Glorious summer Article by Ross Couper
With our heightened lookout for young impalas over the last month, it’s been hard not to notice all the other young around at this time of the year. A friendly wager amongst the guides as to when this season’s first newborn impala would be seen had us all waiting in anticipation to spot a long-legged youngster and call it in over the radio. This year’s winner was Dylan – the lucky date was 4 November 2014. Lambing time has meant that impalas have had more human attention than usual during game drives, with very pregnant impalas moving off on their own and newborn lambs struggling to stand or wobbling on their stilt-like legs. There are lots of “ooohs” and “aaahs” being whispered during the game drives.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report November 2014
- Average minimum 18.2˚C (64.7˚F)
- Average maximum 33.1˚C (91.5˚F)
- Minimum recorded 11.0˚C (51.8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 41.0˚C (105.8˚F)
- For the period: 51 mm
- For the year to date: 110.5 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
Just like the three previous months, the first half of October was characterised by lots of game all over the concession. Large herds of migratory zebra continued to slowly move through the area, as well as pockets of a few thousand wildebeest. The migratory animals joined hundreds of topi on the Sabora Plains. The topi calving season that began in late September continued into October, and multitudes of tiny calves dotted the herds throughout the plains. In addition to all of the seasonal activity in October, a few guests were lucky enough to witness some really impressive sightings, many involving interspecies interactions, particularly among predators.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report October 2014
- Average maximum 32.9 °C
- Average minimum 15.8 °C
- Average wind speed 0.4 m/s
- Sasakwa 62.3 mm
- Sabora 94.5 mm
- Faru Faru 55 mm
- Samaki 121 mm
- Risiriba 128 mm
The fork-tailed drongo Article by Jon Morgan
While on safari at Singita, when viewing herbivores like impala, elephant, white rhino, buffalo and giraffe, you might notice the silhouette of a black bird with a deeply forked tail, perched on low branches near the animals. This is the same bird you can see dive-bombing majestic eagles and regal owls, causing them to duck and flinch as they get attacked. The bird is a very clever and cheeky species called the fork-tailed drongo (Dicrusus adsimilis). Perched on nearby branches and sometimes on the backs of herbivorous animals, it swoops down and catches insects flushed from the grass, as the animals walk. For the unfortunate insect it is the proverbial ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ situation. My tracker, Peter Ubisi, tells the story of the relationship between the cattle he herded as a small boy, and this bird. In Shangaan culture the young boys, aged ten to twelve, take their fathers’ cattle into the bush to graze grass all day long and then herd them back to the house before sunset so they can be safely locked away for the night in a fenced enclosure called a boma or kraal.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report October 2014
- Average minimum 15.6˚C (60.1˚F)
- Average maximum 30.6˚C (87.2˚F)
- Minimum recorded 11.0˚C (51.8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 41.0˚C (105.8˚F)
- For the period: 54 mm
- For the year to date: 59.5 mm
It’s an itchy scratchy time of year if you don’t have a good moisturizer but, as you’ll see from the photo above and the story further on, rhinos make a plan where they can. However, we did receive an early sprinkling of rain mid-month, about 10 mm, so that has brought some relief to all. We’ve been taking advantage of the dry short cropped
landscape by taking guests on walks and have had some excellent encounters with black and white rhinos.
An advantage of cruising aboard the Suncatcher is that animals don’t seem intimidated by our presence and on a couple of occasions this month guests have spotted a male leopard on the shore of Malilangwe Dam. We’ve also enjoyed a breeding herd of more than 30 elephants feeding, drinking and swimming, two black rhinos very close to the boat, hippos and lots of birds.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report Oct 2014
- Average minimum 18,3°C (64,9°F)
- Average maximum 31,7°C (89,0°F)
- Minimum recorded 14,6°C (58,2°F)
- Maximum recorded 41,4°C (106,5°F)
- For the month: 12,2 mm
- For the year to date: 514,8 mm
Life goals Article by Ross Couper
It was a hot afternoon and we had been exploring the western sections along the river, in search of an elusive leopard. From a distance we could see an elephant cow, strangely on her own, and from our elevated point we scanned across and saw that she was circling a particular area. We went around the corner en route to the elephant cow to see what was causing her to move backwards and forwards in the road. It was a sighting that we did not expect. A young elephant calf was trailing behind the female but it was evident that there was something wrong. The young calf showed signs of poor development, possibly as a result of premature birth, deformity or an injury during birth.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report September 2014
- Average minimum 13.4˚C (55.1˚F)
- Average maximum 29.8˚C (85.6˚F)
- Minimum recorded 9.0˚C (48.2˚F)
- Maximum recorded 37.0˚C (98.6˚F)
- For the period: 3 mm
- For the year to date: 857,5 mm
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
Introducing the N’wanetsi male Article & photos by Nick du Plessis
We try as best we can to identify all of the larger cats on the concession as individuals, it always adds an extra dimension to a safari and discussion on drive when you are introduced to the ‘story’ of an individual. It is amazing how often the questions, “How old is he?” and “Where do they come from?” are asked, and it is great to know some of the lineage and where a specific individual or pride may come from, where they were born, where their territorial boundaries lie and what their favourite prey species is and the hunting techniques they may use. All this is done by no means to name them as pets but rather for identification reasons and to keep track of these individuals as best we can from a behavioural and interaction point of view.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report August 2014
- Average minimum 11.6°C (52.8°F)
- Average maximum 27.0°C (80.6°F)
- Minimum recorded 07.0°C (44.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 33.0°C (91.4°F)
- For the period: 0 mm/li>
- For the year to date: 262 mm
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