May has been a wet month, with us having a thunderstorm almost every afternoon. As each day stretched out one could feel the humidity rise and the clouds build up, which culminated in afternoon thunderstorm and rain showers. With all the rain we have had the bush is looking beautifully lush and green. This also made for some challenging game viewing as the grass is extremely tall, allowing the animals plenty of opportunity to take cover.
The great migration arrives: As the month drew to a close we were all anticipating the arrival of the great migration and the wildebeest did not disappoint. On the 19th we had the first visual of the migration entering our concession on our far eastern boundary in the Ikorongo Game Reserve. Since then we have had a steady stream traversing through our concession.
This abundance of plains game has allowed the larger predators the opportunity of watching their food come to them…
Lions: Yet another great month for lion sightings! We have a lioness with four cubs that we have been seeing on a regular basis, which all the guests have raved about. Before the arrival of the migration the majority of our prides had moved out towards the Nyasarori Ridge and Rangers Post area, as this is where the majority of our resident herbivores have moved to.
Cheetah: We have several mother cheetahs and cubs throughout our concession. We have been seeing a mother and three cubs regularly around Koroya Hill as there is a good number of impala and gazelle in this area. The cubs are about three months old now and the family was seen multiple times over the month.
Leopards: Our leopard sightings have been consistent throughout the month. A mother and a single cub have been seen on the southern side of the Grumeti River, close to German Bridge. Another mother and two cubs have been seen in and around Colobus Crossing. We have also seen various leopards along the Raho Drainage.
Wild dogs: The dogs have made a few appearances this month, all of them being along the Nyasarori Ridge area and Raho Drainage. Several of our guides have been fortunate to see them hunting and killing various antelope species.
We received information from the national park that they have started to den approximately 1km from the enclosure where the alpha pair are currently raising a litter of pups.
Rhino: ‘Big John’ as he has affectionately become known, has begun to be more comfortable leaving the safety of his original enclosure area and has been spending a lot more time roaming around the boma fence, to both guest and guides’ delight. He was spotted at least eight times in May browsing on the leafy foliage of the boma, and giving little attention to safari vehicles as they stop and view him in amazement.
We have also heard rumours from the Singita Grumeti Fund team that he and Laikipia have been spending lots of quality time together. Fingers crossed that this friendship blossoms into something more.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report May 2016 JH
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.