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
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
The fork-tailed drongo Article by Jon Morgan
While on safari at Singita, when viewing herbivores like impala, elephant, white rhino, buffalo and giraffe, you might notice the silhouette of a black bird with a deeply forked tail, perched on low branches near the animals. This is the same bird you can see dive-bombing majestic eagles and regal owls, causing them to duck and flinch as they get attacked. The bird is a very clever and cheeky species called the fork-tailed drongo (Dicrusus adsimilis). Perched on nearby branches and sometimes on the backs of herbivorous animals, it swoops down and catches insects flushed from the grass, as the animals walk. For the unfortunate insect it is the proverbial ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ situation. My tracker, Peter Ubisi, tells the story of the relationship between the cattle he herded as a small boy, and this bird. In Shangaan culture the young boys, aged ten to twelve, take their fathers’ cattle into the bush to graze grass all day long and then herd them back to the house before sunset so they can be safely locked away for the night in a fenced enclosure called a boma or kraal.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report October 2014
- Average minimum 15.6˚C (60.1˚F)
- Average maximum 30.6˚C (87.2˚F)
- Minimum recorded 11.0˚C (51.8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 41.0˚C (105.8˚F)
- For the period: 54 mm
- For the year to date: 59.5 mm
It’s an itchy scratchy time of year if you don’t have a good moisturizer but, as you’ll see from the photo above and the story further on, rhinos make a plan where they can. However, we did receive an early sprinkling of rain mid-month, about 10 mm, so that has brought some relief to all. We’ve been taking advantage of the dry short cropped
landscape by taking guests on walks and have had some excellent encounters with black and white rhinos.
An advantage of cruising aboard the Suncatcher is that animals don’t seem intimidated by our presence and on a couple of occasions this month guests have spotted a male leopard on the shore of Malilangwe Dam. We’ve also enjoyed a breeding herd of more than 30 elephants feeding, drinking and swimming, two black rhinos very close to the boat, hippos and lots of birds.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report Oct 2014
- Average minimum 18,3°C (64,9°F)
- Average maximum 31,7°C (89,0°F)
- Minimum recorded 14,6°C (58,2°F)
- Maximum recorded 41,4°C (106,5°F)
- For the month: 12,2 mm
- For the year to date: 514,8 mm
September news is that we were delighted that the white lion cub born from a Shishangaan female was seen again on Spring Day (1 September). Two male leopards seen along the N’wanetsi River and surrounds have now been identified as the ‘N’wanetsi male’ and ‘Seven male’. These two male leopards are mature and seem to be ruling the roost, using the river as their boundary line. The Seven male was also seen mating with the young Tingala female. Many trees are flowering now and the day length is longer with temperatures rising. The return of some migratory birds, for example the Wahlberg’s eagle, and the sign of rain that sprinkled us lightly in passing, shows summer is on the way.
Download the full wildlife report here: Sinita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report September 2014
- Average minimum 15.1°C (59.1°F)
- Average maximum 30°C (86°F)
- Minimum recorded 9°C (48.2°F)
- Maximum recorded 38°C (100.4°F)
- For the period: 1.5 mm
- For the year to date: 263.5 mm
Life goals Article by Ross Couper
It was a hot afternoon and we had been exploring the western sections along the river, in search of an elusive leopard. From a distance we could see an elephant cow, strangely on her own, and from our elevated point we scanned across and saw that she was circling a particular area. We went around the corner en route to the elephant cow to see what was causing her to move backwards and forwards in the road. It was a sighting that we did not expect. A young elephant calf was trailing behind the female but it was evident that there was something wrong. The young calf showed signs of poor development, possibly as a result of premature birth, deformity or an injury during birth.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report September 2014
- Average minimum 13.4˚C (55.1˚F)
- Average maximum 29.8˚C (85.6˚F)
- Minimum recorded 9.0˚C (48.2˚F)
- Maximum recorded 37.0˚C (98.6˚F)
- For the period: 3 mm
- For the year to date: 857,5 mm
Crackerjack sightings are the bonus of the hot dry weather we’re experiencing. Some of the highlights that have had our safari-goers on the edge of their seats include a mother cheetah with her three young cubs, a majestic herd of sable quenching their thirst, about fifty normally evasive eland mingling at a pan with buffaloes and hartebeest as well as a caracal darting for cover. On the water a split second sighting of a young otter caused much excitement, as did the female leopard that guests spotted relaxing on the banks of the dam. Thanks to the short dry grass, guided walks in the wild have been possible, and these are always a revelation.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report September 2014
- Average minimum 17,1°C (62,7°F)
- Average maximum 31,3°C (88,3°F)
- Minimum recorded 12,1°C (53,7°F)
- Maximum recorded 38,7°C (101,6°F)
- For the month: 2,4 mm
- For the year to date: 502,6 mm
If August was ‘big zebra’ month, September must go down as ‘big cat’ month. Guests witnessed several hunts and kills, and then more leopard hoists were located than normal, so most of this month’s report will be based on feline viewing on the concession. September also saw thousands of wildebeest moving through the concession, mostly in a south and westerly direction into the Serengeti National Park, and then many of the very large zebra herds have started giving way to the resident species.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report September 2014
- Average maximum 33°C
- Average minimum 14.9 °C
- Average wind speed 0.5 m/s
- Sasakwa 115.2
- Sabora 55.5
- Faru Faru 60.5
- Samaki 97.0
- Risiriba 35.0
This month our guests have been delighted by safari walks, game approaches on foot, sit-ins at our photographic hides, excellent fishing, sundowner boat cruises, visits to our cavernous galleries of ancient rock paintings, Kambako Bushcraft Museum and the spectacularly colourful, oxide-rich sandstone strata of Chilojo Cliffs. Wildlife highlights include 30 elephants in a breeding herd, drinking, feeding and bathing at the edge of Malilangwe Dam. While the guests and guide cruised past in the boat one particular elephant bull did quite the circus display – he gave a small but vocal charge ending with him stopping near the boat and standing straight up on his two hind legs with his trunk stretched high! We’ve spotted a female leopard perched high in a tree, a pride of seven lions drinking and snoozing at Banyini Pan – one lioness had tangled with a porcupine as she had tell-tale broken quills sticking into her face and chest. A herd of 300 buffaloes congregated for their daily drink, sightings of black and white rhinos have been excellent as always, but the best news of the month by far is that the pack of 13 wild dogs that have been denning close to the lodge have introduced their ELEVEN pups to the game drives! We’d not seen the pups up until now, but since they are just big enough to start exploring and joining the adults on hunting forays we’ve had some joyous sightings of them in the last week – they’ve even started playing around and coming up close to investigate the game viewing vehicles!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report August 2014
- Average minimum 14,1˚C (57,3˚F)
- Average maximum 29,1˚C (84,3˚F)
- Minimum recorded 10,8˚C (49,6˚F)
- Maximum recorded 36,2˚C (97,1˚F)
- For the month: 1,4 mm
- For the year to date: 500,2 mm
Early morning bliss Article by Ross Couper
Every morning starts with hot coffee whilst feeling the cool air on your face as you stand on the deck awaiting the glow across the horizon. The winter light illuminates the tops of the trees and slowly makes its way down to the ground. We depart after ensuring everyone is snuggled up warmly with a hot water bottle on his or her lap, the extra touch that makes the early morning even better. The dust swirls behind our Land Rover and the early morning light glistens across the grass seedpods stretched at the end of the stalks.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report July 2014
- Average minimum 6.2˚C (43.1˚F)
- Average maximum 22.6˚C (72.6˚F)
- Minimum recorded 0.0˚C (32.0˚F)
- Maximum recorded 30.0˚C (86.0˚F)
- For the period: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 851 mm