Welcome to the family (Photos by Ryan Schmitt)
The hills and plains surrounding Singita Serengeti House and Sasakwa Lodge comprise the territory of one of the main lion prides at Singita Grumeti, the Butamtam pride. The newest members of the pride were seen for the first time in March. There are six new cubs and their ages were about two months old at the end of the month. The six cubs are from two different lionesses, one the mother of two of the cubs and the other the mother of four. Two or more new sets of cubs being born into a pride concurrently are typical for lions. Groups of two or more females in a pride will come into oestrus and mate at the same time to ensure that they give birth at the same time. The reason for this is to provide added protection and benefit for the cubs. Lionesses leave the pride to give birth and don’t introduce the cubs to the pride until they are about two months old.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report March 2014
- Average maximum 34.9 °C
- Average minimum 16.2°C
- Average wind speed 0.3 m/s
- Sasakwa 140.3
- Sabora 146
- Faru Faru 89.7
- Samaki 341
- Risiriba 149
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
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
Senior Guide Joe spotted this big male lion while out near Faru Faru. He saw it walking along alone in the distance, and drove closer to get a better look. When he was at a good viewing distance from the large cat he noticed an unusual feature – the tufted black tip of this lion’s tail was missing. The Singita Grumeti guides know all the lions and the pride movements in the area, and seeing an unknown lion is rare, yet Joe had never seen this male before. Because he is a stranger to the area, it is hard to know the details of how he lost the tip of his tail. The most likely situation is that it was bitten off by another full grown male during a territorial dispute, but really, anything is possible, and we’ll never know the full tale of the tip of the tail.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlfie Report February 2014
- Average maximum 33.8
- Average minimum 15.3
- Average wind speed 0.2 m/s
- Sasakwa 80.4
- Sabora 45.5
- Faru Faru 49.5)
- Samaki 90
- Risiriba 49
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
Don’t be surprised on your journey from the airstrip to Mara River Tented Camp if you see a herd of elephants on the way. There is a group of resident bulls who spend most of their time along the banks of the Mara River and are often seen from the road about a half a kilometre from camp. The migration left the Lamai area at the end of November last year, so I was surprised when guide Adas Anthony showed me photos he took in January of wildebeest cows and their brand new calves, including one that had just been born mere minutes before he approached the sighting. Curious to know the reason for this unusual occurrence, I began asking him many questions. Had some of the migration still not passed through? Was there a break-away herd making their way south later than usual? Did the mothers stay behind because they knew they were going to have calves earlier?
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report January 2014
To whom do those spots belong?
With a slight chill still present and our minds flooded with the previous day’s sightings we are welcomed by the dawn chorus. It is early morning and the sun rays haven’t found their way to the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains. We are driving north in search of buffalo. We had been chatting away, still discussing that beautiful leopardess we saw, the Sticky Thorn female, and her whereabouts of the past week, when my attention is suddenly drawn elsewhere. The now well-known sign of his right hand that points backward to me in a slow rise makes me stop the vehicle very quickly. My tracker has spotted tracks and wants to have a closer look. Upon investigation we found a very large drag mark crossing the road. The possibility of it being an African rock python is quickly eliminated by the hair of an impala stuck on a branch and the leopardess track right next to it.
Territorially it has to be the Mahlangulene female. She’s killed an impala and dragged it to a safer place. We start to follow the drag mark in the vehicle, everyone on the edge of their seats. Because of the length of the grass following the trail proves difficult. Sitting in a patch of short grass there she is, licking her right paw as she grooms herself after dragging her well-earned meal to safety. We continue to try and find the impala carcass but she’s chosen such a good spot that not even our trained eyes can locate it.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report January 2014
- Average minimum 19.7°C (67.46°F)
- Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
- Minimum recorded 12°C (53.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)/li>
- For the period: 116.5 mm
- For the year to date: 116.5 mm