Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report


First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Sabi Sand

October 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

The fork-tailed drongo Article by Jon Morgan

While on safari at Singita, when viewing herbivores like impala, elephant, white rhino, buffalo and giraffe, you might notice the silhouette of a black bird with a deeply forked tail, perched on low branches near the animals. This is the same bird you can see dive-bombing majestic eagles and regal owls, causing them to duck and flinch as they get attacked. The bird is a very clever and cheeky species called the fork-tailed drongo (Dicrusus adsimilis). Perched on nearby branches and sometimes on the backs of herbivorous animals, it swoops down and catches insects flushed from the grass, as the animals walk. For the unfortunate insect it is the proverbial ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ situation. My tracker, Peter Ubisi, tells the story of the relationship between the cattle he herded as a small boy, and this bird. In Shangaan culture the young boys, aged ten to twelve, take their fathers’ cattle into the bush to graze grass all day long and then herd them back to the house before sunset so they can be safely locked away for the night in a fenced enclosure called a boma or kraal.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report October 2014

 

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 15.6˚C (60.1˚F)
  • Average maximum 30.6˚C (87.2˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 11.0˚C (51.8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 41.0˚C (105.8˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 54 mm
  • For the year to date: 59.5 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

September 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Life goals Article by Ross Couper

It was a hot afternoon and we had been exploring the western sections along the river, in search of an elusive leopard. From a distance we could see an elephant cow, strangely on her own, and from our elevated point we scanned across and saw that she was circling a particular area. We went around the corner en route to the elephant cow to see what was causing her to move backwards and forwards in the road. It was a sighting that we did not expect. A young elephant calf was trailing behind the female but it was evident that there was something wrong. The young calf showed signs of poor development, possibly as a result of premature birth, deformity or an injury during birth.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report September 2014

 

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 13.4˚C (55.1˚F)
  • Average maximum 29.8˚C (85.6˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 9.0˚C (48.2˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 37.0˚C (98.6˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 3 mm
  • For the year to date: 857,5 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

August 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Lion versus hippo Article by Andy Gabor

Interaction between two different species is always interesting to watch. Sometimes it can be playful and inquisitive as in the case of a family of banded mongooses that use the garden of my house as a thoroughfare on their way to and from foraging. The garden is also used by a family of vervet monkeys that use it as a place to feed, lie about in the sun grooming each other or just to play in. When these two species are together in this shared garden they young of each tend to be more inquisitive and play with each other, testing boundaries and learning about each other. But this was not case when a pride of lions met a large male hippo recently…

Download the full wildlife report here:  Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report August 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 5.8˚C (42.4˚F)
  • Average maximum 31.0˚C (87.8˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 4.0˚C (39.2˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 37.0˚C (98.6˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 3.5 mm
  • For the year to date: 854.5 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

July 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Early morning bliss Article by Ross Couper

Every morning starts with hot coffee whilst feeling the cool air on your face as you stand on the deck awaiting the glow across the horizon. The winter light illuminates the tops of the trees and slowly makes its way down to the ground. We depart after ensuring everyone is snuggled up warmly with a hot water bottle on his or her lap, the extra touch that makes the early morning even better. The dust swirls behind our Land Rover and the early morning light glistens across the grass seedpods stretched at the end of the stalks.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report July 2014

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 6.2˚C (43.1˚F)
  • Average maximum 22.6˚C (72.6˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 0.0˚C (32.0˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 30.0˚C (86.0˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 851 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

June 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

With the winter season in full swing at Singita Sabi Sand, I have been amazed to see how many animal footpaths there are leading to the river. When I see a well used path, I catch myself wondering if this path is equivalent to the famous 5th Avenue in New York City – convinced that most animals taking this path know that they are in for a big treat as it leads to the most nourished vegetation on the river bank. Like a rainbow, that path often has a pot of gold at the end of it, and earlier this month we found it!

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report June 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 5.2˚C (41.3˚F)
  • Average maximum 24.3˚C (75.7˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 3.0˚C (37.4˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 27.0˚C (80.6˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 851 mm/li>

Singita Sabi Sand

May 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Morning visit to a hyena den Article by Crystal Perry

As the morning sun started to break the chill of the air, we arrived at a hyena den-site to see a large female spotted hyena. Hyenas often use termite mounds that are no longer active as their den-sites. They will usually use an already existing burrow (possibly made by an aardvark), and excavate more earth out of the burrow to make it large enough for the cubs and the females that stay with them. In this den-site there is a second entry on the other side which may help them escape danger. Luckily for us while we were there, a small bundle of black fur popped up from the entrance to inspect what was happening. The cub was very playful and it was magical to see the care provide by the female. Those little eyes watched us with interest, but stayed within the safety of the carer and the den. Young hyena cubs have a dark (almost black) coat for the first few weeks of life, with the longer hair and spots only appearing later. Judging by the colour and size, this cub was not much more than three weeks old. After taking a few photographs and enjoying witnessing the ‘tender’ side of hyena life, we left them to rest, and hope to have many more high quality sightings at or near this den.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report May 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 10.4˚C (50,7˚F)
  • Average maximum 25.8˚C (78,4˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 06.0˚C (42,8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 30.0˚C (86,0˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 851 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

April 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Predator pathways

The Mhangeni pride marched in from the southeast and remained within the central area for a few days before venturing into the north. With the Majingalane males fixated on finding females and overpowering the Selati male coalition it’s inevitable that this is the time of change amongst the lion prides. The coalition of the four Majingalane males has been spending time in the northwest, well out of their normal territorial range. One of the male lions has been reported to be mating with an Othawa lioness. As the Majingalane coalition were increasing their territorial stake within the Sabi Sand, the Mhangeni pride were left on their own. The pride is doing well and all nine cubs are in a good condition. With the males not being around to chase the pride off the kills it has resulted in a positive effect for the pride, particularly when food is abundant for all.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report April 2014.docx


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 15.9˚C (60.7˚F)
  • Average maximum 28.0˚C (82.4˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 13.0˚C (55.4˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 34.0˚C (93.2˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 4 mm
  • For the year to date: 851 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

March 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Seasonal changes Article by Ross Couper.

After living in the bush for several years, you start to see the subtlest of seasonal changes in the vegetation. I am always waiting in anticipation to see the metamorphoses as it engulfs the bush with a blanket of change and, if you look closely, you will notice that the changes are very evident when pointed out. These small details are often included in the game drives but are brought to the fore during the guided walking safaris. Yesterday I parked my safari vehicle in the shade, waiting for it to be filled with fuel, and when I returned an hour later it was filled with dried leaves. This was an indication that autumn was advancing. The endless bird calls in summer are always a clear indication of the summer season. As the season progressed through the rainy months, a few summer residents still fed on the last of the abundance of insects before their long return to North Africa or Europe. This week it was difficult to hear a woodland kingfisher call. We have seen a few of them but they’re a lot less abundant than they were and they are not calling as a territorial display anymore.

 

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report March 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 17.6˚C (63.68˚F)
  • Average maximum 28.4˚C (83.1˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 8.0˚C (46.4˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 34.8˚C (94.64˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 308 mm
  • For the year to date: 847 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

February 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Territorial expansion…? Article by Ross Couper

The last few weeks have been exciting to say the least, it has been action-packed for the month. The Mhangeni pride has been within the central sections of the property, periodically moving south and maintaining a permanent movement between the various drainages and successfully hunting game within these areas. This lasted for a period of almost two weeks. The central sections of the Singita property are currently the dividing line between the two major male lion coalitions, the Majingilane males in the south east and the Selati male coalition in the north west.  Both coalitions have been seen over this boundary line on different intervals. Two of the Majingilane males ventured across the territorial boundary at the same time that it was reported that the Selati males were roaring. The sound of other males roaring instinctively caused the Majingilane males to start roaring as well, and within a few hours the remaining two males of the Majingilane coalition had joined forces, and were found in the early hours of the morning well into the Selati males’ territory.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report February 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 17.0˚C (62.6˚F)
  • Average maximum 34.0˚C (93.2˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 19.0˚C (66.2˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 31.8˚C (89.2˚F))

Rainfall

  • For the period: 65 mm
  • For the year to date: 573 mm

Singita Sabi Sand

January 2014 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

The best time to come on safari is… Article by Dylan Brandt

Right now! The Sabi Sand Wildtuin is a special piece of land perfectly placed for exceptional game viewing all year round. One often hears that the best time to come on safari is in the winter. The bush will be dry so spotting animals will be easier, true. There is perennial water on the property where elsewhere water is scarce and the animals are drawn to these parts, true. But what about summer and the ‘wetter’ season? To the west of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin lies the Drakensburg mountain range and it is this mountain range and the moist air blown over the warm Mozambique current off shore that creates an oasis below. When this moist air hits the mountain the air rises and condenses to form clouds, these clouds now full of moisture fall east of the mountains and release rain throughout the lowveld where we are, leaving much of the highveld a semi desert.

 

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report January 2014


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 18.0˚C (64.4˚F)
  • Average maximum 30.0˚C (86.0˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 12.0˚C (53.6˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 39.0˚C (102.2˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 91 mm
  • For the year to date: 508 mm

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