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
- 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)
- For the period: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 851 mm/li>
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 Hyenas often use termite mounds that are no longer active as their den-sites.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
- 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)
- For the period: 0 mm
- For the year to date: 851 mm
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
- 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)
- For the period: 4 mm
- For the year to date: 851 mm
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
- 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)
- For the period: 308 mm
- For the year to date: 847 mm
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
- 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))
- For the period: 65 mm
- For the year to date: 573 mm
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
- 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)
- For the period: 91 mm
- For the year to date: 508 mm
The colours of summer
I often get the question from guests about the best time of year to visit this wildlife haven. Far too often people are left with the impression that summer is not a good time because the vegetation is too thick to find any animals. Whilst there is an element of truth in that I can assure you that if you only ever visit during the dry season you are missing out on an explosion of colour and beauty. Summer in South Africa is the time of plenty. Thanks to a good rainfall, food is abundant and animals need not venture too far to find water. Many species such as Cape buffalo, impala and zebra give birth in this season. It makes sense as there’s enough food for the mothers to produce sufficient amounts of milk, and once the babies are weaned they will have no problem finding nutrient-rich food to eat.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlfie Report December 2013
- Average minimum 17.9˚C (64.4˚F)
- Average maximum 28.0˚C (82.4˚F)
- Minimum recorded 16.0˚C (60.8˚F)
- Maximum recorded 38.0˚C (100.4˚F)
- For the period: 270 mm
- For the year to date: 417 mm
The slow steady winter has ended and summer has arrived in full force. With the long awaited dry season coming to end it’s a time of flourish, abundance, late afternoon rainstorms and the beauty that follows those dramatic storms. After a steady rainfall throughout the night I’m always eager to head out on morning game drive as it means the game paths will be a blank canvas with only fresh detailed tracks, and the distinctive smell of drenched bushveld earth will invigorate me.Easterly winds blow over the warm Agulhas current picking up moisture which will be carried across the east coast heading west. Rising up over the eastern mountains, they cool and form cumulus clouds and thunderstorms are prevalent in the interior of the country. Often this is where our summer rains originate. It is Nature’s way of starting anew. Even the spider webs glisten as the low light of the morning sun rises in the east and streams its golden goodness across the plains. Slowly everything starts to come alive. The earth gets drenched and this is an indicator for many to get started on breeding, feeding, burying and mating.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report November 2013
- Average minimum 15.2˚C (59.4˚F)
- Average maximum 28.4˚C (83.1˚F)
- Minimum recorded 09.0˚C (48.2˚F)
- Maximum recorded 37.0˚C (98.6˚F)
- For the period: 24 mm
- For the year to date: 146.5 mm
A visit from a pangolin
A pangolin is often referred to as a mythical creature, something that is thought to exist but is never ever seen. Many guides will dream of seeing one but will never get the chance to lay their eyes upon the sharp-edged scales of this extremely shy animal. Imagine my surprise when the radio crackles to life and a voice utters, “Stations, I have located a pangolin.” I could not believe my ears, and I was only ten minutes away. I happened to be enjoying the company of a cheetah family at the time and as much as I loved being there I knew I had to see this creature for myself. I mentioned to my guests that they simply had to trust me here and that I was about to try and put them into a select category of pangolin-believers. They held on and off we went. Ten minutes later we arrived and there, right in front of me tucked away next to a small Acacia tree, was a pangolin. I had to do a double take, as I could not believe it at first.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report October 2013
- Average minimum 14.2˚C (57.6˚F)
- Average maximum 29.4˚C (84.9˚F)
- Minimum recorded 10.0˚C (50.0˚F)
- Maximum recorded 46.0˚C (114.8˚F)
- For the period: 101.5 mm
- For the year to date: 122.5 mm
Buffalo versus lion versus leopard
As guests were having afternoon snacks on the riverside deck before game drive, we noticed a male lion sleeping on the opposite side of the river. Then a large buffalo bull ambled into the scene. Next, all drama broke lose. Two more male lions appeared and they set off after the now terrified buffalo. To our astonishment, teacups in hand, the lions killed the buffalo right in front of Boulders Lodge, rooms 9 and 10. Unbelievable! For the next three days we had ring-side viewing. The lions did not bother moving much as they had food and water right there next to them. The only activity seemed to be within their ever-growing bellies filled with buffalo meat. On the first morning a male leopard, known as the Nyalethi male, crept in to view. While the lions were feeding he would keep a respectful distance, never showing himself to his far larger relatives. All he was waiting for was a window of opportunity for a potential free meal.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Journal September 2013
- Average minimum 13.3˚C (50.5˚F)
- Average maximum 28.8˚C (81.1˚F)
- Minimum recorded 07.0˚C (44.6˚F)
- Maximum recorded 39.0˚C (93.2˚F)
- For the period: 21 mm
- For the year to date: 985 mm