June is always a month of intense anticipation as we begin to see the great herds of wildebeest near our southern boundary. Many thousands edged closer and each day we scanned with binoculars from the high ground to see how the herds’ movements were developing. On 23 June we saw tens of thousands of wildebeest descend onto the central plains. Now huge numbers of wildebeest and zebra can be heard all around, like a constant hum.
The grasslands are generally drying out well with the exception of some of the lower depressions, close to the Raho drainage.
We have been graced by the presence of a very special bull elephant this month. “Zito” has returned to Singita Grumeti, an incredible individual with beautiful tusks, each weighing over 100 lbs. A marvellous icon of the Serengeti!
A sightings snapshot for June follows:
Fantastic lion sightings this month. From the western plains through to the Ikorongo.
- The Bangwezi Pride of 12 have been hunting just south of Bangwezi Hill, towards the Rokari drainage and successfully brought down buffalos on a number of occasions.
- The West Pride have also been hunting buffalos on the Gambaranyera plains. With the migratory wildebeest still to the south of the Grumeti, the lions have no choice but to hunt buffalo.
- The Butamtam Pride are based in the centre of their territory currently and have been offering incredible sightings.
- The Nyasirori Pride, with their territory close to Sabora Camp, have been hunting the Raho drainage recently. The pride has been successful over the weeks. Some migratory wildebeest and zebra have been skimming through their territory, on the very southern boundary of the reserve.
- The Sasakwa Hill Pride have been actively hunting by night on the hill and are often heard roaring in the evenings and early mornings.
Hotspots for leopards this month have been both Faru Faru and Sasakwa Hill. Some great sightings close to the river and the Grumeti north drainage.
- The large male of Sasakwa Hill has been seen whilst patrolling at night time but remains hidden by day.
- A lovely sighting of one of the Sasakwa females was observed close to the lodge. She had killed a young waterbuck and continued to feed for a few days, never wandering too far. During breaks between feeding, she would lie in a marula tree, out of the long grass and the biting flies.
- A large male has been seen on the Sabora drainage yet again, and was seen killing an impala just a stone’s throw from Sabora Camp, towards month end. This incredibly powerful male leopard leapt up into a sausage tree with the impala in his mouth, and treed it as if it was nothing more than a sack of air.
A little quieter on the cheetah side given the challenging conditions, however, some great sightings of individuals passing through the area.
- The large male of the Sasakwa plains still holds strong within his territory and continues to hunt regularly close to the central hills. He may be seen often in the early mornings sitting on top of a favoured termite mound, watching the grasslands beyond, reading his surroundings like the morning newspaper.
- A mother with two youngsters of about eight months old were sighted just east of Koroya Hill. The animals were observed for three or four days moving steadily through the area until later, disappearing into the long grass and have not been relocated since.
- A single adult female was sighted west of Sabora on a number of occasions.
- Elephant sightings have been incredible. There has certainly been no shortage of elephant movement through the reserve this month. Fantastic breeding herds and large bulls have been observed.
- One bull in particular has captured our attention this month…. “Zito” has returned for the first time since 2019 and we are thrilled to see him back in the western regions of Singita Grumeti. This bull elephant is rather special, carrying 100 lbs of ivory with each tusk. He is an incredible sight to see! He is the most impressive bull in the Serengeti ecosystem, without a doubt, and we have been incredibly lucky to see him once again.
- Despite the great numbers of elephants this month, we have definitely seen a shift in their movements - perhaps they are anticipating the arrival of the large herds of rutting wildebeest? As the noisy herds of wildebeest approach it is not uncommon to see the elephant herds give way, change their routes and move to other areas of the reserve. Quite often we see a shift in their movements towards the Ikorongo area offering some great viewing along the Grumeti River, close to Bangwezi Hill.
- Great resident buffalo herds as expected. The buffalo population moves from strength to strength. Large herds are encountered on the long grass plains with many calves. Despite the pressures of lions, these herds remain unwavering. Some herds in the west are numbering up to 700 individuals. In years to come, it may well be possible to see herds of over 1000 strong.
- We have observed some great buffalo and hyena interactions this month.
- All rhino are healthy and accounted for, despite some extensive movements.