August 2021

Singita Sabi Sand: August 2021


Singita Sabi Sand: August 2021

Tall shadows cast over the dry earth as the burning sun descends into the mountainous horizon. A blanket of twinkling constellations and planets swamp the sky and the familiar winter stars shine down on us. This month brings exciting changes with mating leopards, the discovery of new life, and sadly some death.

Mother Nature has a delicate way of telling her story and just as you cannot have diversity without destruction, you cannot have life without death. As the sun rises up from her sleep, she brings prospect and life with every ray she casts. New lessons are learnt and the heartbeat of the bush carries on…

Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for August:


  • The biggest news this month is the death of the Styx male lion (who was partnered with the Nkuhuma male forming the Nwalungu males). Sadly on the 14th August, this male was found dead at a pan in the southern parts of our property. The cause of his death is thought to be from wounds he attained after he and the Nkuhuma male stole a wildebeest kill from the Mhangeni pride the previous day.
  • The Nkuhuma male is looking in good condition and we’ve seen him quite a lot this month. He was located at a sodic area south of the river with a new male lion to the area. This newcomer was later identified as one of the males from the Black Dam Pride from Thornybush. This interaction seemed relaxed as both lions seemed unchallenged and adequately happy in each other’s presence. However, this was a brief engagement and the new male hasn’t been sighted since.
  • The Mhangene pride have been roaming throughout the property still avoiding any male lions. They’re being sighted in the south and also north of the Sand River. The pride comprises of six lionesses, a year-old sub adult female and a five-month-old cub, also thought to be female.
  • The Tsalala females have been seen a lot this month and seem to be settling along the Sand River. One very exciting sighting was seen from Boulders Lodge deck where the two lionesses were stalking waterbuck in the river. As these females gave chase, a group of twelve buffalo bulls chased them away from their prize and they were left to try another day.
  • There is definitely a big shift happening with young males on our property and sightings have increased. The two Plains Camp males have been settling in the north this month, seen once chasing the Tsalala females.
  • Two sub-adults (young male and female) from the Othawa break-away pride have also been roaming through the land.


  • Many breading herds frequent the winter bushveld, pausing at the Sand River to enjoy a mid-morning drink before trampling back through the dry vegetation. Most drives, morning and afternoon are filled with elephant sightings, as they gather in groups to share the vital water resources.

Wild dogs

  • The wild dog pups are getting older now and the adults have been moving the den-site. It’s been such a luxury viewing them at their intimate young stage. They’ve now moved further south and we are unable to follow their growth. We look forward to seeing their progress as they start to become more nomadic and independent.
  • The Othawa pack have delighted us with regular viewing this month. With no pups this year, the pack continue to chase around the Sands pursuing prey as they go. On one exciting occasion, we watched them chase an impala into a pan of water. The dogs then circled the water, not daring to get in and were nearly chased away by a herd of elephants that came to drink. After a long suspenseful 20 minutes, one brave individual made his way into the water and claimed his prize. Dragging out the impala from the depths, the pack rushed excitedly to the animal, but they weren’t alone. Within seconds, a clan of hyena emerged and fought the dogs for the meal. Shrieks and screeches shook the full moon sky and another clan of hyena joined the party. An unfortunate ending for the impala and a dramatic evening for the pack.


  • Having such a huge territory, the Hosana male leopard was only sighted a few times this month, however some exciting news – at the beginning of this month, he was seen mating with the Nkuwa female!
  • A beautiful sighting of the Flat Rock male leopard was a highlight this month. Driving along the river’s edge, one of our guides located him lying magnanimously on a termite mound.
  • Sightings of the Ntoma female have increased in August. At the beginning of the month and at the end, we found her with two separate kills. This allowed for some stable and exciting viewing. Tracks have been seen of two cubs with her, and although not yet seen we are excited at the prospect of these new arrivals!
  • The Thamba male leopard hasn’t been seen so much due to him mating with females to the west of us.
  • The Nyeleti male leopard is looking good. He’s been mating with the Schotia female over five days in and around the lodges.
  • The ever curious and adventurous Kangela male leopard wanders through and around the lodge vicinity, exploring and learning to hunt for himself. He’s been seen with the Schotia female at several kills this month and we believe she is still providing for him.
  • Shangwe male leopard hasn’t been seen so much this month. We believe he may be moving more east to build his own territory.
  • The Misava male still resides around the Sand River, having been viewed from time to time this month.


  • A male cheetah is seen regularly through the grassy open clearings in the south, as well as a young female. On one wet cold morning, one guide located the female and upon following her, located two cubs in the tall grass! An incredible discovery and so exciting to have a cheetah denning on our property for the second year in a row!

Bird List    

  • The bird list for August includes one new bird species, bringing our yearly total to 284, so far. 
  • It was with great excitement when two Caspian terns were sighted flying around Pios crossing, a lifer for those who got to see them!

By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide