August 2023

Singita Pamushana: August 2023

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Singita Pamushana: August 2023

August is definitely a favourite month for wildlife viewing, but over and above that our guests have thoroughly enjoyed stopping on the airstrip in the evening, for stargazing. The pleasant temperatures, clear dark skies, sparkling constellations, and the overwhelming awe at the infinity of it all makes one appreciate this conservation wilderness area even more.

The month’s wildlife overview follows:

Lions

The new male coalitions are still in the process of taking over prides, so there is a lot of lion mating activity and roaring going on!

The Nduna Pride provided eye-opening sightings with a mating pair performing right in front of a game-viewing vehicle. On one occasion the pair joined up with another male and female and began roaring for all they were worth! The pride is quite fragmented and seen in different groupings – on West Valley Road were two cubs, one male and two females; at Logaan Dam there were three adult males and two adult females.

The River Pride have been seen at 02 Pan. They were rudely chased away from there by an elephant that wanted to drink. There is also a mating pair in this pride.

Vultures gave away the whereabouts of two male lions that were feeding on a buffalo kill.

Elephants

There have been some terrific elephant sightings this month. Here are three that stand out:

A large cow herd of 70+ animals, and at least 20 big bulls lurking around the herd, provided a spectacle to guests who watched the bulls vying for a female that was in season, delighted at the babies and adolescents playing, and laughed at the trumpeting and showing off of some individuals. Everywhere they looked they were surrounded by elephants.

At Nduna Dam there was a herd of well over 50 elephants putting the water to good use, drinking, mud wallowing and swimming.

Bulls elephants shook thorn trees to relieve them of their nutritious pods, and hoovered up the fallen treats.

Rhinos

Rhinos abound! It’s especially gratifying to find white and black rhinos in the same sighting, as has happened a couple of times this month.

White rhinos: Large crashes have been converging at favoured waterpoints. A rhino bull walked alongside a game-viewing vehicle at their sundowner spot, thrilling the guests by being so close. A funny sighting was finding four rhinos napping under the carport shed at Nduna Dam – making the most of the shade and the soft ground.

Black rhinos: Some cantankerous black rhinos have checked everyone’s heart function with some mock charges and bluster when they see the game-viewing vehicles.

Buffalo

Hundreds of buffalo are continuously munching their way through the reserve.

A highlight was a herd of about 600 crossing south of the Nyamasikana Bridge on Binya Road. The road is raised up on one side so guests had the buffalo walking forward and peering over and down at them. They drove for a good 400m and had buffalo on one side the whole way.

Leopards

There’ve been some fleeting glimpses of leopards this month and clues of others:

We found a drag mark across the road and blood stains and fur from an impala. After tracking and following the drag we found the kill wedged in a tree but the leopard took off before we got there.

The best sighting of the month was of a female leopard up in a tree, just east of Sosiji Dam.

Wild dogs

The pups have left the den and are running with the pack, but still need to be babysat while the adults hunt. The pack was seen at Hwata Pan and at the airstrip. Guests were lucky enough to witness the ritual of waking up, greeting and playing before the late afternoon hunt commenced.

Hyenas

Four hyenas were swimming at Hwata Pan, then also tried to hunt a warthog but failed to execute the hunt so went back to frolic in the water.

While the adults lay in the shade with full bellies a couple of sub-adult hyenas were brave and curious enough to come up to a vehicle and give it, and everyone in it, a close inspection.

Plains game/antelope

Plains game abound, and the more elusive sable, Lichtenstein hartebeest and eland are regularly seen making their way towards water.

Another ‘special’ that we see often are dainty klipspringers. Like prima ballerinas they pose on point upon stony stages.

Photographic hide

Rhino sightings are always excellent from the hide, but in addition to those it is wonderful when you can recognise some of the large tuskers that occasionally drink from the pan.

One of these is a bull elephant we refer to as "Butch." He drank and decided to have a bath too, thrilling our guests when they filmed him in slow motion.

Another incredible sighting was of four bull elephants that arrived at the pan, including “Mapunzawaya” the biggest tusker on the reserve.

Walks

It’s a lovely time to walk, and our guides have conducted many of these grounding experiences this month. Whether it’s to look at the finer details, or visit a rock art site, admire an enormous baobab or track one of the larger mammals, a wilderness walk always ranks highly with our guests.

Unusual/other

An epic sundowner stop including viewing thousands of insect-eating bats emerging from their hiding places in dead trees to go in search of food.

A troop of baboons started to alarm call and stare intently in one direction – they’d spotted some hyenas coming up the road.

Rock art

It’s impossible not to be blown away by the rock art on this reserve, and to experience it is a tangible thread to your human ancestry.

Kambako Living Museum of Bushcraft

Just beyond the eastern fenceline of our reserve is Kambako, and every guest that visits returns to the lodge with descriptions of how fascinating it was to see the skills required to survive in the bush. To some its like a different universe!

Gonarezhou Day Trips

Gonarezhou is becoming more frequented by wilderness adventure seekers, and a day trip into the northern section of the park reveals the endless wide open spaces, running rivers, ravines and cliffs that we can all appreciate and, I propose, need in our lives.

Jenny Hishin
By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide