Singita Pamushana Lodge: February 2023
We delighted in the rain we received this month, just what the doctor (or ecologist in this case) ordered to revitalise the landscape. Guests often let the weather dictate the game drives, and this gave them the perfect excuse to really enjoy the lodge, the spa, the dining experiences and the wilderness wellness initiatives we so encourage.
February is the month of marulas, a date which no elephant ever forgets. If you’re quick enough to grab a few of the fallen green fruits, and allow them to ripen on your dashboard over a few days, you’re in for a warm, soft distinctive scent and a sherbetty, vitamin C-ingy, fruity taste. Failing this you could always add a splash of Amarula to your morning coffee, or on the rocks for a truly African sundowner.
Here’s a sightings snapshot for February:
The River Pride have provided the lion’s share of the sightings. Twelve of them were seen sleeping in the shade south of Nyari Pan, and then again west of Banyini. One male, five lionesses and six cubs. On another occasion the two little cubs were seen with them.
A magnificent male lion was spotted drinking at Nduna Dam.
Guests heading off for a day in Gonarezhou saw a male leopard sauntering down Ultimate Drive, before it took off into the bush.
On a fishing excursion guests got more than they bargained for when their guide spotted a leopard on a termite mound.
One family of guests was extremely fortunate to see two leopards in one drive - one on Pamushana Access unsuccessfully hunting impala, and another drinking at O2 Pan.
White: Wonderful sightings as always, and the rhinos are so well fed and thriving right now. Five white rhinos were seen grazing along the Mahande Stream. Sightings like this are almost every drive occurrences.
Black: Various lone black rhino bulls have been seen, also enjoying all the available flora this month. A great sighting was of three black rhinos browsing along Old Binya Road.
The only thing more enticing for a bull than ripe marula fruits are females in oestrus, and there are more bulls in musth this month than usual, thanks to all the nutrient-rich food.
There was a wonderful sighting of more than 60 elephants and three white rhinos at Chikwete Pan, the elephants were having a mudbath and the rhinos were sleeping in the shade.
Large herds with between 400 and 600 individuals are seen congregating at the various waterholes spread across the property, now that the grazing can take them far and wide.
We noticed a lot of buffalo had fresh injuries, suggesting attempted hunts from lions.
The pack of 12 wild dogs, and three hyenas, were sleeping in the shade north west of Ray's Drift.
Plains game abound – especially on the plains, but a great place to see lone kudu bulls is from one of the boats during an afternoon cruise, as the bulls nibble off the riverbank foliage.
A boat cruise is an idyllic way to do a safari – and you are guaranteed a vast array of birds and hippos. It’s mesmerising to watch and listen to African fish eagles, darters, pied wagtails, yellow-billed storks, spoonbills and so many more.
The fishing has been good, with many bream and a few tigers brought on board.
Some of the rock art is just a few steps from the road, so there’s no need to hike through thick bush to take in these sacred sites. No guest’s visit is complete without appreciating these paintings and early human habitation sites.
Gonarezhou day trip
There have been various trips to Gonarezhou this month, with an abundance of game seen both in Malilangwe (particularly rhinos) and in Gonarezhou (particularly elephants). Chilojo Cliffs are a must-see, and another highlight was elephants swimming and crossing the Lundi River.
Kambako Living Museum of Bushcraft
What can be more important than learning how to survive out in the wilderness, on your own? At Kambako the vanishing bushcraft skills of Shangaan people are demonstrated and guests get a glimpse of skills such as knowing the medicinal uses of plants, divining water, making fire by friction, weaving grasses, trapping food and making clay vessels. Bushcraft is a most fascinating subject.
Singita Pamushana guests often express an interest in the lives of people living in the communities around Malilangwe Reserve and we enjoy taking them to visit a community. This month we’ve visited a nearby primary school and learnt about their teaching system, syllabus, Malilangwe Trust’s feeding scheme, and even enjoyed an exuberant game of soccer with the youngsters.