The sweet smell of spring is here…
Spring has arrived and the bush is looking amazing after about 25mm of rain that we have had!
The grass turned green, nice smelling flowers came out and the bush is in general very lively with plenty of bird activity and amazing sightings of general game.
We had amazing sightings right throughout and it was a wonderful month for photography!
Ntombi and her boy made up most of the sightings during the month, with us recording them on kills on average every 2-3 days during the second half of September. Most of the kills were small prey (Steenbuck, Grey duiker, Bushbuck) which usually last them only about 6-8 hours. The youngster literally eats his mother out of the house and therefore she has to kill frequently. They are both very entertaining and were seen a few times in very close proximity to the camp, around the waterhole and toward Rooms 4 & 5.
Tumbela showed up for a few visits and we had a very pleasant sighting of her on an Impala kill with some amazing interaction with 3 Hyenas of the local Rockfig clan.
Rockfig Jr. is walking massive distances within her territory and sightings were very infrequent. Her youngster is still not responding very well to vehicles and sightings of him are usually very brief, but one can get him out and more relaxed at times.
Umfana is still occupying a large portion to the east but of late he started moving back into the territories where he grew up. This young leopard is now approaching 3years of age and he is developing into one beautiful, large and strong male leopard.
Highlights of the month were strongly divided by three groups of lions.
The Mafikizolo pride of 5 killed a large Cape buffalo bull toward the North Eastern corner of our traversing close to the Kruger Park boundary. The males in the group are still more approachable than the lionesses but they are getting better the more they are found on kills. Later in the month they chased a new group of lions (2 young males and 3 lionesses) off a buffalo they killed, finished it off and drove the newcomers further to the West.
The new group, within a few days, killed ANOTHER large Cape buffalo bull after the one they got chased off. Once when they were almost finished with the kill all 5 of them made their way to a nearby waterhole to quench their thirst. I managed to position us perfectly at the waterhole before the lions arrived and we managed to get the most amazing photographs of drinking lions in the most unbelievable light.
The new coalition of 2 males was by far the most frequent of our lion sightings during the month. Over the last 4 weeks they were joined in turn by 3 lionesses from the neighbouring Ross pride which came into oestrus shortly after one another. This may hopefully draw their presence across the main road more often to set up and broaden the boundaries of their current territory.
Cape buffalo and Elephant:
We had a constant presence of a large group of 20 Cape buffalo bulls in the area around the camp. Frequently sighted on some of the individuals were the rare Yellowbilled oxpeckers between the more common Redbilled oxpeckers.
Elephants were also plentiful and most of the sightings were around the lush and green riverbeds and available water.
A pack of 7 Wild dogs (2 adults & 5 puppies) visited our area for about a week and we had some brilliant encounters with them.
Both our Spotted Hyena dens are still active and new babies were born into both clans! Keep following the blog for more updates on the new babies!
Thanks for reading the reports!
Morné and the Kings Camp guiding team.
Report written by, Morné Hamlyn.
Photography by, Morné Hamlyn.
A new Adventure:
It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Melissa, Masai (our African Wildcat) and I will be leaving Kings Camp on the 25th October 2012. We are relocating to the Eastern Cape and are looking forward to new adventures.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our very close and dearest friends/family for the wonderful 5 & half years we shared with you all at Kings Camp! (I shared a total of 11 years with some of you in the Timbavati)
- Managers Warren & Lisha and “our” kids, Cathan & Sveva.
- ALL of the Kings Camp staff (You guys ROCK!!)
- YOU! Without ALL our guests, the experience we built would not have been possible. Loads of friendships have developed over the years and we WILL stay in touch!
- All the surrounding lodges for cooperative, HARD work and friendships. (Tanda Tula, Motswari, Simbavati, Umlani, Karans Camp and ALL the land owners we shared amazing traversing with!)
Love to ALL!
Morné, Melissa & Masai. (firstname.lastname@example.org)