At Londolozi you don’t have to go very far to see wildlife and interact with nature. Guest, Sumei Shum, can attest to this having watched something incredibly rare, right from the comfort of her room.
Sitting in her lounge at Tree Camp, she noticed a large-spotted genet, moving about in a Jackalberry tree, just off her deck. Normally these animals are nocturnal, hunting and foraging for small mammals and insects as well as birds, frogs and fruit at night. Being drizzly and overcast, Sumei thought this may have contributed to why the genet was so active during the day but that was until a second genet arrived. These animals are normally solitary and it soon became apparent that they were courting.
The male would approach the female, rubbing up against her and grooming her. She would flee from him, darting around the tree, and then shoot back towards him, after which they’d run around each other in circles. Eventually after about an hour of this, they leapt down onto Sumei’s deck where they eventually mated.
Due to their solitary, nocturnal and shy natures, this is quite something to have witnessed and captured on camera. In fact most of the resources I have looked at base their research on genet mating behaviour on captive populations. Asking the rangers, camp staff and trackers, no one that I’ve spoken to has seen this before and so our guests were particularly happy to have trumped so many long-standing staff in a sighting. Sumei absolutely fell in love with this pair of genets; click on the video below to see what she reckons was the highlight of her trip.
About 70-77 days from now, this female will give birth to her kittens in a hole or nest of leaves, possibly using this Tree Camp deck as her nesting ground. Their ears and eyes only open on about the tenth day and at this point, their mother will spend long periods of time with them. They will then start taking solid food at about six weeks and gradually become competent predators in stages that vary individually in length. They will start trying to hunt prey themselves at about 11-18 weeks but almost all prey eaten by the young are killed by the mother until 18-24 weeks. By eleven months they will be fully grown.
Hopefully this means that we will soon have a whole family of genets living at Tree Camp in the future, spoiling our guests to sightings right from the comfort of their rooms.