September 2021

Singita Sabi Sand: September 2021


Singita Sabi Sand: September 2021

Branches are bare as the final few leaves remaining float towards the soil. The still evening air is filled with the distant roars of lions and the slow beginnings of a frog chorus beckoning for summer to bring its rain. Yet Mother Nature begins to tease us with moody cloud formations following glorious hot days, she shows signs of her migrant birds beginning to return and with every sunset so rises the starry scorpion who moves ever closer toward the western horizon as he chases Orion across the sky. The people of the land knew of these signs, the whispers of the wild, steadily revealing the changes. Thus, we too observe the beauty of change as nature once again unmasks the veil of winter and brings forth abundant new life.

Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for September:


  • Having found themselves a safe haven along the banks of the Sand River close to the lodges, with very little pressure, the two Tslalala lionesses continue to thrive and show signs of being extremely healthy and well looked after. We have noticed however that the older lioness is now missing the tip of her tail which we believe may have been bitten off by a hyena over a carcass they were feeding on at the beginning of the month. They have given us an abundance of great lion viewing over the course of this month, often resting near the river, basking in the golden light and even making a few successful hunts in the late afternoons.
  • The Plains Camp male lions have been seen on a number of occasions, most recently with one and sometimes two Nkuhuma females. We often hear their roars on the northern bank of the river during the night and have viewed them feeding on a number of successfully hunted prey species.
  • With the unfortunate passing of the Styx male lion and now one of the three Tumbela males to our west (he has been reported missing for an extended period of time after being in a very bad condition), the future of the single Nkhuma male remains a mystery as all coalitions surrounding him comprise of two male lions (the Tumela males, the Plains Camp males and the Birmingham males). However, he has still been a regular fixture in our lion viewing this month. Having killed an adult bull buffalo on his own to the east of the lodges, this allowed for a long amount of viewing of this beautiful single male as he fed, slept and vocalised each day.
  • There haven’t been any further sightings of the Black Dam male who was seen last month with the Nkuhuma male.Remaining in the southern parts of the property, the Mhangene pride who still have all members of the pride including their youngsters, are seemingly doing well amidst the changes in coalition dynamics. They continue to keep a low profile and stay constantly in an area where they appear to be most safe from any pressure caused by other lions.


  • With the temperatures beginning to rise and the limited amounts of water available, large herds of elephants have been keeping everyone in awe along the rivers and around the waterholes that still hold this vital resource. Hours can be spent with these large pachyderms as they play, swim, mud wallow and feed. It has been a wonderful month for elephant viewing and a real privilege to spend such extended periods of quality time with them.

Wild dogs

  • This month’s wild dog viewing has comprised mostly of the Othawa pack who were very unfortunate in their breeding season this year, having lost all pups on a neighbouring property. This has meant that they have been on the move across the reserve with sporadic sightings every now and then throughout the month. We had a few interesting interactions viewed with them this month. On one occasion they were fast asleep and abruptly woken up by one of the Mhangene pride females who happened to be in the area after having a drink close by.
  • She gave chase and then moved off, back toward the rest of the pride who were feeding on a buffalo carcass nearby. The second interesting interaction was between the pack and a herd of wildebeest who were having a standoff.
  • The wildebeest were not backing down and continued to push the pack of wild dogs further away. Even after the dogs lost interest, the wildebeest were clearly not amused by the pack’s playful interest in them. 


  • The month started with Schotia female and Nyeleti male mating once again which brings the hope of a new litter of cubs in the coming months.
  • Schotia female continues to thrive, having made a number of successful hunts throughout the month which allowed for some magnificent leopard viewing. She continues to separate herself from the Kangela male, however the two of them have been seen together on the odd occasion. 
  • Guests at Singita Boulders were treated to a very different leopard sighting this month when the Kangela male caught and hoisted an adult female impala in a tree close to one of the room’s outdoor shower. Unfortunately, the kill was stolen by the Nyeleti male who continued to force the young male away whilst feeding on his scavenged meal. There were no guests staying in the room at the time, so we allowed the other guests to come and view this rare sighting!
  • The Ntoma female has been viewed on a number of occasions this month with brief glimpses of her two little cubs. We hope to see them thriving with their ever powerful mother keeping them safe. They are still a little bit nervous when there is any sort of vehicle presence but the Ntoma female herself is beginning to show more signs of being relaxed in our presence which we hope helps her cubs to do the same.
  • Both Thamba male and Hosana male continue to exude their presence across the reserve. With the Thamba male becoming larger and stronger, he was even seen to be chasing off the Xipuku male who we believe originally pushed the Thamba male further into the south-west parts of the property when he first arrived. He and the Hosana male seem to be pushing their territories just slightly further into Nyeleti male territory with sightings of the Hosana male in parts of the river we have not yet viewed him before. 
  • A very interesting arrival of the Senegal Bush male became apparent when he moved into the property along the river from our east. Many may not know, but the Senegal Bush male is the older brother and previous litter of the Hosana male. Reports of pressure from the Maxims male, Mawelawela male and the Flat Rock male mean that this could be a new exciting chapter for the Senegal Bush male if he continues to expand his territory further in a westerly direction, and we look forward to observing his movements.


  • Seeing one cheetah in the area is a fairly rare sighting, however to see two cheetahs in the same place is a gift! We have been truly blessed to have seen both the male and female cheetah on a few occasions over this month with some interesting interactions viewed between the pair. The female cheetah and her cubs are also beginning to move from their den area and seem to be exploring further to the south.


  • We were extremely lucky again this month when Marc Bowes-Taylor spotted a pangolin on the move during a morning game drive. These animals are extremely endangered and it was a real treat to introduce some of our guests to this incredible creature.

By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide