Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report


First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

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

 


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 851 mm

Singita Pamushana

July 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Isn’t this the most beautiful little bug you’ve ever seen? Valerie Makunungunu, our Pamushana Lodge Anchor, discovered this objet d’art while doing her routine morning
inspection of our brightly coloured and boldly patterned lodge. When she showed the rest of the lodge staff they thought she was playing a trick on them! Had she painted the intricate little patterns across its back? Had it walked across the cushions and curtains at Pamushana and mimicked the patterns? Upon further investigation we were able to identify it from an insect reference book and were delighted to find that it has the perfect name – it’s called a Picasso bug (Sphaerocoris annulus). They are found in quite a wide range of sub-Saharan Africa, but it’s a first for most of us on the property, and hopefully for you too.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report July 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 12,2°C (53,9°F)
  • Average maximum 25,9°C (78,6°F)
  • Minimum recorded 9,8°C (49,6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 34,2°C (93,5°F)

Rainfall

  • For the month: 0,6 mm
  • For the year to date: 498,8 mm

Singita Pamushana

March 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Spillage!

It happened on 21 March after a 13-year absence. A downpour of 51 mm in two hours made our full-to-thebrim dam spill its contents in the early afternoon. There was much excitement and celebration after all the will-it or-won’t-it anticipation, and to see the cascade of white water fill the Nyamasikana riverbed below filled our hearts with awe and gratitude. This little fellow looked very grateful that I didn’t tread on him – I’d been following in the footsteps – literally of one of our scouts as we tracked a black rhino, and as I was about to place my foot down in the disturbed soil I saw this smiley face peering at me. Contrary to popular belief many frogs and toads don’t live in and around permanent water. Some complete their entire lifecycle on land, while others migrate long distances to reach water during the breeding season. Those that live in suitable soil make burrows and construct tunnels by digging backwards into the soil. Another astonishing fact is that toads can live for 40 years!

Download the full wildlife report here:  Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report March 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 21,4°C (70,5°F)
  • Average maximum 31,2°C (88,1°F)
  • Minimum recorded 18,7°C (65,6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 35,2°C (95,3°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 113,0 mm
  • For the year to date: 471,0 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

February 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

What’s that funny face and smirk all about? It is something which most of us have seen before since it’s actually not all that uncommon to observe in most domestic house cats. You’ve possibly seen the expression, the one which is followed by an intense sniffing session. This upward lip curling and exposing of the front teeth and gums is a behaviour which is practiced by carnivores big and small, and even hoofed animals, and is generally a means of testing and analysing different scents. Scents can be checked for any number of reasons but are predominantly used to determine sexual condition or to investigate a newcomer within a territory. This is done through a specialised organ called the vomeronasal organ, more commonly known as the Jacobson’s organ. It is situated in the top palate and the grimace is in an attempt to ensure the scent reaches the organ in the roof of the mouth.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report February 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 20°C (68°F)
  • Average maximum 32°C (89.6°F)
  • Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 38 mm
  • For the year to date: 154.8 mm

Singita Pamushana

February 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

The kingdom of fungi

I can’t help it, so here goes: A mushroom walks into a bar and orders a drink. The barman says, “Sorry, we don’t serve mushrooms.” The mushroom replies, “Hey! What do you mean – I’m a fun guy!” But seriously, what is the difference between mushrooms and fungI? The simple answer is that mushrooms are the reproductive organs of certain types of fungi. Fungi, just like plants and animals, own a kingdom of classification all on their own. They are organisms such as moulds, mushrooms and yeasts that are totally different from plants and animals. In fact, they are a little closer on the scale to animals than plants because they don’t depend on photosynthesis to make their own food, and have to get their nourishment from other sources.

 

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report February 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 21,5°C (70,7°F)
  • Average maximum 30,5°C (86,9°F)
  • Minimum recorded 19,0°C (66,2°F)
  • Maximum recorded 34,1°C (93,3°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 126,0 mm
  • For the year to date: 358,0 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

December 2013 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

The colours of summer

I often get the question from guests about the best time of year to visit this wildlife haven. Far too often people are left with the impression that summer is not a good time because the vegetation is too thick to find any animals. Whilst there is an element of truth in that I can assure you that if you only ever visit during the dry season you are missing out on an explosion of colour and beauty. Summer in South Africa is the time of plenty. Thanks to a good rainfall, food is abundant and animals need not venture too far to find water. Many species such as Cape buffalo, impala and zebra give birth in this season. It makes sense as there’s enough food for the mothers to produce sufficient amounts of milk, and once the babies are weaned they will have no problem finding nutrient-rich food to eat.


Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlfie Report December 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 17.9˚C (64.4˚F)
  • Average maximum 28.0˚C (82.4˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 16.0˚C (60.8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 38.0˚C (100.4˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 270 mm
  • For the year to date: 417 mm

Singita Pamushana

December 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Festive season celebrations are in full swing and the heat is on! In southern Africa Christmas and New Year are best enjoyed around a pool where youngsters can play and splash in the cool water and the adults can take refuge in the shade. The sighting I’d like to tell you about reminded me of such a joyous summer jamboree and it was one of the highlights of my life. I was out scouting and had arrived at the deck overlooking Nduna Dam. Carrying my heavy camera gear up the path and arriving on the deck I was a bit disappointed that there were no animals to be seen. All the same I decided to sit there quietly for a while and see if anything would emerge from the green boundary and drink at the water’s edge. But as I sat there I became convinced that I could hear splashing coming from the other side of the steep rocky outcrop that juts into the
horse-shoe dam. I grabbed two lenses and began creeping up the side of the cliff. A steep ledge jutted above the area of the noise and I scrambled up it on my belly like a rather ungainly lizard.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report December 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 21,6°C (70,8°F)
  • Average maximum 32,8°C (91,4°F)
  • Minimum recorded 19,5°C (67,1°F))
  • Maximum recorded 41,5°C (106,7°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 172,4 mm
  • For the year to date: 629,2 mm)

Singita Grumeti

December 2013 - Grumeti, Tanzania

In our October Journal we covered what we were sure was the final time we would see the migration until their return in about June or July. The herds entered our property for about a week, then exited making their way back south. What we never predicted was that they would unexpectedly loop back around. At some point after they left us in October, the bulk of the herds turned back north. In late November, hundreds of thousands were in the northern Serengeti at our Singita Mara River Tented Camp (see our Singita Lamai: Mara River Tented Camp November Journal). By the first day of December they were back at Singita Grumeti again, on Sasakwa plains, Sabora plains, and continuing onto the plains West of Sabora Tented Camp. They soon covered the entire property spreading from Sabora to Sasakwa to Faru Faru and further. Usually in December the wildebeest should be nearing Ndutu in the southern Serengeti, some 85 kilometres south of Singita Grumeti. The best explanation for their postponed journey most likely has to do with the rains, which arrived later than usual in the southern half of the Serengeti and, in turn, delayed the growth of suitable grass for the wildebeest. The herds moved on by the middle of the month, but their time with us produced a variety of exciting spectacles – the stories follow…

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report December 2013


Singita Kruger National Park

October 2013 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

This is always an interesting time to be in the Kruger National Park, as it is a transitional period. The phenomenal thunderstorms that have rolled in have washed the dull colours of winter away, and refreshed the canvas with a lush carpet of green. Here and there between the green you can’t help but notice the vibrant blossoming flowers that have been spurred to bloom. One of these is the Scadoxus lily – these bright red fireworks are certainly one of the most unmistakable and striking wild flowers that can be found in the lowveld. This is a lily well known for its toxicity, hence the bright aposematic colouration. It was often used in the past for many traditional medicines to cure many ailments – including mental illness, colds and skin infections. The juice of the bulb is also commonly used further north in Africa as an arrow poison, which takes only minutes to be effective.

 

Download the full wildlife report here:  Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report October 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 16.0°C (60.8°F)
  • Average maximum 28.6°C (83.5°F)
  • Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50.0°F)
  • Maximum recorded 40.0°C (104.0°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 48.5 mm
  • For the year to date: 464.0 mm

Singita Pamushana

October 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

The news of the month is that the first rains have arrived, and even better news is that the forecasted weather patterns predict that we could receive more consistent rain over the next few months, rather than the ‘once-off deluge’ of last year. As part of a team-building exercise, and because all staff are ambassadors for conservation, those who work in the lodge were invited for a game drive – and what a game drive it turned out to be! One of our chefs returned with photos and stories of rock art that is so significant to see in its own context, tracks of various animals in the dust, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, waterbuck, hippos, elephants, and a sighting of the young female leopard who features in the ‘Cats and dogs’ story this month. On this occasion the staff spotted her cautiously walking through a relatively open area. Seconds later two golden bullets bore down on her – this time it was two male cheetahs who had seen her and given chase. She shimmied up a tree to outwit them, and stayed safely out of reach – even though the brothers ‘pretended’ to walk away nonchalantly in an effort to entice her down. Thank goodness this leopard is such a skilled climber – as you will see in the story that follows on page 12.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report October 2013

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 18,0˚C (64,4˚F)
  • Average maximum 31,2˚C (88,1˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 12,7˚C (54,8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 39,1˚C (102,3˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 15,4 mm
  • For the year to date: 387,4 mm

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