Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report

First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Kruger National Park

October 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Buffalo: A breeding herd of around fifty buffalo have been seen regularly in the central region of the concession, moving to and from the eastern and western boundaries in search of water. A few bachelor herds have also been seen trailing behind the breeding herd or at rest near the last remaining water points.

Leopards: The N’wanetsi male has been seen on ten occasions this month. He spends most of his time along the riverine vegetation of the N’wanetsi River, waiting for animals to come down and drink at one of the last remaining pools just north of the lodges. The Xhikelengane female was seen regularly this month and spent most of her time on the western half of the concession. We had great views of her feeding on an impala carcass. The Mahlangulene female has been keeping a leopard-low profile, but guests enjoyed one sighting of her male cub mid-month.


Cheetahs: Cheetah sightings have been on the increase this month. Two sub-adult male cheetahs were seen on eight different occasions, using the central area as their new hunting ground. We were also thrilled and privileged to see a mother and four newborn cubs in the north-western part of our concession.


Elephants: The elephants have been concentrated along the N’wanetsi River feeding on the green riverine vegetation. This photo was taken of a young bull elephant scratching off dried mud from his rear end, to remove ticks and other ecto-parasites. The elephants can regularly be seen taking mud baths during the heat of the day to try and relieve them from the hot and dry conditions we’re experiencing.

Lions: The lion viewing has been spectacular! The Shishangaan females and youngsters have regularly been seen near the lodges. Their hunting efforts have been very successful and we often came across them feeding on animals that they managed to ambush near the water’s edge. The Shishangaan males have remained further north in the concession mating with the Mountain pride females. The Xhirombe pride was only seen on one occasion, in the east towards our boundary with Mozambique.

Hyenas: There’s a new spotted hyena den near camp. The (H6) clan members, including their cubs are extremely relaxed with vehicles and we are able to get great views of the young ones suckling and playing. The youngest cubs are still dark brown in colour and should start developing a spotted coat around four months of age. The Nyokene clan were seen regularly towards the beginning of the month. The Nyokene cubs are growing up quickly and becoming more inquisitive.


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


  • Average minimum: 19.2°C (66.8°F)
  • Average maximum: 32°C (89.6°F)
  • Minimum recorded: 17°C (62.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded: 40°C (104°F)


  • For the period: 17 mm
  • For the year to date: 147.5 mm

Singita Lamai

September 2015 - Lamai, Tanzania

Singita Mara River Tented Camp was at the epicentre of many of the rainstorms that passed through the area, and the grasses within close proximity to the camp became lush and thick. For days we had dense herds of the bearded ungulates grazing in and around the camp. It is truly an incredible experience to have in excess of 500 000 wildebeest blocking the camp road!


Read the full report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report September 2015

Singita Kruger National Park

September 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

As you can see from the above photo, the buffalo were as delighted as we were for the 33 mm of rain that fell this month! But enough about the weather – let’s get on with the great game-viewing summary for the month.

Buffalo: Before the rain we were seeing a large herd of approximately 700 buffalo kicking up dust in the north of the concession.

Leopards: The Tingala female was spotted a few times walking in and around the camp. We also had great views of the Mahlangulene female and her male cub toward the centre of the concession. The N’wanetsi male killed a bushbuck and a kudu a few hundred metres apart, and we saw him walking in between the two kills to feed. In general, we had great leopard viewing including sightings of the Chava male, and a few unknown individuals.

Cheetahs: A female cheetah and her cub have been seen on a few occasions this month in the central area of our concession. We were privileged to see them hunting and killing an impala during the first rains.

Hyenas: There were two new hyena cubs peeping out of a cave at the Nyokene den-site. Their older siblings are spending more time outside the den, venturing further away to investigate new sounds, sights and smells.

Elephants: We have had great views of elephants drinking and feeding at the river in front of Lebombo and Sweni lodges. The elephants have enjoyed feeding on the different thorny species coming into new leaf.
On a few occasions we have watched them digging in the dry riverbeds to find fresh water underground. Elephants prefer drinking fresh water and the coarse river sand acts as an excellent filter. Once the elephants have quenched their thirst and moved off, other species like baboon and impala can be seen drinking from the same holes the elephants dug.

Lions: Three males of the Shishangaan coalition spent the majority of the month towards the north of the concession mating with the females from the Mountain pride. We were paid a visit by the Xhirombe pride and watched them sleeping in the shade of a tree along the N’wanetsi river.


  • Average Minimum: 16.7°C (62°F)
  • Average Maximum: 28°C (82.4°F)
  • Minimum recorded: 12°C (53.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded: 38°C (100.4°F)


  • For the period: 33 mm
  • For the year to date: 130.5 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

September 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

As the first raindrop fell on the dry earth we breathed a sigh knowing that the heavy clouds would settle the dust and summer would start to show her bloom.  Every day after it was noticeable that the green buds of new life were forming and growing, and even guests commented that the area started to look a lot greener than when they first arrived a few days prior.  The early mornings were still cool for the first few weeks of September, but as the month progressed the fleece ponchos were being left behind along with the hot water bottles (fondly known as ‘bush babies’ that are placed on your lap to keep your hands warm during the winter months).  Departing on the early morning game drives whilst watching the sunrise over the horizon is definitely a highlight in the summer months.  There is often a game vehicle on a crest watching the sun come up as its occupants capture several memories before moving off to track lions or follow up on a hyena call in the distance as the early morning chorus of various bird species echoes along the valleys.


Leopards: The Hlabankunzi female and her cub have been viewed regularly in the vicinity of the lodges.  On two separate occasions we saw the Nyelethi male leopard accompanying them at carcasses.  One of the carcasses was a nyala bull, which was later hoisted by the Nyeleti male.  This was an impressive view of strength from a larger male leopard.

Buffaloes: There have been a few smaller herds of buffalo that have been moving around in the southern sections.  Various large herds of buffalo have been seen moving through the grasslands, in particular the areas that have been purposely burnt by our environmental team.  The green flush in the area has not only attracted the buffalo but also various other species such as zebra, wildebeest and impala.

Lions: During a few of the days in September there were three prominent prides being viewed during the morning and afternoon game drives.  It was quite exciting listening to the radio as the various guides called in the movements of the individual sightings.  Two of the Matimba male lions were also seen in close vicinity to where two Majingalane male lions were moving.  The guides set predications as to what may occur during the afternoon game drive. The large Matimba male lions retreated back to the southeast with the Majingalane males roaring behind them.  With all the hype of the large Matimba male lion coalition extending their territory west we had wondered if these two ‘gladiators’ would challenge the Majingalane male lions.

Hyena: A number of single hyenas have been seen in the area.  After watching the Mangheni pride kill a zebra, a clan of six was seen in the area.  Unfortunately due to the size of the pride, there was not much of the carcass remaining for the clan, however they were persistent to remain in the area until the lions departed.

Wild dogs: There have been very few wild dog sightings during this month.   A large pack has been reported to be active around a den area in the western section of Sabi Sand.  Hopefully within the next few weeks the wild dog pack would begin moving with the puppies.


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


  • Average maximum 26.6˚C (79.9˚F)
  • Average minimum 16.9˚C (64.4˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 34˚C (93.2˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 12◦C (53.6˚F)


  • Recorded for the month 52mm
  • Recorded for the year 169.8mm

Singita Pamushana

August 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

It’s dry, it’s hot, the sun is getting up earlier and going to bed later, so it’s an ideal time for safari and easy sightings at the sought-after permanent water sources. But with the grass being low and the trees leafless it is also the best time for walking safaris, and our guests have enjoyed many experiences on foot this month.

A snapshot of August’s activity is as follows:

 Wild dogs: The most fantastic news for the month is that the pack of 15 wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) introduced us to their dozen pups on 22 August! What a special occasion it was to see the healthy patchwork of youngsters romping about with the adults at a pan, and to know that our protected area has given rise to another 12 of these Endangered (IUCN Red List) predators. Guests landing at our property’s Lonestar airstrip had an awesome introduction to the reserve as they were driving to the lodge, by encountering the wild dog pack hunting and chasing impalas.

Lions: We’ve had excellent lion sightings, especially of two large males; a pride of three male lions, three lionesses and one cub; and a pride of two lionesses with four juveniles. Lions (Panthera leo) have recently been classified as
Vulnerable (IUCN Red List) as their overall population is inferred to have undergone a reduction of approximately 42% over the past 21 years. However, sample lion subpopulations increased by 11% in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as India, while an observed decline of 60% in sample subpopulations outside these countries is inferred for the remainder of the African range.

Leopards: Luck is on your side if you see a leopard, yet this month our guests enjoyed sightings of two leopards drinking at the river. Others who missed that sighting were thrilled to see a large male leopard stalking some baboons. And in a rather ridiculous situation guests witnessed a stare down standoff between two cheetahs sitting on a log and a leopard resting in the shade!

Cheetahs: We’ve had good cheetah sightings, particularly of the two territorial male cheetahs. They’ve entranced guests by seemingly posing in the most flattering late afternoon light and in all their bloody glory when feeding on an impala they’d just caught. There have been regular sightings of a mother cheetah and her now sub-adult cub. It wont be long now before this sub-adult female leaves her mother to find her own way in a solitary life.

Elephants: Once again – if you want to see elephants you only need go to where there’s water. There are some magnificent old bulls about at the moment, head-heavy with generous ivory.

Rhinos: Rhino sightings have been prolific, although it is more common to see white rhinos than black. An interesting sight was of a bull white rhino marking his territory.

Buffalo: There was a breathtaking sight of over 700 buffaloes drinking at our central pan. But the most gruesome sighting of the month
was when two buffalo bulls were fighting and one got his horns trapped in a dense thicket of branches. Then a hungry and opportunistic clan of hyenas arrived and started attacking him, while he was trapped. It was a truly gory scene when the hyenas gutted the buffalo alive. The bull kept fighting for his life for over an hour, trying to ward the hyenas off, while being disembowelled. He finally died after the horrific ordeal.

Hyenas: The day after the buffalo kill 18 hyenas were seen feeding on the carcass and bathing with bloated bellies in the nearby pan. At another hyena kill the cunning predators were seen stashing some excess meat by dropping it into knee-deep water. This kept the meat fresh, free of flies and protected from vultures. When the hyenas had the appetite to eat more, they would fish out the meat by putting their heads under water and locate their cache.

Plains game: We’ve had very good sightings of the ‘shyer’ plains game at this dry time – 15 sable antelope at the central pan, 15 Lichtenstein hartebeest at a pan in the east and a herd of eland were observed from our sunken photographic hide, as they drank from the water’s edge.

Birds: It’s a treat for us to have keen birders as guests, as we did this month, and the highlights were a pair of crowned eagles on a nest as well as three hamerkops, a great white egret, a grey heron and a fish eagle flying at low level and slow speed over the water, hunting for platana frogs coming to the surface to breath. (While this was going on we had a glimpse of a leopard drinking!) An early morning drive offered up a brown-backed honeyguide, green-winged pytilia, wren warblers, plus a big highlight – the African pied babbler.

Special sightings: Well, the special sighting of the month, without a shadow of a doubt, regardless of the fact that it was dead, goes to an aardvark! I have yet to see one, dead or alive, but one of our guides found the remains of one. There’ve been two sightings of a serval and also two sightings of a relaxed civet. Our guests were also lucky enough to get a quick glimpse of an African wildcat.

Photo hide: Our photo hide is the ideal way to closely observe and photograph animals without them seeing or being bothered by you. That’s if you can get inside it… One afternoon our plan was to spend a short while inside the hide but it was blocked by six lionesses as they slept and their cubs played about! Other guests come out dirtier than when they went in, after four elephant bulls sprayed them with mud through the small openings of the hide! By spending a few hours here guests, over the course of the month, saw Lichtenstein hartebeest, elephants, white rhinos, black rhinos, lions, giraffes, a duiker and many bird species.

Walks: It’s also the best time for walks and there’s no better way to take in some of the rock art sights on the reserve, especially if you pass an elephant or rhino on the way.

Fishing: Guests have had fun landing catfish, tigerfish and a few tilapias. Every now and then we’ll keep a tilapia and get our chef to prepare some battered fish bites and dips – there’s no better bar snack, especially if you caught it yourself!


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


  • Average minimum: 15,1˚C (59,1˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 09,3˚C (48,7˚F)
  • Average maximum: 28,9˚C (84,0˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 34,6˚C (94,2˚F)


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

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



  • 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)


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

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.

164 species recorded.


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



  • 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)


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

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…

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.

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.

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.

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


  • 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)


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


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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)


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

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