Singita Sabi Sand
Singita Sabi Sand
As dawn awakens, the streaming golden sunlight beams across the treetops and we sip our freshly brewed coffee, savouring the sense of warmth it offers. There is a slight chill to the early morning air and the evident yellowing of grass lingers across the land. Impala rams have begun to perform their rut causing a familiar gurgling sound to echo through the wind. This time of year always brings with it a sense of beauty in its changes, a time where we can marvel at the shifting colours, smells and temperatures.
A Sightings Snapshot for March follows:
- Stability is a word in which we haven’t used for some time when it comes to the lion dynamics on the reserve. However, it would seem as if this is the most fitting way to describe the month of March when it comes to lions.
- The Plains Camp males and Nkuhuma lionesses have without a doubt made themselves very much at home in the central parts of Singita Sabi Sand. With the lionesses taking care of two young cubs close to the area of Castleton it would seem that the Plains Camp males have made every attempt to make sure these females are protected from wandering intruders.
- The single Birmingham male and his son the Nkuhuma male have forged a close bond, spending most of their time together now. These two males have quietly been moving back and forth across the southern parts of the property with the Plains Camp males making sure to chase them out each time they arrive in their territory. On one occasion the two males were heard vocalising and chasing a single Mhangene lioness which caught the attention of the Plains Camp males. Within half an hour the Plains Camp males had made their way right across the property, moving at least four and a half kilometres (as the crow flies) to where they were heard. The Birmingham and Nkuhuma males must have sensed them coming and quickly moved away from the area. The next day we saw the males and there were no visible signs of an incursion.
- Most nights around Castleton camp, lions can be heard roaring. Although most of the time we believe the calls to be those of males, we too have noticed that the continuous beckoning is from one of the older Mhangene lionesses.
- One very interesting interaction this month came at the expense of a bull buffalo. We observed as some of the Nkuhuma sub-adults, a Talamati sub-adult male and the three Nsevu sub-adult males fed on the same bull buffalo together north of the river. What came as more of a surprise was that after feeding on the carcass for almost two days, the two Plains Camp males along with the Nkuhuma lionesses (who had been settled nowhere near the feeding frenzy) made their way across the river, found the carcass and then also fed on it. Absolutely incredible!
- It’s a girl! After weeks of viewing the Schotia female and her new cub, we have come to the conclusion that it is a female cub! This comes as very exciting news to us all after years of the Schotia female bringing up two incredible young males who have placed their mark on the world already. This young female seems to have all the confidence needed to becoming a brave adult female just like her mother and we hope to continue watching as she grows day by day.
- Time is beginning to tick for the Nyeleti male, with multiple contacts happening this month with the Thamba male where both males were seen to be growling at each other. At this point in time it seems as though the Thamba male is lending a mutual respect for the older male, however were are sure that the time will soon come that he overthrows the throne and takes up a larger portion of territory.
- The Nkuwa female continues to appear in the eastern portions of the property, however she is truly remaining a mystery to us with signs of her lactating, yet no signs of her cubs or their whereabouts. Like her mother the Nhlanguleni female, we believe she is keeping them a very well protected secret and we hope that the day comes soon where she introduces them to the world – that is if she really does have cubs at all?
- March has been a month for the breeding herds of elephants, after a period where we mostly viewed bull elephants moving around and feeding on the falling marula fruits. The marula season is finally at an end and with water slowly becoming sparser, it seems as if larger herds of elephants are moving toward remaining water sources.
- We have had some spectacular buffalo viewing this month, with multiple herds numbering sometimes close to three or four hundred moving across different parts of the property. Each and every herd has consisted of buffalo calves and this is always such a special sight to see.
- A record number of cheetah sightings were viewed this month. With observations of the male cheetah, the female cheetah and her male cub, as well as the young sub-adult female cheetah who has been moving around the south and central parts of the property.