April 2024

Singita Kruger National Park


Singita Kruger National Park: April 2024

From the vegetation turning brown and winter seeming to set in at the end of March, things have taken a turn with the late rains in early April, as the vegetation has a lush green appearance and many of the waterholes once again hold water. This has been a relief for the herbivores, as food seems plentiful, but we expect this abundance will be short-lived as the days are starting to shorten and the mornings have a crispness in the air which tells us winter is coming, and this means the dry season is coming.

A Sightings Snapshot for April:


Lion dynamics have been keeping the guiding team on their toes over the last few weeks.

The Trichardt male, but only one, has been seen numerous times this month. With his coalition partner not having been seen for so long, we wonder if he is still alive or if competitive clashes with other males in the area have been too much for him to handle. The Trichardt male who is present has been very vocal, and spending a lot of time with the Mananga Pride, however with him alone to defend the territory, the pressure of rival males becomes a concern not only for the new Mananga cubs, but also the 14 Shish cubs who are still all too young to survive should there be a takeover.

The Mananga Pride has been an amazing addition to the regular sightings, especially because the lionesses had been keeping the cubs in the sticky-thorn thickets in the central regions of the reserve and we have been so lucky to be able to see them often, watching them grow in both size and confidence. They are making it difficult to look at the dynamics of the area with indifference, as we guides are supposed to. There was a close encounter with the rival Maputo male coalition from the north, as the males were seen walking with purpose and scenting way further south than we would have expected to see them. Because the team did not want to influence any outcome with our presence, the Maputo males were left walking straight towards the last known location of the Mananga, seemingly following their scent. The following morning, with fear for what we might find, a few members of the team moved into the area and found tracks for the pride moving up from the low-lying area at their sticky-thorn den-sites into the rocky ridges of the Lebombo mountain range and, to our relief, there were also tracks of the cubs. Continuing on the tracks, a lone lioness was found lying close to the road, but as the vehicle stopped to look at her there was a noise in the background. Continuing on, the rest of the females were found, and to our relief, they were accompanied by eight restless cubs. So, for the time being, the Mananga lionesses are showing their skill at being mothers in this harsh environment.

The rest of the Mananga Pride, sub-adults and those who do not have cubs have been seen a couple of times, but they have not been as present often in the same area since the females have had their cubs which have become their main focus and priority.

The Shish Pride is still going strong, although in the last few weeks, the seven lionesses and their 14 cubs are spending a lot of time around the western and southern side of the reserve. This means they have been a bit scarce, although they leave their tracks for us to follow as they move between our reserve area and the area across Park Road.

The Maputo males have also been very vocal during the last few weeks, and have been seen mating and feeding with a few lionesses from what we believe to be the same skittish pride which has made more frequent visits to the northern regions of the reserve. They surprised the team when in one night they moved from south of the N’wanetsi River all the way to nearly the northern boundary where they had joined up with a few females.

Some members of the new skittish pride, now known as the Chava Pride, have been seen more frequently and are slowly becoming slightly more tolerant of the vehicles, less inclined to run away, especially when in the presence of the Maputo males, as they are relatively unaffected by our presence, which the females seem to be mimicking, although they are by no means as relaxed just yet.


The Lebombo male leopard was sighted multiple times in April, most often in the area around the N’wanetsi River close to the lodge. He has been looking in very good condition, but also seems a bit put out by the presence of the much younger Confluence male, who has also been seen regularly in this same area, often just a few kilometres ahead of where Lebombo is, which could indicate the older leopard is following the younger male to make sure he is still in charge of his territory.

Dumbana 3:3, now known as Khalanga male, has not been seen this month. From being our most regularly seen individual, he seems to have gone on an adventure from which we hope he will return.

The Confluence male has been growing in confidence over the last few weeks, not only with moving around the vehicles but also within the area, with many sightings of him including the odd territorial scent-marking, which could once again account for the fact that the Lebombo male seems to conveniently always be in a similar area.

Nhlangulene female was found on a kill early on in April, where she spent a few days feeding and resting, but thereafter she has been scarce.

The Dumbana female together with her two cubs was also seen with a kill hoisted into a dead leadwood tree. The little family enjoyed the spoils of the impala ewe for a few days but thereafter only the Dumbana female herself has been seen alone, potentially hunting while the cubs are left in a safe, secluded location.

Nyala female, until recently known as JJ female, was also seen with a kill hoisted in a small apple leaf tree, with a number of hyena strewn across the ground below her, waiting patiently as she fed. She took her time and spent a few days in the area, but when the Shish Pride moved through and seemingly took her kill from the branches, she was nowhere to be seen.

As usual, there have been a few sightings of less well-known leopard individuals across the reserve, as sightings of this nature are sometimes too swift for the animal to be identified.

African wild dogs

There have been a number of sightings of wild dogs this month, including the large pack with their pups. As with all young animals, they have grown so fast and are now difficult to tell apart from the adults as they run past, keeping pace with their hunting party.

A smaller pack of between four to six dogs has been seen, but it is possible they could be part of the larger portion of the other pack. It has been interesting to note that two members have been seen mating, which could mean a few additional dogs to the population in the next +/-70 days.


A little pair of what looks like sub-adult cheetah have been seen this month. They appear to be young still, and yet they have not been seen in the presence of an adult, so it is possible they have become separated from their mother, or she has left them unattended while she has been hunting.

Spotted hyenas

There have been many spotted hyena sightings throughout the reserve.

After investigating the sound of hyena chattering with excitement in the drainage line close to the lodge, a clan of 20 hyenas were located all feeding on a large kudu carcass. There was a crocodile also in the drainage not far away which had also potentially been feeding from the same carcass.


Elephant have been a constant presence across the reserve in the past months, with herds and bachelor herds and lone bulls dotted across the plains and thickets alike.

The herds moving through have had a fair number of babies with them, all full of attitude and life, but always sure to stick close enough to mom to run back for support if they need it.


With water being so plentiful, the large breeding herds have been moving over great distances, coming into the north-central regions during this month.

A lone buffalo bull, likely the same one, was seen numerous times also in the north-central region moving along the drainage lines, keeping close to areas where water is still present in the pools of the otherwise dry drainage line.

Plains game

The late rains during early April have seen a flush of green taking the vegetation back to a lush and abundant summer-time feel. This has been enjoyed by herds of wildebeest and zebra.

Many families of warthogs with their little ones in tow can be seen, foraging for the fresh grass stalks and rhizomes in the open areas.

Rare animals and other sightings

An African rock python of considerable size was found thanks to the alarm calling of impala and the swift investigative response of a few hyenas, one of which must have located the python in the undergrowth because it was sniffing and then lunging back, as if dodging the strikes, which is how the reptile was found.

A single eland female was seen a few times in the centre of the reserve, spending its time amongst herds of zebra or impala for security.

Two separate sightings of honey badgers were had during safari, these animals are notorious for being rather feisty and yet when it comes to vehicles, they normally do not hang around for too long.

A breeding herd of ten sable were seen in the far north-eastern reaches of the reserve, a very interesting sight as there are usually smaller groups, if not single individuals seen, and even those are not regular views.

A porcupine was seen briefly one night near the eastern edge of the reserve, although brief, a special sight no less.


A few pairs of southern ground hornbills have been seen foraging with their sub-adult young in the open areas across the reserve, this is always a special sight considering the endangered status of the species.

At the Gudzane Dam area a pair of greater painted snipe as well as a pair of black-winged stilt were seen, wading in the shallow waters.

An African openbill has been enjoying the fresh-water muscles in the area of the weir, leaving a pile of shells behind as evidence of its efficient feeding strategy.