Singita Sabi Sand: June 2021
The golden globe sun is setting on the mountainous horizon and it’s with a steep suddenness that the temperature plummets. The lowveld winter has a clear crispness to it. Skies are a deep glassy cobalt and the dry earth depicts expressions of creams, light yellows and dusty browns. Water sources are diminishing, drawing large herds of elephants to unite at the few refuges of water. A splendour to watch as with every step closer to water, the excitement and joy radiates from these huge land mammals. Trumpeting, splashing and squelching fills our ears as we watch with warm hearts and wonder. June is a month of coolness, of shorter days and beautiful sunsets.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for June:
- The Mhangene pride have barely been seen this month as they have shifted further west in an attempt to avoid the multiple coalitions that are moving around the property.
- The Styx and Nkuhuma males have been seen regularly in the south and central parts of the property. These males look likely to be the successors to the Othawa males’ territory on Singita. An altercation occurred between these two males and the Plains Camp males in the central parts of Singita one morning. Whilst brief, the Styx and Nkuhuma males looked to be the victors in the disagreement, driving off the two Plains Camp males.
- The two Plains Camp males have been seen regularly this month and mostly to the north of the river. They too look set in establishing themselves, and their roars can be heard almost every night north of the lodges.
- With winter in full swing and the bushveld drying up, water sources have become elephant hot spots. From the far north to the vast south, huge numbers of these animals have been recorded.
- A pack of wild dogs have been seen regularly in the central and south eastern parts of our property, often hunting around Castleton camp. One particularly exciting morning, the pack spread out, chasing impala through autumnal red bushwillow trees and marula groves. Through the chaos a grey duiker got caught in the wrong place and wrong time, falling victim to the pack.
- The Kangela male continues to thrive and independence is almost upon him. He’s been seen far less with his mother, exploring the western reaches and parts of the norther bank of the Sand River.
- The Misava male seems to be taking up residence towards the more central areas of Singita, having been seen only a few times this month.
- The Hosana male had a hoisted impala kill next to one of the dams in the north which made for some exciting game viewing. This magnificent male continues to explore the majority of the north, with his territory being the largest of all leopards around Singita.
- The Nyeleti male leopard hasn’t been seen as often this month. It does appear that he is starting to lose ground to his younger adversaries. This male was seen at a particularly exciting sighting, where he located the Kangela male leopard, chasing him off a hoisted impala kill, to steal the remains from his son. A thrilling encounter with dramatic cackling and screeching from excited hyena waiting at the base of the tree.
- The Thamba male leopard has been pushing his territory more and more into the southern parts of the Nyeleti male’s grounds. His scent marking and sawing has increased with his exploring and could potentially take over this part of the property.
- Although the Scotia female continues to be our most viewed individual, sightings of her have been more elusive this month. With her son now on the brink of independence, her movements have become far more erratic and we expect she could be mating soon.
- Cheetah are always very exciting to find as they are a rarity in the Sabi Sand and vulnerable globally. A male cheetah was spotted a few times, once hunting warthog. The male was successful in his capture, however a protective warthog mother was close on hand to chase the predator away.
- A very exciting month with two pangolins found on Singita!
The bird list for June includes four new bird species, bringing our yearly total to 277 so far. The four birds sighted and added were the African crowned eagle, greater painted-snipe, greater honeyguide and Cape wagtail.