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)
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
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