We’ve had another fantastic month here at Singita Kruger National Park. The re-alignment of Lebombo is finally complete and the lodge is looking awesome. The team seems to have a fresh energy too! The lodge continues to lead the way in terms of design, and now offers guests a much more holistic experience – from food and wellness, to an intensified connection with nature and so much more. The view from the new roof terrace and wine studio is quite something. One can see the N’Wanetsi River meandering all the way from the north, past the lodge to the east towards Mozambique. The views over the Granophyre Ridge are outstanding!
We have had almost no rain this month (a few drops of drizzle) and the water that filled up the N’wanetsi River last month is slowly drying up. There is still quite a bit of standing water at the weir, at Dumbana Pools and in front of both Sweni and Lebombo Lodges. Hyena Pan, in the Lebombo Hills is still holding water and is attracting a fair amount of game. The depression is bare of grass and visibility is amazing. This has been a great month for game-viewing.
Autumn has arrived and the temperatures are starting to drop. Towards the end of the month a cold front came through and it was the first time that some of the guides were seen wearing fleeces and jackets. With the change in seasons many of the migratory birds have left the area now. We have, however, had some special bird sightings this month including a few sightings of white-backed night heron, a sighting of a flock of crested guineafowl and a few sightings of Temminck’s coursers. Margaux reported seeing a great-spotted cuckoo feeding on the ground and one of our guests at Sweni Camp even managed to get a photograph of a red-capped robin-chat from in front of his room.
Buffalos: We have had quite a few sightings of buffalos this month (at least 28 reported sightings). We have not seen any large herds of buffalos in the area, possibly due to the lack of palatable grass, although the greener vegetation in the hills has enabled small groups of dagga boys (older male buffalos that have separated from the herds) to remain.
Leopards: There were 23 reported sightings of leopards on the concession this month. Towards the beginning of the month there were two large male leopards in the southern area of the concession. It was inevitable that they would come across one another as they were both vocalising regularly. On 10 April we were descending down the road near Green Apple Hill when we spotted the two males very close to one another. They had obviously just been fighting and one of the males had blood running all down his throat. He was running quickly away from the other leopard, who was hot on his trail. The injured leopard ran towards the Sticky Thorn thickets and disappeared into the thick shrubbery. The second male continued following the scent trail left by the first and was constantly roaring as he trailed him. He then lost the scent and we left him looking for the other.
Cheetahs: We have had a wonderful month of cheetah viewing and there were at least 22 reported sightings of these magnificent spotted cats. Margaux reported seeing seven cheetahs on the concession one morning!
Elephants: We have seen elephants almost on a daily basis. They have been coming down to drink at the water in the N’wanetsi River. Johnathan reported seeing a herd of over 70 elephants drinking at Dumbana Pools one day. On another occasion we saw a breeding herd of elephants bathing in the pool at Hyena Pan.
Lions: Lebombo is certainly the place of lions. At least 70 sightings of these large cats were reported this month.
Spotted hyenas: Spotted hyenas were seen regularly during the month of April. The hyena cubs at the den along the H6 public road have become very used to the cars and have been quite inquisitive. We have had to chase them away from the vehicles on occasion as they try to chew the plastic mudguards of the game viewer. One of the sub-adults was seen with porcupine quills stuck all over in his throat and neck. He had obviously been too inquisitive or had gone into the wrong burrow, one that was already occupied by a large, spiny rodent.