Bitten off more than they can chew…
The Shishangaan male lions brought down a fully-grown female giraffe in the middle of the month. They seem to have perfected a hunting technique of late, with it being their third giraffe kill in as many months. The biology of a giraffe is an interesting bit of evolution. With a giraffe’s build being as elongated as it is, it needs an extremely large heart to pump the necessary blood all the way up the long neck. If you compare it to adult humans our hearts weigh about three kilograms, but an adult giraffe’s weighs in excess of 12 kg! What the lions seem to have learnt is that the height of the giraffe is its biggest defence, and the normal way of getting around the throat or back of the neck is simply not possible. Instead they use a technique that involves chasing a giraffe into a rocky or uneven area, in the hope of it losing its footing or eventually colliding with a small tree.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park January 2015
- Average minimum 20.1°C (68.1°F)
- Average maximum 31°C (87.8°F)
- Minimum recorded 17°C (62.6°F)
- Maximum recorded 37°C (98.6°F)
- For the period: 33.5 mm
- For the year to date: 33.5 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
A number of leopard sightings in the past year have contributed significantly to the continued improvement of leopard habituation at Singita Grumeti. Our recent, most noteworthy sighting yet, was that of a female leopard stalking and killing a male impala west of Faru Faru in the late afternoon, witnessed by Field Guide, Jeremiah and his guests. This is a clear indicator that leopards in the reserve have become more accepting of our safari-traversing activities and that they have slowly reverted to the type of hunting behaviour which is typical of leopards (for the first time in approximately 50 years). Leopards characteristically hunt both during the day and at night. However, in the seven years prior to 2003, before Grumeti became a photographic safari destination, it was in fact a hunting area. It was then that leopards in this area adapted to hunting only at night when the potential human threat was not around. Until almost a year ago, witnessing a leopard kill on the reserve was completely unheard of! Fortunately, these big cats are beginning to feel more comfortable and the kill that Jeremiah and his guests saw, was in fact the third kill we have recorded this year!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report December 2014
- Average minimum 29.4˚C (84.9˚F)
- Average maximum 16.4˚C (61.5˚F)
- Sasakwa 100.7 mm
- Sabora 98 mm
- Faru Faru 67.5 mm
- Samaki 208 mm
- Risiriba 105 mm
Almost 100 mm of rain was recorded over the three days from 26th to 28th December. On 27th December the Sweni River went over at the confluence, followed by the N’wanetsi River the next day. Gudzane Dam is full and Xhikelengane drainage has water scattered along its course. The burnt areas have recovered and are looking good and general wildlife has flocked back.
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report – December 2014
- Average Minimum: 20.7°C (69.2°F)
- Average Maximum:30.4°C (86.7°F)
- Minimum Recorded:15°C (59°F)
- Maximum Recorded:36°C (96.8°F)
- For the period: 155.5 mm
- For the year to date:471.5 mm
It was another typical summer’s day out in the lowveld, with blistering temperatures and a slow breeze. We set out that afternoon to follow up on the Mhangene pride that had been seen earlier in the morning. Luckily with the day being as warm as it was we were quite sure that the pride wouldn’t have moved too far from their last position and, sure enough, they had only moved a few hundred metres away from where they had been seen in the morning. They were all trying to find some shade underneath some bushwillow trees, but the shade didn’t last very long and they started to become a bit restless.
In the south we could see a big cumulonimbus cloud building up, an indicator of impending rain and lighting. We were quite lucky that it just blocked out the sun and everything cooled down quite quickly, which was just what the lions were waiting for so they could start moving about. Slowly but surely there was movement – stretching and yawning, which is always a good sign. Then, within seconds, all 13 lion heads popped up and stared intently in the same direction. We tried to keep very quiet in the hope that we could hear what they were hearing, and in the far distance we heard a herd of buffalo – and that is exactly what they heard as well.
It was getting dark quickly and the lions were on the move straight towards where we heard the buffalo. Everything was in their favour; the wind was blowing quite strongly from the buffaloes’ direction so the lions’ scent was well masked. We stopped with the whole pride in a stalking position in thick vegetation, and then my tracker Rebel said to me, “Francois, warthog!” He pointed straight towards the pride and this large female warthog appeared, completely oblivious of the lions. In seconds chaos erupted with one of the sub-adults chasing the warthog straight towards the buffalo. Now the whole pride was in motion and running towards the 600 strong buffalo herd. For about 30 seconds we just sat there and listened to the sound of 600 buffalo stampeding from a pride of lions.
What an incredible experience to have shared with our guests!
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report December 2014
- Average Minimum:19.61˚C (67.3˚F)
- Average Maximum:34.35°C (93.83˚F)
- Minimum Recorded: 13.0˚C (55.40˚F
- Maximum Recorded: 41.0˚C (105.80˚F)
- For the period:172 mm
- For the year to date:282.5 mm