We’ve enjoyed some good rain late in the season, so our grasslands are all topped up and ready to battle the long dry winter ahead. It’s a great relief to know there will be good grazing for the herbivores that should last them until the next rainfall season towards the end of the year.
Here’s a sightings snapshot for April:
- The Butamtam Pride have continued to utilise a similar area – around Pundamilia to raise their cubs. There is good elevation from the hill to scan for buffalo that they have predominantly been hunting of late, with at least four buffalo kills recorded this month. Often the tracks of the herds have lion tracks over them – a sign that the pride is opportunistically trailing.
- At one sighting the Butamtam Pride numbered 24, comprised of one male, eight lionesses, two sub-adults and thirteen cubs. It is an impressive sight and that’s with some of the pride members missing too!
- Members of the Nyasirori Pride have been seen in the vicinity of Sabora and down towards the thickets and riverbeds. A mating pair was sighted at Kigelia Crossing and other members of the pride have been seen at different times scattered through a similar area. The shorter grass plains to the south mean that there is more diversity of plains game and this pride has more hunting options ranging from warthog, impala, topi, buffalo and occasionally zebra.
- Earlier in the month three male lions, three lionesses and four cubs were seen near the Raho River - 10 members of Nyasirori Pride, and then mid-month 18 members of the same pride were seen together. There were 12 cubs and thus it seems the lion population is doing really well at the moment with both big prides on the property having a large number of cubs.
- Members of the Nyasirori Pride killed an eland bull in front of Sabora Tented Camp.
- A single lioness with a single cub was seen near German Bridge.
- There has also been a lot of lion activity on Sasakwa Hill. Lions had killed a zebra on the road near Helicopter Hanger at the beginning of the month and they were often heard roaring at night on the hill. Often a single lioness was seen moving on her own but there were sightings of a number of lions together. These lions appear to be quite shy and so sightings are often brief.
- We have been fortunate to continue to see the Grumeti North female and her daughter in the vicinity of Grumeti North Hill. The daughter continues to show her independence and seems healthy and confident.
- A nervous female was seen on main Fort Ikoma road but she moved off quickly.
- The nervous large male leopard that lives in the area of OP 7 was seen during the month.
- A male leopard was seen around Arab Camp Hill – it’s interesting to note the amount of predator activity around Arab Camp Hill and thicket.
- Another male was seen near the balloon launch site – it has been interesting to note more male leopards were seen this month.
- A male leopard walked through Faru Faru lodge using the guest path and was seen by a number of staff and guests in camp – all were very excited!
- The very long grass at this time of the year has made cheetah sightings a little more challenging during April, however a male cheetah (assumed to be the male from Sasakwa Plains) was seen much further south in the shorter grasslands around the old Explore, Pundamilia camp. He was in good condition and actively hunting.
- Around the middle of the month the female cheetah with three small cubs was seen west of Serengeti Hill. Great to know she is around and using the long grass to stay concealed.
- A coalition of two male cheetahs were seen south of Kigelia Crossing. They typically like to hunt in the shorter grasslands, south of this location.
- The Ridge Hills and then Mbogo drainage line have had good concentrations of elephants over the course of the month.
- There was a large herd of 100+ elephants close to Nyasirori Dam, south of Sabora. Numerous youngsters in the herd and some impressive bulls in the vicinity.
- Pundamilia Hill has also had a lot of elephant activity in the tickets along the side of the hill. Sometimes we hear the herds trumpeting when they find members of the Butamtam Pride who have also been using these thickets.
- Faru Faru lodge has also had a lot of elephant activity over the course of the month.
- A herd of about 30 elephants were drinking at the Serengeti House waterhole towards the end of the month.
- The best hyena viewing has tended to be on the Nyati Plains to the south where the grass is shorter and there is more general game.
- Some guests were lucky to see lions and hyenas fighting over a topi kill.
- There has been a resident herd of about 500 buffalo in the plains to the east of Sabora with a lot of calves in the herds.
- Out to the west the most prolific animals are the buffalo. Most open plains have herds that number from 20 to 400 or more. They are always accompanied by cattle egrets - it is a great sight to see.
- Sasakwa Dam has had a lot of buffalo activity over the course of the month.
- There have been numerous bulls lying up in the long grass that the lions have been targeting.
- Eric the rhino has been seen in the eastern parts of the vast Rhino Enclosure. He is looking healthy and is obviously very relaxed and it has been a highlight to be able to view him.
Other interesting sightings
- A very relaxed male serval was seen hunting on the road, south of OP 7.
- Another serval was seen hunting on the Nyasirori high ground.
- Very impressive journeys of giraffes – west of Sabora and then on the Ridge Hills.
- Good general game numbers and variety, especially at Nyati and Nyasirori high grounds.
- Two aardwolf were seen west of Sabora.
- A porcupine was seen on Rhino Rocks road.
- Big herds of topi near Marula Camp, in the west.
- Due to the rains there has been an incredible amount of leopard tortoise activity – great to see.