Updates from the Timbavati

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Morné Hamlyn is back with more safari stories from South Africas Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Morné is one of the rangers at Kings Camp, a superb safari camp located there.

Sorry about the delay on updates from the Timbavati, things have been busy here! (Especially with our Wedding planning…). I got married to Melissa, our Head Therapist at camp, on 04 April 2010 and had very little time afterward to sort through my photographs.

I’m back on track now and here follows a brief update on some happenings.

Ntombi, the leopardess I reported to be pregnant (in my last update), has given birth to cubs somewhere close to the camp. We haven’t seen much of them yet, but we know there is at least one little baby. She still hunts frequently close to the camp and she often visits us in camp for a drink of water at the rock pool under the coffee deck.

Ntombi looking for prey

Ntombi looking for prey

Rockfig Jr. and her two cubs (now almost 6 months old) are doing great. We have seen them on three kills recently and their little bellies seem “full” every time we see them. The cubs are surely the two most entertaining leopard cubs I’ve encountered in my 10 years of guiding in the reserve. The little boy is also a very “brave” one… I have now recorded him stalking adult giraffe, buffalo and elephant. Just some curiosity and sharpening of skills!

Rockfig Jr. looking at the cubs

Rockfig Jr. looking at the cubs

Some loving from mom

Some loving from mom

Rockfig Jr and her cubs

Rockfig Jr and her cubs

Little Boy

Little Boy

Little Girl

Little Girl

Kuhanya (a female) had a great strike rate over the last few weeks and in a matter of ten days we saw her on three adult impala kills!

Kuhanya resting

Kuhanya resting

Kuhanya staring at impalas

Kuhanya staring at impalas

The Xakubasa pride of lions was missing for nearly two weeks.

They are back now and entertained us with some magical sightings over the last week. The young ones were playing in a marula tree and kept trying to bite and swipe at each others legs to drop them out. Recently the lionesses killed two adult female kudus and this kept them occupied for nearly three days.

The two white girls

The two white girls

Walking to mom

Walking to mom

Playful cubs

Playful cubs

Playing in the tree

Playing in the tree

Clear colour difference!

Clear colour difference!

The one Machaton lioness has given birth to a single cub, which is now about six weeks of age. Let’s hope it survives…

Machaton female's new cub

Machaton females new cub

We were lucky to see an Southern African python out on drive one morning. It was about 9-10 feet long! The snake went up into a tree and was quite happy to pose for us.

Southern African python

Southern African python

A pack of 15 African wild dogs came through for a quick visit! Sightings of this endangered predator are always spectacular and this time was no exception. They killed an impala and devoured it in less than eight minutes! There are only about 200-300 wild dogs left in the greater Kruger (that includes the Timbavati). They are the second most endangered predator in Africa, after the Ethiopian wolf.

African wild dogs feeding

African wild dogs feeding

More pictures taken over the last few weeks at Kings Camp:

Elephant bull

Elephant bull

Young male leopard eating

Young male leopard eating

Two white rhinos

Two white rhinos

Lionesses at sunset

Lionesses at sunset

Lilac-breasted roller

Lilac-breasted roller

I’ll be back with more updates again soon!

Regards,
Morné Hamlyn (Kings Camp – Field Guide)

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