May 2018 has been another rather wet month. Last year, the end of May saw the return of the migratory wildebeest, however, this year we continue to wait in anticipation. The extraordinary rainfall all over the greater Serengeti ecosystem has essentially resulted in less pressure on the animals to move. Water and good grazing has been plentiful in the southern region and many wildebeest still linger in the Ndutu area. We are, however, beginning to witness a more determined push to the north and to the west by some of the larger herds. Great numbers of zebra and topi have moved into the Nyasirori/Sabora areas and from time to time we see some lovely plains wildlife flooding on to the Nyati Plain, including very good herds of eland.
Lions: Lion sightings, despite the very long grasses, have been good with 81 different sightings this month.
Our core prides the Nyasirori and the Butamtam prides being viewed almost on a daily basis. The Butamtam pride has been sighted mostly in the WD/Nyati region and the very beginning of the Raho drainage line. From time to time the pride has been seen moving north and up towards the Old School area.
The Nyasirori pride has been sighted mainly in the Nyasirori high ground regions as the drainage lines are still incredibly wet and the grass very tall. Many members of our resident prides have been sighted in the trees as they do their very best to take a break from the long grasses and escape the biting flies. Often the pride’s location has been pinpointed thanks to the lionesses so often up in Kigelia trees.
Again, we have seen considerable lion activity up on the Sasakwa Hill, in the form of the two lionesses that had split from the Butamtam pride with their seven youngsters. (Three cubs at 12 months and another four at nine months.) The two lionesses have continued to kill zebra and were seen on an impala ram kill in the middle of the month, close to Sabayaya staff accommodation.
Another two shy lionesses made an appearance on the hill for a number of days. These lionesses had not been seen before and were believed to be nomadic, only passing through. The lionesses killed a zebra whilst spending time on the Hill, and disappeared shortly after and have not been seen again since.
Cheetahs: May has been a challenging month for cheetah sightings, as one might expect. However, we have had a total of 11 sightings on the Grumeti Reserve.
The sightings included a single female in the Sasakwa region that would pop up from time to time, two single males in the Sabora access area and a coalition of three young males that were sighted south of Koroya Hill. The animals were moving quickly at the time.
The Sabora sub-adult male (see photo below) has left his mother’s side and is spending time alone.
Leopards: We have seen a total of 29 different leopard sightings this month – that’s averaging almost a leopard a day! Sightings have included Tulia and her two sub-adult offspring of approximately 18 months old. Guests have experienced some quality time with these three, especially on kills. It is great to see that they are doing well spending the majority of their time just west of Sabora Camp.
We have had some exceptional male leopard sightings in the Faru Faru Camp areas, closer to the Grumeti River which has been lovely.
Single females have been seen on the Grumeti North Drainage as well as the Nyasirori region.
Elephants: This month we have had a total of 46 different elephant sightings. Towards the end of the month has really picked up with more and more breeding herds utilizing the area.
We have had some beautiful aggregations on the Romoti drainage, southern side of the Grumeti River, with up to 200 elephants being seen at a single location.
Breeding herds have been returning to Sasakwa Hill area and we have been seeing a herd of 40 frequenting the area east of the Sasakwa Airstrip for the last few days or so.
There have also been some cracking elephant sightings in the Ikorongo region with aggregations of up to 150 individuals at times.