Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report


First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

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

 


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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.

Birds:
164 species recorded.

 

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

 


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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.

Lions:
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…

Cheetahs:
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.

Elephants:
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.

Rhinos:
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.

Buffalo:
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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

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

Singita Lamai

February 2015 - Lamai, Tanzania

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


Singita Grumeti

February 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 32.1 °C
  • Average maximum 17.6 °C/li>
  • Average wind speed .26 m/s

Rainfall

  • Sasakwa 122.6 mm
  • Sabora 74.5 mm
  • Faru Faru 65 mm
  • Samaki 33 mm
  • Risiriba 152 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

February 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Bird bath

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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • For the month : 40 mm
  • For the year to date: 335 mm

Singita Grumeti

January 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

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.

Adding up!

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


Temperatures

  • Average maximum 29.9 °C
  • Average minimum 17.2 °C
  • Average wind speed 0.2 m/s

Rainfall

  • Sasakwa 41.1 mm
  • Sabora 15.0 mm
  • Faru Faru 20.2 mm
  • Samaki 66.0 mm
  • Risiriba 86.0 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

January 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 13 mm
  • For the year to date: 13 mm

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