August 2023

Singita Grumeti

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Singita Grumeti

As we transition from July into August, we find ourselves reflecting on the arid landscapes of the Grumeti Reserve, a stark reminder of the dry season. Despite our hopes for a respite, the skies remained largely clear, offering only a brief shower following the ecological burning, which served to temper the dust rather than quench the land's thirst. In contrast, the Sasakwa Dam has blossomed into a veritable oasis amidst this parched expanse. It has evolved into a sanctuary for wildlife, a miniature paradise that has drawn a diverse array of animals. The sight has been so captivating that our guests have often compared it to a scene straight out of The Lion King, underscoring the dam's vital role during these dry spells.

In the wake of the wildebeest migration, zebras and elands have taken over the plains of the central regions, their distinctive stripes and antlers adding a fresh dynamic to the reserve's tableau.

Wildlife viewing has been nothing short of extraordinary. The receding grasslands, a consequence of the dry season and the passage of numerous herd animals, have made sightings more frequent and rewarding.

An August wildlife sighting overview for Grumeti follows:

Lions:

Incredible lion sightings throughout the month and there were five prides sighted often namely the West, Nyasirori, Ridge, Butamtam, and Mkuyu Prides.

The West Pride was seen often south, east and west of Marula Explore Camp, and with the wildebeests gone their main prey species were buffalos.

The Nyasirori Pride lions were seen often drinking at the waterhole in front of Sabora Camp and there were a few hunting attempts witnessed. It was a very dry month and animals had not many options of accessing water to drink except these few points.

The Ridge Pride has been very stable and didn’t move much out of their territory - they spent most of their time west of Mak Link Road.

One lioness of the Ridge Pride introduced her three new cubs of about eight-weeks-old into the pride.

The Butamtam Pride were sighted along Chui Drainage, WD Waterhole and Koroya Hill areas, and three lionesses have nine new cubs of about two-months-old.

Mkuyu Pride lionesses were seen hunting zebras at the waterhole in front of Faru Faru Lodge and they spent most of their time along Grumeti River, just south of Faru Faru.

Leopards:

Leopard sightings were extraordinary again, as they have often been, and Faru Faru areas specifically took the lead. On one morning there was a mating pair sighted in front of Faru Faru Lodge!

The Grumeti North female was sighted along Grumeti North Drainage quite few times.

A very relaxed female was sighted with a skittish sub-adult male along Grumeti North Drainage.

There was a very relaxed male sighted west of Sabora Camp and Nyasirori Ranger Post areas.

The skittish male was also seen along Sabora Drainage, and he seems to tolerate the view of one vehicle at a time.

Cheetahs:

The “veteran” male cheetah was not seen for the whole of August, and we are not sure of his new movements.

There is a new young male who seems to have mastered the area and he roams long distances across the central open plains. He was witnessed hunting wildebeest calves successfully.

Mother and four sub-adult cubs were seen often at the beginning of the month, south of Nyasirori Ranger Post and west of Sabora Camp. All five animals are in good condition. She has been moving between Nyuki bush breakfast site, Nyasirori Boundary Road and Serengeti National Park.

Elephants:

Elephants, in particular, have been a common sight throughout the reserve, their majestic presence contributing to the allure of the Grumeti.

Good herds were seen along Grumeti River drinking and wallowing during the afternoons.

They were also sighted drinking at Sasakwa Dam every afternoon and they were occasionally seen in front of Sabora Camp waterhole and Serengeti House pool for the same purpose.

Faru Faru had the best viewing of these magnificent creature as they paid a visit twice or more every day.

Marula Explore was also a great area for elephant viewing as there were seen in large herds moving in between Rubana and Raho Drainage.

Migration

As the end of July was the exodus of the crossings, their thunderous hooves in August kept a distant echo as they journeyed north, making dramatic crossings at the Mara River. The spectacle was particularly intense this year, with thousands of animals pouring into the river. Some of our guests and guides managed to capture stunning photographs and videos of this event, which were widely shared and appreciated on our social media platforms. As they continued their journey north towards Mara-Lamai Triangle, their impressive numbers created a magnificent spectacle against the backdrop of the lush northern pastures.

Buffalos:

The largest herd was seen around German Bridge and Rhino Tree areas for the whole month.

There was another large herd seen moving around Gambaranyera, Marula Explore and Fisi Road areas.

Two different herds were seen every day congregating at Sasakwa Dam in the morning and evening to conquer their thirsts.

Another herd was seen along Mbogo Drainage and Faru Access.

Rhinos:

The male eastern black rhino was sighted many times on the southern and eastern sides of the sanctuary.

The female was occasionally seen on the western and north-eastern side of the sanctuary.

The other eastern black rhinos on the eastern side of the concession are also doing well.

Unusual sightings

One pangolin was seen north of Koroya Hill, and it was an exciting moment as this was the first time one has been seen in the dry season - previous sightings have been mostly during the wet season.