Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report


First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

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

 


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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

 


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • 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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

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

Singita Kruger National Park

September 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

September news is that we were delighted that the white lion cub born from a Shishangaan female was seen again on Spring Day (1 September). Two male leopards seen along the N’wanetsi River and surrounds have now been identified as the ‘N’wanetsi male’ and ‘Seven male’. These two male leopards are mature and seem to be ruling the roost, using the river as their boundary line. The Seven male was also seen mating with the young Tingala female. Many trees are flowering now and the day length is longer with temperatures rising. The return of some migratory birds, for example the Wahlberg’s eagle, and the sign of rain that sprinkled us lightly in passing, shows summer is on the way.

Download the full wildlife report here: Sinita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report September 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 15.1°C (59.1°F)
  • Average maximum 30°C (86°F)
  • Minimum recorded 9°C (48.2°F)
  • Maximum recorded 38°C (100.4°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 1.5 mm
  • For the year to date: 263.5 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

August 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Introducing the N’wanetsi male Article & photos by Nick du Plessis

We try as best we can to identify all of the larger cats on the concession as individuals, it always adds an extra dimension to a safari and discussion on drive when you are introduced to the ‘story’ of an individual. It is amazing how often the questions, “How old is he?” and “Where do they come from?” are asked, and it is great to know some of the lineage and where a specific individual or pride may come from, where they were born, where their territorial boundaries lie and what their favourite prey species is and the hunting techniques they may use. All this is done by no means to name them as pets but rather for identification reasons and to keep track of these individuals as best we can from a behavioural and interaction point of view.

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 11.6°C (52.8°F)
  • Average maximum 27.0°C (80.6°F)
  • Minimum recorded 07.0°C (44.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 33.0°C (91.4°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm/li>
  • For the year to date: 262 mm

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