Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report

First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

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 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 Grumeti

July 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

Lions: As always we had good daily sightings of lions in July. Prides seen were the usual suspects: Sabora West pride, Ridge pride, and Butamtam pride. The Butamtam pride has extended its territory east to the Grumeti River, downstream of Faru Faru, but we are now left wondering where the Mkuyu pride, whose territory has always been this same area of the Grumeti River, moved to?

Six of the Butamtam sub-adult males are now over two years old. It is only a matter of time that their dominant male father(s) kick them out of the pride…

Leopard: Leopard sightings were steady this month, but the Tulia female and her two adorable cubs were not seen until the very end of the month.

Cheetah: Excellent cheetah sightings this month. The most seen of these spotted cats were a female with two young cubs, a female with two eight-month old cubs, and two adult brothers.

Wild Dogs: After some stellar sightings in June, the wild dogs were nowhere to be found in July. Word has it that they have been spending a lot of time in the Nyasirori area of the National Park, southwest of Sabora Camp.

Elephant: The month of July is the peak of the dry season here at Singita Grumeti reserves and, as expected, elephants could be found daily having a drink at the major water points on the property. The Sasakwa Dam and Grumeti River were the best ‘hot’ spots.


A cause for celebration! The migration of thousands of wildebeest arrived and stayed with us the entire month.

For all of June there was no sign of the migration, and it seemed like no one in the Serengeti knew where exactly the herds were. We were beginning to believe the wildebeest had passed the Singita Grumeti concession completely. Then, in the first week of July, the guides reported good herds of wildebeest south of the concession in the National Park. By the 10th of the month, wildebeest were filtering through from the south everywhere: crossing the Grumeti River around Faru Faru in the east, onto the Nyati Plains in the central areas, and onto the Sabora Plains and Nyasirori Areas in the west. Pretty soon the concession was covered with wildebeest. The gnus spread thick across the Sasakwa Plains as well as to the east and west.

At the end of July they began moving out in large lines, making their way north.


Read The full report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report July 2015


  • Average maximum: 30.9 °C (87.6 °F
  • Average minimum: 16.4 °C (61.5 °F)
  • Average wind speed: 6 m/s


  • Sasakwa : 63 mm
  • Sabora: 9 mm
  • Faru Faru: 15 mm
  • Samaki: 3 mm
  • Risiriba: 45 mm

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


  • 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

Singita Pamushana

January 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

It doesn’t rain – it pours! But then it clears a couple of hours later and you see extraordinary sights in sparkling light set against gunmetal grey skies. The grass is at its zenith this month, and invariably I think to myself, “Well, unless something is sauntering down the middle of the road I’m not going to spot it…” But, time and again that is exactly what happens – the animals use the road network more than ever because they don’t want unseen dangers sneaking up on them in the long grass and they don’t want to be disadvantaged by the grass obscuring their surroundings. The tiger fishing has been great, the day trips to Chilojo Cliffs in neighbouring Gonarezhou National Park most
enjoyable, and the ancient rock art on our reserve is always a highlight, but the wildlife highlights for the month include a lion and lioness ‘on honeymoon’, a herd of buffalo numbering close to 500, close encounters with black rhinos, the hyena den-site with new cubs, a pack of 23 wild dogs, two lionesses with five cubs, an adult hyena
that was wallowing at a waterhole and was chased away by a white rhino and her calf, as well as lots of excellent bird of prey activity such as a martial eagle and an African hawk-eagle hunting guinea fowl, gabar goshawks and lesser spotted eagles hunting queleas at the quelea colonies and sightings of tawny eagle s and secretary birds.

Download the full wildlife report here: SP Wildlife Report Jan 2015


  • Average minimum 21,9°C (71,4°F)
  • Average maximum 32,2°C (89,9°F)
  • Minimum recorded 19,5°C (67,1°F)
  • Maximum recorded 38,5°C (101,3°F)


  • For the month: 2,2 mm
  • For the year to date: 2,2 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

October 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

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

Singita Pamushana

September 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

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

Singita Grumeti

September 2014 - Grumeti, Tanzania

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

Singita Pamushana

August 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

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

Singita Sabi Sand

July 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

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

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