December has been a relatively dry month, compared to previous years, with the rains only falling in the last few days of the month. Due to the inconsistent rains, we had the migration show up on our doorstep towards the end of the month which is very surprising, not that we were complaining!
With migration being around our predators were again spoiled for choice and they took full advantage of this. Almost all of the kills that were witnessed at the end of the month were of the plentiful wildebeest!
Lions: Again, what a great month for lion sightings, with a total of 144 sightings seen. All our prides are doing exceptionally well, none of the cubs have been lost or killed and we have had several new arrivals to our Nyasirori and Butamtam prides respectively. There are three new additions in each pride, with the youngsters being about three weeks old.
We are still expecting more as we go into the new year as several females are heavily pregnant, and four active ‘honeymoon couples’ were seen during the month.
Leopards: The mother and her two cubs along the Mbogo drainage made up for a large percentage of our sightings throughout the month, with them being seen on 32 occasions.
Two of our dominate males were also seen during the month, but due to them having large territories they were only seen on a few occasions.
Cheetahs: With us not receiving a great deal of rain our grass plains have remained relatively short, making it ideal for spotting cheetah. Both the ‘mother and three’ (three cubs) and ‘mother and one’ (one cub) were seen regularly during the month, and with them needing to produce milk and feed their growing cubs, several hunts were witnessed by our guests.
Elephants: Elephant sightings are now a daily occurrence across the concession. This month we had a large breeding herd of approximately 300 that were seen around Sasakwa hill for a two week period which made for some fantastic viewing.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report December 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.