Imagine the thrill of coming across two male cheetahs on a kill. It’s such a privilege to see, especially as they have disappeared from an estimated 76% of their historic range in Africa. Their population has declined by at least 30% over the past 18 years, and is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as killing and capture of cheetahs due to livestock loss as well as for trade. Then imagine you are Simon Capon who has spent years on this reserve researching his thesis for a degree of Master of Science in Conservation Ecology, a thesis that looked at the decline of sable antelope through much of the lowveld. A thesis that aimed to determine the cause of the decline and the continued lack of success in the sable population. And then imagine his mixed emotions when he realised these two cheetahs had killed one of ‘his’ precious sable calves!
Our research department is busy formulating identikits on some of the predator populations, as part of another study, so by looking at the spot patterns of these two cheetahs we know that they are a coalition that was first sighted on the reserve in 2012. They look to be in excellent health and fitness, and it is not uncommon for males to form coalitions for the advantages of hunting success and safeguarding a territory. Let’s hope these two don’t develop a preference for sables in the future!
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report April 2015
- Average minimum 19.1°C (66°F)
- Average maximum 30.9°C (91.4°F)
- Minimum recorded 16.8°C (50°F)
- Maximum recorded 36.8°C (98.6°F)
- For the period: 33.5 mm
- For the year to date: 155 mm
This month’s highlights were 70 elephants marching along to a pan, accompanied by three white rhinos and two buffalo bulls. We were delighted to see the pack of wild dogs on the property again – on one occasion they were resting in the shade of the riverbed, being obstructed from drinking by two buffalo bulls. The young dogs enjoyed playing and calling while the buffalo seemed belligerent at best. Later in the month we had a thrilling sighting of a buffalo calf being hunted and killed by two lionesses and a lion. Less conspicuous was a young male leopard that we glimpsed at the airstrip when we where looking for two cheetah brothers that had been seen there that morning. Rounding off the ‘Magnificent 7′ highlights were three white rhinos that plodded along calmly grazing to within four metres of a guest-transfixed safari vehicle. Just as magnificent was watching a herd of rare Lichtenstein hartebeest and sable nibbling the drying out grasses.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report March 2015
- Average minimum: 21,6°C (70,8°F)
- Average maximum 33,6°C (92,4°F)
- Minimum recorded 16,9°C (62,4°F)
- Maximum recorded 38,7°C (101,6°F)
- For the month: 7 mm
- For the year to date: 121,5 mm
The Bush Telegraph reports the following highlights for February: A breeding herd of about 40 elephants entertained guests with their antics, while a lone elephant bull was seen swimming at Nduna Dam. Over 600 buffaloes blocked the horizon as they slowly made their way towards water. A couple of black rhinos were spotted – there was no missing the one that mock charged the game viewer and only stopped about three metres from the new vehicle! White rhino sightings were far more prolific – especially when a crash of seven gathered at a popular waterhole and drank, while one little calf suckled from its mother. Leopards were true to their nature by being elusive, but the sighting of the month went to a young male perched high in a tree, then climbing down and making a dash for cover into thick bush.
Download the full wildlife report here: SP Wildlife Report Feb 2015
- Average minimum 23,3°C (73,9°F)
- Average maximum 33,6°C (92,4°F)
- Minimum recorded 17,5°C (63,5°F)
- Maximum recorded 36,8°C (98,2°F)
- For the month: 5,5 mm
- For the year to date: 114,5 mm
It doesn’t rain – it pours! But then it clears a couple of hours later and you see extraordinary sights in sparkling light set against gunmetal grey skies. The grass is at its zenith this month, and invariably I think to myself, “Well, unless something is sauntering down the middle of the road I’m not going to spot it…” But, time and again that is exactly what happens – the animals use the road network more than ever because they don’t want unseen dangers sneaking up on them in the long grass and they don’t want to be disadvantaged by the grass obscuring their surroundings. The tiger fishing has been great, the day trips to Chilojo Cliffs in neighbouring Gonarezhou National Park most
enjoyable, and the ancient rock art on our reserve is always a highlight, but the wildlife highlights for the month include a lion and lioness ‘on honeymoon’, a herd of buffalo numbering close to 500, close encounters with black rhinos, the hyena den-site with new cubs, a pack of 23 wild dogs, two lionesses with five cubs, an adult hyena
that was wallowing at a waterhole and was chased away by a white rhino and her calf, as well as lots of excellent bird of prey activity such as a martial eagle and an African hawk-eagle hunting guinea fowl, gabar goshawks and lesser spotted eagles hunting queleas at the quelea colonies and sightings of tawny eagle s and secretary birds.
Download the full wildlife report here: SP Wildlife Report Jan 2015
- Average minimum 21,9°C (71,4°F)
- Average maximum 32,2°C (89,9°F)
- Minimum recorded 19,5°C (67,1°F)
- Maximum recorded 38,5°C (101,3°F)
- For the month: 2,2 mm
- For the year to date: 2,2 mm
It’s been a month of festivities and feasting for all – especially the predators. Early bird guests and guides have seen a female cheetah chasing an impala – but speed’s not everything, the impala jinked away to safety. Using the same strategy a wildebeest outwitted a lion after a high-speed chase and the bull made a great escape into the thick bush. We’ve seen a pack of 26 African wild dogs hunting along the river and a young male leopard stalking impalas. This journal details two predator feasts, and if you, like me, cannot eat dinner and watch Grey’s Anatomy at the same time due to the gory images I suggest you keep all food far away from you, especially any carpaccio! The predators did reveal their softer sides as well this month, such as when a clan of five adult hyenas delighted guests by playing with their four cubs next to the road and when two lionesses showed off their five cubs of different ages, the youngest being a 12-week-old ball of fluff.
Read the full report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report Dec 2014
- Average Minimum:27.1°C (71°F)
- Average Maximum:32.3°C (90.1°F)
- Minimum Recorded:16.5°C (61.7°F)
- Maximum Recorded:38.9°C (102°F)
- For the period: 148 mm
- For the year to date:791.6 mm
The first good rains of the season started mid-month, with great downpours of 75 mm in some areas. Sparks of green now flash throughout the landscape, pastel pink crinum lilies bend like ballerinas above the ground, cicada insects play raucous crashing cymbal sounds and a band of woodland kingfishers have arrived with a fanfare of trills and showy displays. There have been many sighting highlights in the month, such as a pack of 25 wild dogs fighting with a clan of nine hyenas; five lions and two cubs at a kill; three bull elephants lying down fast asleep in a drainage system; three jackal puppies pouncing about in front of the Land Cruiser, trying to catch some flying ants that were attracted to the headlights; a big herd of at least 500 buffalo plus ten hartebeest and 12 sable antelope; two hyenas scouting for a leopard’s kill that the leopard had stowed in a safe rocky crevice; a crowned eagle calling out for its partner; a leopard draped peacefully over a termite mound and six Lichtenstein hartebeest feeding on lush new grass shoots.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report Nov 2014
- Average minimum 21,2°C (70,1°F)
- Average maximum 33,6°C (92,4°F)
- Minimum recorded 15,0°C (59,0°F)
- Maximum recorded 41,2°C (106,1°F)
- For the month: 129,4 mm
- For the year to date: 643,6 mm
It’s an itchy scratchy time of year if you don’t have a good moisturizer but, as you’ll see from the photo above and the story further on, rhinos make a plan where they can. However, we did receive an early sprinkling of rain mid-month, about 10 mm, so that has brought some relief to all. We’ve been taking advantage of the dry short cropped
landscape by taking guests on walks and have had some excellent encounters with black and white rhinos.
An advantage of cruising aboard the Suncatcher is that animals don’t seem intimidated by our presence and on a couple of occasions this month guests have spotted a male leopard on the shore of Malilangwe Dam. We’ve also enjoyed a breeding herd of more than 30 elephants feeding, drinking and swimming, two black rhinos very close to the boat, hippos and lots of birds.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report Oct 2014
- Average minimum 18,3°C (64,9°F)
- Average maximum 31,7°C (89,0°F)
- Minimum recorded 14,6°C (58,2°F)
- Maximum recorded 41,4°C (106,5°F)
- For the month: 12,2 mm
- For the year to date: 514,8 mm
Crackerjack sightings are the bonus of the hot dry weather we’re experiencing. Some of the highlights that have had our safari-goers on the edge of their seats include a mother cheetah with her three young cubs, a majestic herd of sable quenching their thirst, about fifty normally evasive eland mingling at a pan with buffaloes and hartebeest as well as a caracal darting for cover. On the water a split second sighting of a young otter caused much excitement, as did the female leopard that guests spotted relaxing on the banks of the dam. Thanks to the short dry grass, guided walks in the wild have been possible, and these are always a revelation.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report September 2014
- Average minimum 17,1°C (62,7°F)
- Average maximum 31,3°C (88,3°F)
- Minimum recorded 12,1°C (53,7°F)
- Maximum recorded 38,7°C (101,6°F)
- For the month: 2,4 mm
- For the year to date: 502,6 mm
This month our guests have been delighted by safari walks, game approaches on foot, sit-ins at our photographic hides, excellent fishing, sundowner boat cruises, visits to our cavernous galleries of ancient rock paintings, Kambako Bushcraft Museum and the spectacularly colourful, oxide-rich sandstone strata of Chilojo Cliffs. Wildlife highlights include 30 elephants in a breeding herd, drinking, feeding and bathing at the edge of Malilangwe Dam. While the guests and guide cruised past in the boat one particular elephant bull did quite the circus display – he gave a small but vocal charge ending with him stopping near the boat and standing straight up on his two hind legs with his trunk stretched high! We’ve spotted a female leopard perched high in a tree, a pride of seven lions drinking and snoozing at Banyini Pan – one lioness had tangled with a porcupine as she had tell-tale broken quills sticking into her face and chest. A herd of 300 buffaloes congregated for their daily drink, sightings of black and white rhinos have been excellent as always, but the best news of the month by far is that the pack of 13 wild dogs that have been denning close to the lodge have introduced their ELEVEN pups to the game drives! We’d not seen the pups up until now, but since they are just big enough to start exploring and joining the adults on hunting forays we’ve had some joyous sightings of them in the last week – they’ve even started playing around and coming up close to investigate the game viewing vehicles!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report August 2014
- Average minimum 14,1˚C (57,3˚F)
- Average maximum 29,1˚C (84,3˚F)
- Minimum recorded 10,8˚C (49,6˚F)
- Maximum recorded 36,2˚C (97,1˚F)
- For the month: 1,4 mm
- For the year to date: 500,2 mm
Isn’t this the most beautiful little bug you’ve ever seen? Valerie Makunungunu, our Pamushana Lodge Anchor, discovered this objet d’art while doing her routine morning
inspection of our brightly coloured and boldly patterned lodge. When she showed the rest of the lodge staff they thought she was playing a trick on them! Had she painted the intricate little patterns across its back? Had it walked across the cushions and curtains at Pamushana and mimicked the patterns? Upon further investigation we were able to identify it from an insect reference book and were delighted to find that it has the perfect name – it’s called a Picasso bug (Sphaerocoris annulus). They are found in quite a wide range of sub-Saharan Africa, but it’s a first for most of us on the property, and hopefully for you too.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report July 2014
- Average minimum 12,2°C (53,9°F)
- Average maximum 25,9°C (78,6°F)
- Minimum recorded 9,8°C (49,6°F)
- Maximum recorded 34,2°C (93,5°F)
- For the month: 0,6 mm
- For the year to date: 498,8 mm