Lions: August was predictably a good month for lion sightings. As the western sectors of the concession dried out further, the game moved towards the central areas, and following them went the lions. The Ridge Pride and the various sub-groups of the Butamtam Pride made up the vast majority of our sightings for the month. A nice bonus has been the arrival of three cubs to one of the Ridge Pride females. Also, there was a sighting of two small cubs along the Grumeti River, just downstream from Faru Faru. They are likely to belong to one of the Butamtam Pride females.
Leopard: There were a few occasions in August where we seemed to have a really tough time locating any of these inconspicuous big cats. Luckily, the longer you go without seeing one only means you are just getting closer to your next sighting. We still had great sightings of Tulia and her two growing cubs. A total of 19 leopard sightings were recorded at Grumeti in August.
Cheetah: Once again, the majority of August’s sightings were predominantly comprised of the two sets of females with their respective cubs.
Wild dogs: The wild dogs made themselves available to be viewed by the Singita guides on only one occasion in August. For the most part, they continue to avoid the Grumeti area! This should undoubtedly change at some point.
Elephant: We continued to have some great elephant viewing during the month, including one large elephant bull sporting large tusks, as well as a characteristic floppy ear. We also had a lovely sighting of a newborn elephant calf that was seen with its mother and the rest of the herd, drinking at Sasakwa Dam.
Other sightings: Although the wildebeest herds have all but disappeared towards the northern Serengeti and the Mara River, the zebra herds have moved onto the property en-masse. This in itself is an incredible spectacle to behold. Guide Braya Masunga had a brief encounter with an aardvark one evening; unfortunately it was so brief that he was unable to snap a picture of these shy and rarely seen creatures.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report August 2015
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.