Singita Sabi Sand: July 2022
A gentle mist floods the lower valleys as a soft scent of smoke drifts through the air. With some late rains this month, the burning season shifted ever so slightly.
We are beginning to see the signs of the earth becoming drier and drier with each and every leaf falling to the ground. However, there is nothing more beautiful than waking up on a winter’s morning to the most spectacular sunrise which, in turn, brings an energy of warmth and excitement to every species who felt the cold during the night.
The winds have begun to blow, telling us that August awaits and that summer is only just around the next corner…
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for July:
- The Nkuhuma females and their two cubs are still doing incredibly well under the protection of the two Plains Camp males. The six lions together have created some amazing lion viewing opportunities this past month, having caught a number of different species and thus a lot of activity has been seen around feeding. The two cubs are looking very healthy and so too are the lionesses who have done an excellent job in keeping them safe and in good condition. The amber-eyed female is truly a great aunt to the cubs.
- With a solid territory already established, the two Plains Camp males have been looking to increase the number of females with which to mate. This has meant that they have spent a little more time moving into the western part of the reserve in pursuit of the Othawa lionesses, who have been seen moving onto the property a few times this month.
- It was always a gamble to wonder what the outcome of the single Birmingham male and his son the Nkuhuma male was going to be when the two of them got together, however it seems as if they are thriving to our west and have even been seen mating with the Ximungwe lioness further north west.
- Another interesting turn of events toward the end of the month was the finding of the young Tsalala lioness with one of the older Mhangene lionesses (the older female who had been seen mating with a Plains Camp male earlier in the year). We hope this duo stays together and forms a pride of their own.
- With later rains the bush has been kept much greener than usual and with this there has been an abundance of food for the elephants. Larger herds of 20 or more have often been viewed across the property with the most entertaining youngsters who always make the hearts of our guests warm and put huge smiles on our faces.
- To the south we have also viewed a number of larger bull elephants with some magnificently large tusks.
- The Othawa Pack, who were doing extremely well as a unit of ten, unfortunately had a run in with some lions (Talamati Pride) in the northern parts of the reserve and our beloved Pungwe alpha female with the exposed canine as well as the pregnant beta female were very sadly killed.
- It will be interesting to see in the year ahead who will become the new alpha female and whether or not their den-site in the following year will shift with those changes. Only time will tell.
- It has been an interesting month in terms of our leopard viewing with a shift in our most seen leopards.
- The Mobeni female, who most know as a very shy and temperamental leopard was the most viewed female this past month, showing very relaxed behaviour toward our presence and allowing for some incredible observations of her in different trees with impala kills as well as her catching vervet monkeys on two different occasions. We hope that in the weeks to come we will continue viewing her as we have during July.
- It is with a lot of sadness that we share the news of the Nkuwa female leopard having now lost both her cubs. We had seen her on her own on a number of occasions, hoping that her remaining cub was still surviving, however when we learnt of the news to our east that she is being viewed mating with the Senegal Bush male, the realisation set in. We can only hope that by mating with the dominant males around her territory that she will be successful with her second litter.
- We have had some awesome cheetah viewing this month, now with multiple different individuals moving through the area. We continue to see the single male cheetah with his shorter tail and his territory seems to remain along the southern boundary.
- We also saw the arrival of a new coalition of three young male cheetahs who were seen to the south east and the single female cheetah and her ever growing young male cub continue to move throughout the reserve. It would seem as if the cheetah viewing here is slowly picking up again with the lower numbers of lions in the area.
- The bird list for July includes six new bird species, bringing our bird list for the year up to 270 birds. Specials for the month included violet-eared waxbills and cut-throat finches.