Wildlife report for September 2012

By Morné Hamlyn on October 3, 2012

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.
Tree Wisteria flowersArgyle dam sunsetYoung waterbuckPlains ZebraBlue wildebeestCattle egretEgyptian geeseEgyptian gooseArgyle damSort legged giraffe?
We had amazing sightings right throughout and it was a wonderful month for photography!
Sundowner sunset

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.
Ntombi and cubNtombi stalkingTail flickingWhere has it gone?Is that it?It's goneWhat‘s happening at KC?A closer lookLet's rest, camp in the back
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.
Rockfig jrRfj resting on termite moundRfj hunting
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.
Umfana getting close to impalaUmfana crossing the road, hunting

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.
Mafiki 1Mafiki 2
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.
New young maleFirst threeFive togetherLovely scene
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.
New boysBig guyMating lionsHoneymoon

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.
Dhagga boy with yellowbilled oxpeckerBuff and cattle egretCow and calf
Elephants were also plentiful and most of the sightings were around the lush and green riverbeds and available water.
Ellie bull

Special sightings:
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.
Family of dogsPlaying on runwayWild dogs
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!
Scraps providedTug o' warAdult and cubClan queen

Thanks for reading the reports!

Kindest regards,
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.
Morné and MelissaOur Masai
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.
  • Tristan
  • Nico
  • 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!)

Some of my favourites:
Machaton maleSchobele maleWhite RhinoSchobele cubTimbavati pride playingMating leopardsRockfig jr kill impalaDraggingNkateko killTawny eagleRockgig jr and cubNtombiMangajanMating leopardsTimbavati boyFIFA timeWhite lionessLeopard cubsCheetahWhite lionsKuduSpottychaseKorhaanssunsetYellowbilled oxpeckersTusker

Good bye,
Love to ALL!

Morné, Melissa & Masai. (

16 thoughts on “Wildlife report for September 2012

  1. Great Report Morné, It will surely be missed dearly as will the three of you be.

    All the best wishes for you!


  2. Wonderful report, fab pictures, we’re going to miss you very much Morné Melissa and Masai. Enjoy your new challenge, keep safe and well and we look forward to keeping in touch and seeing more great pics. Lots of love Vicky and Dave

  3. Hi Morné, to you, Melissa and little Masai, all the very best wishes as you embark on your new venture! Meeting the two of you in 2009 made my trip of a lifetime even more memorable! Sharing your lively reports and spectacular photos with us have been greatly appreciated and enjoyed…you are truly talented in your field.

    Stay well, stay safe, and enjoy your new venture!



  4. For some reason, did not receive this in my emails. What a surprise to learn that you all are moving on. Much success to you both and to not so little anymore, Masai.

    Success and "happy trails to you". Joy in Camarillo, CA

  5. wishing all of you the best in the Eastern Cape. Thank you for all the wonderful times we’ve enjoyed with you at King’s Camp.

  6. Great report as normal. Great to see what’s happening at KC. All the best Morné, Melissa and Masai in your future adventures, I’m sure you’ll be very missed at KC.

  7. Martin Penrose wrote:

    Fantastic report Morné and your favourite selection of images are pure class!

    It was a pleasure meeting you in the times I’ve been at KC.

    All the very best to you and Melissa in your new adventure.

    Martin & Eileen

  8. Wonderful report and pictures. I look forward to these reports. My time at Kings Camp was the best experience of my life and I long to come back. Morné and Melissa helped make it so, and I wish them the best. I hope Masai likes his new home.

  9. Morné and Melissa I wish you well in your

    new venture. Thank you so much for looking after me during my visit to Kings

    Camp in July. I shall always remember the

    great sightings of leopards which we had.

    Thank you too for your fascinating reports

    and wonderful photographs over the years.

    You will be sadly missed. I do hope that

    we shall be hearing more of you in times

    to come.

  10. As we study the Southern Cross here in Australia we are always taken back to Morné’s impromptu astronomy lessons…. We had a great time at King’s Camp and really enjoyed meeting both of you , as well as all the staff and animals.

    Thanks .

  11. Another greeting from down under.

    Thank you Morné for making our time at Kings so very special back in April. Our very best wishes for both of you in your new venture.

    Fabulous photos and updates on all the beautiful wildlife, wish we oculd be there right now.

    Vicki and Rob

  12. Thanks for the wonderful report and pictures Morné! It certainly brought back very good memories of our stay at King’s Camp in 2007, where we were lucky enough to be in your jeep 🙂 All the best for your new adventures!

    Peishan & Daokai

  13. Morné and Melissa,

    We enjoyed our time at Kings Camp! Our drives with Morné were worth my getting up for….and I mean that!!

    Mitch and Bob loved the wonderful guided sightings.

    And Melissa….my massage was wonderful!

    All the very best to you both! Please let us know if you are joining a new reserve or camp, so that we can come see you again!

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