Singita Pamushana: November 2023
We’ve had some lovely weather this month after the cold snap, with warm sun and soft breezes that whisper on your skin. The landscape is greening over quickly, and after the showers its satisfying to see leopard tortoises drinking from puddles and dung beetles earnestly rolling dung balls away from middens.
The sightings have been very good, sometimes exceptional, such as a mid-month afternoon and evening at Nduna Dam where guests were treated to a lot of plains game, then five lions, 20 white rhinos, a herd of more than 300 buffalos, 15 elephants and one black rhino.
The 23rd of November was when we spotted the first newborn impala lambs of the season – always an absolute delight and an annual challenge to see who sees them first.
However, our experiences are not all about rushing about and seeing how many of the big animals one can see – we encourage moments of meditation, reflection and simply listening. To close one’s eyes and listen to the symphony of a frog choir singing, an African scops owl calling, cicadas chirping and have that audio pierced with the alarm calls of impalas as they spot hunting lions is as powerful a safari experience as any.
Here’s a snapshot of November’s sightings:
The lion sightings have been excellent, and lions are tracked daily. One highlight was when guests were having coffee out of the vehicle, with their guide and tracker, and a lion and lioness walked past, giving the party a once over glance before going on their merry way.
- The Nduna Pride has been viewed the most this month. They’ve been seen as far east as the Chiredzi River, Banyini central areas, on the shore of Malilangwe Dam, and up at Nduna Dam.
- Members of the River Pride were seen - one male was with three lionesses. Two of the lionesses tried to entice the male to mate but he ignored them and kept walking, intent on his secret agenda.
- The coalition of three male lions have been seen together, and each is looking large and in charge.
Multiple white rhinos are seen daily, and often black rhinos too. Singita Pamushana is the homeland for rhinos, where they are expertly monitored and protected by the Malilangwe Trust.
- Highlights with white rhinos have been seeing crashes of various individuals together, cows with calves afoot, and seeing these huge ungainly animals wallowing like slippery eels in various mud-wallow spots that occur at this time of year after the first rains.
- Seeing one black rhino is great, especially when they come closer and are curious about the vehicle, or give a little mock charge, but several times this month multiple black rhinos have been seen together, or on one drive. One group saw four black rhinos in different areas, one bull was in the Nyari area and relaxed to start with, and a further three were seen south-east drinking at a pan - a bull and a cow with a very small calf.
- Large herds, often over 500 individuals, are seen emerging from the thickets and drinking daily.
- The buffalo are also taking advantage of the various mud-wallows around at the moment.
- Three dagga boys were flanked by some impressive company all in the same spot - an elephant bull on the one side and a male leopard on the other! Elephants .
- The best sightings of breeding herds have been when we are already at a body of water and a herd emerges to drink, splash and swim. Bulls, including some large tuskers, have been seen dotted about the reserve.
- Nduna Dam was very active with animals during one morning safari. A pride of five lions were lying on the rocks on the south of the dam and two white rhinos were standing under the shade on the eastern side. A breeding herd of about 60 elephants arrived to drink at the same time which was spectacular!
- Leopard sightings seem to have been best up at the lodge this month! We had a male stroll through camp early one morning, while guests were out on drive, and a couple of other sightings in the vicinity.
- The rest of the sightings seem to have taken place on the shore of Malilangwe Dam and at Sosiji Dam.
- It would seem that sometimes one has to go to great lengths to see a leopard here… We had a wonderful group of women visit us, and on one of their last drives together they wanted a group photo of themselves and decided to dress up for the occasion.
- They arrived for drive dressed to kill and leopard print featured a lot. Then, as they got to the Nduna area for their photoshoot they spotted a male leopard hunting impalas
- The small pack of three wild dogs have been seen this month.
Hyena highlights include:
- Finding a single spotted hyena at Banyini Pan carrying the back leg of a young giraffe, the rest of the carcass not in evidence.
- A clan of hyenas at the airstrip in hunting mode.
- A very special sighting of five young hyenas - two of them came up close to inspect us and the vehicle.
- There have been some very good sightings of sable and hartebeest, as well as every-drive sightings of impala, zebra and wildebeest. Klipspringer are doing very well, small herds of nyala are seen, as well as bushbuck with their babies.
- There have been giraffes galore in the central area. An interesting scene was seeing a kudu bull displaying dominance by horning the muddy ground over and over again.
- There was another lucky viewing of a brown hyena again this month.
- All of the summer migrants have arrived and it’s always such a pleasure to host these repeat guests.
- Safari boat cruises are like chocolate – totally addictive, and made even more so when there are lucky sightings on the banks of the dam – such as when the Nduna Pride were chilling on the shoreline. Fishing
- Fishing has been hotting up, but it’s not easy to land a tiger. That said a couple have been caught and released, as well as some good sized tilapia and a 5kg catfish. A bonus on one fishing excursion was seeing a black rhino come to drink in perfect late afternoon light.
Walks and rock art
- The landscape is still suitable to offer walks at this time, and many of those have included incorporating rock art sites to admire the intricate paintings on cave walls.
- We’ve snuck in a few last-of-the-season sessions at the hide which have proved successful.
Gonarezhou Day Trips
- We’ve hosted various day trips to Gonarezhou and guests always return amazed by the beauty of Chilojo Cliffs and the sheer abundance of elephants they’ve seen.