March 2019 was one of the driest months on record since we’ve been here, with thundershowers only starting very late in the month. This has had an impact on the number of plains game on the concession as many of the resident grazers moved away in search of new pastures and water, but sufficient rain in the catchment areas of the Grumeti River meant that there were a number of pools from which animals could drink, particularly when there was a very gentle flow in the river system for certain periods of the month.
Despite the lack of the large herds of herbivores, species such as buffalo and giraffe were plentiful, and on the short grass plains there were always small herds of Thomson’s gazelle and topi. Decent concentrations of wildlife including elephant, impala and waterbuck were regularly seen along the Grumeti River and also on the Sasakwa Plains. Predator numbers were once again fantastic throughout the month, the highlight being the number of leopard sightings, and then seeing a pack of wild dogs on several occasions.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for March:
A total of 83 sightings were recorded in March, comprising mostly of the Butamtam, Nyasirori, Mkuyu and Colobus prides.
Despite the long grass, lion viewing remains incredible, allowing guides and guests the privilege of experiencing diversity in pride behaviour, as well as fascinating pride interaction.
The stand out sighting of the month was of the three young Butamtam males pulling down a buffalo at Sasakwa Dam.
The guides briefly saw one of the Butamtam lionesses with two very young cubs along the Mkomre Drainage Line.
A total of 38 sightings were recorded in March. It has been a particularly good month for leopard viewing on the concession.
The guides identified five different males.
Robert and Jeremiah experienced a phenomenal sighting when the Mbogo male brought down a large warthog coming out of its burrow, and then hoisted it into a tree.
A total of 24 sightings were recorded in March, which is phenomenal given the tallness of the grass. These sightings included a female and cubs, a lone female, a female and sub-adult male, and then the regular viewing of three sub-adult siblings, comprising two young males and a female.
The bigger concentrations were certainly seen along the Grumeti River across the concession, from Colobus Crossing all the way up to Bangwesi, and further north and east along the main river and tributaries.
Sightings along the river and at Sasakwa Dam were a daily occurrence, especially during the very hot and dry conditions experienced throughout the month.
Most viewing took place at the two den-sites along Nyasirori high ground and at the site near Main Fort Ikoma Rd and Sand Rd.
The two herds on the Sasakwa Plains were seen every day, one then moving around Butamtam Hill toward the Serengeti Plains.
Numerous herds were seen in the west along the Rahu and Serengeti National Park boundary, and then along both sides of the Grumeti River and Grumeti North areas.
More buffalos will congregate in the wet season and move onto our concession, or naturally passage into Grumeti Reserves when the small pans and drainage lines fill with water after the heavy rains.
A pack of five wild dog was seen on at least three occasions on the concession moving between our southern boundary along the Rahu and all the way up to Sasakwa Dam area. One afternoon a staff game drive witnessed the pack successfully hunt a Thomson’s gazelle fawn, south of our boundary in the Serengeti National Park.
Robert was also very fortunate to see a serval on drive, possible the same animal recorded from last month’s journal, as it was in a similar area.
Thank you to our guest freelance photographer Fokion Zissiadis, who was happy to share his photographs for this journal from his stay at Singita Grumeti.