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
This is always an interesting time to be in the Kruger National Park, as it is a transitional period. The phenomenal thunderstorms that have rolled in have washed the dull colours of winter away, and refreshed the canvas with a lush carpet of green. Here and there between the green you can’t help but notice the vibrant blossoming flowers that have been spurred to bloom. One of these is the Scadoxus lily – these bright red fireworks are certainly one of the most unmistakable and striking wild flowers that can be found in the lowveld. This is a lily well known for its toxicity, hence the bright aposematic colouration. It was often used in the past for many traditional medicines to cure many ailments – including mental illness, colds and skin infections. The juice of the bulb is also commonly used further north in Africa as an arrow poison, which takes only minutes to be effective.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report October 2013
- Average minimum 16.0°C (60.8°F)
- Average maximum 28.6°C (83.5°F)
- Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50.0°F)
- Maximum recorded 40.0°C (104.0°F)
- For the period: 48.5 mm
- For the year to date: 464.0 mm
If you’d like to see plentiful wildlife sightings and different species interacting on your safari, call a Singita Reservations Consultant right now and board the first plane bound for Africa! The bushveld is achingly dry, and while this doesn’t fit with a conventional view of beauty, it has a spartan allure all its own. While driving through a mopane woodland with their copper-gold leaves drifting down in front of their sooty black-grey bark you can see that it is exactly this vegetation and time of year that a leopard’s rosetted coat has evolved to in order to provide near-perfect concealment. The game is concentrated around the shallow water holes, and if you spend a good couple of hours at any of these you’ll see species that tolerate each other drinking together, while others seemingly wait their turn on the peripheries. Elephants can be the playground bullies barging in and hogging all the space unsharingly, while many predators bide their time nearby, waiting for plains game to take a life-sustaining or life-ending drink.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report September 2013
- Average minimum 17,2°C (62,9°F)
- Average maximum 32,7°C (90,8°F)
- Minimum recorded 11,8°C (53,2°F)
- Maximum recorded 42,3°C (108,1°F)
- For the period: 17,4 mm
- For the year to date: 372,0 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
It’s been a month of thrilling sightings, newborns and close encounters. First of all I want to tell you about the arrival of 17 wild dogs on our reserve. Seven adults and ten playful pups were seen at one of the pans. Guests enjoyed a thrilling afternoon watching the pack chasing elephants, wildebeest and hyenas! The season for wild dog denning has just finished and we suspect that this pack has arrived on our property via the south, from Gonarezhou National Park. We fervently hope they’ll make this their home for a while, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated with photos and stories if they do. Also vying for number one top sighting slot were the witnessed birth of a baby giraffe and the arrival of a baby boy black rhino. Weighing in at only 40 kg, and looking like a cartoon character, there can be few things more adorable than a rhino calf. (I do realise that I tend to say this about all young animals – but that’s just how it is!) Photos to follow next month, so please stay tuned…
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report August 2013
- Average minimum 15,4˚C (59,7˚F)
- Average maximum 28,5˚C (83,3˚F)
- Minimum recorded 11,0˚C (51,8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 35,9˚C (96,6˚F)
- For the period: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 354,6 mm)
Dry, dry, dry!
It seems like only yesterday when we were writing the April report with the theme: “Wet, wet, wet!” The month of July is the peak of the dry season at Singita Grumeti, but with the dry weather comes great game viewing. Because of the lack of rain, access to water diminishes and the game begins to concentrate itself around the many water holes, drainage lines and pans around the reserves. What is more fun than watching elephants swimming? We’ll give you the answer: NOTHING! Almost every day in July herds of elephants from various reaches of the reserve would congregate at Sasakwa Dam, which now has three permanent inhabitants… (more on that later.) After quenching their elephant-sized thirst (on average they drink 60 litres of water a day) they would enjoy a swim, playing and splashing around with one another.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report July 2013
- Average minimum 32.7 °C (90.8°F)
- Average maximum 13.3°C (55.9°F)
- Minimum recorded 0.0˚C (0˚F)
- Maximum recorded 0.0˚C (0˚F)
- Sasakwa 0
- Sabora 0
- Faru Faru 0
- Samaki 0
- Risiriba 18.0 mm
It’s been another great month of sightings – some fleeting, some enduring, but never guaranteed. Visuals that we can promise are the priceless time-honoured paintings that adorn some of the sandstone cave walls on Singita Pamushana’s Malilangwe Reserve. Malilangwe has had a long history of human occupation, from the early hunter-gatherers to the more recent agro-pastoralists. Each of these groups has left behind evidence of their presence and preservation of the San rock art and other sites of cultural interest is a conservation priority. In addition, Kambako Living Museum of Bushcraft has been set up on the border of the reserve to preserve the vanishing bushcraft skills of the local Shangaan people. A must for all guests is a visit to Kambako. You’re invited to glimpse the past and marvel at human ingenuity as this fascinating community takes you through their age-old solutions of hunting, forging spear heads, making fire, preparing food, crafting pottery and so much more…
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report June 2013
- Average minimum 11,6°C (52,8°F)
- Average maximum 26,8°C (80,2°F)
- Minimum recorded 08,7°C (47,6°F)
- Maximum recorded 32,7°C (90,8°F)
- For the period: 0.2 mm
- For the year to date: 354 mm
Cheetah numbers in Africa, Middle East and central parts of Asia have dropped dramatically from 100 000 animals at the start of the 20th century to about 7 500. In the Kruger National Park the population estimates are between 120 and 160 animals. If you get to see one or more you are really lucky, it is like finding the needle in a very large haystack. Raising cubs as a single mother is very difficult. The cubs have to be kept safe from all the other predators that will very easily and readily kill them. She also has to provide for all the hungry mouths and they are already eating meat at about six weeks old. Cheetahs do not do well with competition from other predators, often losing kills to lions and hyenas. They avoid any confrontation because they cannot risk injury to themselves as this could result in them being unable to hunt. Females give birth to between one and six cubs. The mother we’ve been so privileged to see managed to raise five cubs until they were about a year of age. She started to teach them to hunt at about four months by giving them live animals to play with, and at about six months they are making their own kills.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report June 2013
- Average minimum 9.7°C (49.5°F)
- Average maximum 27.5°C (81.4°F)
- Minimum recorded 0°C (32°F)
- Maximum recorded 31°C (87.8°F)
- For the period: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 398.5 mm
The arrival of The Great Migration on the 1st of June kicked off what would prove to be a very exciting month for viewing wildlife at Singita Grumeti. On the first day thousands of wildebeest began arriving from the southeast, making their way north and west. They surrounded Faru Faru Lodge and the Nyati plains, and after about ten days were spread across nearly all of Singita Grumeti, from Faru Faru Lodge in the east, to the central Sasakwa plains below Sasakwa Lodge, and all the way west past Sabora Tented Camp. They milled about grazing for about four or five days and then they began to move, forming never ending lines heading back east again and then north through Ikorongo. The bulk of the herds were gone by the 20th, although we still had plenty of stragglers moving through for the entirety of the month. After Ikorongo we expect them to pass through the Lobo area of the Serengeti, and then to the Kogatende and Lamai areas where Singita’s Mara River Tented Camp is located, with a front row view of the wildebeest crossing the crocodile-infested Mara River.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report June 2013
- Average minimum 32.8˚C (91.01˚F)
- Average maximum 12.0˚C (54.68˚F)
- Minimum recorded 0.0˚C (0.0˚F)
- Maximum recorded 0.0˚C (0.0˚F)
- Sasakwa 0.0
- Sabora 0.0
- Faru Faru 0.0
- Samaki 0.0
- Risiriba 26
Roadblocks and Traffic Jams
No matter where I went this month I got stuck in some sort of snarl-up – it seemed there was an obstruction around every bend. No warnings, no detours, no signs and no explanations – just gridlock. There were even random zebra crossings that appeared out of nowhere. There was nothing I could do about it, other than just sit and wait for it to pass. On a far more serious note – if time is on your side it is always a good idea to try every lens in your camera bag for a new perspective and a different technique.
The herd of elephants in the road gave me a great opportunity for some creative photography. The last photograph in this series is a close-up of the big bull elephant’s feet. He was blocking the road and making sure he stayed between his herd and us. I had enough time to use my 400mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter, make sure it was stabilized on a beanbag, take the speed down to 1/80th of a second, hold the focus on his forefoot and wait for him to take a step closer, so as to capture some movement in his stride.
I’m very pleased with the moody result of a swirl of shadows, a dragging trunk, gnarled toenails and the intimidating movement in his massive foot.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report May 2013
- Average minimum 12.8˚C (55.0˚F)
- Average maximum 27.9˚C (82.2˚F)
- Minimum recorded 10.9˚C (51.6˚F)
- Maximum recorded 33.5˚C (92.3˚F)
- For the period: 1.4 mm
- For the year to date: 353.8 mm