Wildlife report for November 2011

By Morné Hamlyn on December 10, 2011

Our first ‘green’ report for the season!

Summer is officially here and that means loads of Little Baby Impalas everywhere! It is Lush, green and absolutely amazing out there. The Rainfall has been good and we hope that what is still coming will be constant and take us through the summer into our winter months with enough water.
Baby impalasBaby warthogs
Plains ZebraWarthog
Southern giraffeDwarf mongooses

In the first half of the month we could clearly see that ‘Ntombi’ & ‘Rockfig Jr’ were both very pregnant.

‘Ntombi’ has spent a large amount of time to the South and West of the camp towards the end of the month and we seem to think that she may have given birth in the Zebenine river bed at a small rocky outcrop. As soon as we know more you will get updated here on the blog!
Ntombi female
Ntombi‘s Boy ‘Umfana’ is now fully independent. As a young male leopard he spends a lot of time in his natal grounds, which of course is familiar to him. He is frequently spotted walking in and around the camp and is quite a successful hunter. It is however just a matter of time before a larger male chases him from this area to find his own territory.
Cheeky Umfana
‘Rockfig Jr’ did deliver offspring in the Machaton riverbed as this was confirmed by one of our guides, Remember. He only saw the one youngster nursing, but we are not sure how many there are at this point. This area will once again be treated with utter most respect for the first 5-8 weeks after which we will assess the area that she moves them to and then slowly start allowing vehicles one at a time to visit whilst “Mommy” is present. We‘ll keep you updated on any news or progress…
Rockfig jr.
Rockfig jr.
‘Rockfig Jr’ eating baby impala:
[FMP width=”640″ height=”360″][/FMP]
The Old ‘M‘bali’ female up in the North seems to be very nomadic in movement now. She is 14 years old and finds it more difficult to maintain her territory with stronger, younger females around. Sightings are quite sporadic and in areas she used to claim as her territory and beyond.
Granny leopard,M'bali female
Other Leopard sightings recorded were of ‘Xinope-nope’ (male in the South), ‘Tumbela’ Female (Rockfig Jr.‘s Daughter), ‘Kuhanya’ female (Mbali‘s daughter in the North), ‘Argyle’ Male (Dominant Male in the North) and ‘Hlakise’ Female‘s boy (+- 17 months old).

There have been some tough times in the month, but we managed very nicely with some diverse sightings towards the end of November.

The ‘Machaton Pride’ was in and out of our traversing over the first two weeks, but sightings improved towards the end as they spent a lot of time on Kings Camp‘s Property. The remaining 7 boys were looking a bit hungry but in good health and spirit otherwise. Kills recorded was early on a young giraffe and later on a kudu and buffalo calf.
Looking at giraffe closebyA drink before hunting
Some affectionCubs at play
The ‘Ross pride’ consisting of 7 lionesses, 4 cubs and 2 males were seen on two occasions on our Western Sector. They usually follow buffalo in from the neighbouring Klaserie Reserve. They are all in very good condition and we hope they will choose to spend more time in our traversing in future.
Ross lionessRoss lionesses ready to hunt
The 3 ‘Xakubasa’ (White) youngsters were seen three times in the early parts of the month, but then moved back to the far Northern corners of the Klaserie and Umbabat Reserves. They are struggling a bit to hunt without the adult lionesses but are still in fairly good condition.
White lioness
We also had a sighting of one large, unknown male lion on a buffalo kill. He fed for three days only with some interaction between him and some hyena. We are not sure where he was from of where he has disappeared to again.
Male lion and dead buff

Since the rain started we have had some wonderful sightings of both species. The elephants are loving the fact that there is so much water around and are often seen swimming in the larger bodies of water. Large Buffalo herds were seen very frequently from both the Northern and Southern areas.
Large herd of Cape buffaloElephants swimming

Rhino sighting have been good. We were even lucky to see a crash of 3 together. Any rhino sighting are to be cherished as the rhino poaching is still a very big problem in South Africa. Reports have said that there have been 405 Rhino poached this year alone. You can read more about this on the SANPARKS website (
Young rhino bulls

This month I have decided to add some of our Bird sightings as they have been quite special this month.

We saw a Juvenile Bataleur Eagle which will only get its full adult colours when it reaches 6-7 years old but even as youngsters they are quite beautiful.
A Verreaux‘s Eagle-Owl was very accommodating for photos and sat for a good half an hour or so before we eventually left it to carry on sleeping in its tree. These are the largest of the African Owls. Besides their size they are identifiable by their Oval face with a Black boarder and pink eyelids, they also have feather tufts over their ears.
Giant eagle owl
This Yellow Billed Stork was lovely to sit and watch. Even though they are seen quite often it was great to be able to watch it and get photos whilst it was in the water fishing.
Yellowbilled stork
This Blacksmith Lapwing was Not at all happy with the Tawny Eagle on this day and we sat watching the Lapwing mobbing the Eagle until the Eagle decided to move on.
We were privileged to be able to witness two male Red Crested Korhaans fighting! Most of our guests get to see these birds as they scurry over the road into thick grass or when they are doing their “Suicide act” (they fly straight up into the air and fall down again to show the females where they are located).

This month there are two things I want to share with you under special sightings.

Wild dogs Sightings were plentiful this month. One that stands out and deserves mention was when a sick buffalo died nearby camp. The buffalo carcass attracted 6 Hyena and 2 Jackals that were sharing the meat. The dogs heard the Hyena‘s excited giggling and went to investigate. When they got there we witnessed some amazing sounds out of all the predators as they engaged in a spectacular standoff.
Hyena and JackalRunning in
Another one that deserves mention is when the pack of 13 dogs chased an Impala into the electric fence that is around the camp. Needless to say the Impala was shocked to death and the Dogs had their first “Cooked” meal. They spent the morning around the waterhole which kept the guests well entertained during breakfast.
Playful dogsResting at the waterholeResting dog
On a much smaller note we witnessed this bushveld lizard make a kill of its own whilst we were sitting with Rockfig Jr Leopardess eating a Baby Impala. Sometimes the little things attract more attention than the larger ones do.
Bushveld lizard with spider
With that I am going to close this report.

Have a wonderful Christmas Season!
Kindest regards,
Morné and the Kings Camp guiding team.

Report written by, Morné Hamlyn
Photography by , Morné Hamlyn

19 thoughts on “Wildlife report for November 2011

  1. Awesome report Morné. I really love the photos you took of the wild dogs (especially the two jumping on each other). Seems like the wild dog sightings are more plentiful this year, no?

    Merry X-Mas to you and Melissa!

  2. Love these updates Marne! My husband Leo and I along with our friends Dave & Jeannie, were there from Nov 13 – 16. We too, saw the white lions (they did indeed look hungry, but very beautiful) on our very first game drive. Those days at Kings Camp will be forever burned in my memory. It was the time of our lives! Thank you to Warren and Lisha, and our tracker Sam, driver Cynet for all they did.

  3. Amazing photos Morné,it brings back memories of our trip. Keep them coming.

    Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to yourself and all the staff.

    From Sally and Pete.

  4. Great pics and report Morné! Good variety also. My favourite this time is "cheeky Umfana"…the contrasting colors within that photo is absolutely beautiful.

    To all at KingsCamp, have yourselves a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2012.

    Stay well, stay safe.

    Kindest regards.


  5. Morné thanks for a wonderful report and we miss the Timbavati,but will be back next year!Have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous new year.Caio

  6. Great report as always, luv the pictures of Rockfig jr. Great to see after we had seen her with our own eyes in August. Hope Kings Camp have a great Christmas and New Year

  7. Always soo good to read your reports. Just read today in our paper,, that there was a 114 F recording in SA. What a warm summer. And here we are expecting snow in our local mtns in a day or two.. Miss KC so much. A very Merry Christmas to you all, and all good blessings for the New Year.

    God Bless. Joy

  8. beautiful pictures as always. we send them on to our grandchildren and pray that they will be able to enjoy KCin their lifetime. pray for world peace merry christmas and a healthy happy new year to all

  9. Love the wild dog reports and your wonderful photos! I’ll bet the symphony of sounds you mention was amazing!

    Holiday Wishes to all at King’s Camp

    -Carol Oken

  10. Always love your reports – it brings back every moment of our trip even though it was now 6 years ago.

    I have a photo of Rockfig as my screen saver! It’s lovely to see her progeny as the line continues.

    Happy Christmas to you all and our dream is to come back one day.


    Jocelyn and Peter

  11. Thanks for keeping us informed of the the wildlife activity at King’s Camp it is always a real treat to share in your wonderful photography Morné.

    Merry Christmas to you and Melissa and everyone at King’s Camp, hope we can come and visit you soon.

  12. Awesome as always Morné. To you and all at Kings Camp a safe happy and lovely festive season and all the best for 2012.

    Kindest regards Heather and Steve Beswick

  13. At 83 years of age I am unable to travel to Kings Camp but still enjoy your regular reports which bring back many memories of my visit in 2006.

  14. Wonderful photos per usual. Look forward to seeing you in August 2012.

    Happy New Year to you and Melissa and all of the staff.

    Anne Budill

  15. Thank you for your updates ,and a very happy new year to you.

    My Partner Rohan and i visited you in July 2007 and are intinding to come back this year late July early August will the weather be good then.

    Kind regards

    Dagmar O’brien

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