Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report


First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Kruger National Park

July 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

As white as snow Article and photos by Nick du Plessis

On the 11th of July we had a sighting, that when it came over the radio, you could hardly believe your ears! Clement had found and called in members of the Shishangaan pride with cubs, but one of the cubs was just a little different. He is snow white! This happens due to a recessive gene that is carried by both parents. This may also give us a clue as to where the coalition of five males who took control of the Shishangaan pride late last year may have come from. The general perception is that the Timbavati section to the west of us and southern parts of the park is where this gene is most prevalent. What has got us so excited is the fact that both parents need to be carrying the gene for this to take place! Generally all the males within a coalition are related, and likewise with the lionesses stemming

 

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 8.7°C (47.6°F)
  • Average maximum 25°C (77°F)
  • Minimum recorded 04°C (39.2°F)
  • Maximum recorded 29°C (84.2°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 262 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

June 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Cub update on the concession Article & photos by Nick du Plessis

The wet summer months are always times associated with young animals, with major factors like food and water being plentiful then. With our current dry season it’s proved quite the opposite – the permanent water sources have been a great place to find predator and prey species, and cubs in particular are being seen on most days. What has been extra special is the amount of cubs seen of so many different species. Exciting, from our point of view, is how calm the mothers have been with our presence. Without trying to push the situation and viewing as sensitively as we can, we would like to spend as much time as possible with these little cubs.

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 10.2°C (50.3°F)
  • Average maximum 27°C (80.6°F)
  • Minimum recorded 5°C (41°F)
  • Maximum recorded 32°C (89.6°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 262 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

May 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Short tail but a beautiful face

The bateleur eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) is arguably the most beautiful and definitely the most colourful bird of prey in our area. Its name has a variety of meanings – the common name bateleur refers to its swaying flight pattern. Bateleur in French refers to either a ‘tight rope walker’ or the ‘figurehead’ which could be found swaying
in front of a ship. Terathopius ecaudatus is the Latin name and directly translated means ‘a short tail but a beautiful face’, again referring to its beauty but also its lack of tail length. Its short tail helps it to fly as aerodynamically and efficiently as possible while gliding.

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 28.0°C (82.4°F)
  • Average maximum 12.9°C (55.2°F)
  • Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50.0°F)
  • Maximum recorded 31.0°C (87.8°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 262 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

April 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

A continued bloodline… Article by Danie Vermeulen

As the cool, crisp autumn air flows over the Lebombo valley in the far eastern reach of Kruger and the cherry sun sets over the escarpment, we wait in anticipation for the newly established kings to announce their presence with their ancient soul piercing roars. The time of autumn and approaching winter is most probably one the most vocal times of the year for lions, due to the cool dense air being able to transport the sound of a roar a lot further (up to 7 km away), but this is not the only reason why the rulers are belting out their assuring dominant presence…

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 15.6°C (60.08°F)
  • Average maximum 29°C (84.2°F)
  • Minimum recorded 12°C (53.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 38°C (100.4°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 15 mm
  • For the year to date: 262 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

March 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Cheetah Article by Enos Mngomezulu

The word ‘cheetah’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘chita’ meaning ‘spotted one’. The Singita concession has a good habitat for these elegant animals. They prefer to live in open grasslands, savannahs, dense vegetation and sometimes even in mountainous terrain. The openness of the grasslands and semi-desert areas better accommodate their style of hunting, which is running as opposed to stalking and pouncing. The best areas for viewing cheetahs here are Kori Clearing, which is a vast open area where we often see a large Kori bustard; around Golf Course Clearing which is another open area with short grass that resembles a golf course; Cassia Open Area which is an open area named after the sjambok pod tree – Cassia abbreviata; the N4 (named after the busiest highway in South Africa) is an open area near Gudzane Dam which, in winter, has clearly defined game trails to the water.

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 20.5°C (68.9°F)
  • Average maximum 32°C (89.6°F)
  • Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 92.5 mm
  • For the year to date: 247 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

February 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

What’s that funny face and smirk all about? It is something which most of us have seen before since it’s actually not all that uncommon to observe in most domestic house cats. You’ve possibly seen the expression, the one which is followed by an intense sniffing session. This upward lip curling and exposing of the front teeth and gums is a behaviour which is practiced by carnivores big and small, and even hoofed animals, and is generally a means of testing and analysing different scents. Scents can be checked for any number of reasons but are predominantly used to determine sexual condition or to investigate a newcomer within a territory. This is done through a specialised organ called the vomeronasal organ, more commonly known as the Jacobson’s organ. It is situated in the top palate and the grimace is in an attempt to ensure the scent reaches the organ in the roof of the mouth.

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 20°C (68°F)
  • Average maximum 32°C (89.6°F)
  • Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 38 mm
  • For the year to date: 154.8 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

January 2014 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

To whom do those spots belong?

With a slight chill still present and our minds flooded with the previous day’s sightings we are welcomed by the dawn chorus. It is early morning and the sun rays haven’t found their way to the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains. We are driving north in search of buffalo. We had been chatting away, still discussing that beautiful leopardess we saw, the Sticky Thorn female, and her whereabouts of the past week, when my attention is suddenly drawn elsewhere. The now well-known sign of his right hand that points backward to me in a slow rise makes me stop the vehicle very quickly. My tracker has spotted tracks and wants to have a closer look. Upon investigation we found a very large drag mark crossing the road. The possibility of it being an African rock python is quickly eliminated by the hair of an impala stuck on a branch and the leopardess track right next to it.
Territorially it has to be the Mahlangulene female.  She’s killed an impala and dragged it to a safer place. We start to follow the drag mark in the vehicle, everyone on the edge of their seats. Because of the length of the grass following the trail proves difficult. Sitting in a patch of short grass there she is, licking her right paw as she grooms herself after dragging her well-earned meal to safety. We continue to try and find the impala carcass but she’s chosen such a good spot that not even our trained eyes can locate it.

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 19.7°C (67.46°F)
  • Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
  • Minimum recorded 12°C (53.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 35°C (95°F)/li>

Rainfall

  • For the period: 116.5 mm
  • For the year to date: 116.5 mm

Singita Kruger National Park

December 2013 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

December is always a popular time for visitors and families to come to the park and this year was no different. A busy lodge over the festive season with some great weather meant some amazing sightings for all the guests. It’s the time of the year that’s known for its abundance, colour and verdure. With all the greenery you need to consider how the long lush grass and thickets make it so easy for animals to become undetectable, but in saying that there is always a sense of accomplishment when they are seen, and of course half the fun of seeing the animal is the tracking and spotting beforehand! Elephants in the Kruger National Park must be some of the most dynamic landscapers to this environment and a safari would simply not be complete without seeing one of these colossal giants strutting its stuff. These giants move prodigious distances over a large home range area rather than marking and protecting a territory, – and this makes sightings of them unpredictable and erratic. Over the past month we had an extraordinary total of 89 sightings, with at least two sightings per day. Even with the huge number of elephants scattered throughout the park and with years of research, theories and estimates on these mythical beasts, so much is still unknown about the species.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report December 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 19.1°C (66.4°F)
  • Average maximum 30.6°C (87°F)
  • Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 34°C (93.2°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 160.7 mm
  • For the year to date: 679.1mm

Singita Kruger National Park

November 2013 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

The Mountain Pride in the north was seen on almost a daily basis this month, with most of the lionesses pregnant or already with cubs. Because of this they were not really moving great distances from their den sites, which we believe are along the Xhikelenegane drainage line. The Northern Males have established themselves as the dominant lions of the pride, and with possibilities of mating and potential free meals they are staying close to the pride’s lionesses. Sightings of mating lions and the fighting battles for females were not in short supply, all to determine dominance. The confrontations are usually short bursts of aggression seldom ending with any serious injuries between the brothers. Although vicious it is very necessary to determine who the dominant one is at the time, and it is not always the same male adding genetic variation in a territory. To date we know of at least six cubs, two litters of three with the smallest ones now being just over two months old.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report November 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 18.6°C (65.4°F)
  • Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
  • Minimum recorded 14°C (57.7°F)
  • Maximum recorded 38°C (100.4°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 54.4 mm
  • For the year to date: 518.4mm

Singita Kruger National Park

October 2013 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

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


Temperatures

  • 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)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 48.5 mm
  • For the year to date: 464.0 mm

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