October is always a wonderful time to be in the Grumeti, and this month was no different.
We had some great rains in the beginning of the month brining some well-deserved reprieve for the majority of the herbivores, as they did not have to travel great distances to find water. With the rains falling this allowed the migration to spend a great deal more time in our concession and, to date, they have been around for just over two months which has made for some incredible game viewing. Sabora and Nyati plains have been particularly productive as these areas have been flushed with new grass growth and the grazers are unable to resist these areas. With the migration spending a longer period in the Grumeti our predators have had an easy time of it. Lions, hyenas and the wild dogs have really enjoyed this time of bounty.
Lions: Yet again another fantastic month filled with lions! We recorded 135 different sightings throughout the month. We are mainly seeing three different prides: The Butamtam pride, Ridge pride and Mkuyu pride, all of them having numerous cubs aged between three and nine months.
The Ridge pride has five dominant males which protect and hold sway of their territory, while the Mkuyu pride and Butamtam pride have a different coalition of five males which move between the two prides. These two strong coalitions should hold sway in their respective territories for a few consecutive years.
Leopards: Our leopard sightings keep going from strength to strength, with them being seen on a daily basis. The mother and her two cubs that frequent the area north of Faru Faru camp have made up for a great deal of the sightings. The cubs are at that stage in their lives were they spending more time alone, and in a couple of months will move out from their mother’s protection and begin their solitary lifestyle.
Cheetahs: During October we have had consistent sightings of several different cheetahs. A coalition of two males has made up for the majority of the sightings along with two females which were passing through our concession. With a total of 16 cheetah sightings seen throughout the month, the majority of the guests that spent time with us got to joyously tick off a cheetah sighting.
Elephants: With Sasakwa dam drying up, elephants have been spending a great deal of time along the Grumeti River as well as the Robane drainage line which is directly north of the airstrip. So many guests on their arrival to our airstrip are welcomed by a breeding herd of elephants that spend a great deal of time in and around the area.
Read the full wildlife report here: singita-grumeti-wildlife-report-october-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.