June 2024

Singita Pamushana Lodge

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Singita Pamushana Lodge: June 2024

June announced her arrival with the crackle and crunch of drying herbaceous undergrowth as we walked the landscape by day, and spritzes of mist on your face as we drove in the early mornings armed with a hot water bottle on our laps. The warm winter days always confirm there’s no better place to be, and the clear nights have been ideal for sunsets and mind-blowing stargazing!

Guests that have chosen Singita Pamushana for their first ever safari have been ecstatic with the sightings seen. Sightings-wise it is the most prolific time of the year, and some guests were lucky enough to spot the Big 5 on an afternoon drive.

A sightings snapshot for June follows:

Lions

Five lions were around Hwata Pan – three males and two females. Both the females were in oestrus.

The Nduna Pride killed an adult buffalo bull just south of Bandama Pan. Six members of the pride were present feasting – three adult males and three adult females.

An eye-opening sighting was seeing two adult lionesses feasting on a baboon carcass.

An awesome scenario was, after spending the afternoon exploring the Chiredzi riverbank and stopping at Chikwete Cliffs for sundowners, seeing two adult male lions relaxed in the sandbank below the cliffs. The audio as they roared and the echoing sounds were epic.

Later in the month these two brother lions from the Hippo Valley side joined up with two females along the Chiredzi River. The males showed great interest in the lionesses and followed them every time they moved.

Leopards

June has been a great month for leopard viewing – some of the sightings included: a beautiful leopard north of the runway, a swift leopard crossing the road near Sosigi, an adult male leopard on the western side of the river that then proceeded up some sandstone rocks and remained relaxed, two different female leopards as we returned to the lodge after sunset, and a big male leopard patrolling at night.

A particularly good sighting that many guests got to see was of an adult female leopard with her two cubs feasting on an impala – the sound-effects were as impressive. The mother must have killed the impala in the morning, but as the sun was setting it was obvious that she was going to safeguard the food against other marauding predators. It was so impressive to witness her lifting the carcass up and hoisting it high in a nearby umbrella tree.

Another incredible encounter was of a mother leopard and her cub. The mother gave away their position by leaving a drag mark from her kill across a road. The guide and his guests parked a respectful distance away and got to see the bold and relaxed cub walking all over the site. The funniest was when a big male giraffe came their way and the cub immediately got down flat on the ground, showing hunting instincts. Then it leapt out giving the huge giraffe a fright and it fled away!

Wild dogs

The great news is that the pack of six adults denned successfully on the south-eastern boundary. They were initially seen with eight puppies but the latest sightings are of five pups. The pack seem well and were also seen feeding on an impala which they had killed on the fence line.

We have yet to confirm if the larger pack in the north have denned and successfully raised pups.

Hyenas

Two hyena clans were seen fighting near Croc Creek – the howls, growls, yips and laughs rocked the airwaves!

Under spotlight, on the way back to the lodge, two hyenas were spotted feeding on an impala carcass. Further investigation revealed a young leopard which had been displaced from its kill by the hyenas. The leopard later approached the hyenas, fought them, and reclaimed the kill but was not able to stash it in a nearby tree. It’s most likely the leopard lost the kill to the hyenas again.

Rhinos

Brilliant sightings of both black and white rhinos, as always. One of the guides in his sighting report has described a black rhino mock charging his vehicle as the rhino doing its “investigation dance” – a rather wonderful way of describing this formidable behaviour.

In amongst a breeding herd of well over 300 buffaloes was a black rhino mother and sub-adult calf. Upon noticing the game-viewer the rhinos shot out in full speed, mock charging the game viewer. The guests got some wonderful footage on their phones and cameras.

The standout sighting of white rhinos was seeing a calf right after it had been born.

Elephants

Large breeding herds have been seen calmly feeding – there was one of about 90 animals near the old bush dinner baobab and on West Valley Road, and another of more than 150 at the swamps on Hippo Valley, with buffalos feeding nearby.

The bulls have been seen drinking at Hwata and Banyini Pans.

Buffalos

Large herds of buffalo have been seen drinking at Banyini Pan and at the Chiredzi River, and feeding at the swamps.

A lucky escape was when two adult lionesses were observed stalking and then chasing buffalos. They missed one by a whisker and the buffalo lived to see another sunrise.

Plains game

In addition to the abundant plains game of zebras, giraffes, wildebeest and impala it has been especially rewarding to see a herd of about 20 sable antelope with their young ones.

Unusual

An after-dark surprise was seeing an African wild cat on the prowl.

A troop of dwarf mongooses were unconcerned by the human audience as they were earnestly digging for something. It was amazing to watch how they ignored us and carried on as the hole got deeper and deeper.

Birds

Stealing the show again was a bat hawk doing beautiful aerial displays chasing after bats.

Boat cruise

These are always a highlight with zen vibes, hippos, crocodiles and birds aplenty, but not feeling the zen vibe was a hyena that was seen swimming across the river with crocodiles in hot pursuit!

Fishing

Despite the ‘cold’ weather some earnest fishermen have been out, and have caught. One young guest wished to catch a tigerfish, catfish and a tilapia. He landed a tigerfish on his first cast, and followed that up with a catfish and tilapia. Wish granted.

Photographic hide

Rhinos and elephant bulls are the regulars at the pan where our sunken photographic hide is. However, many other species are drawn there too, and this month a mating pair of lions came to quench their thirst while guests were inside the hide. What an exhilarating experience!

Walks & rock art

It’s the best time of year to conduct bush walks, which we love, especially when they include a visit to a rock art site or the most mammoth baobab on the property.

Kambako Living Museum of Bushcraft

Outings to the bushcraft museum have been enjoyed, especially when guests get involved with learning some of the crafts such as making fire, finding water, pounding grain and cracking a whip.

Daytrips to Gonarezhou National Park

Adventurous guests did a camp out in Gonarezhou, and spent an unforgettable night listening to the sounds of lions, leopards and elephants, safely alone with their guides in the wilderness.

By Jenny Hishin
Author / Guest Guide