Singita Kruger National Park
Singita Kruger National Park
The second month of winter is upon us and the trees are still transitioning into the various magnificent shades of gold. A large majority of them have dropped their leaves and are bare, increasing the visibility from the road and allowing us to peek at the four-legged hidden treasures within the vegetation. The grass is still reasonably high in most areas but has started to be fed on by most grazers. Larger herds of elephants and buffalos have also begun walking around the concession flattening out the high raised grass in some areas. The good condition of the grasses, shrubs and trees can be attributed to the great rains we received in the beginning of the year, which also ensured that most large water bodies that usually dry up by now or that would have dramatically decreased during this time are still gently cradling the rainwater that were birthed by the skies in the beginning of the year.
As the month progressed the cold winter conditions that caused an icy chill in the mornings on game drive have started to warm up considerably. This month has warmed up 4˚C more than last year June 2020.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for June:
- The unknown male lion who was fondly known as “The Beast from the East” had, in the beginning of the month been christened with his official name, which is the Maputo male, in honour of the country he crossed into the concession from, which is Mozambique. He has been seen on a number of occasions wandering the southern parts of the concession, scent marking and roaring.
- The Maputo male and Kumana male have again been seen fighting on numerous occasions in the concession and it seems in most cases that the Maputo male is the victor of these fights.
- The arrival of the Maputo male into the concession has caused a bit of chaos amongst the Shish pride who have, for the last three years, pledged their allegiance to the Kumana male who looks like he may be losing parts of his territory to this intruding male. On one occasion the Maputo male was seen chasing the lionesses and cubs of the Shish pride, which caused the pride to split and to this day have not managed to get back together.
- The Mountain pride has been seen on a number of occasions in the northern parts of the concession. On one occasion they attempted to hunt two porcupines but the porcupine quills proved to be a great armour as the lions were unable to kill them, and this was not from a lack of trying as the quills caused many casualties.
- Two unknown males have been seen moving into the northern parts of the concession, in what is believed to be the Shish male’s territory.
- The Shish males have been seen on a few occasions in the Northern parts of the concession. A Shish male was seen with an unidentified lionesses and subadult male, and on another occasion Xihamham was seen with his ‘brother’ defending their territory by making their presence in the north known by roaring and scent marking.
- A lioness from the Mananga pride was seen east of Gudzane Dam.
- Three members of the Northern pride who are rarely seen were spotted catching some sleep in the cool cover of a tree’s shadow.
- A young male leopard who is just gaining independence has been seen on several occasions on the concession around the Euphorbia thickets, and he has now gained the name, “Euphorbia male”. This young male has successfully hunted an impala and a helmeted guinea fowl in the presence of our vehicles.
- The Mbiri Mbiri male has also been seen on two separate occasions feeding on an impala. This male is slowly establishing himself in the central parts of our concession.
- An unknown female leopard was seen around Gudzane Dam with three of her young cubs marching behind her.
- The Mhlanguleni female was seen in the hills of Pelajumbo with her cub, and on another occasion wandering the concession alone.
- An impressively large unknown male leopard was seen on a few occasions on the western part of our concession, he was very relaxed around the vehicles.
- There were a few more unknown leopards of all differently ages and sizes prowling the concession. With the grass cover slowly diminishing finding their tracks and trailing them has proven to be a little less challenging than in the thick summer months.
- With the sightings of leopards on kills on a rise, we have had many hyena sightings, where they have been eagerly waiting for pieces of the carcass to fall from the trees where these leopards have hoisted their kills.
- A few clans with some subadults have also been spotted roaming the concession.
- A large female hyena was seen feeding on a female kudu. There was no evidence of other predators in the area - just her and her prize.
- There have been a number of solo travelling hyenas spotted in and around the concession wandering alone looking for opportunities to hunt or possible to scavenge. One hyena trailed the Euphorbia male leopard for a while until he successfully brought down an impala, but the leopard managed to hoist it up in a leadwood before the hyena got to it.
- With the grass cover reducing to below knee-high length, the cheetahs are slowly making their return into the concession. On one specific day a beautiful female was seen scanning the plains around Sticky Thorn Quarry.
- Sightings of elephants have been quite scarce over the last month with a few bulls spread across the concession. In the later parts of the month the breeding herds are slowly making their way back into the concession. One particular herd boasts a very newly born elephant calf who sticks to his mom like glue!
- The large herds of buffalo are slowly returning into the concession with the biggest herd consisting of about 300 individuals who were scattered across Fig Tree Link like a sea of blackness.
- A number of dagga boys have also been seen on the concession varying from ten bulls together to single individuals on their own.
- The plains game viewing has been good with scattered herds of zebra, wildebeest and waterbuck.
Rare animals and other sightings
- A single sable was seen roaming around the eastern part of our concession.
- Wild dogs were sighted up in the mountains as far east as the Poort. They were trying to locate other members of the pack and they eventually got across the river and reunited.
- A number of klipspringers have been sighted on the beautiful rocky outcrops spread across the concession.
- Black-backed jackals have been spotted in several open clearings.
- A number of Sharpe’s grysbok and steenbok have been seen on the concession trying to remain undetected in the grasses, shrubs and general vegetation.
- This month we recorded 157 different bird species across the concession.
- A European roller, which is a common sighting in our summer season, was seen this month which tells us that it is either extremely early for the migration or it decided not to leave when the rest of the European rollers headed back north, which is the more plausible.
- A palm-nut vulture was seen perched on a dead leadwood overlooking the skies and the river. This was the first time this vulture has ever been recorded in this part of Kruger National Park, and it was a first for many guides and trackers.