October 2021

Singita Pamushana: October 2021

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Singita Pamushana: October 2021

We’ve had all kinds of weather extremes – scorching days of over 40 ˚C followed by some cold downpours of the first of the season’s rains. But let’s dive right in to the sightings…

Here’s a sightings snapshot for October:

Lions

Lion activity has been great – we’ve seen them on kills, heard them roaring, and on one occasion had a whole pride walk past guests, guide and the game viewer as they were having sundowners, on their way to drink.

  • Southern Pride: They are in good condition and we’ve seen them on a wildebeest and buffalo bull kill. 
  • River Pride: Sightings of this pride of eight were enjoyed while they slept off a buffalo feast in the riverbed at Chikokovele. Seven hyenas and several vultures made quick work of the leftovers.
  • Nduna Pride: The two old males of this pride have been seen on their own, and with the rest of the pride females and cubs. They’ve been between the Nduna and Lojaan areas, enjoying the warmth and concealment of the rocks. On one occasion were roaring close to the safari goers and then the females and cubs went to inspect the vehicle and spent time near the enthralled guests. On another occasion three buffalo bulls came to the waterhole the pride were watching over, and two lionesses tried to catch one of the buffalo.
  • Two young adult males: We’ve spotted the two young nomads a couple of times, but they are still skittish and disappear on being found. 

Leopards

  • Sightings of these elusive cats have been sporadic, except when on an occasion when a guide and tracker noticed fresh drag marks from a leopard kill crossing the road. With their guests in tow they tracked it through some thick bush to find a baby zebra that had been stashed away by the leopardess who was feeding on the kill she had made.
  • One afternoon drive netted two leopard sightings, both in the vicinity near the lodge!
  • A female leopard was seen briefly lying on the branch of a tree watching impalas which were feeding, but she jumped from the tree shortly after being seen.

African wild dogs

  • The pack of 12 wild dogs (6 adults and 6 puppies) was seen resting in the Kwali area, with quite a few hyenas waiting for them to hunt.  At dusk the adults chased after some kudu and impala, with the hyenas in tow.
  • The puppies have delighted guests by curiously coming up to the vehicles to ponder the occupants. 

Hyenas

  • Hyenas  are spotted all over the reserve. They were also seen one afternoon from the boat, feasting on a dead hippo.
  • About 20 hyenas were observed feeding and fighting over a wildebeest carcass. We presume they had killed the wildebeest themselves during the night.

Rhinos

  • White rhinos: You are guaranteed to see white rhinos at Singita Pamushana. Sometimes the numbers are almost unbelievable as you can see over ten in one area at one time, and should you spend several hours at a favoured waterhole you can see close on twenty. 
  • Black rhinos: Seeing black rhinos is harder but every now and again they are seen in multiples too, such as one late afternoon game drive to the Chiredzi River for a sundowner when three black rhinos were seen en route, and then two more further along on the opposite side of the river. Another endearing sight was seeing a mother and her month-old calf feeding along Pamushana Access.

Elephants

  • The bachelor boys have been a delight as they converge at Hwata Pan for drinking sessions.
  • One breeding herd was spotted near the river so the guide took the guests on foot through the thick riverine vegetation for a closer look. After 20 minutes of careful approach they were able to safely observe some of the adult females resting in the shade of trees, throwing dust on themselves and the babies lying resting at their feet. They also got to watch a calf wake up and start nursing.
  • The highlight of one afternoon boat cruise was spending close to half an hour with a breeding herd as they were drinking from the shoreline. A total of 15 were seen but more were in the vicinity evidenced by the sounds of them browsing and shaking the trees.

Buffalo

  • Old dagga boys are dotted around the reserve, and the breeding herds drink daily from the various permanent water points.
  • A highlight was at Nduna Dam when two herds of Cape buffalo came to drink. One herd had more than 500 and the other herd more than 700. Two male lions were watching the buffalo drink, from a distance.

Plains game

  • Plains game abound, especially during the hot weather out on the plains.
  • There have also been good sightings of herds of sable, and Lichtenstein’s hartebeests with their calves.

Photographic hide

  • If the animals are thirsty enough and you get the timing right, sightings from inside the underground photographic hide can be off the charts. Such as when guests saw impala, wildebeest, buffalo, white rhinos, eland, warthogs, sable, elephants and giraffe – all in one session in the hide.
  • One group of guests spent the afternoon sitting in the hide and saw over 10 white rhino coming to drink, an elephant bull drinking and mud bathing, and then a lioness drinking in the dark.

Walks

  • It’s an excellent time to walk, and it is what our guides like doing best.
  • One group walked for about three hours and had special sightings of kudu, impala, buffalo, an elephant bull and abundant birdlife along the Chiredzi River.
  • Another group did some caving and found various shards of pottery and a broken blue bead.

Water safaris and fishing

  • There have been excellent catches of bream, tiger and catfish after consecutive days of hot weather.
  • It’s a particularly good time for the redbreast tilapia.
  • The sunset water safaris are always exceptional, but even more so when elephants, black rhino or leopard are spotted from the boat, as they were this month.

Birds

  • It was a delight to have avid avian enthusiasts in camp. We saw 50 species on the first morning which, and some of the migratory species had just arrived. By the second morning their bird list was up to 90!

Day trips

  • We hosted a full day trip outing to Great Zimbabwe, followed by a relaxing sundowner cruise on the boat when we got back. Great Zimbabwe was a medieval African city and part of its ruins still feature an enormous curved stone wall and tower. It was part of a wealthy African trading empire and was thought to have been the capital of a great kingdom, during the country's Late Iron Age.

Community visits

  • We took one of our guests to visit and get involved in the Khomonani Women’s Garden. The Garden was set up by The Malilangwe Trust to provide funding and support of a market garden, which is managed by a group of women. The garden has a borehole, pump, solar power system, 30 000 litre water storage tank, gravity-fed canals and storage sheds.

Jenny Hishin
By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide