Singita Grumeti & Lamai: January 2024
January has once again been a wet month with rain most days, conditions damp and much of the grasslands flooded. The Grumeti River and other drainage lines are flowing strong with thick chocolate surges.
Plumes of colourful butterflies gather at the puddle edges and among the many wildflowers dotted throughout the grasslands. Wherever you may explore you are sure to be accompanied by a chorus of different frog species calling.
When the sun breaks through the clouds, its touch is warm and strong. Nature grasps at the chance to dry out just a little before the next storm rolls in.
Here’s a sightings snapshot for January:
The Butamtam Pride have been seen regularly this month, moving from the central plains to the southern border, following prey species. The pride is strong despite the challenging conditions and the Butamtam lionesses have successfully brought down buffalo on a number of occasions this month.
The Ridge Pride have been seen too, on the Northern side of Sasakwa Hill, occasionally pushing up onto the top of the Hill to hunt during the night. We often hear the Ridge Pride calling at dusk close to Sasakwa airstrip at the bottom of the northern slopes of Sasakwa Hill.
The Nyasirori Pride have offered good sightings this month with some lionesses seen pinching impala from Sabora camp under the cover of darkness.
The West Pride have been holding their ground on the Raho drainage, close to Marula Explore despite challenges from two powerful nomadic male lions that have strayed from the national park.
Leopard activity has been good on Sasakwa Hill this month. There have been fantastic numbers of impala taking up residence in the area and we have witnessed a number of kills as a result.
The Sasakwa Hill female was seen laying on the warm concrete strips just after dark, on the northern access. She had been seen close to Sabayaya as well as on an impala kill close to Kivulini guiding department.
- A shy male was seen on the Nyasirori high ground.
- Another male seen on the southern side of Arab Camp Hill.
- The Boundary Pan male was seen with a young zebra foal kill.
- The large Sasakwa male was seen between Serengeti house and the base of Sasakwa Hill guest access.
- Another shy male was seen close to Serengeti Hill, Sasakwa plains.
- Cheetah sighting have been marching in this month and we have had some good sightings in the west and central areas.
- A female was seen on the Nyasirori high ground, close to Sabora camp.
- A male cheetah was seen south of Koroya Hill. The same male was seen with an impala kill just north of Pundamilia Hill.
- Another female was seen in the Boundary Pan region with a Thompsons gazelle kill.
- The Koroya Hill male cheetah was seen further south towards the Nyati plains.
- A sub-adult male was seen close to Mbuni crossing, west of Sabora camp.
- Elephant numbers have been great this month with many family groups being seen across the reserve.
- A breeding herd of 20 seen on Chui drainage.
- A small herd of seven seen just south of Chui Link.
- A large herd of 40 seen at Kigelia Crossing.
- A breeding herd of 15 seen at the old shooting range.
- A single large bull seen just north of Sasakwa Dam.
- A breeding herd of 21 seen west of the airstrip, feeding along the Rubana.
- Aggregations of close to 200 animals seen rolling across the Sasakwa plains.
- 70 individuals seen feeding along the Grumeti River close to the old German bridge.
- Two large bulls seen close to Sabora camp.
- A herd of 40 seen on the eastern slopes of Sasakwa Hill.
- Good numbers seen in and around the Albizia woodland.
- A large adult bull seen close to OP 2.
- Bull elephants following a breeding herd on the Sabora plain.
- Picture by George Tolchard.
Large buffalo herds have been impressive this month, accompanied by huge numbers of cattle egrets in tow. We have seen more extensive movements from the buffalo herds as they search for the dryer high ground. They are shifting significantly as they are harassed by lions and hyenas during the nights.
- A herd of 400 strong seen on the Sasakwa plain.
- A herd of 300 seen west of Sabora Lodge.
- A herd of 14 bulls seen on a number of occasions with a single cow and very young calf. The herd moves between the Sasakwa plain and the top of Sasakwa Hill. An interesting dynamic that has raised some good discussions.
- A breeding herd of 200 seen just north of Koroya Hill.
- A herd of 12 bulls seen close to Sabora camp.
- A herd of 6 bulls seen at Martin Hill.
- A herd of 250 seen on the Nyasirori high ground.
- A herd of 90 seen on the Rhino Rocks.
- The rhinos in the IPZ continue to thrive.
- Other individuals in the greater reserve are also doing well, with sightings of seven individuals seen together.
Other interesting sightings:
- The southern ground hornbills nesting on the Grumeti River continue to do very well. The chick is strong and is growing extremely fast.
- Some fantastic giraffe herds seen this month.
- Great numbers of eland, zebra and gazelle seen on the Nyasirori high ground.
- Good bat-eared fox sightings on the Nyasirori high ground.
- The single female roan antelope has been spending time close to Sasakwa Dam this month.
- Lovely zebra numbers on the Nyati Plains.
- An active hyena den-site with three very young cubs, on the Nyasirori high ground.
- A pangolin seen just south of OP 7 on the 4th of January!
- Some lovely new bird sightings including a yellow-crowned bishop and common moorhen.
- The migratory whinchat has been seen on the Sasakwa plains