Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report


First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Kruger National Park

July 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

July brought mainly clear mornings, with some misty starts. The game drives tended to leave at around 07:00, returning mid-morning. Daytime temperatures took a while to warm up and, after sunset, we enjoyed amazing clear night skies and stargazing. This month we had what is known as a blue moon, when there are two full moons in one month. A full moon occurs roughly every 29,5 days, so it is rare but possible to have a full moon at the very beginning and end of one month. The next blue moon will only happen in January 2018!
Wildlife updates

Leopards: The Ndlovu male leopard was seen six times and stole an impala kill from the Xhikelengane female. He appeared to have an injury to his foot, but recovered towards the end of the month. The N’wanetsi male was seen five times, and is now completely relaxed with the vehicles. Tingala was seen twice, and the Xhikelengane female was seen on ten occasions. There were also three unknown leopards seen on the concession, one adult male establishing territory around the Sticky Thorn area, and then a young male and female are being seen in various places.

Lions: As the Shish pride cubs continue to grow, so do their appetites. They are taking down larger prey items such as zebra and giraffe. The white lion male cub, although sometimes looking a little scratched, is still doing well.

Cheetah: Seen most frequently in July were the ‘mother and one’. The cub is growing well and should learn to hunt when the next impala lambing season comes around in the first third of 2016.

Hyena: The hyena den is still very active, with the three cubs venturing towards the vehicles most afternoons. The female nursing the cubs is very relaxed and her cubs are likely to be the most relaxed generation of hyenas on the concession.

Elephants: Anywhere on the concession where there is water, there are elephants. The total number of sightings per drive can be around four different herds. Mid-morning at the water is generally the best, as they come down to drink. There are often very good interactions between the elephants and the crocodiles and hippos wishing to bask in the sun on the riverbanks.
A newly born elephant calf was seen, still finding its feet.

Buffalo:  A herd of roughly 40 is being seen fairly regularly, feeding in last year’s burnt areas and moving back and forth to water daily.

Read the full report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report July 2015

 


Temperatures

  • Average Minimum: 13.3°C (55.9°F)
  • Average Maximum: 26°C (78.8°F)
  • Minimum recorded: 11°C (51.8°F)
  • Maximum recorded: 32°C (89.6°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 97.5 mm
  • Sunrise: 06:40
  • Sunset: 17:30

Singita Lamai

July 2015 - Lamai, Tanzania

The month of July in the northern Serengeti finally saw the arrival of the immense herds of wildebeest for which the region is known at this time of year. As the plains of the central Serengeti and the western corridor slowly began to dry out, the herds mobilized north and began to filter into the Lamai Triangle.

By the middle of the month large herds emerged onto the plains north of the camp, and soon after guides and guests started witnessing herds crossing the Mara River. Many guests have been enthralled by the spectacle of thousands of wildebeest stumbling down the steep banks and crossing the treacherous river.

The wildebeest headed towards the Kogatende area. Crossings have been seen from the area of Crossing Point 6, close to the Kogatende Bridge, all the way down to Crossing Point 1, just a couple of kilometres north of the camp. As more and more animals arrive in the area, crossings become more frequent and more populous. Some guests were fortunate to witness up to three crossings on one game drive, sometimes in excess of 30 000 wildebeest at a time.

 

Read the full report hereSingita Lamai Wildlife Report July 2015:


Singita Sabi Sand

July 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

With four weeks until spring, it’s an exciting time of the year. The cold winter mornings will be turning into cool mornings with warm midday’s, well worth spending around your private plunge pool.

Lions: As usual the lions have been busy with movements in a very erratic pattern, particularly the Mhangene pride. They have been a very busy pride moving vast distances in search of the large herds of buffalo and have been fortunate enough to encounter a few old bull buffalos, which have sufficed them well. With the ever-growing pride members it’s tough to keep thirteen lions content with food.

Leopards:Hlabankunzi’s cub has been a real highlight this month. As he becomes more adventurous and confident, he is exploring his new world and making for some epic viewing. The male leopards Khashane and Nyeleti had a stand off for a few hours late one afternoon – we still are not sure “who won” but both have been seen since in prime condition, suggesting that nothing other than a reminder transpired of rules the roost!

Elephants: Elephants have dominated along the Sand River for most of the month and conditions are forecast to get even drier in the coming months, thus this trend will hopefully continue. A young elephant playing in the water and trying to determine the use of its trunk is so special to watch.

Buffalos: A large herd has been seen in the south moving in various directions around the available water sources, however the movements has been influenced by the movement of the lion pride.

Hyena: Two clans of hyenas were seen intimidating the Mhangene pride as they finishing the remains of a buffalo carcass. The commotion of the two clans was enough to annoy the lions and they soon became restless and moved away from the carcass towards Giraffe pan.

Birds:
164 species recorded.

 

Read the full report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report July 2015

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum: 13.3˚C (55.9˚F)
  • Average maximum: 24.3˚C (75.7˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 11.0˚C (51.8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 31.0˚C (87.8˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the month: 4 mm
  • For the year to date: 4 mm

Singita Grumeti

July 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

Lions: As always we had good daily sightings of lions in July. Prides seen were the usual suspects: Sabora West pride, Ridge pride, and Butamtam pride. The Butamtam pride has extended its territory east to the Grumeti River, downstream of Faru Faru, but we are now left wondering where the Mkuyu pride, whose territory has always been this same area of the Grumeti River, moved to?

Six of the Butamtam sub-adult males are now over two years old. It is only a matter of time that their dominant male father(s) kick them out of the pride…

Leopard: Leopard sightings were steady this month, but the Tulia female and her two adorable cubs were not seen until the very end of the month.

Cheetah: Excellent cheetah sightings this month. The most seen of these spotted cats were a female with two young cubs, a female with two eight-month old cubs, and two adult brothers.

Wild Dogs: After some stellar sightings in June, the wild dogs were nowhere to be found in July. Word has it that they have been spending a lot of time in the Nyasirori area of the National Park, southwest of Sabora Camp.

Elephant: The month of July is the peak of the dry season here at Singita Grumeti reserves and, as expected, elephants could be found daily having a drink at the major water points on the property. The Sasakwa Dam and Grumeti River were the best ‘hot’ spots.

Migration:

A cause for celebration! The migration of thousands of wildebeest arrived and stayed with us the entire month.

For all of June there was no sign of the migration, and it seemed like no one in the Serengeti knew where exactly the herds were. We were beginning to believe the wildebeest had passed the Singita Grumeti concession completely. Then, in the first week of July, the guides reported good herds of wildebeest south of the concession in the National Park. By the 10th of the month, wildebeest were filtering through from the south everywhere: crossing the Grumeti River around Faru Faru in the east, onto the Nyati Plains in the central areas, and onto the Sabora Plains and Nyasirori Areas in the west. Pretty soon the concession was covered with wildebeest. The gnus spread thick across the Sasakwa Plains as well as to the east and west.

At the end of July they began moving out in large lines, making their way north.

 

Read The full report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report July 2015


Temperatures

  • Average maximum: 30.9 °C (87.6 °F
  • Average minimum: 16.4 °C (61.5 °F)
  • Average wind speed: 6 m/s

Rainfall

  • Sasakwa : 63 mm
  • Sabora: 9 mm
  • Faru Faru: 15 mm
  • Samaki: 3 mm
  • Risiriba: 45 mm

Singita Pamushana

July 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

These winter months are the most popular for safari – and it’s no secret why… cold crisp mornings lead to warm sunny days, where the vegetation is dry and the wildlife is drawn to the sparse permanent water sources. But every now and then you’ll be startled out of the meditative monotony of the earthy colours by dazzling sabi star flowers or a flashy chafer beetle.

Lions:
The lions are also feeling the cold. Four of them had curled up for warmth in the drainage tunnels beneath our main access road – it’s a little unnerving knowing you are driving ‘over’ four ferocious predators! The lion prides seem to have had a preference for buffalo meat this month – there have been quite a few kills. The two dominant males of the western section have been spending the last few days lounging about with full stomachs on the other side of the Chiredzi River. At one stage they were seen on the riverbank with three adult females and one young cub. Hopefully some new cubs are on the way as there was mating activity with one of the lionesses – we’ll have to wait for at least 110 days to be sure, as that’s the gestation period.
Wild dogs:
The pack, up to 14 of them at a time, are seen hunting regularly because they’re denning in the hills – but still no sign of the pups…

Cheetahs:
We’ve had good cheetah sightings this month – a couple have been seen hunting, and so has the female who has raised several litters – she’s easy to identify as she is missing the tip of her tail.

Elephants:
The elephant highlights for the month come from the bulls – we’ve seen magnificent tuskers drinking, feeding, resting, dusting and mud-bathing. They are calm when not in musth and during this calm phase we are able to enjoy long, close-up peaceful encounters with them.

Rhinos:
Rhino viewing is what we’re renowned for. The highlight this month was when guests got to see black and white rhino bulls interacting, with six lions spectating in the background!
The eight black rhinos that we were able to donate to Botswana have settled and are doing well.

Buffalo:
The breeding herds we’re seeing are slightly smaller because
they’ve split up to go in search of smaller pockets of pasture. That’s said guests and guides got a good dusting when a herd of about 300 Cape buffalo stampeded towards a pan for a drink!

Plains game:
The varieties of habitats here provide nourishment for a diversity of plains game. It’s not uncommon to see herds of sable, eland and Lichtenstein hartebeest, as we did this month. Far more abundant are impala, kudu and zebra. Here a family of kudu browse on bush that still retains some green foliage.

Special sightings:
Eliciting a chorus of compliments were a new-born giraffe, still with its umbilical cord attached, and a brand new zebra foal being nuzzled by its mother. Other special sightings were of an African wild cat, genets, a civet, a porcupine and a honey badger. An adult male leopard graced us with his presence, close to one of the safari vehicles, giving guests a chance to admire him.
On the feathered front were many good owl sightings while five racket-tailed rollers stole the show near Nduna Camp.

 

Read the full report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report July 2015


Temperatures

  • Average minimum: 14,3˚C (57,7˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 11,1˚C (51,9˚F)
  • Average maximum: 27,8˚C (82,0˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 34,4˚C (93,9˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the month: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 155,0 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

March 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Spots and stripes Article and photos by Nick du Plessis

Leopards are well known for their adaptability, it is the social dynamic that arguably makes them the most successful and hence, widespread, of the large cats in Africa. What we mean by ‘adaptability’ is not only the different habitats they thrive in, but also the prey they hunt and the variety of that prey. Most species tend to ‘specialize,’ but what happens if the prey they concentrate on runs out or learns to evade them? Leopards have been recorded to prey on everything from birds, eggs, lizards and even fish if necessary, and have the capability of bringing down medium size antelopes if the chance exists. But for the first time in my career I saw a large male leopard feeding on a zebra foal. This is unique and just highlights the opportunistic nature of the animal. Why it’s unique is because zebras are renowned for fighting back – they will kick, bite, chop at and even stamp the predator if they need to, and leopards, being as solitary as they are, are notorious for never picking a fight they know they won’t win. If they do and get injured, they don’t have the safety net of a pride or clan to fall back on for survival.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report March 2015


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 18.9°C (66°F)
  • Average maximum 33.0°C (91.4°F)
  • Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50°F)
  • Maximum recorded 37.0°C (98.6°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 2 mm
  • For the year to date: 81.95 mm

Singita Grumeti

March 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

We expected this March to be much like years’ past.  Occupancies tend to drop slightly. Wildlife sightings are steady and there is a nice amount of general game. The first few showers of the long rains arrive, bringing cooler temperatures, a release from the heat of January and February. The views across the plains are a beautiful sight as patches of rain clouds mix with large spaces of clear blue skies across the Serengeti.

Overall, March at Singita Grumeti is peaceful and serene.

Mayhem. Incredible. Surprising. Spectacular. In March 2015 we were all thrown for a loop, and not just at Singita Grumeti. The entire Serengeti Community was left scratching their heads.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report March 2015


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 32.8 °C
  • Average maximum 18.5 °C
  • Average wind speed 0.5 m/s

Rainfall

  • Sasakwa 24.8 mm
  • Sabora 45 mm
  • Faru Faru 16 mm
  • Samaki 16 mm
  • Risiriba 32 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

March 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

I have chosen to type this article out in the field, sitting in the tracker’s seat of my Land Rover, parked in one of my favourite parts of Singita Sabi Sand. Why not? After all, I feel that I can be far more creative while out in the fresh air and sunshine, with the pleasant aromas of elephants and dry grass wafting past my nostrils, than I could ever hope to be, cooped up in an office! Zebras watch me inquisitively, while rollers and drongos swoop down to hawk insects that are flushed by a couple of warthogs grazing nearby.
After several consecutive seasons of high or above average rainfall, we are now in a situation where at the end of March, we have a season total of only around 340 mm (less than 14 inches) of rain. The average summer rainfall is in excess of 650 mm (26 inches).

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report March 2015


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 17.3˚C (63.1˚F)
  • Average maximum 35.2˚C (95.3˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 11˚C (51.8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 40˚C (104˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the month: 5 mm
  • For the year to date: 340 mm

Singita Pamushana

March 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

This month’s highlights were 70 elephants marching along to a pan, accompanied by three white rhinos and two buffalo bulls. We were delighted to see the pack of wild dogs on the property again – on one occasion they were resting in the shade of the riverbed, being obstructed from drinking by two buffalo bulls. The young dogs enjoyed playing and calling while the buffalo seemed belligerent at best. Later in the month we had a thrilling sighting of a buffalo calf being hunted and killed by two lionesses and a lion. Less conspicuous was a young male leopard that we glimpsed at the airstrip when we where looking for two cheetah brothers that had been seen there that morning. Rounding off the ‘Magnificent 7′ highlights were three white rhinos that plodded along calmly grazing to within four metres of a guest-transfixed safari vehicle. Just as magnificent was watching a herd of rare Lichtenstein hartebeest and sable nibbling the drying out grasses.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report March 2015


Temperatures

  • Average minimum: 21,6°C (70,8°F)
  • Average maximum 33,6°C (92,4°F)
  • Minimum recorded 16,9°C (62,4°F)
  • Maximum recorded 38,7°C (101,6°F)

Rainfall

  • For the month: 7 mm
  • For the year to date: 121,5 mm

Singita Lamai

February 2015 - Lamai, Tanzania

For the 2nd year in a row, February in Lamai was characterized by good general game in the area. Zebra, topi, eland, buffalo and gazelle were common out on the plains. The perfect mix of rain and sunshine made for great grazing.

Eternal enemies relived

Violent interactions take place daily in wildlife areas between different species, mostly between predators and prey. From time to time we get to witness exchanges between predators. Of these, lion and hyena battles have to be one of the most impressive shows.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report Feb 2015


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