April 2024

Singita Sabi Sand


Singita Sabi Sand: April 2024

Sun-kissed leaves now litter the dirt track that led us through the heart of Singita as we head south towards the rocky, gabbro grasslands. With the early morning rays gradually warming our cheeks they expose the intricate work of unassuming spiders and their dew-laden webs. Stopping and looking closer shows evidence of dazzles of zebra, which are clear on the sandy tracks while the deep guttural sound of rutting impala rams can be heard in all corners of the reserve. As the light mist lifts and pure blue skies fill our surroundings, a young elephant calf welcomes the warm, new day. The month of April has played host to various moments that have filled our guests with joy and wholeness, which lies at the centre of what we do at Singita. It has been the perfect start to the dry season in the Sabi Sand, here is how it all played out:

A Sightings Snapshot for April:


  • After the late rains this summer it has assisted the herbivores in maintaining excellent condition. This, coupled with moon-lit, still nights have made hunting challenging for lions. The Mhangeni Pride felt the full brunt of it up until recently where they made successive kills helping to save themselves from muscle degeneration and starvation. Fortunately for them the grasslands have been teeming with large grazers like buffalo and zebra which has helped them to recover in condition.
  • The Tsalala lioness has given birth somewhere close to Boulders Lodge, either in the Sand River valley or the rocky outcrops nearby. Frequent coming and goings from the area reaffirms our suspicions. She has provided us with excellent daytime viewing as she chooses to hunt by day and protect her cubs by night. She has even been seen crossing the Sand River by Pios Crossing which is populated by crocodiles - risking it all for her first litter of cubs.
  • In the north there has been another split in the Nkuhuma Pride. A lioness and her two cubs of close to two years of age have left their maternal pride and have been trailing buffalos and zebras. On one morning drive as the three lions looked to be settling down for the day, a wounded stray buffalo calf walked right into the middle of them. The calf stood little chance of escaping and it was a valuable lesson gained by the two young lions as their mother capitalised on the easy opportunity.


  • Undoubtedly the Nkuwa female and her two male offspring deserve to be mentioned first. The three of them have been seen crossing the Sand River (see gallery for sighting photo sequence), climbing among rocky outcrops, silently observing lions in the distance, and everything in between. These three have captured the hearts of our guest and it looks like they will keep doing so for quite some time as she keeps on providing regular kills for the two cubs.
  • In the same region the young Ntomi male has also been making the most of the rutting impala rams with a few kills being recorded. On one occasion he was viewed hoisting a kill in the late afternoon for our guests to witness.
  • As the Senegal bush male pushes Xipuku male further west so comes with it new encounters with unfamiliar females. There was a short interaction with the Ximobonyana female who had mothered Xipuku’s cub. What sounded like a brief but violent altercation unfolded, it is uncertain what happened exactly but some feel that her cub may have not survived.
  • On a positive note, after many months we have viewed the Kangela male close to his birthplace, Ebony Lodge. This was the last offspring of the legendary Schotia female, therefore it is always extra special to spend time with the four-year-old.


  • Cheetah viewing was not limited to the south this month - we had numerous sightings of a female cheetah over a period of a week on the northern side of the Sand River. On one such morning the team of Greg and Lawrence, with their guests, found her with a fresh impala kill which she hurried to feed on, and with good reason as it was not long before the Tsalala lioness got wind of the carcass and rushed in to steal it from her.
  • The territorial male in the south was expertly spotted by tracker Suzack recently after noticing a herd of distressed zebra persistently staring in the long grass. On closer inspection they discovered the male resting in the long grass, with a full belly.


  • At the beginning of the month elephant viewing was hard-earned, and the areas surrounding Castleton gave the best opportunity to find herds as they quenched their thirst at the popular waterhole. As we move closer to the dry season, we are starting to see larger herds forming as the matriarchs guide their herd members to the best feed areas. Woody species now supplement their depleted grass diet during these cooler periods of the year.

Wild dogs

  • As we approach the denning season for wild dogs in southern Africa, we watch closely as the alpha females show size of preparing for the arrival of their new litter. It was exciting to watch as the female from the pack of three, originally from the Mbali Pack, dug at an existing aardvark burrow. It is quite early in her gestation for her to be preparing a den but positive signs nonetheless.
  • The Othawa Pack, now numbering seven, two females and five males have been sighted numerous times this month with the alpha female looking pregnant as well. Last year this packed denned in the northern parts of Singita, we can only hope that is the case this year too!

Grassland mammals

  • There have been healthy numbers of zebras along the old Selati railway line and herds are also starting to move northwards as the woodlands open up at the onset of the dry season. The southern watering holes have been ideal areas to have morning coffee while watching dazzles coming and going back to feed. Their black stripes have contrasted beautifully in the warm fall colours of the deciduous trees.
  • Buffalo herds are looking strong after a late rain last month which will bode them well in the months to come. With some herds now numbering well over 500 the battle among bulls heat us as they compete for hierarchal supremacy.

Unusual sightings

  • Sightings of serval have increased this month with one that has been seen a few times along Camp Road and a mother with one kitten down in the south.
  • With the late mornings warning up significantly into the middle part of the day, the reptiles have been on the move before the cold sets in. Male puffadders are actively looking for females with which to mate, which has offered the opportunity to gain a better understanding about snakes as they cover ground smelling for pheromones of receptive females.
  • We have also noticed that a large Nile crocodile has taken ambush along the submerged gravel road through the Sand River at Pios Crossing. Baboons use the rocks at the crossing to move between feeding and roosting areas on either side of the river.

Bird List

The bird list for April includes one new species, bringing our yearly total to 266.