March 2023

Singita Pamushana Lodge: March 2023

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Singita Pamushana Lodge: March 2023

March has been a great month with slightly cooler temperatures, some forever-welcome rain, and a string of standout sightings. Our guests have thoroughly enjoyed their game drives, safari boat cruises, wilderness walks, and one guest even managed to fit his morning runs into a wellness regime by jogging from the lodge to Sosigi Hill, with an armed guard and back-up vehicle in the form of his guide and tracker following closely behind him in the game-viewer.

Here’s a sightings snapshot for March:

Lions:

  • The Southern Pride were seen looking well and relaxing in their territory.
  • The Nduna Pride were seen mainly in the Lojaan area. They spent one afternoon trying to hunt baboons which was incredible to watch. A mating pair was also seen in this area.
  • The Nduna Pride males killed a giraffe south of Chivi which provided a feast of meat.
  • The River Pride have been in the Chikwete area. Eleven of them were seen together near Chikwete Pan, and they brought down a buffalo bull in the area.

Leopards:

Luck plays a huge part in spotting leopards, but a give-away on one occasion was the sounds of growling, snarling, fighting and laughing coming from the riverbed. It was a leopard on a kill with hyenas trying to steal it. Another lucky sighting was of an adult male leopard at the base of the Pamushana Hill, just relaxing on the side of the road.

Wild dogs:

Two packs were seen on the property this month, which is very encouraging as their denning season is soon, and hopefully they are looking for suitable den-sites on the Malilangwe Reserve.

  • A pack of four were seen hunting in the Sosigi area.
  • Elsewhere, at the same time, a pack of 13 were seen.

Hyenas:

  • The best hyena sighting in March was of three clan members relaxing on top of the rocks south-west of the old hyena den on West Valley Road.

Elephants:

  • A couple of bull elephants have been seen near the lodge bulldozing some of the trees. Also in the area are a breeding herd of about 30 elephants with some of the females showing signs of oestrus and the bulls in heavyweight courtship.
  • One of the best sightings was of three elephant bulls enjoying a mud bath. Guests watched the whole process from the bulls splashing water on their backs, mixing water and mud to the desired consistency using their feet, then rubbing their mud-spattered bodies on rubbing posts.

Rhinos:

  • White: There’ve been excellent white rhino sightings as always. An unusual sighting was of a mother and a calf white rhino with a black rhino male nearby.
  • Black: Black rhino are solitary, usually, so it has been lovely to see groups together: three were seen in the riverbed, two were seen near each other – the cow being very curious and giving the game-viewer a close inspection, and a mother and infant were seen making their way to the natural pan north of the Old Binya Road. On one exceptional drive five black rhinos were spotted.

Buffalo:

  • The standout sighting was of about 900 buffalo at Hwata Pan, moving together with a young elephant bull.

Fishing:

  • The water level in the dam is high thankfully, and this does make the fishing a splash more challenging, but the reels have been singing loud and clear.

Boat cruise:

  • The boat cruises are idyllic. Guests often request another after they’ve been on one. What’s guaranteed are hippos, prolific birdlife, epic sunsets and refreshing sundowners.

Rock art:

  • Guests have been enthralled by the rock art. It’s always an incredible scene to see, but especially if it starts to drizzle and you can shelter in the caves, have a cup of coffee, and listen to the guide’s interpretation of these ancient and fascinating scenes, which aren’t as literal as one might expect.

Gonarezhou day trips:

  • One of our day trips to Gonarezhou got off to an excellent start with a very good sighting of a mother and sub-adult black rhino on the open plains in our central area, then in Gonarezhou great sightings were had of elephants and buffalo, before arriving at the jewel in the crown being the multi-layered Chilojo Cliffs.

This is white rhino Makwavo’s first calf, and it is eight months old. It will be notched and named towards the end of 2023. Makwavo, the mother, is Chimizie’s 10th of 12 calves. Chimizie, this calf’s grandmother, is an original Lone Star Ranch rhino, and has been on the property since before the formation of The Malilangwe Trust in 1994! We don’t know exactly how old she is but she was at least four years old in 1994, putting her in her 30’s today.

Jenny Hishin
By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide