We had a total of 96 different lion sightings for the month of July.
The Shishangaan lionesses have continued to be viewed around the vicinity of the lodges. The hope is that some of the lionesses may be looking for denning locations in the area.
The Kumana males have also been seen regularly. They are often with the Shishangaan females. On a number of mornings, they could be heard roaring along the N’wanetsi River.
The seven adult females of the Mananga Pride have made the area around the Gudzani Dam home and they are always trailed by Xihamham, who is part of the Shishangaan male coalition.
The young Shishangaan males (outcasts), together with the white lion were seen back on the concession on a few occasions. They seem to be continually following large herds of buffalo that move in and out of our area. They were found with a buffalo carcass near the Sticky Thorn quarry on the 26th of July. The white lion has been sporting some injuries from fighting with other lions.
The Mountain Pride were seen mostly in the central parts of the concession, possibly due to the Mananga Pride spending a lot of time in the Gudzani area. On the evening of the 3rd of July some guests witnessed a territorial altercation between the two prides, after one of the Mountain Pride females wandered into the Mananga Pride as both groups were hunting along the game paths down to Gudzani Dam.
Male leopard sightings dominated this month. The Lebombo male was viewed with an impala kill on the 10th of July at Butterfly crossing.
On the 16th of July a total of three leopards were seen at Tortillis clearing. There seem to have been a fight between two male leopards that had stolen an impala kill from a female.
A male leopard was viewed hunting three kori bustards on the evening of the 29th of July. The guides watched him stalk up to them, but the leopard seemed to have a change of heart at the very last moment.
As always there was a number of leopard sightings during the month along the Nwanetsi River.
Three sub-adult cheetah were seen on a couple of occasions at the beginning of the month, and were seen hunting impala in the basalt grasslands.
On the 14th of July an incredible sighting of a mother with her five sub-adult cubs were seen hunting impala near Gudzani dam.
There is a fairly high population of spotted hyenas in the Singita Lebombo concession and we get regular sightings of these often misunderstood creatures. This month we recorded over 35 sightings of hyenas, particularly after dark, on the night drives. The Nyokeng Clan moved their den-site and we have not had regular views of them other than as foraging animals.
We see elephants on most drives. The afternoons and late mornings are often productive for elephant viewing, as the large pachyderms come down to the last remaining pools in the N’wanetsi River to drink. In the afternoons one can find large herds that come down to Gudzani Dam. During most outings we see the odd lone bull or small bachelor herds.
During the first half of the month we had consistent sightings of at least two very large herds of buffalo, both herds numbered over 200 individuals. They were concentrated in the north and since some of the pans of water have dried up, so have the sightings of these huge beasts. The lions certainly get excited and seem to follow the herds. We have noticed that one herd is regularly drinking at Gudzani Dam.
As usual the plains game has been plentiful. A wonderful spectacle as long lines of thirsty zebras that file down towards Gudzani Dam are seen on a daily basis. These have numbered up to 70 individuals!
There has been a caracal seen on four occasions. Once feeding on an impala which was presumed to have been scavenged. However, a few days later a caracal was seen hunting and killing an adult impala!
Side-striped jackals have been seen a few times.
Sharp’s grysbok are seen regularly now that the grass is getting thinner.
With it being winter, 160 bird species have been recorded.
We did have tawny eagles talon grappling late one morning.
We were lucky enough to see a martial eagle feeding on a steenbok that it had just killed.