Tag Archives: Game Viewing

New Arrivals!

February 28, 2011 - Kruger National Park,Wildlife

Written by Singita Guide, Marlon du Toit – Singita Kruger National Park/ Lebombo and Sweni Lodges

So, as you have all heard, there are some new additions to the Mountain Pride.  A few months ago Glass (Singita Tracker) and I saw a lioness carrying a tiny, week old cub. Ever since then we have been waiting in anticipation for her to introduce the little cubs to the rest of the pride.  The day finally came three days ago when to our surprise we were introduced to, not only two little ones, but to another three cubs!  This now brings the number of the Mountain Pride up to twenty-three lions – incredible!

I spent the evening with the pride last night, and what an amazing experience. The cubs quickly got used to the presence of my vehicle, and I managed to capture some beautiful moments. The night ended on a high when the lionesses managed to kill two zebras.  It happened too quickly to capture on camera, but the experience was unforgettable.

For more photos of these special small additions to the Mountain Pride, take a look at our Facebook page.

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Ravenscourt Young Male Goes Solo

February 21, 2011 - Sabi Sand,Wildlife

Written by Singita Guide, James Crookes, Singita Sabi Sand

As the Ravenscourt female leopard seems about to give birth to her 5th litter, it seems fitting to discuss the fate of her previous litter.

Soon after giving birth to two cubs in April 2009, she was rejoined by the surviving male from her previous litter, the Xindzele male. This behaviour was unusual as normally a female will chase off any intruders, regardless of whether or not they are her progeny, in an effort to protect her new cubs. During this period, it was not uncommon to see 4 leopards together at a kill or in a tree. Only in the Sabi Sand!

Unfortunately, one of the cubs, also a male, was killed during July 2010 by an adult male leopard (see July 2010 guides’ diary for details).

After this incident, there were intermittent sightings of the remaining 3 leopards, but from September 2010, the Xindzele male seemed to become completely independent and he hasn’t been seen with the other two since. He was born in November 2007, so by September 2010 he was approaching 3 years of age, by which time he is definitely expected to have become independent. This male would often be seen calling and urine spraying, both signs of territoriality indicating that he is staking claim to a certain area. His territory seems to now be centred around an area to the west of the Singita property, where he is said to be the dominant male in the area and has asserted this fact through a couple of disputes. Unfortunately, this means that we haven’t been seeing him as much as we used to, although we are still occasionally afforded this privilege.

The Ravenscourt female and young male were still seen together on a regular basis up until her mating with the Khashane male in mid October 2010. After this separation they never seemed to rejoin and it was from around this time that there were intermittent sightings of the Ravenscourt young male attempting to hunt, a sure sign that he was fending for himself and no longer relying on his mother to provide him with kills.

Leopards are the only large cats that don’t have any form of hunting training and so, when they become independent, they rely purely on instinct to learn to hunt. Lions will take their cubs to watch a hunt and cheetah will stun prey items and allow the cubs to practice their skills on these animals. A mother leopard, however, will leave her cubs at a place of safety, make a kill, and then return to collect the cubs and take them to feed allowing them no exposure to the hunt itself. This is therefore often a trying time for leopards and they often struggle to take down larger prey items. Being the resourceful animals they are, leopards will usually resort to smaller prey items while they sharpen their skills. The Ravenscourt young male was seen on more than one occasion hunting water monitor lizards in the Sand River.

To read the full tale of the young Ravenscourt male leopard, refer to James’ article in the January Singita Sabi Sand Guides’ Diary

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All Creatures Great and Small

September 30, 2010 - Wildlife

What is the one thing most visitors to our country want to see in terms of their wildlife experience? You probably guessed it, the Big Five. But what are the Big Five?   Is it really that important, and how did this all originate, you are probably asking yourself?  Well, its origins stem way back to the days of hunting.  They were seen to be the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot specifically due to the nature of the beast as opposed to the actual physical size of the animal.  But in my opinion there is actually so much more to the bush and the safari experience and I often find the smaller creatures much more interesting and thus I wanted to introduce you to the Little Five. “What?”, you may be asking yourself.  Yes, the Little Five are unofficially named as such and have no relevance to hunting or danger but rather just a play on words.

These include:

1.   Red-billed buffalo weaver – A black bird with a red bill and white wing fleck who often builds its nest on the north western side of the tree to benefit from the late afternoon sun, keeping the nest warm.

2.   Rhinoceros beetle  - A remarkable beetle, similar to the famous dung beetle in basic appearance, however, it has a very distinctive horn on its head. I wonder if this horn is as sought after as a real rhinoceros horn?

3.   Ant lion – Also part of the insect world and a far cry from the king of beasts, but this small creature constructs a “v-shaped” trap to catch its prey, probably with better success than its lazy feline counterpart.

4.   Leopard tortoise – Nothing quite compares to the real thing in this department.  Stealth is a word associated with the spotted cat and somehow doesn’t go for a tortoise. It does however have a blotchy carapace but that’s where the comparison ends.

5.   Elephant shrew – This is the one of the Little Five which would probably scare most people more than the original pachyderm itself. It slightly resembles a mouse in appearance. There is nothing more delightful to see in the bush than shrews participating in what is termed “caravanning” where they link head to tail holding on with their long “trunk-like” snout in perfect single file, scurrying through the vegetation.

So next time you are on safari, try and see if you can spot the Little Five. Just keep an eye out to ensure you don’t stumble onto one of the Big Five in the process.

Article written by Mark Broodryk, Singita Guide, Sabi Sand Reserve.

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Running with the Pack

September 21, 2010 - Safari,Wildlife

In the June edition of the guides’ diary, we announced our exciting discovery of a wild dog den site on our property in the Sabi Sand. Since then, we have been following the progress of the pack very closely and during August we noticed that the various den sites have been abandoned and the pups are now running with the pack. Although this means that we may not have the regular sightings we had when they were at the den site, it is exciting news as it means that the pups are more able to defend themselves and are becoming less vulnerable to predators. In other words their chances of survival have increased greatly, which is fantastic news for the wild dog population.

There are four surviving pups, with three having fallen victim to lions, which increases the pack size to ten. The pups are providing fantastic sightings as they spend a great deal of time playing with one another, which is usual among the young of predators.  Also this practice of play aids in their development of coordination and muscle mass, which becomes vital as they start to join in on the hunting activities of the pack. On the day we followed the pups with the pack, they were located close to the lodges on the Sand river. From there, they were followed as they ran all the way to the southern sections of the Singita property, a distance of about 10 kilometres. Although the pups were noticeably tired towards the end of this mission and spent the majority of their time trying to keep up with the pack, this is an important step in their development and it won’t be long before they cover even greater distances as part of their daily existence.

To read more, visit our August Guides’ Diary, Singita Sabi Sand

Article contribution by Singita Guide, James Crookes

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Why Singita is Blogging?

March 24, 2010 - Experience

The question shouldn’t be why Singita is blogging but rather why did it take us so long to start blogging?

At Singita we’ve been discussing, investigating and learning about blogging and other social media tools for quite some time. We have watched with interest as luxury brands, that we know and respect, have taken up the challenge of social media. Some of these luxury brands have been highly successful in their online endeavors, while others have burned brightly for a few weeks only to disappear without a trace.

Sunset in the Singita Grumeti Reserves.

As you can imagine we’d like our blogging and other social media activities to be consistent, to last longer than only a few short weeks. We’d like all our efforts, in this department, to add long-term value and depth to our brand and to our readers.

It’s for these reasons that it has taken us a little longer to jump on the social media bandwagon. But, that being said, here we are; we are finally taking the plunge and starting our blog.

Welcome to the official Singita Blog – our new online home for all the captivating romance, inspiring ingredients and spectacular adventures that we believe make the Singita offering shine.

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