November 2022

Singita Sabi Sand

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Singita Sabi Sand

This month has always been a firm favourite for many wilderness enthusiasts and it certainly maintained the reputation as being one of the best times to travel to South Africa’s protected wild spaces. Wildlife viewing for the month of November has been nothing short of spectacular with numerous big cat sightings being recorded daily, the births of the impala lambs and wildebeest calves and a few new bird species, there really has been something for everyone! As guides and trackers, we eagerly look forward to what the next drive will have in store for our guests.

Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for November:

Wild Dogs

A pack of eight has been hunting with great success across the Sand River in Othawa. One of the dogs

has a limp but the rest of the pack has been able to secure easy meals with the abundance of impala lambs around every other corner. It is a welcomed sight to see all of them with full bellies and hopefully building condition to next year’s breeding season.

Buffalo

The distant bellowing and grunting of a herd well over a thousand buffalo has been a common background sound when traversing the southern sections of Singita Sabi Sand, and we never get tired of it. Herds so large play a crucial role in the grassland biome and it has been evident when in the same area as these impressive bovines - dung beetles have been feasting on the moisture-rich dung while wildebeest herds and their new calves have been feeding on the short grass that has been grazed to their preferred length by the buffalo. The south is very active since the return of these large herds.

Lions

The Mhangene Pride has claimed their territory back from the Nkuhuma breakaway lionesses. The Ximobonyana drainage, a riverbed that was once used to protect and hide the Nkuhuma lionesses’ cubs, now falls within the newly claimed territory of the Mhangene Pride.

The Plains Camp lions have been busy too. They have not only been actively pursuing the Birmingham coalition but have mated with at least four of the five Mhangene females.

The lion dynamics to the north of the Sand River will be fascinating to watch in the near future as the Talamati Pride now outnumbers any other pride in that area.

It is safe to say that the Nkuhuma breakaway lioness will have to look after her two older cubs by herself. The last sighting of the other female was in the beginning of October during an altercation with the Mhangene Pride over a kill. The interaction may have led to her disappearance.

The Ntsevu sub-adult lions have been keeping a low profile but have been sighted both in the south and the north of the reserve. They consist of four males and one female around three years of age.

Leopards

Leopard viewing has improved dramatically this month. We have also recorded a new, young female leopard in the area surrounding Castleton Camp. The Tsutsuma female, a two-year-old from the southern region of the Sabi Sand has been sighted on a few occasions. At first, she is shy when discovered but then settles down. The southern parts of Singita is a great place for leopards to take refuge, with a diversity of habitat, and we hope she hangs around and establishes a territory here.

The Thamba male has really been impressing us with his remarkable hunting abilities. At times one may think he is simply showing off as his condition indicates he is far from starving. Of course, he is merely living up to the reputation of any big cat which is that of taking the opportunity which is available to him. During a period of seven days, he fed on a warthog for three and a half days and a young kudu bull for three days. All this feasting is adding to his already impressive physique.

Sightings of the Schotia female leopard have been more regular. On one such occasion she joined the Thamba male leopard with his warthog kill and then followed him for a few days after. They also mated during this time. Will this leopard have cubs again? It has been some time now and we would have expected her to be denning with cubs if her first mating with Thamba was successful.

Bird List

The bird list for November includes four new species, bringing our yearly total to 282.

Special bird species include: Cape teal and collared pratincole.