As the Sand River trickles down to the lowest level that we’ve seen it in many years, large mammals are drawn to deeper water sources that are scattered throughout the reserve. Even some of the more prominent pans have dried up. The marula trees have lost their canopies and their stark finger-like branches reach into the clear winter sky. The golden light during the early morning and late afternoon continues to linger over longer periods, which is a highlight for photographers. Big game is also a highlight with many of the species being driven to food or water sources, thus creating interactions that are spellbinding at times.
Leopards: Singita Boulders Lodge has had a frequent visitor this month. A successful kill nearby, by the Hlaba’Nkunzi female and son, of a bushbuck had them stay quite close to their kill for a few days. The inquisitive nature of the young son had him explore the main area of Singita Boulders Lodge in the evening and he seemed to have enjoyed the fire pit, as he was found enjoying the warmth of it quite a few times!
Wild dogs: The last month has seen the pack move to the south and then back again to the north with their young pups. The den-site has been moved again and we have found tracks coming south from their initial den-site so we are aware that they are in the area, however, we are currently tracking to pinpoint it. Pack members have been viewed hunting in the area north of the river and we are certain that the pack has not gone much further from the last den-site.
Lions: There has been a great movement among the lions during the past few weeks. In particular the eight lions from what are now referred to as the ‘Mhangeni breakaway pride’. They have been spending most of their time within the vicinity of Singita Castleton. Large herds of buffalo continue to congregate around the large water source of the dam in view of the lodge, and this water hole has been an attraction for many other species as well. Currently the two Mhangeni lionesses with the cubs have been viewed together with the cubs; however no adult males have been present during these interactions. The lioness with the four young cubs has been viewed in the north east of Singita, on Marthly.
Buffaloes: Large herds continue to move within the Sabi Sand reserve and it is evident that more buffalo continue to move into the Sabi Sand from Kruger National Park as water sources and grazing material are depleted in some areas.
Elephants: The elephant herds have been sporadic in their movements. Some days there have been ‘waves’ of several elephants, and the very next day only a few sightings of single bulls.
Bird list: 182 species were recorded in June 2016. Specials of the month were a secretary bird, Cape vulture and osprey.