Wildlife report SEPTEMBER 2011

By Morné Hamlyn on October 7, 2011

Hope you enjoy this report!

Spring is in the air and anticipation in high for the first rain to start! The Knob thorn trees are usually the first to show that spring is here and this year they are flowering in full force.
Knob thorn sunset
As per usual we were entertained with some amazing marvels of nature, from Hippo‘s to the small red-billed oxpeckers feasting from a wound on a Buffalo (they eat the parasites on various herbivores, keeps the wounds clear of too many maggots and they also eat the blood).
Hippo familyFeeding red-billed oxpeckers

We think that “Ntombi” may be in oestrus again. Her boy, “Umfana” is now about 18months old and will soon be completely independent. We had few sightings of her, and we think she may be spending time looking for a male in the Klaserie reserve close to the Nkombe pan area.
“Umfana” has been spending most of the month between Elephant dam and the camp! Like his mother he is also now a regular visitor in the camp, often surprising us by lying close to the library and the therapy room. We‘ve seen him on smaller kills a few times, but it seems like he still needs to sharpen some of his skills to get some of the larger prey species like Impala.
Ntombi on the huntUmfana in sepia
“Rockfig Jr.” is very active again within the core of her territory, and the last time she spent so much time along the Machaton River was during her pregnancy with “Tumbela”. Most of the recorded sightings of her were between Entrance dam and our neighbours, Tanda Tula. It has been close to 4 months now since “Tumbela” became independent and hopefully this is a sign that she may be pregnant again.
Rockfig Jr.
The beautiful young male, “Xinope-nope” proceeds to explore larger parts around his core area, and this could hopefully mean that is now confident to claim the territory between Marco‘s dam, our airstrip / Reflection dam, Impala dam and Tanda Tula camp. He is a large young male and shows ambition to maintain this frequented area as his territory!
Xinope-nope on huntResting at the dam
The new female with two 10-12month old cubs I reported about a while ago was very active up North around the Nhlaralumi River‘s Klipgat- and Illegal crossings. One of the sightings that stand out was of her male cub on a termite mound late one afternoon. I sat with my guests at last light taking some nice photographs when suddenly the youngster crouches looking at something to the South. We knew his sister was somewhere just north of us where the Mongooses were calling from, so we thought the mother was close. To our surprise a large unknown male showed up, with a Spotted Hyena in tow, and chased the young boy into a nearby tree! As the persistent Hyena disappeared the big male wandered off vocalizing his dominance with the little girl now out to investigate the big guy wandering off into the darkness! WOW… what a sighting to witness!
Young male leopard

Our resident “Machaton” pride is now down from 12 to 10. Three lionesses and only 7 cubs remain. The second cub was unfortunately killed by an unknown male while they finished feeding off a Buffalo they killed around Hide dam. The pride has done extremely well with hunts during this last month and we recorded two large female Buffalo, one large female giraffe and a few smaller unknown kills where only blood on their fur was evident. The three older cubs regularly follow the adults into serious hunts, but often give away the prides positioning as they get unnerved with large numbers of prey, especially when the follow large herds of Cape Buffalo!
Yawning, getting readymore yawning
Patiently waitingsome excitement
Nervous cubFocussed
Success!Youngsters with giraffe kill
Playful youngI can also do it...
Hyenas afterwards
The Timbavati boys were nowhere to be seen! Informants recon they are mating with lionesses from other prides in their territory further South of our traversing.

We saw the “Xakubasa” pride three times! Twice was only of the 2 white sisters and their tawny male cousin. We suspect that the 2 adult lionesses are in oestrus and possibly mating with the “Mahlatini” males further up North.
White 1White 2
The youngsters appear to be in very good condition and we saw them finishing up with a Warthog they dug out of its burrow.

Both species entertained in large numbers around the available water during what hopefully was the last spell of the dry months!

Large bull Elephants followed the big herds throughout our traversing.
DrinkingDigging for water
An unusually large bachelor group of 17 Cape buffalo was active on the Jaydee / Fielmetter and Peru West portions of traversing. We saw a herd of roughly 400 a few times within the same area from the West and the bigger “Super” herd of 1 000 + from the South-eastern parts, was seen on numerous occasions.
Cape buffalo

Because of the major problems we currently have in our country regarding poaching of these HARMLESS, GENTLE beasts I will not discuss dynamics of Rhino‘s in our area of operation, but sightings remain amazing and SPECIAL!!
New bullNhlangula male
Please look at the following link for a list of trusted organizations that raises funds against Rhino poaching.

A pack of 10 Wild dogs moved into the traversing and we saw them quite a few times toward the end of the month. It looks like it could be the pack that moved away not too long ago to den with the pups now old enough to run around and hunt with the pack!
Playing dogs 1-5Image Title
Image TitleImage Title
Image TitleOn the hunt
Chased by zebrasImpala kill
Hope too see you visiting this PRISTINE CORNER OF UNSPOILT AFRICA soon!

Morné’ and the Kings Camp guiding team.

Report written by, Morné’ Hamlyn
Photography, Morné’ Hamlyn

13 thoughts on “Wildlife report SEPTEMBER 2011

  1. WOW… What a great report. Did not realise that we had such an amazing time in the bush in September.

    Stunning pics to go with it.

    Ek Lief Jou!!!

  2. Great pics as ever, really enjoyed our time at Kings Camp. Amazing being so up close to some beautiful creatures.

    Hope everyone’s well at Kings Camp

  3. Moirne, this is one of the very best reports. Maybe September is THE month to visit. Excellent photography. You outdid yourself,

    Peggy Garrett

    Hilton Head, S.C.

  4. great pictures we where so lucky to see the young lepond being chanced up the tree by the unknown leopard then the hyerna, also the white lions , and the lovely xinope-nape we have had one of is pictures put on canves and now hwe can see him every day. we didn,t think it could of got better then the frist time we came but it did , can,t wait till the next time

  5. Wonderful report, Morné. My friend saw the white lions when she was at KC three weeks ago. I’m soooo jealous. Hope Metangatanga (sp?) is well and safe.

    Cheers! Joy

  6. A great report from Morné, brought to life with some fabulous photos.

    Best wishes to all at Kings Camp. We will return one day, but until then, we love to keep up to date with the wildlife reports.

  7. hi there,we are still talking about the animals we saw and are talking about trying to come again to your fantastic camp. The guys we met were very friendly we were trying to get in touch with the americans there first names justin and vicky but ive lost there surname i think it started with the letter T YOU COULDNT HELP ME OUT AND FIND IT IN YOUR RECORDS SO i contact them on facebook cheers alan

  8. Wish we could be there to see these animals in person. Thank you so much for sending the great pictures. It keeps me connected. Hope to get back some day soon, Maryanne

  9. Excellent report that keeps me wanting to come back to King?s Camp. It is sad, but understandable, that the item on White Rhino has to be limited. Greetings from Ireland, everyone!

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