill. Once on Jaydee they managed to kill a Zebra followed by a carcass of a buffalo they found close by. Here we witnessed some amazing interaction between them and a clan of roughly 16 hyenas. Once that carcass was consumed they moved a lot closer to the camp. They had a good rest in the afternoon and I noticed some giraffe feeding just on the other side of the Nhlaralumi riverbed… a perfect set up for the evening hunt I thought. The following morning we located the lions in the riverbed with a adult female giraffe kill!! They are extremely successful and it is so good to have them back in the area.
The happy familyStalking hyenas
Looking at hyenasWhite sisters at play
Part of a world famous prideProud giraffe guardian
The “Ross” pride visited briefly at the airstrip, killed a buffalo, finished it in less than 24 hrs and moved back to the Klaserie reserve.

Two of seven lionessesFeasing on buffalo
ELEPHANT AND CAPE BUFFALO:
Towards the end of the month we saw less activity of elephant herds but we had some large bulls wandering around in bachelor groups.
Elephants at Marco's dam
The “Super herd” of buffaloes stayed in our traversing for long periods. It‘s always impressive to see the sheer number when they gather around one of the dams to drink.
Super Herd drinkingDagga Boy
WHITE RHINO:
It was slightly quieter during the month.

“Mtenge-tenge” spent most of his time further east of our traversing. We think that he is possibly on “Honeymoon” with an oestrus female on a neighbouring property.

The “Nhlangula” male spends most of his time in the neighbouring Klaserie reserve, but he showed himself numerous times in our Western traversing.

SPECIAL SIGHTINGS:
We were blessed by seeing two packs of Wild dogs during the month. One pack consisted of ten dogs and the other of five males. We had quite a few sightings of the larger pack while the pack of five was only seen twice.
Big fightWild dogs vs. Egyptian goose
Drinking dogDogs and Kings vehicle
Both packs had some interesting interaction with other creatures, but the most exciting was surely the pack of ten chasing and being chased by Egyptian geese. They pack of five kept them occupied by chasing “Rockfig jr.” and “Tumbela” around at the Fielmetter trough when they had a kill close by. The leopards were too clever though and teased the dogs from the safety of large trees.

Three young female cheetahs frequent the open areas around “Voldam” in our Northern traversing. We saw them a few times in October but they visited only once during November.
Two of the three on a kill
Thanks for reading the monthly updates!

We will see each other soon.

Morné and the Kings Camp guiding team.

Report written by, Morné Hamlyn
Photography, Morné Hamlyn

8 thoughts on “Wildlife report for November 2010

  1. nice one! glad you eventually got to see shongile! she’s an awesome little leopard…but i find it wholly unfair when ever you come up north to watch argyle male up north you have these awesome interactions, hahaha!!! nice one!

  2. Amazing pictures as usual, look forward to more when your back from the UK have a good break, hope it does’nt rain to much.

    Regards Sally.

  3. Morné, thanks for these fantastic pics and report. Good to see all the young ones fairing so well.

    My fav pic is #20…"making my 1st kill"…just toooo cute!

    Hope you and Melissa have a great vacation.

    Stay well, stay safe.

    Kindest regards.

    Moira.

  4. I have enjoyed reading the news! It is less than a week that I have been home and only two days back at work but I wish I was still at Kings Camp – thanks for having us!

  5. I SO enjoy the pictures and hearing about all of the animals. I look at my own pictures often and althought they are not as professional as yours, I still cherish them.

    My best to all at King’s Camp.

  6. Its been almost two years since we spent time with you all. We look forward to your updates and love those photos and reports on the wildlife. Anne and I dream of our next trip to South Africa and often look at our photos. Hope this finds everyone at Kings Camp safe and healthy.

    Keep up the great work

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