Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report

First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

August 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

It’s dry, it’s hot, the sun is getting up earlier and going to bed later, so it’s an ideal time for safari and easy sightings at the sought-after permanent water sources. But with the grass being low and the trees leafless it is also the best time for walking safaris, and our guests have enjoyed many experiences on foot this month.

A snapshot of August’s activity is as follows:

Wild dogs: The most fantastic news for the month is that the pack of 15 wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) introduced us to their dozen pups on 22 August! What a special occasion it was to see the healthy patchwork of youngsters romping about with the adults at a pan, and to know that our protected area has given rise to another 12 of these Endangered (IUCN Red List) predators. Guests landing at our property’s Lonestar airstrip had an awesome introduction to the reserve as they were driving to the lodge, by encountering the wild dog pack hunting and chasing impalas.

Lions: We’ve had excellent lion sightings, especially of two large males; a pride of three male lions, three lionesses and one cub; and a pride of two lionesses with four juveniles. Lions (Panthera leo) have recently been classified as Vulnerable (IUCN Red List) as their overall population is inferred to have undergone a reduction of approximately 42% over the past 21 years. However, sample lion subpopulations increased by 11% in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as India, while an observed decline of 60% in sample subpopulations outside these countries is inferred for the remainder of the African range.

Leopards: Luck is on your side if you see a leopard, yet this month our guests enjoyed sightings of two leopards drinking at the river. Others who missed that sighting were thrilled to see a large male leopard stalking some baboons. And in a rather ridiculous situation guests witnessed a stare down standoff between two cheetahs sitting on a log and a leopard resting in the shade!

Cheetahs: We’ve had good cheetah sightings, particularly of the two territorial male cheetahs. They’ve entranced guests by seemingly posing in the most flattering late afternoon light and in all their bloody glory when feeding on an impala they’d just caught. There have been regular sightings of a mother cheetah and her now sub-adult cub. It wont be long now before this sub-adult female leaves her mother to find her own way in a solitary life.

Elephants: Once again – if you want to see elephants you only need go to where there’s water. There are some magnificent old bulls about at the moment, head-heavy with generous ivory.

Rhinos: Rhino sightings have been prolific, although it is more common to see white rhinos than black. An interesting sight was of a bull white rhino marking his territory.

Buffalo: There was a breathtaking sight of over 700 buffaloes drinking at our central pan. But the most gruesome sighting of the month was when two buffalo bulls were fighting and one got his horns trapped in a dense thicket of branches. Then a hungry and opportunistic clan of hyenas arrived and started attacking him, while he was trapped. It was a truly gory scene when the hyenas gutted the buffalo alive. The bull kept fighting for his life for over an hour, trying to ward the hyenas off, while being disembowelled. He finally died after the horrific ordeal.

Hyenas: The day after the buffalo kill 18 hyenas were seen feeding on the carcass and bathing with bloated bellies in the nearby pan. At another hyena kill the cunning predators were seen stashing some excess meat by dropping it into knee-deep water. This kept the meat fresh, free of flies and protected from vultures. When the hyenas had the appetite to eat more, they would fish out the meat by putting their heads under water and locate their cache.

Plains game: We’ve had very good sightings of the ‘shyer’ plains game at this dry time – 15 sable antelope at the central pan, 15 Lichtenstein hartebeest at a pan in the east and a herd of eland were observed from our sunken photographic hide, as they drank from the water’s edge. In this photo a sable bull keeps a nervous watch while four impala calmly wander by.

Birds: It’s a treat for us to have keen birders as guests, as we did this month, and the highlights were a pair of crowned eagles on a nest as well as three hamerkops, a great white egret, a grey heron and a fish eagle flying at low level and slow speed over the water, hunting for platana frogs coming to the surface to breath. (While this was going on we had a glimpse of a leopard drinking!) An early morning drive offered up a brown-backed honeyguide, green-winged pytilia, wren warblers, plus a big highlight – the African pied babbler.

 Special sightings: Well, the special sighting of the month, without a shadow of a doubt, regardless of the fact that it was dead, goes to an aardvark! I have yet to see one, dead or alive, but one of our guides found the remains of one. There’ve been two sightings of a serval and also two sightings of a relaxed civet. Our guests were also lucky enough to get a quick glimpse of an African wildcat.


Read the full report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report August 2015


  • Average Minimum:15.1°C (59.1°F)
  • Minimum Recorded:9.3°C (48.7°F)
  • Average Maximum:28.9°C (84°F)
  • Maximum Recorded:34.6°C (32°F)


  • For the period:0 mm (0 in)
  • For the year to date:155 mm

Singita Lamai

August 2015 - Lamai, Tanzania

August at Singita Mara River Tented Camp could easily be dubbed the month of the pachyderm. Throughout the month we enjoyed spectacular sightings of elephant herds right from the comfort of the deck. On one particular day we had a herd of 60 just across the river, down on a lower bank, enjoying the lush green grass and rolling in the sand. The herd consisted of animals from six months old, all the way to the wise old giants of 50 years and above.

Lion: Lion sightings dipped slightly in August, because the majority of game drives were focused on the amazing migration crossings taking place daily, along the river. A few mating pairs were seen, one in the northern sector of the Lamai Triangle and another on the south eastern edge of the Mara River, so maybe in January or February we may begin seeing a few litters of lion cubs as well…

Leopard: Wow, what a month August was for leopards! There were 18 leopard sightings, which is one of the most sightings we’ve had in one month since opening the camp in 2012. A mother leopard and her two young cubs were definitely one highlight, and a big male with two wildebeest carcasses was a mainstay on the Kampi Kampi plains, for four consecutive days.

Cheetah: Cheetah sightings remained consistent. This area is their ideal habitat.

Elephant: Mara River Tented Camp was the place to be for elephant viewing in August, as you will read about below.

Migration: The wildebeest migration that flooded the area in the middle of July remained throughout the month of August. River crossings were a daily occurrence, often more than one per day! More on that also below.

Raptors: Where there is a migration there are thousands of vultures in tow, especially once the wildebeest start crossing the Mara River and the huge number of fatalities make a feast for the winged scavengers.


Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife reports August 2015

Singita Sabi Sand

August 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

The midday temperatures have been mild and the morning game drive times have been moved to an earlier departure time. The first signs of spring are on our doorstep and receive a warm welcome.

Lions: The Mhangene pride continues to follow large herds of buffalo. Recently we have noted that one of the male lions from the Xmungwe pride has joined up with the Mhangene pride. The pride members were reluctant with his presence at first, however it has now been recorded that he has been moving with the pride. The Othawa prides three lions are doing well and we have been encountering them periodically.

Leopards: We experienced some very interesting behaviour between three leopards over several days – Leon elaborates later in the journal. The story involves a father, a son and a female leopard…

Buffalos: Two very large buffalo herds exceeding more than 300 each were active during this past month.

Hyena: A large clan of hyenas exceeding 20 was viewed feeding on the remains of a hippo carcass. The hippo died of natural causes.

 Wild dogs: Sightings over the last few weeks have been scarce due to the prospects of them increasing their packs. Generally this time of the year the packs will use den-sites that they may have used during the previous year. A pack moved into an area north of the river briefly, along with their puppies. Unfortunately they moved again shortly after establishing a den-site due to the lion activity in the area. We look forward to encountering more sightings of wild dogs as the puppies get older and start moving with the pack.

Birds:  188 species recorded. The highlight for the month of August was a melanistic form of Gabar goshawk. Yellow-billed oxpeckers were seen amongst the buffalo herds. There were early appearances of yellow-billed kite and a black cuckoo.


Read the full report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report August 2015


  • Average Minimum:14.6°C (58.2°F)
  • Average Maximum:26°C (78.8°F)
  • Minimum Recorded:8°C (46.4°F)
  • Maximum Recorded: 30°C (86°F)


  • For the period:1 mm (0 in)
  • For the year to date: 402.3mm (1 in)

Singita Kruger National Park

August 2015 - Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

In August we experienced predominantly blue skies with temperatures steadily on the increase.  We had a few misty mornings that cleared away as soon as the sun came up.  There was no rainfall and the waterholes continue to dry up, attracting game from the far reaches of the concession.


Wildlife updates

Leopards: The Ndlovu male was seen on five different occasions this month. He has recovered from his injury and was seen waiting in ambush of some Impala.  There have been a few sightings of the shy, young Chava male, including a view of him feeding on a kudu carcass. We had great views of the Mhlangulene female hunting and killing impala.  She was also seen on one occasion feeding on an impala, joined by her male offspring (the young Mhlangulene male).  The Tingala female put an impala kill up in a weeping boerbean tree near camp, and was also spotted walking on the road towards Sweni camp.The Xinkelengane female has been seen frequently this month and is faring well.  We were fortunate to see the Xhikova female walking and marking her territory. There was great excitement when the guides found an unknown female leopard and young cub.  We had great views of them playing in a tree before the mother climbed down and stalked some guineafowl nearby.

Cheetah: We have been fortunate this month and have had frequent cheetah sightings within the concession.  The highlights were seeing the coalition of three cheetah again this month, a mother and cub seen on two different occasions, as well as a single female hunting impala in the far north.

Hyena: The Nyokene clan are still faring well and we had great views of the cubs nursing, playing outside the den’s entrance and chewing on some bones. The cubs are growing fast, becoming more and more adventurous and venturing further away from the safety of the den.

Elephants: We have had spectacular elephant viewing this month.  The elephants have been concentrated around the waterholes to drink and to cool off by splashing themselves.   Due to the dry conditions, we see them feeding more on tree roots and bark in order for them to get their daily nutrients.  One of the month’s highlights was viewing a newly born elephant calf trying to stand and take his first steps.

Buffalo:  A group of eleven buffalo bulls have been seen on a regular basis, including a breeding herd of around forty individuals.  The buffalo herd has typically been seen walking in single file towards water in the morning, followed by flocks of red-billed oxpeckers looking for a meal.  In the late afternoons, we have watched them walking back to feed on the nutritious grass growing in the hills.

Lion: Three adult female lionesses with seven cubs from the Shishangaan pride, were seen on a few occasions this month, feeding.  The cubs gorged themselves and could hardly walk to keep up as their mothers led them away from the kill sites after feeding, in order to keep them safe.  The Shishangaan males have been exploring further north, and seem to be extending the range of their territory. In the beginning of the month, we saw a total of thirty-two Shishangaan pride members feeding on the remains of a Cape buffalo.  The Mountain pride lionesses have been seen on a few occasions this month, and we have also had a sighting of the Xhirombe pride.  Three unknown adult male lions made an appearance not far away from camp. We followed them for a short while as they were walking along the N’wanetsi River.


Read the full report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report Aug 2015


  • Average Minimum:14.3°C (57.7°F)
  • Average Maximum:28°C (82.4°F)
  • Minimum Recorded:9°C (48.2°F)
  • Maximum Recorded:32°C (89.6°F)


  • For the period:0 mm (0 in)
  • For the year to date:97.5 mm (1 in)

Singita Grumeti

August 2015 - Grumeti, Tanzania

Lions: August was predictably a good month for lion sightings. As the western sectors of the concession dried out further, the game moved towards the central areas, and following them went the lions. The Ridge Pride and the various sub-groups of the Butamtam Pride made up the vast majority of our sightings for the month. A nice bonus has been the arrival of three cubs to one of the Ridge Pride females. Also, there was a sighting of two small cubs along the Grumeti River, just downstream from Faru Faru. They are likely to belong to one of the Butamtam Pride females.

Leopard: There were a few occasions in August where we seemed to have a really tough time locating any of these inconspicuous big cats. Luckily, the longer you go without seeing one only means you are just getting closer to your next sighting. We still had great sightings of Tulia and her two growing cubs. A total of 19 leopard sightings were recorded at Grumeti in August.

Cheetah: Once again, the majority of August’s sightings were predominantly comprised of the two sets of females with their respective cubs.

Wild dogs: The wild dogs made themselves available to be viewed by the Singita guides on only one occasion in August. For the most part, they continue to avoid the Grumeti area! This should undoubtedly change at some point.

Elephant: We continued to have some great elephant viewing during the month, including one large elephant bull sporting large tusks, as well as a characteristic floppy ear. We also had a lovely sighting of a newborn elephant calf that was seen with its mother and the rest of the herd, drinking at Sasakwa Dam.

Other sightings: Although the wildebeest herds have all but disappeared towards the northern Serengeti and the Mara River, the zebra herds have moved onto the property en-masse. This in itself is an incredible spectacle to behold.  Guide Braya Masunga had a brief encounter with an aardvark one evening; unfortunately it was so brief that he was unable to snap a picture of these shy and rarely seen creatures.


Read the full wildlife report here:  Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report August 2015


  • Average Minimum:16.7°C (62.06°F)
  • Average Maximum:31°C (87.8°F)


  • Sasakwa:7.5 mm
  • Sabora:11 mm
  • Faru Faru:7.5 mm
  • Samaki:0 mm
  • Risiriba:21 mm

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