Wildlife Report

The Singita Wildlife Report

First-hand ranger reports from the bushveld

Singita Pamushana

July 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

These winter months are the most popular for safari – and it’s no secret why… cold crisp mornings lead to warm sunny days, where the vegetation is dry and the wildlife is drawn to the sparse permanent water sources. But every now and then you’ll be startled out of the meditative monotony of the earthy colours by dazzling sabi star flowers or a flashy chafer beetle.

The lions are also feeling the cold. Four of them had curled up for warmth in the drainage tunnels beneath our main access road – it’s a little unnerving knowing you are driving ‘over’ four ferocious predators! The lion prides seem to have had a preference for buffalo meat this month – there have been quite a few kills. The two dominant males of the western section have been spending the last few days lounging about with full stomachs on the other side of the Chiredzi River. At one stage they were seen on the riverbank with three adult females and one young cub. Hopefully some new cubs are on the way as there was mating activity with one of the lionesses – we’ll have to wait for at least 110 days to be sure, as that’s the gestation period.
Wild dogs:
The pack, up to 14 of them at a time, are seen hunting regularly because they’re denning in the hills – but still no sign of the pups…

We’ve had good cheetah sightings this month – a couple have been seen hunting, and so has the female who has raised several litters – she’s easy to identify as she is missing the tip of her tail.

The elephant highlights for the month come from the bulls – we’ve seen magnificent tuskers drinking, feeding, resting, dusting and mud-bathing. They are calm when not in musth and during this calm phase we are able to enjoy long, close-up peaceful encounters with them.

Rhino viewing is what we’re renowned for. The highlight this month was when guests got to see black and white rhino bulls interacting, with six lions spectating in the background!
The eight black rhinos that we were able to donate to Botswana have settled and are doing well.

The breeding herds we’re seeing are slightly smaller because
they’ve split up to go in search of smaller pockets of pasture. That’s said guests and guides got a good dusting when a herd of about 300 Cape buffalo stampeded towards a pan for a drink!

Plains game:
The varieties of habitats here provide nourishment for a diversity of plains game. It’s not uncommon to see herds of sable, eland and Lichtenstein hartebeest, as we did this month. Far more abundant are impala, kudu and zebra. Here a family of kudu browse on bush that still retains some green foliage.

Special sightings:
Eliciting a chorus of compliments were a new-born giraffe, still with its umbilical cord attached, and a brand new zebra foal being nuzzled by its mother. Other special sightings were of an African wild cat, genets, a civet, a porcupine and a honey badger. An adult male leopard graced us with his presence, close to one of the safari vehicles, giving guests a chance to admire him.
On the feathered front were many good owl sightings while five racket-tailed rollers stole the show near Nduna Camp.


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


  • Average minimum: 14,3˚C (57,7˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 11,1˚C (51,9˚F)
  • Average maximum: 27,8˚C (82,0˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 34,4˚C (93,9˚F)


  • For the month: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 155,0 mm

Singita Pamushana

June 2015 - Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Winter is here! Most of the trees have lost their leaves now – but we caught this beauty, at the start of the month, in a state of undress from green to gold.

The pride of lions that lost a cub last month is doing well, and there’s another pride with two young cubs of about four months old. More could arrive in about 110 days – we’ve witnessed the intense and rather volatile actions of a mating pair.

The hyenas give us regular sightings around their den on the lodge road. A super morning was spent watching four adults and seven cubs playing and chasing each other. The clan fight of last month seems over and a new order has settled.
Wild dogs:
No pups yet, although we’ve had excellent sightings of the wild dogs hunting. On a walk we found that they’d killed two impalas, and guests watched spellbound as the dogs ate the kills and fought with hyenas. There has been plenty of wild dog and hyena action – the hyenas seem to follow the wild dogs and try to steal their kills – on one occasion we watched a tug of war between ten hyenas and nine wild dogs fighting over an impala. The fight went on for more than twenty minutes, and finally the hyenas were the victors!

We had a fantastic sighting of two juvenile male cheetahs, as well as another of a female scanning her surroundings for prey.

With time on our guests’ side they spent an entire afternoon with eight bull elephants. What is so rewarding when you are able to spend hours observing the same animals is the behaviours you notice – we watched as one elephant purposefully selected a long stick, and holding the stick with its trunk, used it to scratch his itchy stomach.

We’ve enjoyed excellent sightings of white rhinos, and some very special encounters with black rhinos too.

I’m loathe to use the word ‘mega’ because it has been used to describe everything from big burgers to tall buildings, but when you see a herd of six hundred buffalo together, as we have done this month, I think it is fair to describe it as a mega-herd!

The month’s highlights were an exceptional sighting of a beautiful giant eagle owl, a Verreaux’s eagle perched on the cliffs, two white-faced owls and a hammerkop trying to eat a huge toad.

Special sightings
Two smaller creatures gave us some very special moments this month, one where a very relaxed small spotted genet walked around the car inspecting it, while guests photographed the rare occasion; then there was the slender mongoose that posed for us out of a hole in a tree. A male klipspringer looked keen on procreating, while the female seemed less so, and their yearling looked completely confused.

Now that it’s so dry the best (and easiest) places to find wildlife are at the pans – congregations seen at different pans include six Lichtenstein hartebeest, a herd of 400 buffalo and a pride of lions including two very cute cubs.
At another were two elephant bulls, followed by three lionesses and the pride male. While we had sundowners a male leopard sat watching us, about 100 metres away, and later came to drink at the pan. Other highlights at the pans were two black-backed jackals and a herd of eland.

Photo hide: The photographic hides have been put to great use. Patient guests were rewarded with seven elephant bulls drinking, along with six giraffes, wildebeest, impalas and zebras. On another occasion inside the hide we had two elephant bulls wallowing, impalas, wildebeest, hartebeest, warthogs, buffalo bulls and, at last light, six white rhinos.
Community tours: These have been popular – especially the Kambako Bushcraft Museum where the heritage, culture and bushcraft skills of the Shangaan people are practised.
Rock art: Guests have expressed keen interest in the rock art, and many walks have been conducted to various sites. An excellent source of reference and information is our new book, The Rock Art of Malilangwe.

Fishing: Some great fun and catches – see the tongue-in-cheek story towards the end of this journal.


Read the full reports here: Singita Pamushana June Wildlife Report June 2015


  • Average minimum: 13,4˚C (56,1˚F)
  • Minimum recorded: 9,6˚C(49,2˚F)
  • Average maximum: 26,8˚C (80,2˚F)
  • Maximum recorded: 31,1˚C (87,9˚F)


  • For the month: 0 mm
  • For the year to date: 155,0 mm
  • Sunrise & Sunset
  • Sunrise 06:30
  • Sunset 17.21

Singita Sabi Sand

June 2015 - Sabi Sand, South Africa

Chilly mornings (by our standards), have made way for glorious hot afternoons this month, and the sightings have been terrific:

We’ve seen some interesting movement and behaviour this month between our various prides and coalitions of males. It seems that the drying conditions have been putting pressure on the prey species and thus drawing the lions towards the permanent water. We have witnessed interesting interaction whereby different prides have congregated on kills and shared the spoils. A coalition of four males has certainly and opportunistically made the most of this and spent more and more time with the lionesses – over 70% of our sightings of this coalition have been associated with the prides. It looks like their days of bachelorhood are coming to an end!

With the Hlab N’kunzi female still traversing the core of her home range, she’s remained the most-viewed leopard, with a third of our leopard sightings attributed to her and her young male cub. They are currently providing such great viewing as the young cub tests the waters of personal boundaries. Male leopard sightings were high in June; this is possibly as a result of a number of newly-independent younger males moving within the area and drawing the attention of larger, older territorial males who hold territory.

We enjoyed a great increase in cheetah sightings as their main competitor, lions, concentrated close to the water sources, and cheetah could safely increase their presence in the marginal areas.
There’s been a surge of elephant sightings, and what is notable is their change in feeding habits, with a large focus on roots and bark and less on grass.

With less palatable grazing available, the larger herds have divided, with sightings of breeding herds of between 50-100 individuals.

186 species recorded.


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


  • Average Minimum:11.2°C (52.2°F)
  • Average Maximum:24.6°C (76.3°F)
  • Minimum Recorded:7°C (44.6°F)
  • Maximum Recorded:28°C (82.4°F)


  • For the period:0 mm (0 in)
  • For the year to date:397.3 mm (6 in)

Singita Lamai

June 2015 - Lamai,

The month of June in the Lamai was unusually wet with the first half of the month yielding rainstorms of colossal proportions. The rain patterns of the Serengeti have been rather mercurial this year, seeing the second quarter producing more storm clouds which inevitably dictate the ebb and flow of the Mara River and, so to, the movement of the wildlife. On some mornings the level of the river rose over 60 cm in a matter of hours.

With the paucity of roads in the Lamai Triangle much of the concession was inaccessible for the first half of the month. Many afternoons were spent looking over the plains as ominous clouds thundered towards us
bringing with them the sweet scent of an African tempest. The deluge has however led to the plains flourishing and emanating with emerald hues.

Our lion, cheetah and elephant sightings have been very good – and we even had a rare sighting of a black rhino this month. Other highlights were 12 ground hornbills; a black-backed jackal killing a Thomson gazelle fawn plus two hyenas arriving to steal the kill and sightings of thousands of wildebeest on Nyamalumbwa Plains.


Read the full wildlife report here:  Singita Lamai Wildlife Report June 2015

Singita Sabi Sand

April 2015 - Sabi Sand,

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

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