September 2022

Singita Pamushana Lodge: October 2022

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Singita Pamushana Lodge: September 2022

The heat has arrived sending the mercury past the 100˚F mark on the hottest day of the month. September is also the month our rain arrives, and we start measuring the annual rainfall from now until August 2023. It was a relief to record 7 mm, and we hope for much more where that came from!

The sightings are at their best – the grass is low and everything is drawn to the permanent water sources. We’ve had occasions where lions and rhinos have been seen drinking simultaneously from the same source! There have also been quite a few Big-5-1-Drive occasions. In between all these ‘big’ sightings we were delighted to show off all the flora to one of our guests who is a botanist. It comes as such a refreshing surprise when a guest is as thrilled with a leopard orchid in a tree as she is with a leopard mammal!

Here’s a sightings snapshot for September:

Lions

Southern Pride: This pride has still been spending their time in the Hwata area, and there is still mating activity taking place.

River Pride:2 females, 1 male and 6 cubs were seen walking along the road coming from 02 Pan.

Nduna Pride: This pride was seen, in good condition, at Nduna Dam.

Territorial males: The two males killed a buffalo in the Nyari area, and feasted on the carcass. They also surprised guests by displaying themselves at the base of the Pamushana Hill, only moments into an afternoon game drive.

Leopards

There is wonderful leopard news, confirming our suspicions from July, that a female leopard has cubs in a den in the Ultimate Drive area. She has been seen with two cubs, and she has been seen out hunting dassies for them, and spending her time in that greater area.

Leopards have also been seen with their kills in trees a couple of times.

One set of guests had all the leopard luck, seeing these secretive cats three days in a row.

Hyenas

The hyenas have had a very varied diet this month! Meals, whether hunted themselves, pilfered from other predators or as a result of death from old age, have included a baby giraffe, an eland, a kudu and an impala that had been stashed inside a hole in a baobab!

Elephants

It’s interesting to see the change in diet during these lean times. We’ve watched elephants feed on thorn tree seed pods and mountain acacia tree foliage. A couple of bulls are also in musth which keeps us on our toes when viewing them.

Rhinos

Not that we ever take it for granted, but it is almost ridiculous how regularly our daily sighting reports state sightings of 5+, 10+, even 15+ white rhinos observed at a waterpoint.

Some of the month’s highlights include:

White: Two sets of female rhinos, both with very small babies.

18 seen grazing along Mahande Loop.

9 rhinos and 8 lions drinking together, after a little bit of confrontation.

Black: Some black rhinos seen at a waterpoint together with white rhinos.

A beautiful sighting of 4 drinking together at Lojaan Dam.

A black rhino on Hippo Valley side, which ran from the game viewer, then turned and came charging, then slammed on brakes - it was all covered in red dust created by the sudden stopping and it looked absolutely spectacular!

Buffalos

A sure indicator of large herds, 500 strong, is the large dust cloud you see just above the treeline as they march towards water.

One morning herds converged with a gathering of about 1 000 animals at Bhanyini Pan, leaving it almost dry!

Wild dogs

Sightings have been few and far between now that the denning season is over. A pack of 14 has been seen hunting and resting in the eastern reaches of the reserve.

Plains game

Excellent sightings of plains game, especially gathered at the waterpoints.

Unusual sightings

We witnessed a black-backed jackal defending his territory as he was chasing off another male that had fluffed up all his hair and looked like he’d been electrocuted!

A cheeky elephant bull sprayed water from his trunk at a sable antelope to chase it away from the pan.

A slender mongoose was viewed from the photographic hide.

Two male waterbuck were fighting and one got into the water of Malilangwe Dam to swim away, with the other then splashing in and swimming after it!

Several years ago a mighty baobab stood in our central area. It was an icon. Then it fell, rotted away and left a dish-shaped hollow depression in the ground. This month we came across two white rhinos curled up and sleeping in the depression – a nest of rhinos!

A highlight of one sunset cruise was seeing an African fish eagle swooping down to catch a bream in everyone’s full view, then propelling itself with its wings to take off with the heavy load.

Fishing

Quite a few bream have been caught this month, with the tigerfish still proving much harder to land.

Photographic hide

Highlights were lions and rhinos together; also seeing lions, rhinos, elephants and buffalo all drinking from the pan during the course of an afternoon and evening. On one occasion lions tried to kill one of the buffalo bulls while the guests had front row seats in the hide. However, the lions weren’t successful.

Rock art

It’s the perfect season for walks to view the property’s rock art, and guests have found this activity to be an unexpected highlight of their African safari.

Jenny Hishin
By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide