Don’t be surprised on your journey from the airstrip to Mara River Tented Camp if you see a herd of elephants on the way. There is a group of resident bulls who spend most of their time along the banks of the Mara River and are often seen from the road about a half a kilometre from camp. The migration left the Lamai area at the end of November last year, so I was surprised when guide Adas Anthony showed me photos he took in January of wildebeest cows and their brand new calves, including one that had just been born mere minutes before he approached the sighting. Curious to know the reason for this unusual occurrence, I began asking him many questions. Had some of the migration still not passed through? Was there a break-away herd making their way south later than usual? Did the mothers stay behind because they knew they were going to have calves earlier?
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report January 2014
January began with the usual large amounts of rain as the short rains continued into their last days, followed by lots of sunshine. The net result was a very beautiful green landscape at Singita Grumeti for the second half of the month with the grasses growing higher and higher, and for the first time in close to six months we did not have any migratory wildebeest herds in the area to mow it down. The lush long grass will be a mainstay with us, most likely until the return of the wildebeest sometime in June or July.
About six months to a year after the split of the Butamtam Pride, another of our local prides was showing
signs of a permanent division. The Nyasirori Pride had separated into two groups in the last four months. Three of the lionesses had cubs in the last quarter of 2013, and therefore the guides assumed it was a temporary split. Lionesses will spend a lot of time away from their pride from the time they are about to give birth until the cubs are about eight weeks old. When the cubs reach this coming of age, their mother will introduce them to the pride.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report January 2014
- Average maximum 33.7 °C
- Average minimum 16.2 °C
- Average wind speed 0.3 m/s
- Sasakwa 60.6 mm
- Sabora 36.5 mm
- Faru Faru 51 mm
- Samaki 321.5 mm
- Risiriba 183.0 mm
To whom do those spots belong?
With a slight chill still present and our minds flooded with the previous day’s sightings we are welcomed by the dawn chorus. It is early morning and the sun rays haven’t found their way to the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains. We are driving north in search of buffalo. We had been chatting away, still discussing that beautiful leopardess we saw, the Sticky Thorn female, and her whereabouts of the past week, when my attention is suddenly drawn elsewhere. The now well-known sign of his right hand that points backward to me in a slow rise makes me stop the vehicle very quickly. My tracker has spotted tracks and wants to have a closer look. Upon investigation we found a very large drag mark crossing the road. The possibility of it being an African rock python is quickly eliminated by the hair of an impala stuck on a branch and the leopardess track right next to it.
Territorially it has to be the Mahlangulene female. She’s killed an impala and dragged it to a safer place. We start to follow the drag mark in the vehicle, everyone on the edge of their seats. Because of the length of the grass following the trail proves difficult. Sitting in a patch of short grass there she is, licking her right paw as she grooms herself after dragging her well-earned meal to safety. We continue to try and find the impala carcass but she’s chosen such a good spot that not even our trained eyes can locate it.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report January 2014
- Average minimum 19.7°C (67.46°F)
- Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
- Minimum recorded 12°C (53.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)/li>
- For the period: 116.5 mm
- For the year to date: 116.5 mm
The best time to come on safari is… Article by Dylan Brandt
Right now! The Sabi Sand Wildtuin is a special piece of land perfectly placed for exceptional game viewing all year round. One often hears that the best time to come on safari is in the winter. The bush will be dry so spotting animals will be easier, true. There is perennial water on the property where elsewhere water is scarce and the animals are drawn to these parts, true. But what about summer and the ‘wetter’ season?
To the west of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin lies the Drakensburg mountain range and it is this mountain range and the moist air blown over the warm Mozambique current off shore that creates an oasis below. When this moist air hits the mountain the air rises and condenses to form clouds, these clouds now full of moisture fall east of the mountains and release rain throughout the lowveld where we are, leaving much of the highveld a semi desert.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report January 2014
- Average minimum 18.0˚C (64.4˚F)
- Average maximum 30.0˚C (86.0˚F)
- Minimum recorded 12.0˚C (53.6˚F)
- Maximum recorded 39.0˚C (102.2˚F)
- For the period: 91 mm
- For the year to date: 508 mm
It looks as if the young baby elephant in the pictures that follow is feeding on some grass, just like mom, but looks can be deceiving…Baby elephants normally nurse until their mother has another calf, which would typically be when they are four to five years old. They don’t really have full control and functionality of their trunk until they are around one year old, at which point they will start eating a little bit of greenery. They copy the older members of their herd though, so they’ll go through the motions as best they can, which makes them even cuter!
This mountainous horizon marking the border between Kenya and Tanzania is one of the most recognizable features of the Lamai area. It also provides a beautiful background for wildlife photos taken by our field guides.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singitas Lamai Wildlife Report December 2013
The colours of summer
I often get the question from guests about the best time of year to visit this wildlife haven. Far too often people are left with the impression that summer is not a good time because the vegetation is too thick to find any animals. Whilst there is an element of truth in that I can assure you that if you only ever visit during the dry season you are missing out on an explosion of colour and beauty. Summer in South Africa is the time of plenty. Thanks to a good rainfall, food is abundant and animals need not venture too far to find water. Many species such as Cape buffalo, impala and zebra give birth in this season. It makes sense as there’s enough food for the mothers to produce sufficient amounts of milk, and once the babies are weaned they will have no problem finding nutrient-rich food to eat.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlfie Report December 2013
- Average minimum 17.9˚C (64.4˚F)
- Average maximum 28.0˚C (82.4˚F)
- Minimum recorded 16.0˚C (60.8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 38.0˚C (100.4˚F)
- For the period: 270 mm
- For the year to date: 417 mm
Festive season celebrations are in full swing and the heat is on! In southern Africa Christmas and New Year are best enjoyed around a pool where youngsters can play and splash in the cool water and the adults can take refuge in the shade. The sighting I’d like to tell you about reminded me of such a joyous summer jamboree and it was one of the highlights of my life. I was out scouting and had arrived at the deck overlooking Nduna Dam. Carrying my heavy camera gear up the path and arriving on the deck I was a bit disappointed that there were no animals to be seen. All the same I decided to sit there quietly for a while and see if anything would emerge from the green boundary and drink at the water’s edge. But as I sat there I became convinced that I could hear splashing coming from the other side of the steep rocky outcrop that juts into the
horse-shoe dam. I grabbed two lenses and began creeping up the side of the cliff. A steep ledge jutted above the area of the noise and I scrambled up it on my belly like a rather ungainly lizard.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report December 2013
- Average minimum 21,6°C (70,8°F)
- Average maximum 32,8°C (91,4°F)
- Minimum recorded 19,5°C (67,1°F))
- Maximum recorded 41,5°C (106,7°F)
- For the period: 172,4 mm
- For the year to date: 629,2 mm)
Festive season celebrations are in full swing and the heat is on! In southern Africa Christmas and New Year are best enjoyed around a pool where youngsters can play and splash in the cool water and the adults can take refuge in the shade. The sighting I’d like to tell you about reminded me of such a joyous summer jamboree and it was one of the highlights of my life.
I was out scouting and had arrived at the deck overlooking Nduna Dam. Carrying my heavy camera gear up the path and arriving on the deck I was a bit disappointed that there were no animals to be seen. All the same I decided to sit there quietly for a while and see if anything would emerge from the green boundary and drink at the water’s edge. But as I sat there I became convinced that I could hear splashing coming from the other side of the steep rocky outcrop that juts into the horse-shoe dam. I grabbed two lenses and began creeping up the side of the cliff. A steep ledge jutted above the area of the noise and I scrambled up it on my belly like a rather ungainly lizard. Peering over the edge I beheld Zimbabwe’s version of the Loch Ness Monster, as I think you’ll agree from the photo alongside:
The monster turned out to be one of four elephants having the most terrific time in the water. They would completely submerge and snorkel along with their trunks sticking out, and then erupt from the surface with their tusks stabbing the air. Then a boisterous game ensued of pushing, shoving, dunking splashing and spraying. To end it off they parted the water gracefully and serenely, their skin and tusks gleaming clean, and melted silently away.
Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report December 2013
- Average minimum: 21,6˚C (70,8˚F)
- Average maximum: 32,8˚C (91,4˚F)
- Minimum recorded: 19,5˚C (67,1˚F)
- Maximum recorded: 41,5˚C (106,7˚F)
- For the period: 172,4 mm
- For the year to date: 629,2 mm
The Mountain Pride in the north was seen on almost a daily basis this month, with most of the lionesses pregnant or already with cubs. Because of this they were not really moving great distances from their den sites, which we believe are along the Xhikelenegane drainage line. The Northern Males have established themselves as the dominant lions of the pride, and with possibilities of mating and potential free meals they are staying close to the pride’s lionesses. Sightings of mating lions and the fighting battles for females were not in short supply, all to determine dominance. The confrontations are usually short bursts of aggression seldom ending with any serious injuries between the brothers. Although vicious it is very necessary to determine who the dominant one is at the time, and it is not always the same male adding genetic variation in a territory. To date we know of at least six cubs, two litters of three with the smallest ones now being just over two months old.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report November 2013
- Average minimum 18.6°C (65.4°F)
- Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
- Minimum recorded 14°C (57.7°F)
- Maximum recorded 38°C (100.4°F)
- For the period: 54.4 mm
- For the year to date: 518.4mm
This month’s photos and stories all seem to be about the lust for life and the persistent pursuit of it. The baby bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) in the photo above was born just below our Director’s home, on 1 November. This little calf is the product of a six-month gestation period and will spend an unusually long lying-up period of about four months, being stowed away and then nursed when its mother returns to it every few hours. It’s great to have these spiral-horned antelope living in close proximity to our staff housing because they are a favourite prey species of leopards and, although bushbuck are rather small, they make a very loud, deep resonating bark when alarmed. Interestingly enough they rely on their earthy colouration and white spots to conceal themselves, so the bark they make is ventriloquial – it lets the predator know it’s been spotted, even
though the predator may not have seen the bushbuck, and it lets us know that there’s possibly a predator too close to hom
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report November 2013
- Average minimum 20,8°C (69,4°F)
- Average maximum 34,4°C (93,9°F)
- Minimum recorded 18,2°C (64,7°F)
- Maximum recorded 43,2°C (109,7°F)
- For the period: 69,4 mm
- For the year to date: 456,8 mm