The Bush Telegraph reports the following highlights for February: A breeding herd of about 40 elephants entertained guests with their antics, while a lone elephant bull was seen swimming at Nduna Dam. Over 600 buffaloes blocked the horizon as they slowly made their way towards water. A couple of black rhinos were spotted – there was no missing the one that mock charged the game viewer and only stopped about three metres from the new vehicle! White rhino sightings were far more prolific – especially when a crash of seven gathered at a popular waterhole and drank, while one little calf suckled from its mother. Leopards were true to their nature by being elusive, but the sighting of the month went to a young male perched high in a tree, then climbing down and making a dash for cover into thick bush.
Download the full wildlife report here: SP Wildlife Report Feb 2015
- Average minimum 23,3°C (73,9°F)
- Average maximum 33,6°C (92,4°F)
- Minimum recorded 17,5°C (63,5°F)
- Maximum recorded 36,8°C (98,2°F)
- For the month: 5,5 mm
- For the year to date: 114,5 mm
The short rains of November and December tapered at Singita Grumeti at the beginning of January. The grass, which was sufficiently watered, grew under the sun’s heat and by the middle of the month the concession was covered in long grass. Long grass will continue to dominate the landscape here until the migration passes through Singita Grumeti in about five months’ time. The first month of the year was definitely a month of new beginnings as new members were added to our wildlife family.
The Butamtam Pride keeps growing (see our November 2014 Report) and we spotted more new pride members at the beginning of January. One of the older pride lionesses, aptly named “Scar” by our team, due to the prominent scar on her front right shoulder, was seen this month with four cubs that are about six weeks old.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife report January 2015
- Average maximum 29.9 °C
- Average minimum 17.2 °C
- Average wind speed 0.2 m/s
- Sasakwa 41.1 mm
- Sabora 15.0 mm
- Faru Faru 20.2 mm
- Samaki 66.0 mm
- Risiriba 86.0 mm
It doesn’t rain – it pours! But then it clears a couple of hours later and you see extraordinary sights in sparkling light set against gunmetal grey skies. The grass is at its zenith this month, and invariably I think to myself, “Well, unless something is sauntering down the middle of the road I’m not going to spot it…” But, time and again that is exactly what happens – the animals use the road network more than ever because they don’t want unseen dangers sneaking up on them in the long grass and they don’t want to be disadvantaged by the grass obscuring their surroundings. The tiger fishing has been great, the day trips to Chilojo Cliffs in neighbouring Gonarezhou National Park most
enjoyable, and the ancient rock art on our reserve is always a highlight, but the wildlife highlights for the month include a lion and lioness ‘on honeymoon’, a herd of buffalo numbering close to 500, close encounters with black rhinos, the hyena den-site with new cubs, a pack of 23 wild dogs, two lionesses with five cubs, an adult hyena
that was wallowing at a waterhole and was chased away by a white rhino and her calf, as well as lots of excellent bird of prey activity such as a martial eagle and an African hawk-eagle hunting guinea fowl, gabar goshawks and lesser spotted eagles hunting queleas at the quelea colonies and sightings of tawny eagle s and secretary birds.
Download the full wildlife report here: SP Wildlife Report Jan 2015
- Average minimum 21,9°C (71,4°F)
- Average maximum 32,2°C (89,9°F)
- Minimum recorded 19,5°C (67,1°F)
- Maximum recorded 38,5°C (101,3°F)
- For the month: 2,2 mm
- For the year to date: 2,2 mm
Lion roaring Article by Francois Fourie
It’s a sound that can be heard from kilometres away and one of the greatest things of living in the bush. Sitting around a fire with friends and hearing the roar of a male lion from afar calling to his brothers…A lion’s roar is not only used for the purpose of making contact with their pride members but it is also done to announce his presence in his territory and to make sure that any other potential intruders stay away. It truly is one of the most special experiences sitting with a male lion only 10 metres away and he starts roaring. That feeling is one that you can’t put into words… even more so when it is a pitch dark night with only starlight above and he starts to roar… your whole body can feel the vibrations of the roar right to your very core! Once you’ve heard Africa’s biggest cat roar then you can truly understand why people call this magnificent animal the “King” of the jungle!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report January 2015
- Average minimum 18.8˚C (65.8˚F)
- Average maximum 33˚C (91.4˚F)
- Minimum recorded 16˚C (60.8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 41˚C (105.80˚F)
- For the period: 13 mm
- For the year to date: 13 mm
Bitten off more than they can chew…
The Shishangaan male lions brought down a fully-grown female giraffe in the middle of the month. They seem to have perfected a hunting technique of late, with it being their third giraffe kill in as many months. The biology of a giraffe is an interesting bit of evolution. With a giraffe’s build being as elongated as it is, it needs an extremely large heart to pump the necessary blood all the way up the long neck. If you compare it to adult humans our hearts weigh about three kilograms, but an adult giraffe’s weighs in excess of 12 kg! What the lions seem to have learnt is that the height of the giraffe is its biggest defence, and the normal way of getting around the throat or back of the neck is simply not possible. Instead they use a technique that involves chasing a giraffe into a rocky or uneven area, in the hope of it losing its footing or eventually colliding with a small tree.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park January 2015
- Average minimum 20.1°C (68.1°F)
- Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
- Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 37°C (98.6°F)
- For the period: 33.5 mm
- For the year to date: 33.5 mm
A number of leopard sightings in the past year have contributed significantly to the continued improvement of leopard habituation at Singita Grumeti. Our recent, most noteworthy sighting yet, was that of a female leopard stalking and killing a male impala west of Faru Faru in the late afternoon, witnessed by Field Guide, Jeremiah and his guests. This is a clear indicator that leopards in the reserve have become more accepting of our safari-traversing activities and that they have slowly reverted to the type of hunting behaviour which is typical of leopards (for the first time in approximately 50 years). Leopards characteristically hunt both during the day and at night. However, in the seven years prior to 2003, before Grumeti became a photographic safari destination, it was in fact a hunting area. It was then that leopards in this area adapted to hunting only at night when the potential human threat was not around. Until almost a year ago, witnessing a leopard kill on the reserve was completely unheard of! Fortunately, these big cats are beginning to feel more comfortable and the kill that Jeremiah and his guests saw, was in fact the third kill we have recorded this year!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report December 2014
- Average minimum 29.4˚C (84.9˚F)
- Average maximum 16.4˚C (61.5˚F)
- Sasakwa 100.7 mm
- Sabora 98 mm
- Faru Faru 67.5 mm
- Samaki 208 mm
- Risiriba 105 mm
Glorious summer Article by Ross Couper
With our heightened lookout for young impalas over the last month, it’s been hard not to notice all the other young around at this time of the year. A friendly wager amongst the guides as to when this season’s first newborn impala would be seen had us all waiting in anticipation to spot a long-legged youngster and call it in over the radio. This year’s winner was Dylan – the lucky date was 4 November 2014. Lambing time has meant that impalas have had more human attention than usual during game drives, with very pregnant impalas moving off on their own and newborn lambs struggling to stand or wobbling on their stilt-like legs. There are lots of “ooohs” and “aaahs” being whispered during the game drives.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report November 2014
- Average minimum 18.2˚C (64.7˚F)
- Average maximum 33.1˚C (91.5˚F)
- Minimum recorded 11.0˚C (51.8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 41.0˚C (105.8˚F)
- For the period: 51 mm
- For the year to date: 110.5 mm
A long, successful season
On the last day of June this year I received an email from Lodge Manager Kevin Pongola, at Singita Lamai, Mara River Tented Camp: “It’s happening…” he wrote, “crossing at number 7 is active… will update you later with the details.” This report came after three long weeks of silence since the migration had left our Singita Grumeti property, and now 80 000 wildebeest were crossing the mighty Mara River onto Lamai Triangle, about 60 km away, where Singita Lamai, Mara River Tented Camp is situated. Since then, the area surrounding Mara River Tented Camp saw three straight months of migration. The herds remained present for the first week of October, but after that the bulk of them had cleared the area, making their long journey back south to the short grass plains of Ndutu. Not all the of action stopped though, as a few lagging groups were still moving out of the area, up until the middle of the month. Our guests saw a handful of crossings of wildebeest and zebra, in groups of 50 to100. This is maybe not as epic as 80 000 strong, but any crossing is always very exciting!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report October 2014
Just like the three previous months, the first half of October was characterised by lots of game all over the concession. Large herds of migratory zebra continued to slowly move through the area, as well as pockets of a few thousand wildebeest. The migratory animals joined hundreds of topi on the Sabora Plains. The topi calving season that began in late September continued into October, and multitudes of tiny calves dotted the herds throughout the plains. In addition to all of the seasonal activity in October, a few guests were lucky enough to witness some really impressive sightings, many involving interspecies interactions, particularly among predators.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report October 2014
- Average maximum 32.9 °C
- Average minimum 15.8 °C
- Average wind speed 0.4 m/s
- Sasakwa 62.3 mm
- Sabora 94.5 mm
- Faru Faru 55 mm
- Samaki 121 mm
- Risiriba 128 mm
Busier than usual Article by Jani Lourens
So, after much talk from long-standing guides at Singita Lebombo about the large breeding herds of buffalo that move through the property, I have, at last, witnessed the arrival of a breeding herd estimated at more than 700. The landscape is a mix of burnt areas – charcoal and ash with earth exposed to the sun, different shades of brown everywhere, skeleton leadwoods and fellow grey trees. The only new foliage that has started to appear is on trees lining the N’wanetsi and Sweni Rivers and at Gudzane Dam, emulating a green snake twisting in a dying landscape. The wildlife is being tempted by this green snake as the animals anxiously wait out the dry heat for the coming summer rains to bring new life to the land.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report October 2014
- Average minimum 15.4°C (59.1°F)
- Average maximum 29°C (86°F)
- Minimum recorded 11°C (48.2°F)
- Maximum recorded 39°C (100.4°F)
- For the period: 17 mm
- For the year to date: 280.5 mm