Loving, fighting and eating: No, we’re not talking about Thanksgiving! But the animals of Singita Grumeti seemed to be doing a whole lot of this in November. From cheetah territory battles to lion love sessions, migration feasts and one extreme zebra duel, the wildlife action at Singita Grumeti did not disappoint this month. Pictured here are two impala males locked in a fight for dominance. The successful male gains or remains in control of the disputed territory and its resident females. During the rut, these bouts for control can take place every seven to ten days. Once a male has settled in the territory his work is really cut out for him; trying to mate with as many females as quickly as possible and keeping the surrounding bachelors at bay. This leaves little time for feeding and the net result is a rapid loss of condition. The more stronger and fitter of the bachelors on the outskirts will then move in for a chance at the title. This cycle continues for the duration of the rut which is approximately six weeks long.
This month I witnessed how predators are so incredibly good at assessing a situation, weighing up the potential benefits of a hunt and analysing the potential costs or risks at the same time.
We set off under the cover of darkness in the early morning and on to one of my favourite drainage lines to look for lions. As it began to get light I caught site of the Butamtam lionesses and their youngsters. We gently approached the lionesses and then switched the engine off and watched. One of the more mature lionesses, the daughter of ‘Mama Scar’, was busy nursing her five youngsters. This is interesting as lionesses only possess four teats.
I was out one morning looking for elephants as my guests were still hoping for further interaction with these special creatures. What we came across that day, we could not have prepared for – it was simply magical.