Life goals Article by Ross Couper
It was a hot afternoon and we had been exploring the western sections along the river, in search of an elusive leopard. From a distance we could see an elephant cow, strangely on her own, and from our elevated point we scanned across and saw that she was circling a particular area. We went around the corner en route to the elephant cow to see what was causing her to move backwards and forwards in the road. It was a sighting that we did not expect. A young elephant calf was trailing behind the female but it was evident that there was something wrong. The young calf showed signs of poor development, possibly as a result of premature birth, deformity or an injury during birth.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report September 2014
- Average minimum 13.4˚C (55.1˚F)
- Average maximum 29.8˚C (85.6˚F)
- Minimum recorded 9.0˚C (48.2˚F)
- Maximum recorded 37.0˚C (98.6˚F)
- For the period: 3 mm
- For the year to date: 857,5 mm
Crackerjack sightings are the bonus of the hot dry weather we’re experiencing. Some of the highlights that have had our safari-goers on the edge of their seats include a mother cheetah with her three young cubs, a majestic herd of sable quenching their thirst, about fifty normally evasive eland mingling at a pan with buffaloes and hartebeest as well as a caracal darting for cover. On the water a split second sighting of a young otter caused much excitement, as did the female leopard that guests spotted relaxing on the banks of the dam. Thanks to the short dry grass, guided walks in the wild have been possible, and these are always a revelation.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report September 2014
- Average minimum 17,1°C (62,7°F)
- Average maximum 31,3°C (88,3°F)
- Minimum recorded 12,1°C (53,7°F)
- Maximum recorded 38,7°C (101,6°F)
- For the month: 2,4 mm
- For the year to date: 502,6 mm
The Great Migration arrived in Lamai at the end of June and the wildebeest were a continuous presence throughout July. August did not disappoint either as the herds remained in the general vicinity, crossing north and south and north again across the Mara River, in the surrounds of Singita Mara River Tented Camp. Guests enjoyed 12 dramatic crossings during the month. One particularly exciting crossing happened right in front of the camp, and lasted for over 20 minutes.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report August 2014
Isn’t this the most beautiful little bug you’ve ever seen? Valerie Makunungunu, our Pamushana Lodge Anchor, discovered this objet d’art while doing her routine morning
inspection of our brightly coloured and boldly patterned lodge. When she showed the rest of the lodge staff they thought she was playing a trick on them! Had she painted the intricate little patterns across its back? Had it walked across the cushions and curtains at Pamushana and mimicked the patterns? Upon further investigation we were able to identify it from an insect reference book and were delighted to find that it has the perfect name – it’s called a Picasso bug (Sphaerocoris annulus). They are found in quite a wide range of sub-Saharan Africa, but it’s a first for most of us on the property, and hopefully for you too.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report July 2014
- Average minimum 12,2°C (53,9°F)
- Average maximum 25,9°C (78,6°F)
- Minimum recorded 9,8°C (49,6°F)
- Maximum recorded 34,2°C (93,5°F)
- For the month: 0,6 mm
- For the year to date: 498,8 mm
Elephants in the mist
It’s nippy in the mornings now, but the advantages of ‘layering up’ warmly and leaving early mean you see the dewy landscape in the softest pastel tones of dawn. On a couple of mornings there’s been a low-lying layer of mist that makes everything eerie and mysterious, but oh so beautiful when an animal appears from the shrouds.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report June 2014
- Average minimum 12,5°C (54,5°F)
- Average maximum 26,4°C (79,5°F)
- Minimum recorded 7,6°C (45,6°F)
- Maximum recorded 33,3°C (91,9°F)
- For the month: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 498,2 mm
The most exciting news of the month is that a pack of wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) has chosen to den right in the middle of our property, close to the lodge. While we don’t want to disturb them at their den-site somewhere up in the hills, we are seeing them frequently at dawn and dusk when they hunt. They use the road system and trot out together, before ‘shot-gunning’ in different directions to scatter a herd of impala and hunt them. More predator highlights are that a lioness has two cubs stowed away, and a cheetah has been seen with four small cubs in tow. Rhino sightings are excellent as always, and for the past few weeks a herd of elephants has had a regular midday swim and water sports in nearby Sosigi Dam.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report May 2014
- Average minimum 14,7°C (58,4°F)
- Average maximum 27,5°C (81,5°F)
- Minimum recorded 11,1°C (51,9°F)
- Maximum recorded 32,1°C (89,7°F)
- For the month: 14,8 mm
- For the year to date: 498,2 mm
A babysitter was around, but not engaging with the two hyena cubs in its charge. The rest of the clan hadn’t returned from the night’s hunting and scavenging, bearing a bone or scraps, full of compelling unknown smells, whooping their return calls or performing the greeting ritual, and as a result the two cubs were thoroughly bored – as bored as only two mischievous hyena cubs can be…It was a little chilly, dew clung to the leaves and the sun was slow in getting up for the day. The scene was set for one of the most memorable mornings I’ve had at a den-site.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report April 2014
- Average minimum 18,3°C (64,9°F)
- Average maximum 28,4°C (83,2°F)
- Minimum recorded 15,6°C (60,0°F)
- Maximum recorded 33,9°C (93,0°F)
- For the month: 12,4 mm
- For the year to date: 483,4 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
It’s the month of baobabs fruiting, birds nesting, flowers advertising, insects pollinating, dung beetles rolling, frogs foaming, fungi blooming, sand grouse scuttling and woodland kingfishers whistling their piercing calls. We’ve had our best rains in decades and, as I write this, the Malilangwe Dam is 75 cm to spill. To describe the landscape as verdant would be an understatement – it looks more like a tropical rain forest of central Africa. Of course there’s nothing subtle, slight or gradual about our seasons in the Zimbabwean low veld - we’ve performed a quick wardrobe change from a bone-dry skimpy vest of vegetation to a drenched jungle green coat that ‘s resulted in herds of fat herbivores and flocks of brilliant birds. When it comes to game viewing I can assure you that the game is most certainly on! You may not see that many predators but it’s a time to slow down, look at the finer details, find peace and let it all soak in.
Download the full wildlife report here: SP Wildlife Report Jan 2014
- Average minimum 21,7°C (71,0°F)
- Average maximum 30,8°C (87,4°F))
- Minimum recorded 19,4°C (66,9°F)
- Maximum recorded 34,2°C (93,5°F)
- For the period: 231,4 mm
- For the year to date: 860,8 mm