March 2024

Singita Sabi Sand


Singita Sabi Sand: March 2024

As the evenings linger longer and the days cool, the month of March has carried a gentle pace and rhythm this year. Rain has graced the reserve softly, allowing birds and insects to go about their final preparations for winter. It has awakened the dung beetles from their subterranean slumber while birds enjoy the small pools formed on the edge of the dirt tracks to bath and clean their feathers. A distant lion calling signals his presence to those that may only know him through his scent and sound. These are just some of the moments we have experienced while exploring the rich diversity that is found in the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve.

African wild dogs

The pack of three has been seen most days out on safari this month, a privilege that doesn’t come around all that often, meaning we have been allowed to view all sorts of behaviour. One such example was witnessing them mating! Considering they only have one litter of pups a year this is rare behaviour. This pack consists of two males and a female, one male is collared which allows for detailed data to be collected relating to their movements throughout the entire Kruger Park ecosystem. At Singita we play a role in relaying information relating to behaviour like mating, prey species etc. to those organisations studying them, like the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Panthera.

The pack of nine which have been seen to the north of our lodges in the last week has meant wild dogs have featured on most of our guests lists of ‘seen at Singita Sabi Sands’.


  • There have been sightings of the territorial male as well as a female cheetah of late. It is uncertain whether this is the female that had the three cubs but there is a high probability it is her. She was last seen with just one cub in the grasslands and with the high density of lions at the moment the odds are stacked against her.
  • As the grasses begin to thin out so our chances of seeing a cheetah at rest begins to increase. It was for this very reason that one morning a cheetah was seen by a dazzle of zebra which helped us locate him from the vehicle. The zebra all came to a complete stand still and focused in on the feline lying at the base of a marula tree, and eventually approached as a group driving the cheetah out. A remarkable scene to witness for our guests as the tables are turned on the predator.


  • The Senegal Bush male keeps pushing further west, gradually taking chunks of territory from the younger Xipuko male whom has been more scarce than usual this month. The Senegal Bush male now patrols as far as Castleton Camp and further north to the famous drinks spot area, Mveve lookout.
  • With the bouts of inclement weather lately, this has aided the Nkuwa female in her efforts to hunt for her two growing male cubs. Some fine-tuned tracking thanks to Martin and Reazert lead their guests to a sighting of the three leopards on an impala kill in a wooded area that would not have been possible to spot without the dedicated efforts of these two experienced trackers.
  • The Thamba male has been making the most of the cool weather and has been covering massive pieces of ground day and night. He has been seen all over the central and western parts of Singita. One afternoon a report came in of a male leopard crossing into Singita, so Marc E, Musa and their guests headed off to find the leopard. Musa was quick to notice a disturbance on the track which on closer inspection indicated a leopard dragging its kill to a riverbed. It was the Thamba male who had made the kill and stashed it in an ebony tree.


  • The Tsalala lioness seems to be nearing the time where she is due to give birth to her first little of cubs and grow her pride to what it once was. Her movement in the eastern parts of the reserve presents many opportunities for her to safely den with her cubs. The gabbro rocky valleys have for many centuries been a favoured area for new mothers.
  • The Ntsevu males are lions which would be a threat to the Tsalala lioness and her cubs as their patrol route seems to be taking shape in and around this area. They have also been furthering their hunting grounds further south of the Sabi Sand. As they grow their demand for food does too. These expert buffalo hunters have had many opportunities lately as buffalo herds are in abundance.
  • The Mhangeni Pride have their eyes set on the buffalo herds as well. The pressure of ten cubs, four of which are nearing one year of age, has these lionesses hunting every day until they catch large enough prey. Fifteen lions mean buffalo carcasses are finished in two days.


  • We are seeing more and more elephants frequenting the Sand River valley as they seek out dense stands of grasses that are found here. The recent rains will encourage growth now throughout the reserve and this will mean elephants will be found throughout the area.


  • Guests at Castleton Camp have been in the perfect position to watch herds come to drink in the late morning. There have been a number of herds moving in the south west and eastern areas of Singita. On one particular afternoon during a K9 demonstration we had a herd come through and steal the show as they traversed to the open areas further south of us.

Unusual sightings

  • A sighting that may only come around once in a lifetime, and guide Dan testifies to it, an aardvark during daylight! Dan, Christopher and their guests could not believe their luck when they saw one trotting along back to its burrow just after sunrise. This was everyone’s first sighting of this shy nocturnal mammal, including guide and tracker.
  • There have been good sightings of African wildcat in the woodlands south of Castleton Access. These diminutive cats are slowly getting accustomed to the vehicles as they learn to trust them.
  • Every so often an abnormality appears in a population due to genetic mutations. These individuals have a slim chance of survival for a number of reasons and therefore are not seen all that often for very long. In the beginning of the month there was a sighting of a leucistic buffalo calf. The calf must have been just days or even hours old as the rest of the herd persistently followed it around smelling and showing hostility. It has not been seen again, and in all likelihood was driven out of the herd due to its odd appearance.