Waking to the sound of a male lion roaring outside, then drinking a perfectly made cappuccino on the lodge deck whilst looking over the misty Sand River, followed up by embarking on game drive with a blanket and hot water bottle for an adventure that will change your life every time; this is winter at Singita Sabi Sand. The bush is drying out rapidly, but it is providing the most beautiful scenery, amazing lighting conditions and the game viewing… well, the game viewing has been nothing short of spectacular! Tree-climbing lions, leopardesses and cubs, potential puppies and wild cats. With the Ebony and Boulders lodges based on the river, days spent at the lodge are filled with elephants drinking, a variety of antelope wandering around and the occasional leopard strolling by. It is an experience not to be missed!
Here’s a highlights package of the month’s sightings
Leopards: The Schotia female and her two cubs have still been spending lots of time around the river and the lodges. The cubs are growing quickly and becoming more confident every day. We have enjoyed great views of them on a young nyala kill, climbing trees and wrestling with mom; all in preparation of them being the next generation of successful leopards in the Sabi Sand reserve. The Hukumuri female and her two cubs are also being seen regularly in the north of the reserve.
The Hlaba Nkunzi young male leopard is spending more time on his own and has been seen venturing a little further afield, exploring his mother’s territory as he gets closer to independence.
Lions: The Matimba male lions are still spending time close to the lodges, vocalising on a nightly basis, providing a majestic melody for our guests to fall asleep to. The Mhangene lionesses have been spending a lot of time close to the river with the one lioness showing clear suckle marks. This means that we do have new cubs on the property and it is hopefully only a matter of time before they appear!
We have had three sightings of lions climbing trees to steal kills away from leopards (two sightings of the Mhangene lionesses and one of the Matimba males) in just the past three weeks… so much for lions not climbing trees!
Elephants: Large herds of elephants continue to roam the concession, fairly well spread out but as the water sources dry out, we will begin to see a congregation of herds around the river and the waterholes that are still holding water. There are many young calves amongst the herds, entertaining us with their antics and providing the most memorable sightings.
Wild dogs: We have had two different packs moving on and off property in the past few weeks, with the one pack showing signs of having begun to den in the north of the reserve. As mentioned in the article ‘Puppy kisses’, Chene and Rebel found a potential den-site and we are now just waiting for puppies to appear! Guests have also enjoyed great viewing of wild dogs on the move and hunting, occasionally chasing leopards up trees and giving hyenas a very hard time.