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.
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!
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!
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 one Machaton lioness has given birth to a single cub, which is now about six weeks of age. Let’s hope it survives…
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.
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.
More pictures taken over the last few weeks at Kings Camp:
I’ll be back with more updates again soon!
Morné Hamlyn (Kings Camp – Field Guide)