Singita Kruger National Park
Singita Kruger National Park
As we approach the end of our last summer month, venturing onto the concession means a trip into a summer wonderland with some roads being more like tunnels through the long grass, as the bush continues to be lush and green with the rivers almost bursting their banks. The streams continue to cascade down from the Lebombo Mountains even though the rains have started to abate somewhat. The marula trees’ sweet and juicy fruits have all but disappeared and most of the animals are in absolute peak condition. The night skies seem clearer and the mornings are crisp with a mist hovering over the Lebombo Mountains which is more typical of the drier months to come. The thick grass layer has provided great breeding opportunities for many of the ground birds, and the francolins and spurfowls are seen with lots of chicks running behind the adults in the roads in front of us. There are also signs that the impala rutting season is starting with the virile rams bellowing and chasing the ewes around. The migratory bird population is thinning out as they leave to head north into northern Africa and Europe, some will even venture all the way back to Asia.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for March:
- The Shishangaan Pride was seen on the 6th and then again on the 28th of this month. They have spent most of their time off our concession to the south west.
- The Kumana male has been seen regularly around the lodges. His roars have been heard echoing off the granophyre ridges every few nights and he has also been patrolling his known territory far and wide, possibly attempting to find the Shishangaan lionesses.
- The Mananga Pride have also been covering a lot of ground this month with them seen in both the far southern reaches of their territory and then a few short days later in the very far northern parts. On the 30th of this month we had our first look at the two new members of the pride and they appear to be between two and three months old.
- The old Shishangaan male has been seen on a number of occasions with the Mananga Pride, and was seen mating with a Mananga lioness.
- The Mananga Pride was also found with a buffalo carcass on our northern most boundary.
- The Mountain Pride had been in the most northern parts of our concession and then shifted down towards the central parts towards the end of the month. One evening some lucky guests witnessed them successfully hunt a fully grown warthog near Warthog Pan.
- Two young unknown male lions have been seen harassing one of the Shishangaan males. On one occasion the reports where that they had seemed to share the same kill.
- The 29th of March was an interesting day for the lions of the Lebombo concession. In the morning, a coalition of seven young adult male lions were found traveling east on the road towards the lodges. The Kumana male was not far away at the time and by himself he does not stand much of a chance against the superior numbers. Only time will tell.
- On the 31st, the two unknown young male lions were found finishing off a zebra kill.
- We have enjoyed a number of sightings of the Mbiri male leopard. He has mostly been seen in the central parts of the concession, often climbing trees and attempting to hunt impala and even young zebra. One morning he was found feasting on a porcupine kill.
- The Mhlangulene female was seen with her cub a number of times. She was found feeding on an impala kill that she hoisted into a tree to save her prize from a marauding hyena.
- Another unidentified female leopard was seen north of Gudzane Dam, sneaking through a large herd of elephants.
- Towards the end of the month a young male with a slightly broken tail, was seen near Croc View over the course of two days.
- An unknown male was seen near Gudzane Dam on the 30th March.
- Two male cheetahs have been seen occasionally, on the road that leads to the staff village. On one of the days they had very full bellies.
- The pack of dogs that numbered six seems to have lost two members. On the 8th and 9th they were seen hunting close to the entrance to the lodge, then on the 30th they appeared one morning hunting in the same area.
- Hyenas have been sighted foraging along the roads at night. There was also individuals in attendance at the leopard and lion kills, patiently waiting their turn to feed. All of the known den-sites have remained inactive over the summer.
- A hyena was also seen attempting to chase down a zebra during an evening drive back to camp.
- At the beginning of the month the elephant sightings were limited to mainly bulls and smaller family groups. Around the middle of the month the herds returned with sightings of groups numbering as many as 40.
- Musth bulls have also been present this month with a few individuals sporting impressive tusks.
- Most sightings of buffalo have been bulls and smaller breeding herds. The reason for this dispersal is possibly because of wide availability of water and good grazing after the summer rains.
- As always there is an abundance of zebras and wildebeest. Giraffes are a common sight in the mountains and even in the grassland.
Rare animals and other sightings
- A caracal was seen late one night, close to the staff village.
- African wild cats have provided some great sightings.
- A total of 197 birds were recorded for the month of March.
- A golden pipit was seen by the Nat Geo film crew sometime in February (but was only reported to us in March). This is an incredible record for the area (there have been possibly fewer than 20 sightings in South Africa, in total), and is the second bird of this particular species that has been seen in the area in the past five years.
- Lesser moorhen with chicks, broad-billed rollers, African crakes, dwarf bitterns have all been great records this month.