It’s hardly an exaggeration when I say our landscape has changed from a dust bowl to a swamp in the short space of a month. We’ve had fantastic rain – 100 ml overnight in some areas, and on Christmas Day we had 60 ml before 10:00! There is water thundering over the dam wall like we haven’t seen in a very long time, and it’s muddy underfoot wherever you walk. The foam nest frogs are foaming, the cicadas are shrieking, the baobab flowers are blooming, the birds are feasting, the elephants are swimming and all the animals are looking relieved that the constant search for food has eased.
Without guests at Singita Pamushana there aren’t any scheduled game drives going out, but considering how little looking we’ve done we’ve actually seen a lot, and thanks to the scouts who are continually on patrol they can keep us updated on what’s happening, where.
Here is a snapshot of December sightings:
- The River Pride have been very active around the Banyini open areas and the airstrip. They had a kill on the edge of the airstrip that kept them fed for a few days. Because of all the rain and the new thick growth they are using the roads a lot more.
- Our Lion ID Project got a boost this month when we received good ID photos of one lion and three lionesses as they walked up the main Binya Road, in the south. The male has a particularly light ‘blonde’ mane. This brings the total of positively identified lions on the property to 30 – and there are still a few more that we’ve seen but need to photograph for IDs.
- We’ve seen several white rhinos in the Sosigi Dam area, including one black rhino that is the resident bull.
- Some black rhinos have been seen around the airstrip and Banyini area too, and a black rhino mother and calf ‘escorted’ a couple in their vehicle, at speed, away from the area a few days ago.
- A breeding herd of elephants has moved down from the hilly areas towards the Chibi lowlands, and a wonderful sighting of them was had at one of the pans, where they were playing in the water.
- A large herd of buffalo are grazing on the lush grasses around Nduna Dam, and a couple of cantankerous old dagga boys are holding court at our HQ centre.
- The pack of wild dogs was seen on the 30th in the northern part of the property, near 11 Camp in the Chisadenga area, along the Chiredzi River. They are making the most of the plentiful impala lambs that are around.
- Also seen on the 30th were the elusive cheetah brothers. The twosome put in an appearance on the south eastern corner of the Banyini. With the bush so thick at the moment they will be needing to hunt on the flattest areas with the shortest greenery, so we’ll look out for them in these areas, including along the airstrip.
- The leopards have melted into the bush, but they leave their tracks on the road as they trace their territories in the night.
- A beautiful sighting was had of a relaxed female leopard, near Chibi Pan, a few days ago.
- The plains game are in prime condition now thanks to all the grazing, and so many have calves/lambs frolicking alongside them.
- It is fairly usual to see a resident pair of jackals on the Banyini, but they currently have two adorable pups that they are raising, and seem quite relaxed around the vehicles so we’ve had special moments with them.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Journal December 2020