Lions: Of all the game drives that took place in August, 127 of them enjoyed lion sightings, mainly of the Chiloveka pride and Chiredzi River pride. Kill scenes included lions feeding on a wildebeest and a giraffe, but it’s possible the giraffe died of natural causes. An ambitious lioness was seen chasing crocodiles at Nduna Dam, but fortunately they scuttled off into the water. Guide Alex Naert had a wonderful sighting on the 27th of six lionesses and two very small cubs.
Leopards: Leopard sightings were sporadic and very special – especially one morning when guests saw two different leopards, one coming down the hill from the lodge, and the other on nearby Ultimate Drive.
Elephants: Now that the landscape is drying out the best place to look for elephants is along the lush riverine areas. Large breeding herds of close to 100 individuals have been observed, while 99% of our guests had sightings of small groups of bachelor bulls minding their own business around the waterholes.
Rhinos: Excellent sightings – as always here at Singita Pamushana. Crashes of up to 12 white rhinos and four black rhinos have been seen at a time. At one sighting of white rhinos a pack of wild dogs sped through the scene chasing impala – a scene that lasted for the duration of, “Look! Look! Look!” At another there were two rhino bulls having a serious territory conflict, while a mother and sub-adult calf spectated the fight. A nerve-wracking experience for all was viewed from inside our sunken photographic hide when ten different white rhinos, including a little baby were at the waterhole. The baby was begging its mum for some milk, which sounded similar to a whale calling. The sounds alerted a nearby hyena and it attempted attacking the baby rhino. Thankfully it was sent packing each time by its very protective mother.
Some fortunate guests had the experience of a lifetime when they were given the opportunity to attend two separate rhino identification ear-notching operations, one with a white rhino and the other a black rhino. They witnessed conservation in action as the team of vets and wildlife biologists worked, and they had the opportunity to see the sedated rhinos up close.
Buffalo: Large herds of about 500 are being seen regularly drinking from the permanent pans.
Cheetahs: Again this month we’ve had sightings of the two cheetah brothers we see fairly regularly.
Wild dogs: We are thrilled to report that the pack of eight wild dogs has produced a litter of nine patchwork puppies. The pack was seen together with their puppies for the first time on the open plains of Banyini. One adult appeared with a blood-stained mouth and led the rest of the pack to where it had killed an adult male impala. It was phenomenal seeing the adults feeding the begging puppies – they would regurgitate chunks of meat for the adorable youngsters. Sadly one of the puppies has been killed by a hyena, so it is our fervent wish that the pack can keep the rest of the puppies safe.
Hyenas: There have been 96 sightings of hyenas. They have been trailing the wild dogs in the hope of stealing kills from them. A gathering of eight were seen waiting patiently for lions to leave their kill, so as to eat the bones. Two ambitious hyenas tried their luck with some zebra, and narrowly escaped with almost getting kicked. A hyena got a taste of its own medicine when two black-backed jackals barked at it and tried to bite its rear end in a bid to chase it off.
Plains game and antelope: The plains game are congregating near the waterholes, and in one area we counted 20 giraffe together. We’ve also had good sightings of the scarce antelope such as a herd of 12 sable, eland and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest.
Unusual sightings: Some of the more unusual suspects this month include a civet, three servals, two honey badgers, a Cape clawless otter and a python.
Birds: Excellent birding at the moment with two huge highlights. One was seeing 50 flamingos flying off from our southern dam. In the past we’ve recorded a couple of juveniles on our large central dam. The second was finding two yellow-throated long claws which are nesting. This may be a first for the area.
Photographic hide: Now that it is drier we are using the sunken photographic hide more often. One afternoon we had ten elephant
bulls, more than fifty zebras, impalas, eland and warthogs come to drink.
Bush walks: It’s also a good time to do walking safaris now that vegetation is less dense. After tracking on foot for over an hour one morning, guests were rewarded with seeing two adult male rhinos in the mopani woodland. Other adventurous guests walked to about 40 metres of a bull elephant, and some distance behind him were four rhino resting in the shade.
Boat cruises and fishing: Idyllic as always, and especially rewarding when three lions were spotted on the banks, in addition to the
hippos and birds. The fishing is hotting up too, with quite a few bream and tigers being landed.