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
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
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
February was marked by a larger than expected amount of rain. Hard and heavy evening downpours took place two or three times a week, cooling down the temperature in one of the typically warmest months of the year. The Nyati Plains was the place to be as hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of topi and zebra spread across the expanse for kilometres, with small pockets of eland and gazelle dotted amongst them. The 32-strong Butamtam Pride of lions was also quick to figure out that this was where the food was and they made the Nyati area their home, dispersed among different locations in their respective immediate family groups.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report February 2015
- Average minimum 32.1 °C
- Average maximum 17.6 °C/li>
- Average wind speed .26 m/s
- Sasakwa 122.6 mm
- Sabora 74.5 mm
- Faru Faru 65 mm
- Samaki 33 mm
- Risiriba 152 mm
We are fortunate enough to have a small garden where we live behind the lodge, and in the garden we have a bird bath which we ensure is full daily. This bird bath is a hive of activity at different times of the day. At any time of day we get birds coming to drink and bathe and either the family of vervet monkeys or a female Nyala and her young come to drink. Every day is different and sometimes the times change too. On this particular day I noticed a female Ashy flycatcher swoop down into the water, which was pretty low as it had been a busy morning at the bird bath. She looked around to scan for any danger that may be present, had a quick dip herself and then all of a sudden she was joined by three young flycatchers. What a treat to see three young flycatchers as this particular species is parasitized by Cuckoos, in particular Klaas’s cuckoo.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report February 2015
- Average minimum 20.8˚C (69.4˚F)
- Average maximum 36.6˚C (97.8˚F)
- Minimum recorded 14˚C (57.2˚F)
- Maximum recorded 41˚C (105.80˚F)
- For the month : 40 mm
- For the year to date: 335 mm
The short rains of November and December tapered at Singita Grumeti at the beginning of January. The grass, which was sufficiently watered, grew under the sun’s heat and by the middle of the month the concession was covered in long grass. Long grass will continue to dominate the landscape here until the migration passes through Singita Grumeti in about five months’ time. The first month of the year was definitely a month of new beginnings as new members were added to our wildlife family.
The Butamtam Pride keeps growing (see our November 2014 Report) and we spotted more new pride members at the beginning of January. One of the older pride lionesses, aptly named “Scar” by our team, due to the prominent scar on her front right shoulder, was seen this month with four cubs that are about six weeks old.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife report January 2015
- Average maximum 29.9 °C
- Average minimum 17.2 °C
- Average wind speed 0.2 m/s
- Sasakwa 41.1 mm
- Sabora 15.0 mm
- Faru Faru 20.2 mm
- Samaki 66.0 mm
- Risiriba 86.0 mm
Lion roaring Article by Francois Fourie
It’s a sound that can be heard from kilometres away and one of the greatest things of living in the bush. Sitting around a fire with friends and hearing the roar of a male lion from afar calling to his brothers…A lion’s roar is not only used for the purpose of making contact with their pride members but it is also done to announce his presence in his territory and to make sure that any other potential intruders stay away. It truly is one of the most special experiences sitting with a male lion only 10 metres away and he starts roaring. That feeling is one that you can’t put into words… even more so when it is a pitch dark night with only starlight above and he starts to roar… your whole body can feel the vibrations of the roar right to your very core! Once you’ve heard Africa’s biggest cat roar then you can truly understand why people call this magnificent animal the “King” of the jungle!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report January 2015
- Average minimum 18.8˚C (65.8˚F)
- Average maximum 33˚C (91.4˚F)
- Minimum recorded 16˚C (60.8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 41˚C (105.80˚F)
- For the period: 13 mm
- For the year to date: 13 mm
Bitten off more than they can chew…
The Shishangaan male lions brought down a fully-grown female giraffe in the middle of the month. They seem to have perfected a hunting technique of late, with it being their third giraffe kill in as many months. The biology of a giraffe is an interesting bit of evolution. With a giraffe’s build being as elongated as it is, it needs an extremely large heart to pump the necessary blood all the way up the long neck. If you compare it to adult humans our hearts weigh about three kilograms, but an adult giraffe’s weighs in excess of 12 kg! What the lions seem to have learnt is that the height of the giraffe is its biggest defence, and the normal way of getting around the throat or back of the neck is simply not possible. Instead they use a technique that involves chasing a giraffe into a rocky or uneven area, in the hope of it losing its footing or eventually colliding with a small tree.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park January 2015
- Average minimum 20.1°C (68.1°F)
- Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
- Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 37°C (98.6°F)
- For the period: 33.5 mm
- For the year to date: 33.5 mm
The first good rains of the season started mid-month, with great downpours of 75 mm in some areas. Sparks of green now flash throughout the landscape, pastel pink crinum lilies bend like ballerinas above the ground, cicada insects play raucous crashing cymbal sounds and a band of woodland kingfishers have arrived with a fanfare of trills and showy displays. There have been many sighting highlights in the month, such as a pack of 25 wild dogs fighting with a clan of nine hyenas; five lions and two cubs at a kill; three bull elephants lying down fast asleep in a drainage system; three jackal puppies pouncing about in front of the Land Cruiser, trying to catch some flying ants that were attracted to the headlights; a big herd of at least 500 buffalo plus ten hartebeest and 12 sable antelope; two hyenas scouting for a leopard’s kill that the leopard had stowed in a safe rocky crevice; a crowned eagle calling out for its partner; a leopard draped peacefully over a termite mound and six Lichtenstein hartebeest feeding on lush new grass shoots.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report Nov 2014
- Average minimum 21,2°C (70,1°F)
- Average maximum 33,6°C (92,4°F)
- Minimum recorded 15,0°C (59,0°F)
- Maximum recorded 41,2°C (106,1°F)
- For the month: 129,4 mm
- For the year to date: 643,6 mm
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