Welcome to the family (Photos by Ryan Schmitt)
The hills and plains surrounding Singita Serengeti House and Sasakwa Lodge comprise the territory of one of the main lion prides at Singita Grumeti, the Butamtam pride. The newest members of the pride were seen for the first time in March. There are six new cubs and their ages were about two months old at the end of the month. The six cubs are from two different lionesses, one the mother of two of the cubs and the other the mother of four. Two or more new sets of cubs being born into a pride concurrently are typical for lions. Groups of two or more females in a pride will come into oestrus and mate at the same time to ensure that they give birth at the same time. The reason for this is to provide added protection and benefit for the cubs. Lionesses leave the pride to give birth and don’t introduce the cubs to the pride until they are about two months old.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report March 2014
- Average maximum 34.9 °C
- Average minimum 16.2°C
- Average wind speed 0.3 m/s
- Sasakwa 140.3
- Sabora 146
- Faru Faru 89.7
- Samaki 341
- Risiriba 149
Cheetah Article by Enos Mngomezulu
The word ‘cheetah’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘chita’ meaning ‘spotted one’. The Singita concession has a good habitat for these elegant animals. They prefer to live in open grasslands, savannahs, dense vegetation and sometimes even in mountainous terrain. The openness of the grasslands and semi-desert areas better accommodate their style of hunting, which is running as opposed to stalking and pouncing. The best areas for viewing cheetahs here are Kori Clearing, which is a vast open area where we often see a large Kori bustard; around Golf Course Clearing which is another open area with short grass that resembles a golf course; Cassia Open Area which is an open area named after the sjambok pod tree – Cassia abbreviata; the N4 (named after the busiest highway in South Africa) is an open area near Gudzane Dam which, in winter, has clearly defined game trails to the water.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report March 2014
- Average minimum 20.5°C (68.9°F)
- Average maximum 32°C (89.6°F)
- Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)
- For the period: 92.5 mm
- For the year to date: 247 mm
What’s that funny face and smirk all about? It is something which most of us have seen before since it’s actually not all that uncommon to observe in most domestic house cats. You’ve possibly seen the expression, the one which is followed by an intense sniffing session. This upward lip curling and exposing of the front teeth and gums is a behaviour which is practiced by carnivores big and small, and even hoofed animals, and is generally a means of testing and analysing different scents. Scents can be checked for any number of reasons but are predominantly used to determine sexual condition or to investigate a newcomer within a territory. This is done through a specialised organ called the vomeronasal organ, more commonly known as the Jacobson’s organ. It is situated in the top palate and the grimace is in an attempt to ensure the scent reaches the organ in the roof of the mouth.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report February 2014
- Average minimum 20°C (68°F)
- Average maximum 32°C (89.6°F)
- Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)
- For the period: 38 mm
- For the year to date: 154.8 mm
Territorial expansion…? Article by Ross Couper
The last few weeks have been exciting to say the least, it has been action-packed for the month. The Mhangeni pride has been within the central sections of the property, periodically moving south and maintaining a permanent movement between the various drainages and successfully hunting game within these areas. This lasted for a period of almost two weeks. The central sections of the Singita property are currently the dividing line between the two major male lion coalitions, the Majingilane males in the south east and the Selati male coalition in the north west. Both coalitions have been seen over this boundary line on different intervals. Two of the Majingilane males ventured across the territorial boundary at the same time that it was reported that the Selati males were roaring. The sound of other males roaring instinctively caused the Majingilane males to start roaring as well, and within a few hours the remaining two males of the Majingilane coalition had joined forces, and were found in the early hours of the morning well into the Selati males’ territory.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report February 2014
- Average minimum 17.0˚C (62.6˚F)
- Average maximum 34.0˚C (93.2˚F)
- Minimum recorded 19.0˚C (66.2˚F)
- Maximum recorded 31.8˚C (89.2˚F))
- For the period: 65 mm
- For the year to date: 573 mm
The kingdom of fungi
I can’t help it, so here goes: A mushroom walks into a bar and orders a drink. The barman says, “Sorry, we don’t serve mushrooms.” The mushroom replies, “Hey! What do you mean – I’m a fun guy!” But seriously, what is the difference between mushrooms and fungI? The simple answer is that mushrooms are the reproductive organs of certain types of fungi. Fungi, just like plants and animals, own a kingdom of classification all on their own. They are organisms such as moulds, mushrooms and yeasts that are totally different from plants and animals. In fact, they are a little closer on the scale to animals than plants because they don’t depend on photosynthesis to make their own food, and have to get their nourishment from other sources.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report February 2014
- Average minimum 21,5°C (70,7°F)
- Average maximum 30,5°C (86,9°F)
- Minimum recorded 19,0°C (66,2°F)
- Maximum recorded 34,1°C (93,3°F)
- For the period: 126,0 mm
- For the year to date: 358,0 mm
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’s the month of baobabs fruiting, birds nesting, flowers advertising, insects pollinating, dung beetles rolling, frogs foaming, fungi blooming, sand grouse scuttling and woodland kingfishers whistling their piercing calls. We’ve had our best rains in decades and, as I write this, the Malilangwe Dam is 75 cm to spill. To describe the landscape as verdant would be an understatement – it looks more like a tropical rain forest of central Africa. Of course there’s nothing subtle, slight or gradual about our seasons in the Zimbabwean low veld - we’ve performed a quick wardrobe change from a bone-dry skimpy vest of vegetation to a drenched jungle green coat that ‘s resulted in herds of fat herbivores and flocks of brilliant birds. When it comes to game viewing I can assure you that the game is most certainly on! You may not see that many predators but it’s a time to slow down, look at the finer details, find peace and let it all soak in.
Download the full wildlife report here: SP Wildlife Report Jan 2014
- Average minimum 21,7°C (71,0°F)
- Average maximum 30,8°C (87,4°F))
- Minimum recorded 19,4°C (66,9°F)
- Maximum recorded 34,2°C (93,5°F)
- For the period: 231,4 mm
- For the year to date: 860,8 mm