After a dry and desolate October, November brought with it new life. The rains that started falling at the end of October and continued into November began to affect the landscape. The browns and tans of the Singita Grumeti concession turned to lush greens almost overnight, looking beautiful against the deep blue Serengeti sky. The once empty water-points across the concession filled up quickly. By the middle of November no one would have guessed that just two weeks earlier it was parched. The Grumeti River also went from being almost bone-dry to almost overflowing. The river pumped water through the drainage lines that flow off from it, and for a few days the Mbogo drainage turned from a small estuary to a raging river.
It’s all been happening this month, so let’s cut straight to the chase…
Lots of great lion sightings in November with an average of about two sightings per day. The five young Butamtam pride males, recently kicked out of the pride by the three dominant Butamtam males, were seen a few times on the Sabora Plains. The three dominant males were mainly in the Sasakwa and Faru areas over this time, but Sabora Plains is part of their territory, so it’s only a matter of time before they run the five young males off again. Only time will tell where they end up, but we expect their nomadic phase to last a few more years, until they have gained the strength and confidence to claim their own territory. If all five survive the next few years, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Leopard spotting were also very good in November, with a total of 25 sightings. A mating pair was seen south of the Main Road around the Nyati Plains area, which was very exciting. The Tulia female and her two male cubs, who have grown in leaps and bounds, were seen a few times as well.
The wild dogs were only seen once this month on the Nyati Plains, just north of the border with the Serengeti National Park. The alpha male and female of the pack are still in their boma with their new pups in the Serengeti National Park, so the rest of the pack tends to hang around that area as well. Once the pups are old enough, we are sure we will see more of the whole pack.
The mother cheetah with two cubs, and another mother cheetah with two sub-adults, dominated cheetah sightings. The only different cheetahs that were seen was a single male on Mpofu Plains in Ikorongo and a single female west of Sabora Camp.
There were daily sightings of elephants in November, and a lot of them were of very big herds. Breeding herds of over 100 elephants were seen on 11 occasions.
A few herds of migratory animals were still in the area at the beginning of the month, but by mid-month they had moved off.
Read the full report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report November 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.