October 2023

Singita Pamushana: October 2023


Singita Pamushana: October 2023

Many people ask what the best time of year to visit is, and the answer varies so, but there can be no time more beautiful than two weeks after the first rains when the first flush of grass appears like lawn, the mopane trees are a luminous pink and lime, and the gardenias are flowering. Going out on game drive in the morning is like stepping into a perfumery – the 'scent bathing’ equivalent of ‘forest bathing’. It’s a time when the scents and sounds and scenes vie for your attention.

We rejoiced with the arrival of the first rains for many reasons, one of them being that it brought reprieve from some of the sizzling days we’ve had. It has been soaked up by the parched earth quickly, so much of the wildlife still relies on the permanent water sources. At one sighting we had three of the “Big Five” close together - buffalos, a black rhino and a pride of four lions. The lions were stalking the buffaloes and at the same time the rhino walked towards the lions, however no blood was shed on that occasion!

Here’s a snapshot of October’s sightings:


The lion sightings have been plentiful and different prides have been seen almost daily.

Lions have been seen feeding on buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala and wildebeest carcasses this month.

The Nduna old male is still alive! This old lion is remarkable as he is still fighting tooth and claw, but in a very strategic way. He is, however, sporting a large open wound on his head, and who knows how much longer he’ll be around. Every sighting of him is a relief. He and other members of the Nduna Pride were seen with two wildebeest kills on the Banyini one morning.

Lions killed a giraffe and fed on the carcass for days at Sosigi Dam, leaving only the unbreakable bones for the hyenas to gnaw on.

Two lionesses made a very opportune impala kill, right in front of guests.

Two male lions killed a zebra which a crocodile then tried to hijack unsuccessfully. Nearby to this two lionesses had killed a wildebeest.

Another lion sighting highlight was of four members of the River Pride trying to take down a buffalo within a herd of over 100 retaliating bovines. The buffalos kept charging the lions creating a commotion and stampede.

The pride dynamics and coalitions seem fluid at the moment. Possibly males from the north have joined the Nduna Pride, the Nduna Pride has split, and the River and Southern Prides have at least three territorial males moving between them.


Excellent crashes of both white and black rhinos have been seen this month. Multiple white rhinos are a daily occurrence. Highlights include:

There are a few white rhino mothers with young calves drinking at a pan regularly. They are very protective of the babies and will react aggressively to any other male rhino that comes near them. Watching the youngsters interact with others and the big wide world is an absolute delight.

A bull black rhino gave a safari vehicle a few revs, but then calmed down enough for guests to view him for over 20 minutes.

A newborn black rhino, less than a week old, and still hairy, was seen with its mother.

Eight black rhinos were seen on a morning game drive by a guide and his guest.


Breeding herds of buffalos are also a daily occurrence, and on some drives more than one herd is seen.

A herd of more than five hundred came to drink at Hwata Pan, while guests were inside the photographic hide. It was incredible to see the kicked up dust as they arrived, and then the crowding and drinking at the pan as they converged.


The bull with the largest tusks on the property has been seen several times this month, as well as several other impressive tuskers.

Guests out on safari boat cruises have had amazing sightings of elephants drinking and swimming in the dam.

The breeding herds are keeping along the river, and north of the Malilangwe Dam. It is astonishing how secretive and ghostly vast groups of these grey giants can be.

Wild dogs

Two packs have been viewed – the pack of 13 and the much smaller pack that has two pups.

The pack of 13 has been seen often, either resting in the shade during the day, or flying through the air like bullets as they hunt at dawn and dusk.


Leopard viewing from the safari boat cruises has been good as a couple of individuals have been drinking from the water’s edge. One was seen stalking a crocodile!

A highlight was a mother leopard with a cub that had been hiding in a baobab tree.


The different hyena clans have been feeding on the bounty of carcasses left by the lions.

Individuals have been seen trailing the wild dogs hoping to bully their way into a free meal.

Hyenas were observed trying to hunt impalas.


Daffwell Marumahoko is a new guide who has joined the team. On a morning game drive, getting to know the area, he came across two brown hyena cubs! They were trying to hide away beneath a log in the area between Nduna and Lojaan Dams. We get reports of brown hyenas in this area, but sightings of them are so rare. What an extraordinary sighting for a new guide in a new area, when so many of us who have spent many years here have never seen one! Fortunately he took this photo as proof!

Other unusual sightings include a hippo grazing far from the water during the afternoon; an African Wild cat hunting; a python feeding; and a genet enjoying a free meal.


It’s a delight to see many of the migrant birds arriving.

A large flock of house martins took shelter from a storm under the eaves of the lodge bar.

There is a martial eagle chick in a nest close to Nduna.

A crowned eagle has been seen on its nest near Meso.

Boat cruise

Such relaxing and incomparable cruises have taken place this month, highlighted with sightings of hippos, crocodiles, abundant birdlife, and the occasional leopard, elephants, and black and white rhinos.


The fish are starting to bite in the warmer waters.

A highlight was teaching a young girl how to fish for the first time, and being rewarded with a good size tilapia being landed.

Walks and rock art

It’s still a lovely time to walk as the grass has only just begun to grow and visibility is still good.

Various walks have taken place where smaller details are observed, and occasionally large animals too.

Walking to the caves that contain rock art is an incredible experience. One new scene has recently been revealed after elephants removed a bush that had screened off the artwork hidden for hundreds of years.

Photographic hide

The hide has still been in use in October as animals still converge at the pan to drink from the permanent water supply.

An array of plains game, rhinos, elephants and lions have been observed at close quarters.

Kambako Living Museum of Bushcraft

One visit to the bushcraft museum just beyond our boundary offered up 12 white rhinos on the way!

Our guests, especially the children, have revelled in seeing bushcraft skills demonstrated by Julius and his family.

Gonarezhou Day Trips

These full day trips are a must if you have the time. Two things that are absolutely guaranteed are Chilojo Cliffs and breeding herds of elephants.