Finally, the month of plenty! November has always been viewed as a time of the year where everything is plentiful – flowering plants, nutritious fruits, trickling streams, baby impalas, roadside greenery and the joy of driving through pools of water along the roads.
The first baby impala was recorded this month on 11 November. Next the wildebeest calves will be born mid-December, which is a delight to see as they are a lighter tan colour in comparison to the adults.
Afternoon thundershowers and the smell of the earth is just one of the invigorating senses that will be highlighted throughout a guest’s stay. It is all the finer details that make memorable vacations.
Here’s a highlights package of the month’s sightings:
The best news has been the report of two new litters of lion cubs, one from the Othawa lion pride and the other from a second lioness in the Mhangene pride. As these new cubs approach the age of three months towards the end of the year, we anticipate that they will provide us with some more fine viewing. Watching cubs at play, or simply suckling from their mother, is something that would be treasured as a beautiful memory by anybody fortunate enough to witness it.
The leopards at Singita Sabi Sand continue to thrive, however we have both gained and lost a leopard in the past month. The young Tamba male who has moved in from areas to the north of the Sabi Sand seems to be making himself at home in the central parts of the property and we are having regular sightings of this stunningly beautiful young male leopard. But sadly we report the death of the Kashane male who to a lot of us was a special male leopard, and to many a legend.
By far one of the biggest highlights of this month has been the movement of three sub-adult cheetahs that ventured into the southeastern areas of Singita. Not much was known about where the three ventured from within the Sabi Sand area, and it seems they have traversed from far east in the Kruger National Park and, fortunately for us, have decided to settle within the Sabi Sand area at least for now.
The most regularly viewed pack has been moving around steadily over the past month and have been progressively moving south-east. There is a possibility of them moving out of the area however we are sure they will return again soon. Of course, as the pups are now already a few months old and are quite mobile, there is no need to be “den-bound”, and the animals cover huge areas in their hunting forays, after which they comfortably rest wherever is convenient.
With the excessive heat during the past few days, several elephant herds have gathered along the Sand River, in addition to the larger water points throughout the reserve. One thing that has been noticed was the large number of recently born elephant calves. On two separate occasions guides had reported viewing the birth of elephant calves. These moments were described as being an emotional connection, with excitement for guests, guides and the rest of the herd.
Like humans, elephants are capable of forming very special bonds with their friends and family members. These relationships start at the core of the herd with the mother and calf, but they radiate out, and there have been reports of lifelong bonds between elephants that have transcended time and even distance apart.
Much the same as the elephants, many of these large mammals continue to flock towards water sources to cool off in the summer heat. This has allowed for some spectacular viewing of interactive behaviour between the various species.
Hyenas continue to be viewed frequently. Recently, when a hippo died of natural causes in one the dams, several hyenas became bold enough to move into the water to feed on the carcass. However, with the slightest noise that made them feel uncomfortable, they bolted towards the safety of the shallow water, before building up courage to return to their feast of a meal.