As you may have picked up from last month’s journal, the ‘greatest wildlife spectacle on earth’ showed up on Grumeti towards the end of the month. The game viewing in June was dominated by the hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and their antics, as well as their interactions with all the predators, scavengers and other species that have to share their space.
As it goes with the Great Migration, there is a lot of noise, dust and general mayhem, but it also stirs up a lot of excitement in everyone, guests, guides and staff alike.
As the month of June progressed, more and more of the wildebeest that entered Grumeti from the east filtered further and further west. For a solid two weeks this continued. Sasakwa Dam as usual, hosted a lot of action with one of the Butamtam Pride splinter groups holding fort around the very active waterhole and surrounds.
After almost exactly a month of their presence, we noticed a 180⁰ shift in their movement. From one day to the next it changed. Yesterday they were moving west, today they are facing east. Over a matter of four or five days columns of them filtered off the property and then they were all but gone!
Lions: With all the wildebeest migration around we experienced a lot of lion activity. There were multiple daily sightings of lions across the entire property. Our tally for the month was 96 lion sightings!
Cheetah: The mother cheetah with the three young cubs has been the staple of our cheetah sightings this month.
There was also a number of strange cheetah that chose to visit, albeit briefly. We had one sighting of a nervous female that popped in along the park boundary west of Sabora before she took off.
Another individual that was foreign to us was a fully grown but mangy looking male. He was seen on more than one occasion. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was mangy, he would have been an impressive individual. We hope that by now he has started to make a recovery.
For the month of June we totalled 31 sightings of the African speedsters.
Leopards: Even though we had one particularly long spell of 7 days where no one could find a leopard we still ended the month with 24 sightings. This included two consecutive days where we had five sightings of seven leopards… yes, you read that correctly SEVEN leopards!
This for me is a truly great indication of the 13 years of hard work, behind the scenes, that has gone into making the Grumeti Game Reserve such a spectacular wildlife area. Five or six years ago, one would never have thought that a day like this would even be possible.
Wild dogs: For the first time since the wild dogs have been set free in the vicinity of the Grumeti Game Reserve we managed to have regular viewing of them. The migration convinced them to come out and show us what they are made of. We had 15 action packed sightings of them during June.
Elephant: The start of June was very productive with elephant sightings, but as the month and wildebeest movement progressed elephant sightings became fewer and fewer.
At one point it was all the guides could think and talk about. It’s not very often that you hear guides pleading on the radio that if anyone sees an elephant to please call it in.
Elephant seem to dislike the chaos that comes with the migration and they definitely become scarce when the herds move in. With the departure of the migratory animals in the latter portion of June, we noticed the families of elephants returning, much to everyone’s delight and many a guides’ relief.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Journal June 2016
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.