Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report

First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Kruger National Park

October 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Buffalo: A breeding herd of around fifty buffalo have been seen regularly in the central region of the concession, moving to and from the eastern and western boundaries in search of water. A few bachelor herds have also been seen trailing behind the breeding herd or at rest near the last remaining water points.

Leopards: The N’wanetsi male has been seen on ten occasions this month. He spends most of his time along the riverine vegetation of the N’wanetsi River, waiting for animals to come down and drink at one of the last remaining pools just north of the lodges. The Xhikelengane female was seen regularly this month and spent most of her time on the western half of the concession. We had great views of her feeding on an impala carcass. The Mahlangulene female has been keeping a leopard-low profile, but guests enjoyed one sighting of her male cub mid-month.


Cheetahs: Cheetah sightings have been on the increase this month. Two sub-adult male cheetahs were seen on eight different occasions, using the central area as their new hunting ground. We were also thrilled and privileged to see a mother and four newborn cubs in the north-western part of our concession.


Elephants: The elephants have been concentrated along the N’wanetsi River feeding on the green riverine vegetation. This photo was taken of a young bull elephant scratching off dried mud from his rear end, to remove ticks and other ecto-parasites. The elephants can regularly be seen taking mud baths during the heat of the day to try and relieve them from the hot and dry conditions we’re experiencing.

Lions: The lion viewing has been spectacular! The Shishangaan females and youngsters have regularly been seen near the lodges. Their hunting efforts have been very successful and we often came across them feeding on animals that they managed to ambush near the water’s edge. The Shishangaan males have remained further north in the concession mating with the Mountain pride females. The Xhirombe pride was only seen on one occasion, in the east towards our boundary with Mozambique.

Hyenas: There’s a new spotted hyena den near camp. The (H6) clan members, including their cubs are extremely relaxed with vehicles and we are able to get great views of the young ones suckling and playing. The youngest cubs are still dark brown in colour and should start developing a spotted coat around four months of age. The Nyokene clan were seen regularly towards the beginning of the month. The Nyokene cubs are growing up quickly and becoming more inquisitive.


Read the full report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report October 2015


  • Average minimum: 19.2°C (66.8°F)
  • Average maximum: 32°C (89.6°F)
  • Minimum recorded: 17°C (62.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded: 40°C (104°F)


  • For the period: 17 mm
  • For the year to date: 147.5 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

September 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

As you can see from the above photo, the buffalo were as delighted as we were for the 33 mm of rain that fell this month! But enough about the weather – let’s get on with the great game-viewing summary for the month.

Buffalo: Before the rain we were seeing a large herd of approximately 700 buffalo kicking up dust in the north of the concession.

Leopards: The Tingala female was spotted a few times walking in and around the camp. We also had great views of the Mahlangulene female and her male cub toward the centre of the concession. The N’wanetsi male killed a bushbuck and a kudu a few hundred metres apart, and we saw him walking in between the two kills to feed. In general, we had great leopard viewing including sightings of the Chava male, and a few unknown individuals.

Cheetahs: A female cheetah and her cub have been seen on a few occasions this month in the central area of our concession. We were privileged to see them hunting and killing an impala during the first rains.

Hyenas: There were two new hyena cubs peeping out of a cave at the Nyokene den-site. Their older siblings are spending more time outside the den, venturing further away to investigate new sounds, sights and smells.

Elephants: We have had great views of elephants drinking and feeding at the river in front of Lebombo and Sweni lodges. The elephants have enjoyed feeding on the different thorny species coming into new leaf.
On a few occasions we have watched them digging in the dry riverbeds to find fresh water underground. Elephants prefer drinking fresh water and the coarse river sand acts as an excellent filter. Once the elephants have quenched their thirst and moved off, other species like baboon and impala can be seen drinking from the same holes the elephants dug.

Lions: Three males of the Shishangaan coalition spent the majority of the month towards the north of the concession mating with the females from the Mountain pride. We were paid a visit by the Xhirombe pride and watched them sleeping in the shade of a tree along the N’wanetsi river.


  • Average Minimum: 16.7°C (62°F)
  • Average Maximum: 28°C (82.4°F)
  • Minimum recorded: 12°C (53.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded: 38°C (100.4°F)


  • For the period: 33 mm
  • For the year to date: 130.5 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

August 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

In August we experienced predominantly blue skies with temperatures steadily on the increase.  We had a few misty mornings that cleared away as soon as the sun came up.  There was no rainfall and the waterholes continue to dry up, attracting game from the far reaches of the concession.


Wildlife updates

Leopards: The Ndlovu male was seen on five different occasions this month. He has recovered from his injury and was seen waiting in ambush of some Impala.  There have been a few sightings of the shy, young Chava male, including a view of him feeding on a kudu carcass. We had great views of the Mhlangulene female hunting and killing impala.  She was also seen on one occasion feeding on an impala, joined by her male offspring (the young Mhlangulene male).  The Tingala female put an impala kill up in a weeping boerbean tree near camp, and was also spotted walking on the road towards Sweni camp.The Xinkelengane female has been seen frequently this month and is faring well.  We were fortunate to see the Xhikova female walking and marking her territory. There was great excitement when the guides found an unknown female leopard and young cub.  We had great views of them playing in a tree before the mother climbed down and stalked some guineafowl nearby.

Cheetah: We have been fortunate this month and have had frequent cheetah sightings within the concession.  The highlights were seeing the coalition of three cheetah again this month, a mother and cub seen on two different occasions, as well as a single female hunting impala in the far north.

Hyena: The Nyokene clan are still faring well and we had great views of the cubs nursing, playing outside the den’s entrance and chewing on some bones. The cubs are growing fast, becoming more and more adventurous and venturing further away from the safety of the den.

Elephants: We have had spectacular elephant viewing this month.  The elephants have been concentrated around the waterholes to drink and to cool off by splashing themselves.   Due to the dry conditions, we see them feeding more on tree roots and bark in order for them to get their daily nutrients.  One of the month’s highlights was viewing a newly born elephant calf trying to stand and take his first steps.

Buffalo:  A group of eleven buffalo bulls have been seen on a regular basis, including a breeding herd of around forty individuals.  The buffalo herd has typically been seen walking in single file towards water in the morning, followed by flocks of red-billed oxpeckers looking for a meal.  In the late afternoons, we have watched them walking back to feed on the nutritious grass growing in the hills.

Lion: Three adult female lionesses with seven cubs from the Shishangaan pride, were seen on a few occasions this month, feeding.  The cubs gorged themselves and could hardly walk to keep up as their mothers led them away from the kill sites after feeding, in order to keep them safe.  The Shishangaan males have been exploring further north, and seem to be extending the range of their territory. In the beginning of the month, we saw a total of thirty-two Shishangaan pride members feeding on the remains of a Cape buffalo.  The Mountain pride lionesses have been seen on a few occasions this month, and we have also had a sighting of the Xhirombe pride.  Three unknown adult male lions made an appearance not far away from camp. We followed them for a short while as they were walking along the N’wanetsi River.


Read the full report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report Aug 2015


  • Average Minimum:14.3°C (57.7°F)
  • Average Maximum:28°C (82.4°F)
  • Minimum Recorded:9°C (48.2°F)
  • Maximum Recorded:32°C (89.6°F)


  • For the period:0 mm (0 in)
  • For the year to date:97.5 mm (1 in)

Singita Kruger National Park

July 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

July brought mainly clear mornings, with some misty starts. The game drives tended to leave at around 07:00, returning mid-morning. Daytime temperatures took a while to warm up and, after sunset, we enjoyed amazing clear night skies and stargazing. This month we had what is known as a blue moon, when there are two full moons in one month. A full moon occurs roughly every 29,5 days, so it is rare but possible to have a full moon at the very beginning and end of one month. The next blue moon will only happen in January 2018!
Wildlife updates

Leopards: The Ndlovu male leopard was seen six times and stole an impala kill from the Xhikelengane female. He appeared to have an injury to his foot, but recovered towards the end of the month. The N’wanetsi male was seen five times, and is now completely relaxed with the vehicles. Tingala was seen twice, and the Xhikelengane female was seen on ten occasions. There were also three unknown leopards seen on the concession, one adult male establishing territory around the Sticky Thorn area, and then a young male and female are being seen in various places.

Lions: As the Shish pride cubs continue to grow, so do their appetites. They are taking down larger prey items such as zebra and giraffe. The white lion male cub, although sometimes looking a little scratched, is still doing well.

Cheetah: Seen most frequently in July were the ‘mother and one’. The cub is growing well and should learn to hunt when the next impala lambing season comes around in the first third of 2016.

Hyena: The hyena den is still very active, with the three cubs venturing towards the vehicles most afternoons. The female nursing the cubs is very relaxed and her cubs are likely to be the most relaxed generation of hyenas on the concession.

Elephants: Anywhere on the concession where there is water, there are elephants. The total number of sightings per drive can be around four different herds. Mid-morning at the water is generally the best, as they come down to drink. There are often very good interactions between the elephants and the crocodiles and hippos wishing to bask in the sun on the riverbanks.
A newly born elephant calf was seen, still finding its feet.

Buffalo:  A herd of roughly 40 is being seen fairly regularly, feeding in last year’s burnt areas and moving back and forth to water daily.

Read the full report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report July 2015



  • Average Minimum: 13.3°C (55.9°F)
  • Average Maximum: 26°C (78.8°F)
  • Minimum recorded: 11°C (51.8°F)
  • Maximum recorded: 32°C (89.6°F)


  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 97.5 mm
  • Sunrise: 06:40
  • Sunset: 17:30

Singita Kruger National Park

April 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park,

Monthly wildlife highlights

Lion – Guests enjoyed a total of 89 lion sightings. Members of the Shish pride were seen on three kills – a zebra, a young giraffe and a young wildebeest. On one occasion all of the Shish pride were together, and guests got to see 37 lions interacting, plus both white lion cubs! The Mountain pride was seen on a buffalo kill and later in the month some of the lionesses were spotted on a zebra kill.

Leopard – We had an incredibly high number of sightings of nine different leopards. The Xhikelengane female was seen 18 times, she is looking well and moving back into her old territory which is great for us, as it extends from Dave’s crossing all the way to Xhingwenyana crossing. Tingala was seen 11 times, and interacting with an unknown male on a young waterbuck carcass. The Mahlangulene female and her two cubs where seen on an impala kill, the cubs are still a little uncertain about the vehicles. The Ndlovu and N’wanetsi males were seen along the river. The best news is that the Xhikova female is showing signs of lactating, so some little cubs should be seen around August / September. There has also been an unknown young female who seems to be settling in at the N’wanetsi Weir area. She was seen catching a monitor lizard and sharing a waterbuck carcass with another male leopard close to the lodge.

Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report April 2015



  • Average minimum 16.6°C (61.8°F)
  • Average maximum 39.0°C (84.2°F)
  • Minimum recorded 14.0°C (57.2°F)
  • Maximum recorded 37.0°C (98.6°F)


  • For the period: 17 mm
  • For the year to date: 99 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 Kruger National Park

February 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

The ever growing ‘mega pride’ Article and photos by Nick du Plessis

It is sometimes quite difficult to decide what to write about in a monthly journal, there are normally a couple of particularly interesting events to choose from which may have happened or been developing over some time. But this month was an absolute ‘no-brainer’ as the sightings and regularity of the Shishangaan pride has never been more dependable. Guests have enjoyed a total of 63 lion sightings this month, most of which have been of the Shishangaan pride. It has been incredible, especially since there were a couple of months recently where they were keeping a very low profile and we were heavily reliant on the Mountain pride in the north.

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


  • Average minimum 20°C (68°F)
  • Average maximum 32°C (89.6°F)
  • Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 37°C (98.6°F)


  • For the period: 38.5 mm)
  • For the year to date: 72 mm)

Singita Kruger National Park

January 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Bitten off more than they can chew…

The Shishangaan male lions brought down a fully-grown female giraffe in the middle of the month. They seem to have perfected a hunting technique of late, with it being their third giraffe kill in as many months. The biology of a giraffe is an interesting bit of evolution. With a giraffe’s build being as elongated as it is, it needs an extremely large heart to pump the necessary blood all the way up the long neck. If you compare it to adult humans our hearts weigh about three kilograms, but an adult giraffe’s weighs in excess of 12 kg! What the lions seem to have learnt is that the height of the giraffe is its biggest defence, and the normal way of getting around the throat or back of the neck is simply not possible. Instead they use a technique that involves chasing a giraffe into a rocky or uneven area, in the hope of it losing its footing or eventually colliding with a small tree.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park January 2015


  • Average minimum 20.1°C (68.1°F)
  • Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
  • Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 37°C (98.6°F)


  • For the period: 33.5 mm
  • For the year to date: 33.5 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

December 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Almost 100 mm of rain was recorded over the three days from 26th to 28th December. On 27th December the Sweni River went over at the confluence, followed by the N’wanetsi River the next day. Gudzane Dam is full and Xhikelengane drainage has water scattered along its course. The burnt areas have recovered and are looking good and general wildlife has flocked back.


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


  • Average Minimum: 20.7°C (69.2°F)
  • Average Maximum:30.4°C (86.7°F)
  • Minimum Recorded:15°C (59°F)
  • Maximum Recorded:36°C (96.8°F)


  • For the period: 155.5 mm
  • For the year to date:471.5 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

November 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Spring is actually still springing… we’ve had some rain and there are some areas where the grass in the burnt areas is emerging, only to be grazed by the eagerly awaiting animals. The more we approach the summer, the warmer it gets and the better the chances are of some substantial rain falling due to the clouds building each day. But in order for us to receive some rain we are expecting more hot days to come – scorching days that feel like one is walking in a furnace. Some storms have danced around the concession to the south, moving westwards to the Sabi Sands. Lightning displays and the roll of thunder tease us and the odd Burchell’s coucal, also known as the ‘rain bird’ calls hopefully. The impala are starting to drop their young and even the Mahlangulene leopardess has given birth to two cubs, which were briefly seen on the Xhikelengane drainage, near the stream shortcut. A number of buffalo and elephant calves have also been seen on the concession.

Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report November 2014


  • Average minimum 18.3˚C (64.9˚F)
  • Average maximum 30˚C (86˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 12˚C (53.6˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 38˚C (100˚F)


  • For the period: 35.5 mm
  • For the year to date: 316 mm

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