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.
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
- Average maximum 29.9 °C
- Average minimum 17.2 °C
- Average wind speed 0.2 m/s
- Sasakwa 41.1 mm
- Sabora 15.0 mm
- Faru Faru 20.2 mm
- Samaki 66.0 mm
- Risiriba 86.0 mm
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
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
- 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)
- For the period: 13 mm
- For the year to date: 13 mm
Bitten off more than they can chew…
The Shishangaan male lions brought down a fully-grown female giraffe in the middle of the month. They seem to have perfected a hunting technique of late, with it being their third giraffe kill in as many months. The biology of a giraffe is an interesting bit of evolution. With a giraffe’s build being as elongated as it is, it needs an extremely large heart to pump the necessary blood all the way up the long neck. If you compare it to adult humans our hearts weigh about three kilograms, but an adult giraffe’s weighs in excess of 12 kg! What the lions seem to have learnt is that the height of the giraffe is its biggest defence, and the normal way of getting around the throat or back of the neck is simply not possible. Instead they use a technique that involves chasing a giraffe into a rocky or uneven area, in the hope of it losing its footing or eventually colliding with a small tree.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park January 2015
- Average minimum 20.1°C (68.1°F)
- Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
- Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 37°C (98.6°F)
- For the period: 33.5 mm
- For the year to date: 33.5 mm
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