Month of the lion Photos by Medison Samwell
June was indeed the month of the lion. Be it the Mkuyu pride, whose territory lies along the Grumeti River areas near Faru Faru, the Butamtam pride that patrols the whole of the central areas around Sasakwa, the Nyasirori and Sabora West prides that dominate the western plains where Sabora is located, or the many lesser known prides in Ikorongo in the east, guests were not short of lion sightings. In the 30 days of the month there were a total of 92 lion sightings, that’s an average of three different lion sightings every day at Singita Grumeti. On one particular day, at the beginning of the month, a total of 60 individual lions were seen!
Add new wildlife report: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report June 2014
- Average maximum 29.1 ºC
- Average minimum 15.4 ºC
- Average wind speed 0.4 m/s
- Sasakwa 69 mm
- Sabora 89 mm
- Faru Faru 22 mm
- Samaki 132 mm
- Risiriba 193 mm
May at Singita Grumeti was flanked in contradictions and unpredictability. The month began amidst a very dry rainy season, and another seasonal phenomenon was reaching our 350 000 acre property’s doorstep more than a month earlier than it was ‘supposed’ to: We weren’t expecting you yet Meugh… meeuughhh… that inevitable sound that can only mean one thing – the Serengeti Great Migration has arrived at Singita Grumeti. Except it wasn’t June yet. It wasn’t mid-June yet. Mid-June would be in six weeks time! The 2014 ‘long rains’ saw little rain at Singita Grumeti, but while our location in the north-western Serengeti had very little rain, the central Serengeti saw almost none. The result of the lack of rain was a lack of suitable grasses, and when the wildebeest left Ndutu in the southern Serengeti at the end of March, the 80 kilometre migration to Singita Grumeti, which usually takes about two and half to three months, took only one month. By the 1st of May, our Ikorongo Game Reserve was full of at least 50 000 wildebeest. Within the next two days, wildebeest in the hundreds of thousands engulfed Singita Grumeti. The great migration had arrived.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report May 2014
- Average minimum 32.8 °C
- Average maximum 14.2 °C
- Average wind speed 0.4 m/s
- Sasakwa 32.4
- Sabora 104
- Faru Faru 37
- Samaki 144
- Risiriba 58
The East African “long rains” that occur from the end of March through mid-May conjure up frightening images in many people’s minds: nonstop storms, thick mud, getting stuck in a safari vehicle for hours, torrential flooding, tiny African streams instantly transformed into raging rivers filled with crocodiles and hippos, landslides, as well as general destruction and devastation.
Those of us who live and work in East Africa, at Singita Grumeti in particular, have a completely different experience of the rainy season: lush green landscapes, refreshing afternoon storms that cool off the heat of the day, absolute clarity – being able to see for miles and miles across the Serengeti, revitalised active wildlife, few guests, and pretty much the perfect time of the year to go on safari.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report April 2014
- Average maximum 21.2˚C (70.1˚F)
- Average minimum 16.1˚C (60.9˚F)
- Average wind speed 0.2 mps
- Sasakwa 245 mm
- Sabora 229 mm
- Faru Faru 161 mm
- Samaki 367 mm
- Risiriba 142 mm
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
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
January began with the usual large amounts of rain as the short rains continued into their last days, followed by lots of sunshine. The net result was a very beautiful green landscape at Singita Grumeti for the second half of the month with the grasses growing higher and higher, and for the first time in close to six months we did not have any migratory wildebeest herds in the area to mow it down. The lush long grass will be a mainstay with us, most likely until the return of the wildebeest sometime in June or July.
About six months to a year after the split of the Butamtam Pride, another of our local prides was showing
signs of a permanent division. The Nyasirori Pride had separated into two groups in the last four months. Three of the lionesses had cubs in the last quarter of 2013, and therefore the guides assumed it was a temporary split. Lionesses will spend a lot of time away from their pride from the time they are about to give birth until the cubs are about eight weeks old. When the cubs reach this coming of age, their mother will introduce them to the pride.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report January 2014
- Average maximum 33.7 °C
- Average minimum 16.2 °C
- Average wind speed 0.3 m/s
- Sasakwa 60.6 mm
- Sabora 36.5 mm
- Faru Faru 51 mm
- Samaki 321.5 mm
- Risiriba 183.0 mm
In our October Journal we covered what we were sure was the final time we would see the migration until their return in about June or July. The herds entered our property for about a week, then exited making their way back south. What we never predicted was that they would unexpectedly loop back around. At some point after they left us in October, the bulk of the herds turned back north. In late November, hundreds of thousands were in the northern Serengeti at our Singita Mara River Tented Camp (see our Singita Lamai: Mara River Tented Camp November Journal). By the first day of December they were back at Singita Grumeti again, on Sasakwa plains, Sabora plains, and continuing onto the plains West of Sabora Tented Camp. They soon covered the entire property spreading from Sabora to Sasakwa to Faru Faru and further. Usually in December the wildebeest should be nearing Ndutu in the southern Serengeti, some 85 kilometres south of Singita Grumeti. The best explanation for their postponed journey most likely has to do with the rains, which arrived later than usual in the southern half of the Serengeti and, in turn, delayed the growth of suitable grass for the wildebeest. The herds moved on by the middle of the month, but their time with us produced a variety of exciting spectacles – the stories follow…
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report December 2013
The mother cheetah and her three sub-adult cubs, who have grown up at Singita Grumeti since first being spotted in August 2012, were mostly minding their business and lazily trying to hunt. The four would walk for a couple hundred metres and then lie down for a rest before getting up again. During one of their resting intervals a very agitated bird was annoyed at their presence and tried in vain to shoo them off. The four cheetahs didn’t even notice. The wattled lapwing spent about 10 minutes running towards them and chirping at the top of its lungs.
Lapwings are ground-nesters, and it is possible this one was trying to ward the cheetahs away from its eggs. In any case the cheetahs paid the brave bird’s presence no mind, and eventually the cheetahs and lapwing moved on.
Download the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report November 2013
In the Wildlife Report for October 2012, Head Guide Ryan Schmitt remarked, “Whenever anyone asks me what I think the best time of year to visit Singita Grumeti is, my answer is always the same: There is no doubt in my mind, it is October.” Ryan has been here for six years, and once again October proved to be an impressive month.
In the Wildlife Report for July 2013 we spoke about the Sasakwa Dam hippo, who during his 5-year tenure living at the dam had loved and lost and found love again. This month the hippo’s life underwent a major change once more…
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report October 2013
- Average minimum 33.9 °C
- Average maximum 16.3 °C
- Average wind speed 0.7 m/s
- Sasakwa 15.1 mm
- Sabora 07.0 mm
- Faru Faru 15.0 mm
- Samaki 27.0 mm
- Risiriba 02.0 mm
The rains that finally came at the end of August after a long dry season continued to fall every few days in September. The burnt areas that were turning green became fully rejuvenated. The leading herds of the great migration slowly filtered back through the property, now heading south for the short grass plains of Ndutu where they will arrive around December/January to calve. Wildlife on Sasakwa Hill was the main theme of September. Herds of elephants and the Butamtam Pride of lions were seen on a regular basis throughout the month. It may not be the mighty Mara River, famed for the annual migration crossings where wildebeest and zebra risk being eaten by crocodiles or simply drowning from the strong currents (also the location of Singita’s Mara River Tented Camp), but don’t think sights at Grumeti are any less spectacular…
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report September 2013
- Average minimum 30.5ºC (86.9ºF)
- Average maximum 15.3ºC (59.5ºF)
- Average wind speed 0.5m/s
- Sasakwa 89.8mm
- Sabora 125.2mm
- Faru Faru 160.3mm
- Samaki 35mm
- Risiriba 72mm