Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report

First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Sabi Sand

September 2015 - Sabi Sand,

As the first raindrop fell on the dry earth we breathed a sigh knowing that the heavy clouds would settle the dust and summer would start to show her bloom.  Every day after it was noticeable that the green buds of new life were forming and growing, and even guests commented that the area started to look a lot greener than when they first arrived a few days prior.  The early mornings were still cool for the first few weeks of September, but as the month progressed the fleece ponchos were being left behind along with the hot water bottles (fondly known as ‘bush babies’ that are placed on your lap to keep your hands warm during the winter months).  Departing on the early morning game drives whilst watching the sunrise over the horizon is definitely a highlight in the summer months.  There is often a game vehicle on a crest watching the sun come up as its occupants capture several memories before moving off to track lions or follow up on a hyena call in the distance as the early morning chorus of various bird species echoes along the valleys.


Leopards: The Hlabankunzi female and her cub have been viewed regularly in the vicinity of the lodges.  On two separate occasions we saw the Nyelethi male leopard accompanying them at carcasses.  One of the carcasses was a nyala bull, which was later hoisted by the Nyeleti male.  This was an impressive view of strength from a larger male leopard.

Buffaloes: There have been a few smaller herds of buffalo that have been moving around in the southern sections.  Various large herds of buffalo have been seen moving through the grasslands, in particular the areas that have been purposely burnt by our environmental team.  The green flush in the area has not only attracted the buffalo but also various other species such as zebra, wildebeest and impala.

Lions: During a few of the days in September there were three prominent prides being viewed during the morning and afternoon game drives.  It was quite exciting listening to the radio as the various guides called in the movements of the individual sightings.  Two of the Matimba male lions were also seen in close vicinity to where two Majingalane male lions were moving.  The guides set predications as to what may occur during the afternoon game drive. The large Matimba male lions retreated back to the southeast with the Majingalane males roaring behind them.  With all the hype of the large Matimba male lion coalition extending their territory west we had wondered if these two ‘gladiators’ would challenge the Majingalane male lions.

Hyena: A number of single hyenas have been seen in the area.  After watching the Mangheni pride kill a zebra, a clan of six was seen in the area.  Unfortunately due to the size of the pride, there was not much of the carcass remaining for the clan, however they were persistent to remain in the area until the lions departed.

Wild dogs: There have been very few wild dog sightings during this month.   A large pack has been reported to be active around a den area in the western section of Sabi Sand.  Hopefully within the next few weeks the wild dog pack would begin moving with the puppies.


Read the full report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report September 2015


  • Average maximum 26.6˚C (79.9˚F)
  • Average minimum 16.9˚C (64.4˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 34˚C (93.2˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 12◦C (53.6˚F)


  • Recorded for the month 52mm
  • Recorded for the year 169.8mm

Singita Kruger National Park

July 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

July brought mainly clear mornings, with some misty starts. The game drives tended to leave at around 07:00, returning mid-morning. Daytime temperatures took a while to warm up and, after sunset, we enjoyed amazing clear night skies and stargazing. This month we had what is known as a blue moon, when there are two full moons in one month. A full moon occurs roughly every 29,5 days, so it is rare but possible to have a full moon at the very beginning and end of one month. The next blue moon will only happen in January 2018!
Wildlife updates

Leopards: The Ndlovu male leopard was seen six times and stole an impala kill from the Xhikelengane female. He appeared to have an injury to his foot, but recovered towards the end of the month. The N’wanetsi male was seen five times, and is now completely relaxed with the vehicles. Tingala was seen twice, and the Xhikelengane female was seen on ten occasions. There were also three unknown leopards seen on the concession, one adult male establishing territory around the Sticky Thorn area, and then a young male and female are being seen in various places.

Lions: As the Shish pride cubs continue to grow, so do their appetites. They are taking down larger prey items such as zebra and giraffe. The white lion male cub, although sometimes looking a little scratched, is still doing well.

Cheetah: Seen most frequently in July were the ‘mother and one’. The cub is growing well and should learn to hunt when the next impala lambing season comes around in the first third of 2016.

Hyena: The hyena den is still very active, with the three cubs venturing towards the vehicles most afternoons. The female nursing the cubs is very relaxed and her cubs are likely to be the most relaxed generation of hyenas on the concession.

Elephants: Anywhere on the concession where there is water, there are elephants. The total number of sightings per drive can be around four different herds. Mid-morning at the water is generally the best, as they come down to drink. There are often very good interactions between the elephants and the crocodiles and hippos wishing to bask in the sun on the riverbanks.
A newly born elephant calf was seen, still finding its feet.

Buffalo:  A herd of roughly 40 is being seen fairly regularly, feeding in last year’s burnt areas and moving back and forth to water daily.

Read the full report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report July 2015



  • Average Minimum: 13.3°C (55.9°F)
  • Average Maximum: 26°C (78.8°F)
  • Minimum recorded: 11°C (51.8°F)
  • Maximum recorded: 32°C (89.6°F)


  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 97.5 mm
  • Sunrise: 06:40
  • Sunset: 17:30

Singita Pamushana

July 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

These winter months are the most popular for safari – and it’s no secret why… cold crisp mornings lead to warm sunny days, where the vegetation is dry and the wildlife is drawn to the sparse permanent water sources. But every now and then you’ll be startled out of the meditative monotony of the earthy colours by dazzling sabi star flowers or a flashy chafer beetle.

The lions are also feeling the cold. Four of them had curled up for warmth in the drainage tunnels beneath our main access road – it’s a little unnerving knowing you are driving ‘over’ four ferocious predators! The lion prides seem to have had a preference for buffalo meat this month – there have been quite a few kills. The two dominant males of the western section have been spending the last few days lounging about with full stomachs on the other side of the Chiredzi River. At one stage they were seen on the riverbank with three adult females and one young cub. Hopefully some new cubs are on the way as there was mating activity with one of the lionesses – we’ll have to wait for at least 110 days to be sure, as that’s the gestation period.
Wild dogs:
The pack, up to 14 of them at a time, are seen hunting regularly because they’re denning in the hills – but still no sign of the pups…

We’ve had good cheetah sightings this month – a couple have been seen hunting, and so has the female who has raised several litters – she’s easy to identify as she is missing the tip of her tail.

The elephant highlights for the month come from the bulls – we’ve seen magnificent tuskers drinking, feeding, resting, dusting and mud-bathing. They are calm when not in musth and during this calm phase we are able to enjoy long, close-up peaceful encounters with them.

Rhino viewing is what we’re renowned for. The highlight this month was when guests got to see black and white rhino bulls interacting, with six lions spectating in the background!
The eight black rhinos that we were able to donate to Botswana have settled and are doing well.

The breeding herds we’re seeing are slightly smaller because
they’ve split up to go in search of smaller pockets of pasture. That’s said guests and guides got a good dusting when a herd of about 300 Cape buffalo stampeded towards a pan for a drink!

Plains game:
The varieties of habitats here provide nourishment for a diversity of plains game. It’s not uncommon to see herds of sable, eland and Lichtenstein hartebeest, as we did this month. Far more abundant are impala, kudu and zebra. Here a family of kudu browse on bush that still retains some green foliage.

Special sightings:
Eliciting a chorus of compliments were a new-born giraffe, still with its umbilical cord attached, and a brand new zebra foal being nuzzled by its mother. Other special sightings were of an African wild cat, genets, a civet, a porcupine and a honey badger. An adult male leopard graced us with his presence, close to one of the safari vehicles, giving guests a chance to admire him.
On the feathered front were many good owl sightings while five racket-tailed rollers stole the show near Nduna Camp.


Read the full report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report July 2015


  • Average minimum: 14,3˚C (57,7˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 11,1˚C (51,9˚F)
  • Average maximum: 27,8˚C (82,0˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 34,4˚C (93,9˚F)


  • For the month: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 155,0 mm

Singita Grumeti

March 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

We expected this March to be much like years’ past.  Occupancies tend to drop slightly. Wildlife sightings are steady and there is a nice amount of general game. The first few showers of the long rains arrive, bringing cooler temperatures, a release from the heat of January and February. The views across the plains are a beautiful sight as patches of rain clouds mix with large spaces of clear blue skies across the Serengeti.

Overall, March at Singita Grumeti is peaceful and serene.

Mayhem. Incredible. Surprising. Spectacular. In March 2015 we were all thrown for a loop, and not just at Singita Grumeti. The entire Serengeti Community was left scratching their heads.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report March 2015


  • Average minimum 32.8 °C
  • Average maximum 18.5 °C
  • Average wind speed 0.5 m/s


  • Sasakwa 24.8 mm
  • Sabora 45 mm
  • Faru Faru 16 mm
  • Samaki 16 mm
  • Risiriba 32 mm

Singita Pamushana

March 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

This month’s highlights were 70 elephants marching along to a pan, accompanied by three white rhinos and two buffalo bulls. We were delighted to see the pack of wild dogs on the property again – on one occasion they were resting in the shade of the riverbed, being obstructed from drinking by two buffalo bulls. The young dogs enjoyed playing and calling while the buffalo seemed belligerent at best. Later in the month we had a thrilling sighting of a buffalo calf being hunted and killed by two lionesses and a lion. Less conspicuous was a young male leopard that we glimpsed at the airstrip when we where looking for two cheetah brothers that had been seen there that morning. Rounding off the ‘Magnificent 7′ highlights were three white rhinos that plodded along calmly grazing to within four metres of a guest-transfixed safari vehicle. Just as magnificent was watching a herd of rare Lichtenstein hartebeest and sable nibbling the drying out grasses.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report March 2015


  • Average minimum: 21,6°C (70,8°F)
  • Average maximum 33,6°C (92,4°F)
  • Minimum recorded 16,9°C (62,4°F)
  • Maximum recorded 38,7°C (101,6°F)


  • For the month: 7 mm
  • For the year to date: 121,5 mm

Singita Grumeti

January 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

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.

Adding up!

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

Singita Sabi Sand

January 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

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

Singita Pamushana

November 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

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

Singita Lamai

October 2014 - Lamai, Tanzania

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



Singita Grumeti

October 2014 - Grumeti, Tanzania

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

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