Cub update on the concession Article & photos by Nick du Plessis
The wet summer months are always times associated with young animals, with major factors like food and water being plentiful then. With our current dry season it’s proved quite the opposite – the permanent water sources have been a great place to find predator and prey species, and cubs in particular are being seen on most days. What has been extra special is the amount of cubs seen of so many different species. Exciting, from our point of view, is how calm the mothers have been with our presence. Without trying to push the situation and viewing as sensitively as we can, we would like to spend as much time as possible with these little cubs.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report June 2014
- Average minimum 10.2°C (50.3°F)
- Average maximum 27°C (80.6°F)
- Minimum recorded 5°C (41°F)
- Maximum recorded 32°C (89.6°F)
- For the period: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 262 mm
Elephants in the mist
It’s nippy in the mornings now, but the advantages of ‘layering up’ warmly and leaving early mean you see the dewy landscape in the softest pastel tones of dawn. On a couple of mornings there’s been a low-lying layer of mist that makes everything eerie and mysterious, but oh so beautiful when an animal appears from the shrouds.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report June 2014
- Average minimum 12,5°C (54,5°F)
- Average maximum 26,4°C (79,5°F)
- Minimum recorded 7,6°C (45,6°F)
- Maximum recorded 33,3°C (91,9°F)
- For the month: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 498,2 mm
May at Singita Grumeti was flanked in contradictions and unpredictability. The month began amidst a very dry rainy season, and another seasonal phenomenon was reaching our 350 000 acre property’s doorstep more than a month earlier than it was ‘supposed’ to: We weren’t expecting you yet Meugh… meeuughhh… that inevitable sound that can only mean one thing – the Serengeti Great Migration has arrived at Singita Grumeti. Except it wasn’t June yet. It wasn’t mid-June yet. Mid-June would be in six weeks time! The 2014 ‘long rains’ saw little rain at Singita Grumeti, but while our location in the north-western Serengeti had very little rain, the central Serengeti saw almost none. The result of the lack of rain was a lack of suitable grasses, and when the wildebeest left Ndutu in the southern Serengeti at the end of March, the 80 kilometre migration to Singita Grumeti, which usually takes about two and half to three months, took only one month. By the 1st of May, our Ikorongo Game Reserve was full of at least 50 000 wildebeest. Within the next two days, wildebeest in the hundreds of thousands engulfed Singita Grumeti. The great migration had arrived.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report May 2014
- Average minimum 32.8 °C
- Average maximum 14.2 °C
- Average wind speed 0.4 m/s
- Sasakwa 32.4
- Sabora 104
- Faru Faru 37
- Samaki 144
- Risiriba 58
Short tail but a beautiful face
The bateleur eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) is arguably the most beautiful and definitely the most colourful bird of prey in our area. Its name has a variety of meanings – the common name bateleur refers to its swaying flight pattern. Bateleur in French refers to either a ‘tight rope walker’ or the ‘figurehead’ which could be found swaying
in front of a ship. Terathopius ecaudatus is the Latin name and directly translated means ‘a short tail but a beautiful face’, again referring to its beauty but also its lack of tail length. Its short tail helps it to fly as aerodynamically and efficiently as possible while gliding.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report May 2014
- Average minimum 28.0°C (82.4°F)
- Average maximum 12.9°C (55.2°F)
- Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50.0°F)
- Maximum recorded 31.0°C (87.8°F)
- For the period: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 262 mm
The most exciting news of the month is that a pack of wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) has chosen to den right in the middle of our property, close to the lodge. While we don’t want to disturb them at their den-site somewhere up in the hills, we are seeing them frequently at dawn and dusk when they hunt. They use the road system and trot out together, before ‘shot-gunning’ in different directions to scatter a herd of impala and hunt them. More predator highlights are that a lioness has two cubs stowed away, and a cheetah has been seen with four small cubs in tow. Rhino sightings are excellent as always, and for the past few weeks a herd of elephants has had a regular midday swim and water sports in nearby Sosigi Dam.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report May 2014
- Average minimum 14,7°C (58,4°F)
- Average maximum 27,5°C (81,5°F)
- Minimum recorded 11,1°C (51,9°F)
- Maximum recorded 32,1°C (89,7°F)
- For the month: 14,8 mm
- For the year to date: 498,2 mm
A babysitter was around, but not engaging with the two hyena cubs in its charge. The rest of the clan hadn’t returned from the night’s hunting and scavenging, bearing a bone or scraps, full of compelling unknown smells, whooping their return calls or performing the greeting ritual, and as a result the two cubs were thoroughly bored – as bored as only two mischievous hyena cubs can be…It was a little chilly, dew clung to the leaves and the sun was slow in getting up for the day. The scene was set for one of the most memorable mornings I’ve had at a den-site.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report April 2014
- Average minimum 18,3°C (64,9°F)
- Average maximum 28,4°C (83,2°F)
- Minimum recorded 15,6°C (60,0°F)
- Maximum recorded 33,9°C (93,0°F)
- For the month: 12,4 mm
- For the year to date: 483,4 mm
Seasonal changes Article by Ross Couper.
After living in the bush for several years, you start to see the subtlest of seasonal changes in the vegetation. I am always waiting in anticipation to see the metamorphoses as it engulfs the bush with a blanket of change and, if you look closely, you will notice that the changes are very evident when pointed out. These small details are often included in the game drives but are brought to the fore during the guided walking safaris. Yesterday I parked my safari vehicle in the shade, waiting for it to be filled with fuel, and when I returned an hour later it was filled with dried leaves. This was an indication that autumn was advancing. The endless bird calls in summer are always a clear indication of the summer season. As the season progressed through the rainy months, a few summer residents still fed on the last of the abundance of insects before their long return to North Africa or Europe. This week it was difficult to hear a woodland kingfisher call. We have seen a few of them but they’re a lot less abundant than they were and they are not calling as a territorial display anymore.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report March 2014
- Average minimum 17.6˚C (63.68˚F)
- Average maximum 28.4˚C (83.1˚F)
- Minimum recorded 8.0˚C (46.4˚F)
- Maximum recorded 34.8˚C (94.64˚F)
- For the period: 308 mm
- For the year to date: 847 mm
Cheetah Article by Enos Mngomezulu
The word ‘cheetah’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘chita’ meaning ‘spotted one’. The Singita concession has a good habitat for these elegant animals. They prefer to live in open grasslands, savannahs, dense vegetation and sometimes even in mountainous terrain. The openness of the grasslands and semi-desert areas better accommodate their style of hunting, which is running as opposed to stalking and pouncing. The best areas for viewing cheetahs here are Kori Clearing, which is a vast open area where we often see a large Kori bustard; around Golf Course Clearing which is another open area with short grass that resembles a golf course; Cassia Open Area which is an open area named after the sjambok pod tree – Cassia abbreviata; the N4 (named after the busiest highway in South Africa) is an open area near Gudzane Dam which, in winter, has clearly defined game trails to the water.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report March 2014
- Average minimum 20.5°C (68.9°F)
- Average maximum 32°C (89.6°F)
- Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)
- For the period: 92.5 mm
- For the year to date: 247 mm
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
- 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)
- For the period: 113,0 mm
- For the year to date: 471,0 mm
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
- 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)
- For the period: 126,0 mm
- For the year to date: 358,0 mm