Winter creeps in and lies in wait during the early morning and late evening drives, and you can feel its grip as you drive down drainage lines. It leaves no doubt that the change of season is upon us.
There are so many elements that make this area beautiful. The landscape, the small creatures, the tall creatures and the many that have unique patterns and beautiful markings. You might think that the next photo is of caked mud, but it is actually a close-up view of elephant hide. Pictured below that are the dazzling black and white patterns of zebras.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report April 2015
- Average minimum 14.3°C (57.7°F)
- Average maximum 31.5°C (88.7°F)
- Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50°F)
- Maximum recorded 36.0°C (96.8°F)
- For the period: 29.9 mm
- For the year to date: 88.8 mm
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
Monthly wildlife highlights
Lion – Guests enjoyed a total of 89 lion sightings. Members of the Shish pride were seen on three kills – a zebra, a young giraffe and a young wildebeest. On one occasion all of the Shish pride were together, and guests got to see 37 lions interacting, plus both white lion cubs! The Mountain pride was seen on a buffalo kill and later in the month some of the lionesses were spotted on a zebra kill.
Leopard – We had an incredibly high number of sightings of nine different leopards. The Xhikelengane female was seen 18 times, she is looking well and moving back into her old territory which is great for us, as it extends from Dave’s crossing all the way to Xhingwenyana crossing. Tingala was seen 11 times, and interacting with an unknown male on a young waterbuck carcass. The Mahlangulene female and her two cubs where seen on an impala kill, the cubs are still a little uncertain about the vehicles. The Ndlovu and N’wanetsi males were seen along the river. The best news is that the Xhikova female is showing signs of lactating, so some little cubs should be seen around August / September. There has also been an unknown young female who seems to be settling in at the N’wanetsi Weir area. She was seen catching a monitor lizard and sharing a waterbuck carcass with another male leopard close to the lodge.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report April 2015
- Average minimum 16.6°C (61.8°F)
- Average maximum 39.0°C (84.2°F)
- Minimum recorded 14.0°C (57.2°F)
- Maximum recorded 37.0°C (98.6°F)
- For the period: 17 mm
- For the year to date: 99 mm
Just like March preceding it, April 2015 was unique compared to usual Aprils at Singita Grumeti. The drought and early arrival of the great wildebeest migration in March left short grass in its wake, in a month where the grass is usually quite high. After the rains started falling in the very last days of March, the concession began to turn from yellow to green and soon we had a lush green landscape of never-ending plains, beautifully contrasted by the deep blue rainy-season sky.
The migration was off the concession by early April and by the middle of the month the bulk of was back in the short-grass plains of the Southern Serengeti, where they are ‘supposed’ to be at this time of year. We assume they have gotten back onto their normal migratory track again, and hope to see them return here sometime around June.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report April 2015
- Average Minimum: 15.6°C (60°F)
- Average Maximum: 27°C (80.6°F)
- Average wind speed: 0.2m/s
- Sasakwa: 245mm
- Sabora: 229mm
- Faru Faru: 161mm
- Samaki: 367mm
- Risiriba: 128mm
Spots and stripes Article and photos by Nick du Plessis
Leopards are well known for their adaptability, it is the social dynamic that arguably makes them the most successful and hence, widespread, of the large cats in Africa. What we mean by ‘adaptability’ is not only the different habitats they thrive in, but also the prey they hunt and the variety of that prey. Most species tend to ‘specialize,’ but what happens if the prey they concentrate on runs out or learns to evade them? Leopards have been recorded to prey on everything from birds, eggs, lizards and even fish if necessary, and have the capability of bringing down medium size antelopes if the chance exists. But for the first time in my career I saw a large male leopard feeding on a zebra foal. This is unique and just highlights the opportunistic nature of the animal. Why it’s unique is because zebras are renowned for fighting back – they will kick, bite, chop at and even stamp the predator if they need to, and leopards, being as solitary as they are, are notorious for never picking a fight they know they won’t win. If they do and get injured, they don’t have the safety net of a pride or clan to fall back on for survival.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report March 2015
- Average minimum 18.9°C (66°F)
- Average maximum 33.0°C (91.4°F)
- Minimum recorded 10.0°C (50°F)
- Maximum recorded 37.0°C (98.6°F)
- For the period: 2 mm
- For the year to date: 81.95 mm