Singita Pamushana and Malilangwe House officially opened on the 24th of March 2021, after being closed for a year due to the pandemic, and our first guests received the most grateful and joyous welcome by staff. After being so quiet for far too long we are definitely moving forward with a determined and renewed focus and energy in the safari industry.
During the closure we seized the opportunity to improve our knowledge and skills, using technology such as the now infamous “Zoom,” as well as some practical in-the-field training with some of Singita’s own experts.
After having such a heavy rainy season it caused the bush to flourish and recover properly from some tough years before, and now the cooler weather is starting to come in. With this cooler weather we are enjoying some wonderful seasonal changes, such as the yellowing of the leaves on the baobab and syringa trees. The vegetation in low lying open areas is now browning with the promise of thinning out, which helps with wildlife sightings. There are still some natural waterholes holding water from the past rains, and these are attracting some great wildlife sightings.
Here is a snapshot of March’s sightings:
- Two adult male lions were seen on the Banyini plains with full stomachs after having been chased off their kill by a large clan of hyenas. The lion duo had taken down an adult female buffalo along with her juvenile calf.
- Another two male lions (sub-adults) were seen trying to hunt, to no avail, a herd of Cape buffalo on the Chikwete part of the Chiredzi River.
- In the Nduna area, two adult female lions along with an adult male lion were located, and time was spent watching these cats interact with each other. What became apparent later on was that the one lioness had cubs and was trying to lead the male away from the area the cubs were in. The next morning the lioness and one of her cubs were seen and the other two cubs could be heard calling.
- Rhino sightings continue to be very good, with white rhino being seen often grazing on the lush grasses on the reserve.
- Black rhino sightings are also good however they require a little more effort to locate due to the vegetated areas they prefer. Our first guests enjoyed a walking safari through the bush and came across a natural waterhole. At the same time the group arrived at the waterhole, so did two black rhinos! The guide and guests were able to get into a safe position to be able to quietly watch and photograph the two black rhinos as they wallowed and socialised with each other.
- Some good elephant sightings are being enjoyed with various viewings of bull elephants in and around waterholes and rivers. Guests have also enjoyed experiencing quality time with elephant bulls on walking safaris.
- The breeding herds of elephants are being seen often around the larger water bodies such as the Chiredzi River, Nduna Dam and Sosigi Dam as these areas provide great water, excellent feeding, safety and shade.
- Several large herds of buffalos have been seen either visiting waterholes or grazing in the grasslands. Herds continue to be menaced by hungry predators such as lions and hyenas.
- Buffalo bulls are often seen frequenting the hilly areas where there is grass for them as well as safety due to the undulating rocky terrain.
- The wild dogs remain ever so active with large distances being traversed daily. Whilst traveling back from a field training trip in the Gonarezhou National Park that borders the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve where Singita Pamushana is located, the guiding team had a great viewing of 14 wild dogs.
- Guide Dharmesh Daya saw 17 dogs, hunting on the reserve, all looking very healthy and strong. The puppies are now yearlings and are doing extremely well.
- The dogs were seen hunting again recently by guide Alex Naert with guests, along the Orphan Road.
- As the month of April approaches, we are expecting the alpha male and alpha female to copulate and, hopefully, have a new litter of pups in the coming months.
- Leopards continue to be heard calling around the hills that the lodge is located in, with some cats being “spotted” moving around the hills. A large male leopard has been seen and heard as he has been patrolling. A female was seen hunting along the Singita Pamushana Access Road by guide Mark Friend and trackers while they were working in the field. On another day, while the guides were out sourcing wild herbs for the kitchen, they saw a large female resting up a thorn tree near Nyari.
- Plains game are in abundance with excellent sightings of giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu and nyala. Baboons and vervet monkeys are in abundance too!
- Fishing has been excellent with some huge bream being caught. Some guests had their catch prepared by the chef team and enjoyed a delicious fresh meal.
- Tigerfish are very active with some good fishing being enjoyed.