Climate and Landscape
Kings Pool continued to receive a lot of rain throughout the month of February. With Cyclone Dineo’s effect on the region, we experienced a very wet second half of the month with huge rain storms coming through almost every day. This water has made the landscape very green and lush – indeed, the best we have seen in many years. The continuous cloud cover served our guests well providing nice cool temperatures to go on safari and making it very comfortable to take a relaxed afternoon siesta in camp after lunch or brunch.
The month of February was packed with diverse wildlife sightings despite the heavy rains. At the top of the list of high-profile animals regularly seen were wild dog, leopard and lion.
Our wild dog pack, known as the LTC Pack, consists of 12 members who are managing to maintain the same territory they occupied last year. They utilise the riverine habitats of the Linyanti swamps for hunting and spend their time off in the mopane woodlands. Baby impalas still form a huge percentage of their diet and other commonly-killed prey seen includes warthog, red lechwe and baby kudu. The pack’s slower movement around the territory could be accredited to the mating season, with the alpha male and female showings signs of courtship and frequent territorial marking. We remain optimistic that the pack will successfully breed in the same way they did last year when they managed to raise nine puppies.
The LTC lions were seen mating on numerous occasions, something we hope is for real this time following the assumptions of possible false oestrus in December and January produced by the females in an effort to calm the boys – typical lion behaviour towards new males in the area. We also remain hopeful that both females have conceived and will successfully raise their cubs within the area. Our lions in the Linyanti have not done well raising cubs over the past years and we are really hoping for some new members of the family to be introduced and raised to adulthood on our concession.
Leopard sightings were few and far between, not unexpected though considering the dense vegetation cover which hinders the ability to find these elusive cats at this time of year. Slender and her sub-adult daughter have not been seen together for over a month now; in fact we have seen something of Slender but not the youngster which was last seen in in the first week of January – a typical sign that they might have permanently gone their separate ways now. Other known resident leopard sightings recorded in February include the Calcrete Female, Ranoka, Ramakwapa and two other shy males.
We have to admit, the green season this year has been one of a kind and we reckon it is by far the most productive and successful of the many green seasons we have seen when it comes to wildlife sightings in the area. The lush green woodlands have been nicely decorated by sightings of general game including plenty of elephant, many giraffe sightings as well as warthogs, baboons and impalas just to mention a few.
Birds and Birding
Birdlife was great this month too and to make it even more interesting some of our guests got involved in a few formal bird transect activities.
We have a male African jacana nesting in front of the Kings Pool main area, and he provides a regular afternoon tea sighting. Amongst the many other beautiful sightings this month were a few wattled cranes, southern ground hornbills and a few martial eagles.
Until next time, keep well and we look forward to hosting you soon.
Newsletter by Bobby and Tshepo
Pictures by Khan and Tshepo