Singita Sabi Sand: August 2022
Blankets, scarves and ponchos wrap around us whilst the steam rushes out from our breath and the warmth of our takeaway coffee has us ready to head out on morning game drive. A low mist covers the land with a streaming sun beginning to burn through as we come across a crisp, clear footprint left in the sand by a male lion... followed by the tracks of a female lion and little paw prints alongside her. We start our day painting a picture of the pride who moved through the night.
A time past with only the story to tell. It is all in the tracks! We follow with bated breath waiting for an ear to show itself from behind the tall grass, when finally we find them… Lying in the most beautiful golden light with shimmers of a reflection, bouncing from their amber-yellow eyes. Nothing can quite explain the excitement of finding a pride of lions on a late winter’s morning, watching as they begin to fall back into rest and another day in the wild begins.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for August:
- There is nothing better than having a stable lion pride living in the central parts of the property with excellent viewing on most days this month. The Plains Camp males and Nkuhuma lionesses along with their two cubs continue to thrive with signs that the amber-eyed female is pregnant again and will hopefully be bringing some new members into the pride within the coming months.
- The Plains Camp males have been pushing further to the west and have been seen right in the northern parts of the reserve this last month, having warded off the Birmingham and Nkuhuma males from moving any further back east. They too seem to have settled in the western parts of the reserve with the Ximungwe lioness.
- A great new duo has evolved with the older of the Mhangene lionesses leaving the pride to join the single young Tsalala lioness. At first we all thought it was the Ximungwe lioness who had become her new pride member, however on closer inspection we noticed that this older female had since decided to stick with her. Great to see the Tsalala and Mhangene bloodlines reuniting.
- As for the Mhangene Pride themselves, they have since made a return from their time in the south of the reserve and have been seen on several occasions on the southern parts of the property, with the youngest of all females seemingly doing very well and even getting involved with hunts.
- With their first mating having been unsuccessful, the Schotia female and Nyeleti male were mating again mid-August, having both fed on an impala and a baboon whilst together. There is a strong territorial push from the Thamba male moving further toward the river, so we will have to see what the next few months bring for this female.
- The Nkuwa female has also been seen mating with the Xipuku male this month, having unfortunately lost her cubs she has since mated with the Senegal Bush male, possibly also the Thamba male and the Xipuku male. All three males border her territory.
- This month brought a newcomer onto the scene, the Eyrefield male leopard, who moved through the central parts of our property and into the western part of the reserve. It will be interesting to see where he ends up with the Thamba male and Ravenscourt male currently dominating the western parts.
- We had some more great viewing of the Mobeni female this month, as well as the young Kangela male who is still thriving and keeping us entertained for hours.
- Right across the reserve we have continued to view great numbers of buffalos, with large herds still moving mainly through the southern parts of the property. One buffalo bull seems to have made himself at home at Camp Pan, having seen this particular male at the waterhole every day now for the last few weeks. He’s picked a beautiful spot as his retirement home!
- Around the beginning of the month, there were still a few fruits left from the greenthorn/torchwood trees which are absolutely devoured by elephants for being such a wonderful sweet treat. We viewed a few bulls fighting over a tree for its fruits which kept us entertained for some time.
- There have been large herds, some over 30-40 elephants, moving through the area, and watching the family dynamics is always fascinating.
- This month we had a number of great cheetah sightings, mainly of the male cheetah as well as the mother cheetah and her young male cub who is getting bigger each time we view him. He’s now almost the same size as his mother!
- The bird list for August includes two new bird species, bringing our bird list for the year up to 272 birds so far. Specials for the month included speckled pigeon and southern fiscal.