A good pair of gloves is essential for the wintery morning game drives we’ve been on this month – and it is essential to keep your hands warm and functioning for all the photographic opportunities that present themselves during these blue and gold dawns.
Here’s our wildlife overview for July:
Lions: There was an incredible afternoon where we watched lions hunting an eland. We didn’t witness the actual kill but did find the lions eating the eland some time later.
Leopards: We’ve had a couple of leopard sightings such as on a short late afternoon drive where we saw a hyena, then a leopard and then two white rhinos.
Cheetah: This sighting began being about wild dogs as we sped off in our bush ferrari, at the report of wild dogs on the central plains. We arrived in the nick of time as we found the wild dog pack on a kill. We enjoyed unbelievable viewing of the dogs ripping apart and eating a whole impala in minutes. While watching them two black-backed jackals crept closer to the action. Then we heard a call of a cheetah behind us! Sure enough we saw it, and followed slowly after it as it passed by two white rhinos. The rhinos caused the cat to run, and it did so right in front of the vehicle, in perfect golden early morning sunshine!
Rhinos: We’ve had superb sightings of white rhinos, and a couple of black rhino encounters too. On one occasion we sat for about an hour at the main pan during which time 12 white rhinos came to drink at different intervals.
Elephants: There has been great elephant interaction – one drive ended up being referred to as “Elephant Bull Safari” with a total of twenty bulls being counted during the drive, and most of them strolling up close to the vehicle to inspect the guests.
Wild dogs: It is such a privilege to have a pack of African wild dogs on the reserve at the moment. There’ve been the standard
skirmishes between hyenas and the wild dogs, with hyenas trying to steal the dogs’ kills. On one afternoon a pack of twelve wild dogs killed three impalas east of the river, and three hyenas managed to steal one of the carcasses for themselves.
Hyenas: Most of the hyena sightings have been in tandem with the wild dogs, but one evening, when all the guides and guests were enjoying a bush dinner, nine hyenas patrolled the outskirts and seemed keen to investigate what the chefs had prepared!
Plains game: Apart from the common plains game such as giraffe and zebras seen on every drive we’ve also seen hartebeest and sable antelope.
Buffalo: There are huge herds of Cape buffalo to be seen at present. One of the most incredible sights was when we were at the main pan and watched a stream of buffalo pour in for water. What made this sighting phenomenal was the fact that the number of buffalo amounted to around 1 000 strong. Five separate herds arrived at the same time, all in single file allowing for simple counting.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report July 2017
Recently, I was enjoying a game drive with my guests through an area called Banyini (loosely translating to ‘open grassland’). Most water sources are drying up as we are in the dry season, with the bigger water systems holding water longer, such as the Banyini Pan. As a result most animals will frequent these points to hydrate and, with that, so will the predators lurk while looking for opportunities to come to them. Naturally this is a great place for us to explore, looking for the animals and the action…
Waterbuck in these parts tend to live in small herds of six to twelve, sometimes more, with one dominant male who defends the territory. We have a small herd of seven waterbuck which live around Sosigi Dam. Two females are pictured here in the early morning light, on the bank of the dam. Only the males have horns.
Buffalo are not very high up on many safari guests list of animals to watch, however they can be an interesting species to observe. This particular afternoon we were off the beaten track looking for rhinos. The roads led us to Lojaan Dam, a quiet little corner in the central east of our property. Just before we got to the dam we bumped into the start of a breeding herd of buffalo, that were heading to the water to drink.