Singita Sabi Sand
Singita Sabi Sand
October brought with it sporadic rain, new life and awoke many from their temporary slumber. Dung beetles are back at work, securing their treasured dung balls, while seasonal flowers of all colours can be seen throughout the reserve. In the south green pastures of new grass sprout after the necessary burning of uneaten vegetation. Large numbers of grazers can be seen scattered in the gabbro-dominated soils which support a bounty of nutritious grass species. Birds are busy with building their nests and taking care of their new chicks. October fills us all with a sense of hope as the natural world regenerates and flourishes.
Here’s a sightings snapshot for October:
Lions have certainly been a hot topic this month. The Mhangene Pride now consists of five adult lionesses and two very young cubs (three or four weeks of age). The one-year-old lioness is presumed dead after Johan discovered a hyena feeding on a lioness carcass, the size of the head matched that of a sub-adult lioness.
One of the Plains Camp lions was seen mating with the youngest Mhangene female. If successful this will be her first litter. The pride has been seen frequently in the south where new grasses are growing after a controlled burn, which in turn has attracted large numbers of grazers.
The Nkuhuma lioness and her two cubs of about 11 months are doing well too. However, there is growing concern over the fact that the other lioness has not been seen for quite some time. Let us hope she is simply focused on raising her litter of cubs.
The Schotia female and Thamba male were mating again at the beginning of the month. When will she give birth? This is the second time they have mated. Besides the sightings of her and Thamba, sightings of her have been scarce. However, on the last day of the month, she was seen right in the heart of Singita Sabi Sand.
The Mobeni female is now the most viewed female leopard here. She continues to delight our guests with her captivating glare. One afternoon, just before a big storm rolled in, Nick, Vusi and their guests watched her skilfully catch a genet! She finished off the kill which would sustain her for a short period of time. Many of us suspect she may be close to having a new litter of cubs soon.
The Xipuku male leopard has a firm hold on territory to the south and east of Castleton camp. He is showing promising signs of settling down around vehicles. We have a implemented a one or two vehicles at a time when spending time with this male leopard.
A pack of eight and a pack of three have made brief appearances on our section of the reserve. Very little can compare to the madness of a wild dog chase! Guests love experiencing the thrill of a pack on the move.
Sightings of large herds of elephant are still as frequent as they were in the middle of the winter months. With most of the eastern parts of the Greater Kruger still extremely dry, the lush vegetation of the Sabi Sand has kept many of the pachyderms in the area. Green grass is a favourite of theirs which now makes up a large part of their diet. It can be quite comical watching a young calf trying to master the art of collecting grass in its trunk.
The bird list for October includes four new species, bringing our bird list for the year up to 278 birds. Specials for the month included a white-backed night-heron. A pair of secretary birds were seen in the south on two occasions.