What a fantastic start to the year 2020, as January kicks off with some incredible wildlife sightings. As is usual in northern Tanzania, we tend to see a slight drop in rainfall during the month of January, almost a calm before the storm as we move in between the short and the long rains. This has certainly been true this year with the reserve drying out ever so slightly, allowing us to access some great wildlife hotspots! Even though the grass remains tall the sightings have simply been incredible, with good action from the Nyasirori lion pride and the leopards of the Grumeti North Hill. We have seen lovely elephant numbers coming back onto the concession which is always an impressive sight out on the plains.
The dry period lasted no more than a week and towards the end of the month the rain came again, and on the night of the 27th Sasakwa Hill received 88 mm in a 12-hour period.
Here’s a sightings snapshot for January:
Daily sightings of lions were seen.
We have seen most of the Butamtam Pride dispersing away from Sasakwa Hill in search of prey species. 12 members, however, remain close to the Sasakwa Dam area.
The Nyasirori Pride have been offering some awesome viewing, especially when 14 of them climbed up into the sausage trees close to Sabora camp.
The Nyasirori Pride lions were observed on numerous occasions on the high ground, south of Sabora camp.
The Leopard sightings this month have been incredible. The mother and two youngsters of the Grumeti North Hill have been visited daily and the young cubs continue to grow from strength to strength.
Tulia’s two sub-adult young remain strong in the woodlands, west of Sabora camp. This male and the female remain close and have been seen regularly this month.
A total of 32 individual sightings recorded this month.
Despite the very long grasses, cheetah sightings have been great. Perhaps with the long grass, the animals are more likely to get up onto an exposed, higher position in order to scan for prey and this makes them easy to spot. Termite mounds and fallen over trees are often great places to see them.
Large elephant herds have been redistributing over the concession with some great numbers up in the Ikorongo. Good breeding herds have been observed on the Grumeti River too, between the Old German Bridge and Colobus Crossing.
Lovely herds have been seen from Sasakwa Hill to the north, and on to the Mkomure drainage line.
A total of 133 spotted hyena were sighted this month. The Boundary Pan Clan have been very busy, offering some great viewing too. There are a further four more furry additions that are often seen playing at the entrance to the den.
The large herds of buffalo remain on the long grass plains of Sasakwa and Sabora. Great buffalo bulls have been seen on the Mkomure and Rubana drainage lines.
The rhino continue to do very well in the Ikorongo region. Each of the individuals seem to have found their ranges and are settling well. We have had some great sightings here and there.