As white as snow Article and photos by Nick du Plessis
On the 11th of July we had a sighting, that when it came over the radio, you could hardly believe your ears! Clement had found and called in members of the Shishangaan pride with cubs, but one of the cubs was just a little different. He is snow white! This happens due to a recessive gene that is carried by both parents. This may also give us a clue as to where the coalition of five males who took control of the Shishangaan pride late last year may have come from. The general perception is that the Timbavati section to the west of us and southern parts of the park is where this gene is most prevalent. What has got us so excited is the fact that both parents need to be carrying the gene for this to take place! Generally all the males within a coalition are related, and likewise with the lionesses stemming
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report July 2014
- Average minimum 8.7°C (47.6°F)
- Average maximum 25°C (77°F)
- Minimum recorded 04°C (39.2°F)
- Maximum recorded 29°C (84.2°F)
- For the period: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 262 mm
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
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
February in Lamai was characterised by breath-taking landscapes and open spaces teeming with wildlife. The amount of general game in the area was thriving, to be rivalled only by those months when the great migration is moving through. Two cheetahs set against a backdrop of seemingly never-ending plains, dotted with a few squiggly balanites trees: one of the many things about Lamai that is so quintessentially Africa. Plains are the perfect habitat for cheetahs, which need large expanses of flat ground to build up their speed. The one problem with the flat plains is the difficulty to get a good view of what’s going on, so cheetahs are often seen on top of termite mounds or fallen trees, getting a better look at things. The cheetahs at Singita Lamai are very lucky to have an excellent viewing point, given to them by none other than us humans – the Tanzania-Kenya border post. Senior Guide Saitoti was watching these two males relaxing under a tree when one decided to hop on the post and look for any available prey in the area. The agile cat jumped up and looked around, checking out the landscape.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report February 2014
Territorial expansion…? Article by Ross Couper
The last few weeks have been exciting to say the least, it has been action-packed for the month. The Mhangeni pride has been within the central sections of the property, periodically moving south and maintaining a permanent movement between the various drainages and successfully hunting game within these areas. This lasted for a period of almost two weeks. The central sections of the Singita property are currently the dividing line between the two major male lion coalitions, the Majingilane males in the south east and the Selati male coalition in the north west. Both coalitions have been seen over this boundary line on different intervals. Two of the Majingilane males ventured across the territorial boundary at the same time that it was reported that the Selati males were roaring. The sound of other males roaring instinctively caused the Majingilane males to start roaring as well, and within a few hours the remaining two males of the Majingilane coalition had joined forces, and were found in the early hours of the morning well into the Selati males’ territory.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report February 2014
- Average minimum 17.0˚C (62.6˚F)
- Average maximum 34.0˚C (93.2˚F)
- Minimum recorded 19.0˚C (66.2˚F)
- Maximum recorded 31.8˚C (89.2˚F))
- For the period: 65 mm
- For the year to date: 573 mm
The mother cheetah and her three sub-adult cubs, who have grown up at Singita Grumeti since first being spotted in August 2012, were mostly minding their business and lazily trying to hunt. The four would walk for a couple hundred metres and then lie down for a rest before getting up again. During one of their resting intervals a very agitated bird was annoyed at their presence and tried in vain to shoo them off. The four cheetahs didn’t even notice. The wattled lapwing spent about 10 minutes running towards them and chirping at the top of its lungs.
Lapwings are ground-nesters, and it is possible this one was trying to ward the cheetahs away from its eggs. In any case the cheetahs paid the brave bird’s presence no mind, and eventually the cheetahs and lapwing moved on.
Download the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report November 2013
In the October report we wrote that we were sure the last of the migratory herds were leaving the area, making their journey back south. It probably was the last of the herds, but what we didn’t consider was that they would prematurely turn around and come back!
In late November the Lamai area was once again flooded with hundreds of thousands of wildebeest. Normally by late November the wildebeest should be in the central Serengeti, about 100 kilometres south of Lamai, and en route to the short grass plains of Ndutu in the southern Serengeti where they calve.
Of course, like the weather, no one can ever 100% predict the Great Migration, and in fact the weather has everything to do with their return to Lamai.
The rains started later than usual this year, and the southern areas of the Serengeti were still rather dry. This explains the wildebeest’s return to the much more lush and green grasses of the Lamai triangle, where there was still a steady amount of rain.
If the excitement of their return wasn’t enough, guests were able to view a crossing of about 80 animals just 300 metres away from the camp!
Who knows what their next move will be?
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report November 2013
The Mara River is a water wonderland that dominates the Lamai triangle. The river and the small springs and tributaries that feed into it, provide generous access to water for the game living here, whether it be for drinking, cooling off or just having fun. The festival of life plays out on the seamless banks that stretch unhindered to the horizon, but every now and then the urge to cross the river is irresistible, and the drama reaches its zenith.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report October 2013
In the Wildlife Report for October 2012, Head Guide Ryan Schmitt remarked, “Whenever anyone asks me what I think the best time of year to visit Singita Grumeti is, my answer is always the same: There is no doubt in my mind, it is October.” Ryan has been here for six years, and once again October proved to be an impressive month.
In the Wildlife Report for July 2013 we spoke about the Sasakwa Dam hippo, who during his 5-year tenure living at the dam had loved and lost and found love again. This month the hippo’s life underwent a major change once more…
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report October 2013
- Average minimum 33.9 °C
- Average maximum 16.3 °C
- Average wind speed 0.7 m/s
- Sasakwa 15.1 mm
- Sabora 07.0 mm
- Faru Faru 15.0 mm
- Samaki 27.0 mm
- Risiriba 02.0 mm
Buffalo versus lion versus leopard
As guests were having afternoon snacks on the riverside deck before game drive, we noticed a male lion sleeping on the opposite side of the river. Then a large buffalo bull ambled into the scene. Next, all drama broke lose. Two more male lions appeared and they set off after the now terrified buffalo. To our astonishment, teacups in hand, the lions killed the buffalo right in front of Boulders Lodge, rooms 9 and 10. Unbelievable! For the next three days we had ring-side viewing. The lions did not bother moving much as they had food and water right there next to them. The only activity seemed to be within their ever-growing bellies filled with buffalo meat. On the first morning a male leopard, known as the Nyalethi male, crept in to view. While the lions were feeding he would keep a respectful distance, never showing himself to his far larger relatives. All he was waiting for was a window of opportunity for a potential free meal.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Journal September 2013
- Average minimum 13.3˚C (50.5˚F)
- Average maximum 28.8˚C (81.1˚F)
- Minimum recorded 07.0˚C (44.6˚F)
- Maximum recorded 39.0˚C (93.2˚F)
- For the period: 21 mm
- For the year to date: 985 mm