December 2018 has been a lovely month here on the Grumeti Reserve. We have received some reasonable rainfall and the environment is looking beautifully green. During the first half of the month we still had huge numbers of migratory wildebeest, zebra and topi, and the grasslands were alive with thousands of animals. As we moved into the second half of the month we saw many of these great herds begin to move off to the south east, returning to the national park as they headed for the southern regions of the Serengeti.
With the moving on of the great herds we saw the return of fantastic elephant numbers. The Raho drainage line has seen hundreds of individuals as they feed along the seasonal waterways and it has once again been lovely to have many elephants back on Sasakwa Hill.
The resident herds have provided some stunning wildlife experiences this month with herds of buffalo 600 strong and great herds of eland in the Nyati and Nyasirori regions. Many smaller herds of topi remain in the Gambaranyera area of the western region and the giraffe numbers have yet again been sensational. Most days out on drive you would almost certainly witness journeys of giraffe, 30 to 40 strong, on the Sasakwa Plains and south of Koroya Hill.
The cats have yet again, been nothing short of fantastic. The lion sightings have been incredible, cheetah sightings have picked up significantly compared to last month and leopard sightings have ticked over as one would expect. There has also been a considerable number of serval sightings this month which has been a very welcome aspect of the wildlife experience.
All in all, a truly fantastic end to 2018. The Grumeti Reserve, with all its incredible life, seems to be rolling from strength to strength. A phenomenal year of nature at its very best and another year filled with some of the best wildlife experiences to be had anywhere in Africa.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for December 2018:
A total of 123 sightings were recorded in December.
The usual pride dynamics were recorded although it is becoming apparent that the larger core prides are certainly splitting into smaller groups, however, it is certainly not uncommon to come across the impressive larger groups of lionesses such as part of the Nyasirori Pride.
The impressive West Pride males continue to keep busy on their routine patrols of their territory. These two males have made for some awesome sightings over the last weeks and have regularly been seen between the Gambaranyera and the Raho drainage.
During the first half of the month the lions were mostly targeting migratory wildebeest and zebra. As the migratory animals slowly dispersed, some of the larger social units have started targeting buffalo again.
A total of 37 sightings were recorded in December.
A number of new individuals had been identified this month which is a very good sign. This included two new females on the Grumeti North drainage and a single young male in the Marsh area, east of Arab Camp hill. All were incredibly shy, however, are beginning to relax a little more now during vehicle observations.
A total of 24 sightings were recorded in December.
Cheetah sightings have picked up this month which has been great. There have been some fantastic sightings including a number of kills. What we have also noticed is the amount of sightings and the concentration of these animals in the Ikorongo region. This is not really surprising as the Lion and spotted Hyena populations continue to boom in the central grasslands. We have come across three different mothers with youngsters all in the Ikorongo region which is really fantastic and very encouraging.
A total of 91 sightings were recorded in December.
Even with many breeding herds dispersing over large areas we are still experiencing great viewing. With plenty of food around we are also seeing breeding herds aggregating to form huge numbers on the Raho and the Sabora drainage. Excellent sightings have been experienced south of Koroya Hill and on the Pofu plain, north of Bangwezi… a truly wonderful sight to see.
Special sighting this month, without doubt, includes the sheer density of biomass during the first half of December with hundreds of thousands of grazers out on the grasslands. As we can see from these pictures the sheer quantities of life out on the plains… A true reflection of how productive the environment is here on the Grumeti Reserve.
Other great sightings include a roan antelope sighted north of the Rhino Rocks Road in the central region. It fended off five spotted hyena that were trying to hunt it. A great relief to see it succeed.
Serval sightings have been brilliant this month despite the grass beginning to come up quickly. This has provided a handful of guests with some lovely photo opportunities. This picture was captured by Adas Anthony and guests out on the Nyasirori plains.
Interesting Bird Sightings
This month we seen the return of the grey crowned cranes which we believe are breeding in the marshy areas close to Sabora. The pair is seen each and every day driving to and from Sabora.
The spur-winged lapwing has been sighted on occasions which is great as generally this is a rather rare lapwing species in Tanzania.
We have experienced many streaky seedeaters moving into the Sabora areas and of course with the grass beginning to seed come the many whydah and widowbird species bringing some lovely colours to the grasslands.
Migratory species seen this month include Abdim’s stork, European bee-eater, European roller, Eleonora’s falcon, Steppe eagle, Senegal lapwing and violet-backed starlings.