Singita Sabi Sand: November 2021
Like a coat of new paint, a bright flush of green covers the landscape. Pops of pink and orange begin to dot the land as wildflowers emerge from the rain-filled soil. Everything captured by our eyesight is beautiful and life once again boasts in every corner. A lingering smell of wet earth permeates through the air and a pitter patter of small hooves are heard as we listen in the stillness of the first morning light. Summer is here and each morning brings new opportunities for us to take in the change of season and enjoy the ever-present moment we are able to share in the bush with our guests. It has been a month of loss however, it has also been a month full of vibrant life which continues to explode day by day.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for November:
- It is with great sadness that we write about the news of the beautiful and strong Tsalala female lion’s passing. After many years of solitude and survival she was recently killed by the Plains Camp males along with two Nkuhuma lionesses and was found the next morning. Although there was nobody around to view the occurrence, the tracks and signs lead us to believe this was the case. It has been a wonderful time spent with this female and her now sub-adult daughter who thankfully survived the attack. Many hours were spent with these two lionesses who moved into Singita and spent a lot of their time moving up and down along the Sand River providing many guests with wonderful game viewing. With only her daughter to continue the Tsalala legacy, we can only hope she takes on the skills learnt by her mother and brings the pride back to life once again.
- The Plains Camp males are becoming more prominent in their movements across the property as the weeks go by and their echoing roars can often be heard throughout the night. It is apparent that they are expanding their territory as they move from areas north of the river and down towards central parts of Singita. The two of them have often been viewed with two of the Nkuhuma lionesses (Amber-eyed female & Ridge-nosed female) who also seem to have broken away from their pride and are spending more time on their own, exploring the property alongside the Plains Camp males.
- The Mhangene pride continue to seek refuge in the far reaches of the property, however they remain strong and vigilant of the new males moving around the property and are keeping healthy whilst the younger members of the pride grow.
- With the first rains arriving, elephant sightings have minimised ever so slightly after the previous month which brought us record numbers of viewing. Watching as a breeding herd feeds on the lush new vegetation always makes for a gratifying experience, with the understanding that these large animals are being able to have a fresh, nutritious meal.
- We are anxiously looking forward to the marula fruit season and can’t wait to watch as elephants from all corners of the reserve rush to feed on these sweet treats.
- The month of November brought sadness in both the lion and leopard population with the unfortunate death of the Ntoma female leopard’s cub who was sadly killed by a clan of four hyenas. A very harsh but natural sighting which left everyone who was present, in tears. We are unsure if she has one cub remaining or not but we are crossing our fingers that this is still the case.
- The Schotia female has been spending more time within closer range of the lodge recently with signs of her being heavily pregnant. This sparks a huge amount of excitement within the guiding team and we hope to see new little leopard cubs joining the Singita leopard population very soon.
- The Thamba male has laid down his dominance and is urging further into Nyeleti male territory. This male seems to grow by the day and is becoming an increasing threat to the male leopards who surround his territory. It seems as if our sightings of the Nyeleti male are becoming less frequent and we wonder if he knows that his time as the resident dominant male is slowly making its way to an end.
- Smaller herds of buffalo are being viewed across the property with the arrival of our first proper rains. We are still viewing one or two much larger herds but are sure in the next month, with the growth of a large amount of new grass, that they will return to feed more frequently.
- It had been some time since we viewed the female cheetah and her cubs but we were extremely fortunate to view them once again recently in the southern part of the property with seemingly only one cub remaining.
- The male cheetah continues to present us with excellent game viewing, having one occasion where he was seen making an impala kill, only to be stolen by some hungry hyenas.
- The bird list for November includes three new bird species, the yellow-billed stork, thick-billed cuckoo and square-tailed nightjar. This brings our yearly total to 287.