In a time of complete change and uncertainty in the world, one thing can be certain and that is that the natural flow of wilderness remains constant. We commence our day with mornings filled with blankets of mist which settle over the trees and a beautiful, golden light streams across the bushveld. Although the seasons are changing and vegetation is beginning to wither, there is new life on the property. Young leopards bounding and exploring away from their den-sites, gaining confidence in the wild world around them, juvenile birds are taking flight and soaring the skies and as water becomes scarcer the larger water courses are filled with life.
This has been a month of transformation for all of us. We find ourselves in a quiet place with nature, where our senses have intensified and the connectivity with wilderness has become more important than ever.
Here’s a Sightings Snapshot for April:
The lion dynamics on the property have been quite interesting as of late. Each and every night we have heard lions roaring from the camp in all different directions which for us is very exciting!
The Othawa male lion was seen mating with one of the Nsevu pride females which comes as a complete surprise after spending so much time with the Mhangeni pride. It seems as though he is mating with the one female from the Nsevu pride who has been, so far, unsuccessful in bearing her own litter.
With impala rutting season in full force, the Mhangeni pride have been using this opportunity to hunt around Castleton Dam, as this is the perfect central source for food and water.
There were no sightings of the Othawa pride this month as they appear to be spending a lot of time in the west, this includes the Matimba male lion.
The Styx pride have made a few appearances in the northern part of the property and the single Nkuhuma young male has also been viewed making his way through the area just south of our lodges.
With the change in seasons, you will always find that large numbers of elephants come and go, moving to where the vegetation is suitable and where it allows other areas to regenerate. We are finding that a lot more elephants are moving toward bigger water sources now as the rains are slowly diminishing.
The Sands pack of wild dogs took a bad turn earlier on in the month, six members were brought down to five when one of the Mhangeni lionesses unfortunately killed a pack member. This is a natural occurrence as a way to eliminate predatory competition. However, the pack is still holding up well and are currently moving into the breeding season.
Our larger pack who have denned on Singita for the past three years have also been moving through the property over this past month and appear to be thriving!
It has been a month for leopard cubs as three of our dominant females have been bringing them out of their dens to feed.
We have been spoilt with sightings of the Schotia female and her two male cubs over the past few weeks. They are growing ever more confident and we are beginning to notice their different personalities.
The Hukumuri female leopard was seen on the northern bank of the Sand River with one cub who she was leading towards a kill. We are hoping to spend more time with her as the cub spends more time away from the den.
One of our more elusive female leopards, the Mobeni female was seen twice over the past month with her two young cubs. Mobeni female is very secretive and in the past we haven’t had too much luck in seeing her youngsters but her behaviour has been much more relaxed and so we hope to see more of them.
Hosana male leopard has been seen more frequently and has been expanding his territory, moving slightly further south. However, he still appears to have settled in to the entire north eastern portion of the property and is growing bigger by the day.
It has been some time since the female cheetah has been sighted, however we have still enjoyed a number of sightings with two different male cheetahs who have been in and out of the southern end of the property.
The bird list for April includes nine new bird species, bringing our yearly total to 256.
Special bird species include: red-billed teal, mosque swallow, Jameson’s firefinch and violet-eared waxbill.