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
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
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
The best time to come on safari is… Article by Dylan Brandt
Right now! The Sabi Sand Wildtuin is a special piece of land perfectly placed for exceptional game viewing all year round. One often hears that the best time to come on safari is in the winter. The bush will be dry so spotting animals will be easier, true. There is perennial water on the property where elsewhere water is scarce and the animals are drawn to these parts, true. But what about summer and the ‘wetter’ season? To the west of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin lies the Drakensburg mountain range and it is this mountain range and the moist air blown over the warm Mozambique current off shore that creates an oasis below. When this moist air hits the mountain the air rises and condenses to form clouds, these clouds now full of moisture fall east of the mountains and release rain throughout the lowveld where we are, leaving much of the highveld a semi desert.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report January 2014
- Average minimum 18.0˚C (64.4˚F)
- Average maximum 30.0˚C (86.0˚F)
- Minimum recorded 12.0˚C (53.6˚F)
- Maximum recorded 39.0˚C (102.2˚F)
- For the period: 91 mm
- For the year to date: 508 mm
The slow steady winter has ended and summer has arrived in full force. With the long awaited dry season coming to end it’s a time of flourish, abundance, late afternoon rainstorms and the beauty that follows those dramatic storms. After a steady rainfall throughout the night I’m always eager to head out on morning game drive as it means the game paths will be a blank canvas with only fresh detailed tracks, and the distinctive smell of drenched bushveld earth will invigorate me.Easterly winds blow over the warm Agulhas current picking up moisture which will be carried across the east coast heading west. Rising up over the eastern mountains, they cool and form cumulus clouds and thunderstorms are prevalent in the interior of the country. Often this is where our summer rains originate. It is Nature’s way of starting anew. Even the spider webs glisten as the low light of the morning sun rises in the east and streams its golden goodness across the plains. Slowly everything starts to come alive. The earth gets drenched and this is an indicator for many to get started on breeding, feeding, burying and mating.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report November 2013
- Average minimum 15.2˚C (59.4˚F)
- Average maximum 28.4˚C (83.1˚F)
- Minimum recorded 09.0˚C (48.2˚F)
- Maximum recorded 37.0˚C (98.6˚F)
- For the period: 24 mm
- For the year to date: 146.5 mm
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
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
Although considered quite early we’ve had our first rains for the season. More than just settling the dust after a long dry winter it’s brought to life so many species that have been dormant for months. Trees have started blooming, frogs and cicadas have started calling and the most amazing birds have begun to return for our warm and colourful spring. It is now the start of baby season! So many species synchronize their breeding for this fruitful time of year. It simply comes down to good, lush feeding, which translates to the mothers producing very nutritious milk for the newborns.
World Rhino Day – five species forever
World Rhino Day was held for the fourth time on 22 September and celebrated all five species of rhino: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhino. World Rhino Day was first announced by WWF-South Africa in 2010. The following year, World Rhino Day grew into an international event and success story, encompassing both the African and Asian rhino species.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report September 2013
- Average minimum 16.0°C (60.8°F)
- Average maximum 30.3°C (86.5°F)
- Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50.0°F)
- Maximum recorded 38.0°C (100.4°F)
- For the period: 6 mm
- For the year to date: 415.5 mm