June 2024

Singita Sabi Sand


Singita Sabi Sand: June 2024

The dry season has been fantastic for wildlife viewing! There have been plenty of sightings starting in the early, chilly mornings when birds rise to the top of the canopy eagerly awaiting the first rays of sun to warm them up. With the cool weather being experienced it means that lions, leopards and cheetahs can been seen during any part of the day. This cooler dry weather also means spending time exploring the reserve on foot - a popular activity either during or after morning game drive. By the time the giant orange sun gently disappears behind the horizon are hearts are full with the sense of accomplishment and contentment.

The first viewing of the Tsalala lioness’s cubs, three of them, was a major highlight for all of us. We’ve been able to watch her closely over the past two months as she so dedicatedly hunted for and protected her new litter - and this is exactly the way we wanted her story to unfold.

Here are some of this month’s wildlife highlights – a Sightings Snapshot for June:


The dry season is elephant season. Herds continue to flock into the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve where the abundance of water sources keep them in the area during the most difficult times of the year. Animals pathways, now well-worn, are dominated by the oval and round spoor in the sand. The still weather conditions mean the spoor holds the fine details like cracks on the soles of their feet, while their trumpeting carries further on these crispy cold mornings. Elephants have been a massive attraction and will be for the next few months to come.


We have mainly been seeing smaller herds in different parts of Singita. To the west of Ebony Lodge, there has been regular viewing of a herd of close to a hundred, while the much larger herd has been seen in the gabbro grasslands in the southern parts of our traversing.

Wild dogs

The Othawa Pack are denning west of Singita and are periodically moving into our area to hunt before returning to feed the pack. It will still be a few more weeks if not months before they start getting mobile with the adults.

The pack of three are denning in the south and the den has been recently opened to viewing. The south has been productive for wild dogs as the Toulon Pack has also been seen hunting in this area.


The Mhangeni Pride are exploring more with their now almost sub-adult youngsters. From the south along to the old railway and all the way through to Boulders Lodge, they are searching far and wide to find adequate prey for their growing pride. The second eldest lioness has sadly passed away and her remains were found close to Castleton Dam, a fitting resting place for her as this was the birth place of Singita.

The young Nkuhuma lions are showing their resilience and managing to survive in a lion-rich area. A standout sighting was finding them feeding on a zebra carcass east of Boulders Lodge. This meal will go a long way in building strength and confidence.

The Plains Camp lions are spending much of their time defending the north-eastern boundary of their territory. They have made the occasional venture south of the river to ensure their presence is known through sound and scent.

The Tsalala lioness and her three new cubs have been seen using Tavangumi koppies as their place of safety. Greg, Lawrence and their guests had a first glimpse of them being moved from one rocky outcrop to the next as the sun came up. We are thrilled to have them within just two minutes of Boulders Lodge.


It appears that the Nkuwa female has separated from her two sub-adult cubs. The two young leopards have been exploring the surrounds of their mother’s territory from the southern grasslands all the way north towards the drainage close to the Sand River.

It has been a while since we saw the Senegal Bush male leopard. He was last seen in the middle of the month with a warthog piglet stashed up in a large ebony tree. What was so odd about this was he did not feed on the piglet. Eventually the Ntomi male moved in and ate the carcass. Although too soon to say for definite what has happened to the older male, it does not look promising.

The Thamba male continues to be a major attraction for our guests as he offers amazing viewing as he confidently struts right down the middle of the road. One sighting which stunned our guests was of him stealing a kill from the Ntoma female. We watched as he devoured the hoisted impala carcass in a bare marula tree, at sunset, with four hyenas waiting in anticipation at the base of the tree.

Lucy, Johnson and their guests found the Xinzele female leopard vocalising late one afternoon close to Tom’s Dam. This older female has been seen more and more in this area over the past few months. The dense wooded surroundings of this part of the reserve is ideal for these secretive cats.


We have been seeing the female cheetah more and more on the south west of Singita. Although we have not confirmed it there is a high probability this cheetah may have given birth, or be close to doing so, as she has been spending much of her time in this area where usually female cheetah cover vast distances hunting.

Bird list

The bird list for June includes four new species, bringing our bird list for the year up to 274 birds. Specials for the month included a fairy flycatcher, a first official record for the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, as well as a female blue-mantled crested flycatcher viewed in the staff village and close to Ebony Villa for over two weeks.