Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report

First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Lamai

September 2015 - Lamai, Tanzania

Singita Mara River Tented Camp was at the epicentre of many of the rainstorms that passed through the area, and the grasses within close proximity to the camp became lush and thick. For days we had dense herds of the bearded ungulates grazing in and around the camp. It is truly an incredible experience to have in excess of 500 000 wildebeest blocking the camp road!


Read the full report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report September 2015

Singita Pamushana

August 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

It’s dry, it’s hot, the sun is getting up earlier and going to bed later, so it’s an ideal time for safari and easy sightings at the sought-after permanent water sources. But with the grass being low and the trees leafless it is also the best time for walking safaris, and our guests have enjoyed many experiences on foot this month.

A snapshot of August’s activity is as follows:

 Wild dogs: The most fantastic news for the month is that the pack of 15 wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) introduced us to their dozen pups on 22 August! What a special occasion it was to see the healthy patchwork of youngsters romping about with the adults at a pan, and to know that our protected area has given rise to another 12 of these Endangered (IUCN Red List) predators. Guests landing at our property’s Lonestar airstrip had an awesome introduction to the reserve as they were driving to the lodge, by encountering the wild dog pack hunting and chasing impalas.

Lions: We’ve had excellent lion sightings, especially of two large males; a pride of three male lions, three lionesses and one cub; and a pride of two lionesses with four juveniles. Lions (Panthera leo) have recently been classified as
Vulnerable (IUCN Red List) as their overall population is inferred to have undergone a reduction of approximately 42% over the past 21 years. However, sample lion subpopulations increased by 11% in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as India, while an observed decline of 60% in sample subpopulations outside these countries is inferred for the remainder of the African range.

Leopards: Luck is on your side if you see a leopard, yet this month our guests enjoyed sightings of two leopards drinking at the river. Others who missed that sighting were thrilled to see a large male leopard stalking some baboons. And in a rather ridiculous situation guests witnessed a stare down standoff between two cheetahs sitting on a log and a leopard resting in the shade!

Cheetahs: We’ve had good cheetah sightings, particularly of the two territorial male cheetahs. They’ve entranced guests by seemingly posing in the most flattering late afternoon light and in all their bloody glory when feeding on an impala they’d just caught. There have been regular sightings of a mother cheetah and her now sub-adult cub. It wont be long now before this sub-adult female leaves her mother to find her own way in a solitary life.

Elephants: Once again – if you want to see elephants you only need go to where there’s water. There are some magnificent old bulls about at the moment, head-heavy with generous ivory.

Rhinos: Rhino sightings have been prolific, although it is more common to see white rhinos than black. An interesting sight was of a bull white rhino marking his territory.

Buffalo: There was a breathtaking sight of over 700 buffaloes drinking at our central pan. But the most gruesome sighting of the month
was when two buffalo bulls were fighting and one got his horns trapped in a dense thicket of branches. Then a hungry and opportunistic clan of hyenas arrived and started attacking him, while he was trapped. It was a truly gory scene when the hyenas gutted the buffalo alive. The bull kept fighting for his life for over an hour, trying to ward the hyenas off, while being disembowelled. He finally died after the horrific ordeal.

Hyenas: The day after the buffalo kill 18 hyenas were seen feeding on the carcass and bathing with bloated bellies in the nearby pan. At another hyena kill the cunning predators were seen stashing some excess meat by dropping it into knee-deep water. This kept the meat fresh, free of flies and protected from vultures. When the hyenas had the appetite to eat more, they would fish out the meat by putting their heads under water and locate their cache.

Plains game: We’ve had very good sightings of the ‘shyer’ plains game at this dry time – 15 sable antelope at the central pan, 15 Lichtenstein hartebeest at a pan in the east and a herd of eland were observed from our sunken photographic hide, as they drank from the water’s edge.

Birds: It’s a treat for us to have keen birders as guests, as we did this month, and the highlights were a pair of crowned eagles on a nest as well as three hamerkops, a great white egret, a grey heron and a fish eagle flying at low level and slow speed over the water, hunting for platana frogs coming to the surface to breath. (While this was going on we had a glimpse of a leopard drinking!) An early morning drive offered up a brown-backed honeyguide, green-winged pytilia, wren warblers, plus a big highlight – the African pied babbler.

Special sightings: Well, the special sighting of the month, without a shadow of a doubt, regardless of the fact that it was dead, goes to an aardvark! I have yet to see one, dead or alive, but one of our guides found the remains of one. There’ve been two sightings of a serval and also two sightings of a relaxed civet. Our guests were also lucky enough to get a quick glimpse of an African wildcat.

Photo hide: Our photo hide is the ideal way to closely observe and photograph animals without them seeing or being bothered by you. That’s if you can get inside it… One afternoon our plan was to spend a short while inside the hide but it was blocked by six lionesses as they slept and their cubs played about! Other guests come out dirtier than when they went in, after four elephant bulls sprayed them with mud through the small openings of the hide! By spending a few hours here guests, over the course of the month, saw Lichtenstein hartebeest, elephants, white rhinos, black rhinos, lions, giraffes, a duiker and many bird species.

Walks: It’s also the best time for walks and there’s no better way to take in some of the rock art sights on the reserve, especially if you pass an elephant or rhino on the way.

Fishing: Guests have had fun landing catfish, tigerfish and a few tilapias. Every now and then we’ll keep a tilapia and get our chef to prepare some battered fish bites and dips – there’s no better bar snack, especially if you caught it yourself!


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


  • Average minimum: 15,1˚C (59,1˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 09,3˚C (48,7˚F)
  • Average maximum: 28,9˚C (84,0˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 34,6˚C (94,2˚F)


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

Singita Lamai

July 2015 - Lamai, Tanzania

The month of July in the northern Serengeti finally saw the arrival of the immense herds of wildebeest for which the region is known at this time of year. As the plains of the central Serengeti and the western corridor slowly began to dry out, the herds mobilized north and began to filter into the Lamai Triangle.

By the middle of the month large herds emerged onto the plains north of the camp, and soon after guides and guests started witnessing herds crossing the Mara River. Many guests have been enthralled by the spectacle of thousands of wildebeest stumbling down the steep banks and crossing the treacherous river.

The wildebeest headed towards the Kogatende area. Crossings have been seen from the area of Crossing Point 6, close to the Kogatende Bridge, all the way down to Crossing Point 1, just a couple of kilometres north of the camp. As more and more animals arrive in the area, crossings become more frequent and more populous. Some guests were fortunate to witness up to three crossings on one game drive, sometimes in excess of 30 000 wildebeest at a time.


Read the full report hereSingita Lamai Wildlife Report July 2015:

Singita Sabi Sand

July 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

With four weeks until spring, it’s an exciting time of the year. The cold winter mornings will be turning into cool mornings with warm midday’s, well worth spending around your private plunge pool.

Lions: As usual the lions have been busy with movements in a very erratic pattern, particularly the Mhangene pride. They have been a very busy pride moving vast distances in search of the large herds of buffalo and have been fortunate enough to encounter a few old bull buffalos, which have sufficed them well. With the ever-growing pride members it’s tough to keep thirteen lions content with food.

Leopards:Hlabankunzi’s cub has been a real highlight this month. As he becomes more adventurous and confident, he is exploring his new world and making for some epic viewing. The male leopards Khashane and Nyeleti had a stand off for a few hours late one afternoon – we still are not sure “who won” but both have been seen since in prime condition, suggesting that nothing other than a reminder transpired of rules the roost!

Elephants: Elephants have dominated along the Sand River for most of the month and conditions are forecast to get even drier in the coming months, thus this trend will hopefully continue. A young elephant playing in the water and trying to determine the use of its trunk is so special to watch.

Buffalos: A large herd has been seen in the south moving in various directions around the available water sources, however the movements has been influenced by the movement of the lion pride.

Hyena: Two clans of hyenas were seen intimidating the Mhangene pride as they finishing the remains of a buffalo carcass. The commotion of the two clans was enough to annoy the lions and they soon became restless and moved away from the carcass towards Giraffe pan.

164 species recorded.


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



  • Average minimum: 13.3˚C (55.9˚F)
  • Average maximum: 24.3˚C (75.7˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 11.0˚C (51.8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 31.0˚C (87.8˚F)


  • For the month: 4 mm
  • For the year to date: 4 mm

Singita Grumeti

July 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

Lions: As always we had good daily sightings of lions in July. Prides seen were the usual suspects: Sabora West pride, Ridge pride, and Butamtam pride. The Butamtam pride has extended its territory east to the Grumeti River, downstream of Faru Faru, but we are now left wondering where the Mkuyu pride, whose territory has always been this same area of the Grumeti River, moved to?

Six of the Butamtam sub-adult males are now over two years old. It is only a matter of time that their dominant male father(s) kick them out of the pride…

Leopard: Leopard sightings were steady this month, but the Tulia female and her two adorable cubs were not seen until the very end of the month.

Cheetah: Excellent cheetah sightings this month. The most seen of these spotted cats were a female with two young cubs, a female with two eight-month old cubs, and two adult brothers.

Wild Dogs: After some stellar sightings in June, the wild dogs were nowhere to be found in July. Word has it that they have been spending a lot of time in the Nyasirori area of the National Park, southwest of Sabora Camp.

Elephant: The month of July is the peak of the dry season here at Singita Grumeti reserves and, as expected, elephants could be found daily having a drink at the major water points on the property. The Sasakwa Dam and Grumeti River were the best ‘hot’ spots.


A cause for celebration! The migration of thousands of wildebeest arrived and stayed with us the entire month.

For all of June there was no sign of the migration, and it seemed like no one in the Serengeti knew where exactly the herds were. We were beginning to believe the wildebeest had passed the Singita Grumeti concession completely. Then, in the first week of July, the guides reported good herds of wildebeest south of the concession in the National Park. By the 10th of the month, wildebeest were filtering through from the south everywhere: crossing the Grumeti River around Faru Faru in the east, onto the Nyati Plains in the central areas, and onto the Sabora Plains and Nyasirori Areas in the west. Pretty soon the concession was covered with wildebeest. The gnus spread thick across the Sasakwa Plains as well as to the east and west.

At the end of July they began moving out in large lines, making their way north.


Read The full report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report July 2015


  • Average maximum: 30.9 °C (87.6 °F
  • Average minimum: 16.4 °C (61.5 °F)
  • Average wind speed: 6 m/s


  • Sasakwa : 63 mm
  • Sabora: 9 mm
  • Faru Faru: 15 mm
  • Samaki: 3 mm
  • Risiriba: 45 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

March 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Spots and stripes Article and photos by Nick du Plessis

Leopards are well known for their adaptability, it is the social dynamic that arguably makes them the most successful and hence, widespread, of the large cats in Africa. What we mean by ‘adaptability’ is not only the different habitats they thrive in, but also the prey they hunt and the variety of that prey. Most species tend to ‘specialize,’ but what happens if the prey they concentrate on runs out or learns to evade them? Leopards have been recorded to prey on everything from birds, eggs, lizards and even fish if necessary, and have the capability of bringing down medium size antelopes if the chance exists. But for the first time in my career I saw a large male leopard feeding on a zebra foal. This is unique and just highlights the opportunistic nature of the animal. Why it’s unique is because zebras are renowned for fighting back – they will kick, bite, chop at and even stamp the predator if they need to, and leopards, being as solitary as they are, are notorious for never picking a fight they know they won’t win. If they do and get injured, they don’t have the safety net of a pride or clan to fall back on for survival.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report March 2015


  • Average minimum 18.9°C (66°F)
  • Average maximum 33.0°C (91.4°F)
  • Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50°F)
  • Maximum recorded 37.0°C (98.6°F)


  • For the period: 2 mm
  • For the year to date: 81.95 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 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

Singita Kruger National Park

October 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Busier than usual Article by Jani Lourens

So, after much talk from long-standing guides at Singita Lebombo about the large breeding herds of buffalo that move through the property, I have, at last, witnessed the arrival of a breeding herd estimated at more than 700. The landscape is a mix of burnt areas – charcoal and ash with earth exposed to the sun, different shades of brown everywhere, skeleton leadwoods and fellow grey trees. The only new foliage that has started to appear is on trees lining the N’wanetsi and Sweni Rivers and at Gudzane Dam, emulating a green snake twisting in a dying landscape. The wildlife is being tempted by this green snake as the animals anxiously wait out the dry heat for the coming summer rains to bring new life to the land.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report October 2014


  • Average minimum 15.4°C (59.1°F)
  • Average maximum 29°C (86°F)
  • Minimum recorded 11°C (48.2°F)
  • Maximum recorded 39°C (100.4°F)


  • For the period: 17 mm
  • For the year to date: 280.5 mm

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