June 2023

Singita Pamushana: June 2023

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Singita Pamushana: June 2023

The Sabi stars are shining cerise and white, the weather is perfect, as is the game viewing and the lodge. Without further ado here is a sightings overview for the month:

Lions

Thanks to daily tracking, the lions sightings have been excellent, including seeing two different male coalitions.

River Pride: A terrific sighting of these lions was of them on the main Binya Road with a wildebeest kill, surrounded by 12 hyenas. The lions fought among themselves for the best share as well as protecting the kill from the hyenas.

Nduna Pride: This pride were seen feeding on a giraffe kill this month. They were also seen trying to hunt a buffalo calf, but the buffalo herd retaliated sending the lions dashing away for cover – the herd then had a leisurely drink at the nearby Manyuchi Pan. This pride also spent some time below Malilangwe House, and up near Pamushana Lodge.

Southern Pride: This pride was seen in the Hwata area. Two of the coalition were seen challenging each other for mating opportunities with one of the lionesses.

Leopards

There’ve been some lovely after dark sightings of leopards, often sauntering along the roads in their invisibility cloaks. Their eyes reflecting in the tracker’s spotlight is what gives them away.

A notable sighting was of a mating pair in the Croc Creek area.

Elephants

The best place to find breeding herds of elephants is along the banks of the Chiredzi River.

The breeding herds never venture as far as Hwata Pan in the east, but the bulls certainly do, and they have been seen drinking there regularly (and squirting one with water should you be inside the photographic hide).

Rhinos

Incredible, as always, and definitely the highlight of game-viewing on this reserve.

White rhinos: Almost guaranteed sightings at the permanent water sources, often of three or more drinking at a time.

Black rhinos: Being mostly nocturnal they are harder to find, but sightings in the early/late low-light hours are good. Every now and then one hits the jackpot – like this month when, after three days of searching, a guide and his guests found three black rhinos. There were two adults mating and a very young calf.

Buffalo

There are so many chocolate-brown buffalo calves, and the herds are looking in excellent condition.

Wild dogs

We are delighted to report that the larger pack of wild dogs on the property, has puppies! Seven patchwork bundles of floppy ears and sharp milk teeth are the centre of the pack’s attention. The pack have been hunting far and wide to feed themselves and the pups, and they’ve moved their den-site once already.

Hyenas

Once the Nduna Pride were finished with the giraffe carcass the hyenas tucked in with alacrity.

Another interesting, albeit emotional, sighting was finding a mother and calf giraffe surrounded by hyenas. The calf was dead but the mother was not convinced and kept checking and trying to lift her youngster.

Plains game

No drive takes place without seeing a variety of plains game, and it’s particularly pleasing in these dry months to have better chances of seeing sable and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest too.

Unusual sightings

One of our trackers spotted a caracal darting across one of the main roads. We only seem to spot a caracal once every few years.

Members of the Nduna Pride were seen at Sosigi Dam, with a leopard in the same area.

A speedy sighting of a honey badger was had.

A crocodile was heard more than seen in the dark, crunching and munching on a terrapin.

Rock art

It’s an ideal time to walk the rocky ridges and discover the rock art. Having rock art on this reserve, as well as the Malilangwe Dam for boat cruises and fishing, really sets this property apart from other safari destinations.

Photographic hide

One of the best things about being inside the underground photographic hide is that it is nice and warm on chilly mornings, and shaded during the hot afternoons. Here are some of the incredible highlights seen from the hide for the month:

11 white rhino and two hartebeest.

One sub-adult male lion and a lioness coming over for a drink at the pan, and later joined by a mother and sub-adult calf white rhino.

25 white rhinos, sable, eland, a hyena trying to grab a baby rhino, and black-backed jackal watching the proceedings. Hyena 0 - rhino 1.

12 white rhinos came to drink. Whilst we were having our sundowners a pride of five lions appeared from the east and started roaring. The sound was deafening!

Walks

The walking season is upon us, much to the delight of guests and guides.

One group tracked three male lions on foot and saw them, as well as a black rhino, and discovered a new piece of undocumented rock art!

Another drove to the Lojaan area and hiked up the hill to the viewing point. They watched as a breeding herd of buffaloes came to drink, and were also rewarded with an amazing leopard sighting.

Gonarezhou Day Trips

A day trip is a very worthwhile experience. You are guaranteed elephant sightings, and the diffusing landscape, towering cliffs, snaking rivers, and intricate gorges are so enriching.

Boat cruises

Always an idyllic way to enjoy a sundowner, the guaranteed hippos laughing and an array of birds calling. Every once in a while epic sightings are included, like this month when guests were treated to three young bull elephants jousting. They looked like they had recently had a swim. Then, continuing around a bend in the river they found six bull elephants having a swim. It was tremendous as they were completely relaxed with the human presence. Whilst this was happening, in the background, was a breeding herd of elephants passing through.

Fishing

Even though the water is cold a couple of tilapia have been landed.

Kambako Living Museum of Bushcraft

Guests enjoyed and participated in all the bushcraft activities, and loved the traditional food.

Jenny Hishin
By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide