Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report


First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Pamushana

March 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Spillage!

It happened on 21 March after a 13-year absence. A downpour of 51 mm in two hours made our full-to-thebrim dam spill its contents in the early afternoon. There was much excitement and celebration after all the will-it or-won’t-it anticipation, and to see the cascade of white water fill the Nyamasikana riverbed below filled our hearts with awe and gratitude. This little fellow looked very grateful that I didn’t tread on him – I’d been following in the footsteps – literally of one of our scouts as we tracked a black rhino, and as I was about to place my foot down in the disturbed soil I saw this smiley face peering at me. Contrary to popular belief many frogs and toads don’t live in and around permanent water. Some complete their entire lifecycle on land, while others migrate long distances to reach water during the breeding season. Those that live in suitable soil make burrows and construct tunnels by digging backwards into the soil. Another astonishing fact is that toads can live for 40 years!

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 21,4°C (70,5°F)
  • Average maximum 31,2°C (88,1°F)
  • Minimum recorded 18,7°C (65,6°F)
  • Maximum recorded 35,2°C (95,3°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 113,0 mm
  • For the year to date: 471,0 mm

Singita Pamushana

February 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

The kingdom of fungi

I can’t help it, so here goes: A mushroom walks into a bar and orders a drink. The barman says, “Sorry, we don’t serve mushrooms.” The mushroom replies, “Hey! What do you mean – I’m a fun guy!” But seriously, what is the difference between mushrooms and fungI? The simple answer is that mushrooms are the reproductive organs of certain types of fungi. Fungi, just like plants and animals, own a kingdom of classification all on their own. They are organisms such as moulds, mushrooms and yeasts that are totally different from plants and animals. In fact, they are a little closer on the scale to animals than plants because they don’t depend on photosynthesis to make their own food, and have to get their nourishment from other sources.

 

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


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 21,5°C (70,7°F)
  • Average maximum 30,5°C (86,9°F)
  • Minimum recorded 19,0°C (66,2°F)
  • Maximum recorded 34,1°C (93,3°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 126,0 mm
  • For the year to date: 358,0 mm

Singita Pamushana

January 2014 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

It’s the month of baobabs fruiting, birds nesting, flowers advertising, insects pollinating, dung beetles rolling, frogs foaming, fungi blooming, sand grouse scuttling and woodland kingfishers whistling their piercing calls. We’ve had our best rains in decades and, as I write this, the Malilangwe Dam is 75 cm to spill. To describe the landscape as verdant would be an understatement – it looks more like a tropical rain forest of central Africa. Of course there’s nothing subtle, slight or gradual about our seasons in the Zimbabwean low veld - we’ve performed a quick wardrobe change from a bone-dry skimpy vest of vegetation to a drenched jungle green coat that ‘s resulted in herds of fat herbivores and flocks of brilliant birds. When it comes to game viewing I can assure you that the game is most certainly on! You may not see that many predators but it’s a time to slow down, look at the finer details, find peace and let it all soak in.

Download the full wildlife report here: SP Wildlife Report Jan 2014

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 21,7°C (71,0°F)
  • Average maximum 30,8°C (87,4°F))
  • Minimum recorded 19,4°C (66,9°F)
  • Maximum recorded 34,2°C (93,5°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 231,4 mm
  • For the year to date: 860,8 mm

Singita Pamushana

December 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Festive season celebrations are in full swing and the heat is on! In southern Africa Christmas and New Year are best enjoyed around a pool where youngsters can play and splash in the cool water and the adults can take refuge in the shade. The sighting I’d like to tell you about reminded me of such a joyous summer jamboree and it was one of the highlights of my life. I was out scouting and had arrived at the deck overlooking Nduna Dam. Carrying my heavy camera gear up the path and arriving on the deck I was a bit disappointed that there were no animals to be seen. All the same I decided to sit there quietly for a while and see if anything would emerge from the green boundary and drink at the water’s edge. But as I sat there I became convinced that I could hear splashing coming from the other side of the steep rocky outcrop that juts into the
horse-shoe dam. I grabbed two lenses and began creeping up the side of the cliff. A steep ledge jutted above the area of the noise and I scrambled up it on my belly like a rather ungainly lizard.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report December 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 21,6°C (70,8°F)
  • Average maximum 32,8°C (91,4°F)
  • Minimum recorded 19,5°C (67,1°F))
  • Maximum recorded 41,5°C (106,7°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 172,4 mm
  • For the year to date: 629,2 mm)

Singita Pamushana

December 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Festive season celebrations are in full swing and the heat is on! In southern Africa Christmas and New Year are best enjoyed around a pool where youngsters can play and splash in the cool water and the adults can take refuge in the shade. The sighting I’d like to tell you about reminded me of such a joyous summer jamboree and it was one of the highlights of my life.

I was out scouting and had arrived at the deck overlooking Nduna Dam. Carrying my heavy camera gear up the path and arriving on the deck I was a bit disappointed that there were no animals to be seen. All the same I decided to sit there quietly for a while and see if anything would emerge from the green boundary and drink at the water’s edge. But as I sat there I became convinced that I could hear splashing coming from the other side of the steep rocky outcrop that juts into the horse-shoe dam. I grabbed two lenses and began creeping up the side of the cliff. A steep ledge jutted above the area of the noise and I scrambled up it on my belly like a rather ungainly lizard. Peering over the edge I beheld Zimbabwe’s version of the Loch Ness Monster, as I think you’ll agree from the photo alongside:

The monster turned out to be one of four elephants having the most terrific time in the water. They would completely submerge and snorkel along with their trunks sticking out, and then erupt from the surface with their tusks stabbing the air. Then a boisterous game ensued of pushing, shoving, dunking splashing and spraying. To end it off they parted the water gracefully and serenely, their skin and tusks gleaming clean, and melted silently away.

 

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report December 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum: 21,6˚C (70,8˚F)
  • Average maximum: 32,8˚C (91,4˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 19,5˚C (67,1˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 41,5˚C (106,7˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 172,4 mm
  • For the year to date: 629,2 mm

Singita Pamushana

November 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

This month’s photos and stories all seem to be about the lust for life and the persistent pursuit of it. The baby bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) in the photo above was born just below our Director’s home, on 1 November. This little calf is the product of a six-month gestation period and will spend an unusually long lying-up period of about four months, being stowed away and then nursed when its mother returns to it every few hours. It’s great to have these spiral-horned antelope living in close proximity to our staff housing because they are a favourite prey species of leopards and, although bushbuck are rather small, they make a very loud, deep resonating bark when alarmed. Interestingly enough they rely on their earthy colouration and white spots to conceal themselves, so the bark they make is ventriloquial – it lets the predator know it’s been spotted, even
though the predator may not have seen the bushbuck, and it lets us know that there’s possibly a predator too close to hom

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report November 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 20,8°C (69,4°F)
  • Average maximum 34,4°C (93,9°F)
  • Minimum recorded 18,2°C (64,7°F)
  • Maximum recorded 43,2°C (109,7°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 69,4 mm
  • For the year to date: 456,8 mm

Singita Pamushana

October 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

The news of the month is that the first rains have arrived, and even better news is that the forecasted weather patterns predict that we could receive more consistent rain over the next few months, rather than the ‘once-off deluge’ of last year. As part of a team-building exercise, and because all staff are ambassadors for conservation, those who work in the lodge were invited for a game drive – and what a game drive it turned out to be! One of our chefs returned with photos and stories of rock art that is so significant to see in its own context, tracks of various animals in the dust, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, waterbuck, hippos, elephants, and a sighting of the young female leopard who features in the ‘Cats and dogs’ story this month. On this occasion the staff spotted her cautiously walking through a relatively open area. Seconds later two golden bullets bore down on her – this time it was two male cheetahs who had seen her and given chase. She shimmied up a tree to outwit them, and stayed safely out of reach – even though the brothers ‘pretended’ to walk away nonchalantly in an effort to entice her down. Thank goodness this leopard is such a skilled climber – as you will see in the story that follows on page 12.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report October 2013

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 18,0˚C (64,4˚F)
  • Average maximum 31,2˚C (88,1˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 12,7˚C (54,8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 39,1˚C (102,3˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 15,4 mm
  • For the year to date: 387,4 mm

Singita Pamushana

September 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

If you’d like to see plentiful wildlife sightings and different species interacting on your safari, call a Singita Reservations Consultant right now and board the first plane bound for Africa! The bushveld is achingly dry, and while this doesn’t fit with a conventional view of beauty, it has a spartan allure all its own. While driving through a mopane woodland with their copper-gold leaves drifting down in front of their sooty black-grey bark you can see that it is exactly this vegetation and time of year that a leopard’s rosetted coat has evolved to in order to provide near-perfect concealment. The game is concentrated around the shallow water holes, and if you spend a good couple of hours at any of these you’ll see species that tolerate each other drinking together, while others seemingly wait their turn on the peripheries. Elephants can be the playground bullies barging in and hogging all the space unsharingly, while many predators bide their time nearby, waiting for plains game to take a life-sustaining or life-ending drink.

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report September 2013

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 17,2°C (62,9°F)
  • Average maximum 32,7°C (90,8°F)
  • Minimum recorded 11,8°C (53,2°F)
  • Maximum recorded 42,3°C (108,1°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 17,4 mm
  • For the year to date: 372,0 mm

Singita Pamushana

August 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

It’s been a month of thrilling sightings, newborns and close encounters. First of all I want to tell you about the arrival of 17 wild dogs on our reserve. Seven adults and ten playful pups were seen at one of the pans. Guests enjoyed a thrilling afternoon watching the pack chasing elephants, wildebeest and hyenas! The season for wild dog denning has just finished and we suspect that this pack has arrived on our property via the south, from Gonarezhou National Park. We fervently hope they’ll make this their home for a while, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated with photos and stories if they do. Also vying for number one top sighting slot were the witnessed birth of a baby giraffe and the arrival of a baby boy black rhino. Weighing in at only 40 kg, and looking like a cartoon character, there can be few things more adorable than a rhino calf. (I do realise that I tend to say this about all young animals – but that’s just how it is!) Photos to follow next month, so please stay tuned…

Download the full wildlife report here:  Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report August 2013


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 15,4˚C (59,7˚F)
  • Average maximum 28,5˚C (83,3˚F)
  • Minimum recorded 11,0˚C (51,8˚F)
  • Maximum recorded 35,9˚C (96,6˚F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 354,6 mm)

Singita Pamushana

July 2013 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

It’s been a month of drama and inspiration.

The drama was when we heard a ‘death cry’ from an area amid the lodge surroundings. This is a very distinctive and chilling noise an antelope makes when it is killed, and there’s no mistaking it. Staff members rushed to the area and were met on the pathway by a leopard carrying a male klipspringer in its jaws! It’s quite normal for leopards to prey on klipspringers but leopards are usually so shy of us and elusive, and this was ‘our’ klipspringer! Klipspringers are monogamous and a male and a female pair have been our lodge mascots for many years – always delighting guests and us by being in the lodge garden or perching on the rocky boulders like bronze statuettes. As the leopard’s crime was discovered it dropped the dead klipspringer and fled – it was probably so intent on a meal that it didn’t realise there were humans nearby. The female klipspringer was unharmed but she looks so bereft and will now need to go in search of a new life partner. The inspiration is art. So many scenes seem reminiscent of the works of great masters as well as modern artists, as this next story describes…Photography can be described as painting with light and I’m constantly intrigued by how light changes the mood of a scene, how it reminds me of great artworks and how it inspires me to be  creative. I couldn’t help thinking of the vast canvases of the great master, the English Romantic painter, John Constable, when I saw this rhinoceros drinking. The way he captured light washing over idyllic country scenes and expansive cloudy skies in masterpieces like The Hay Wain immediately came to mind. Oh how I wish he’d seen the African landscapes we see!

Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report July 2013

 


Temperatures

  • Average minimum 11,6°C (52,8°F)
  • Average maximum 25,7°C (78,2°F)
  • Minimum recorded 08,9°C (48,2°F)
  • Maximum recorded 32,2°C (89,9°F)

Rainfall

  • For the period: 0.6 mm
  • For the year to date: 354,6 mm

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