We didn’t see much rainfall in August, although we had several thunderstorms during the month that provided some much needed relief to the animals. The biggest storm we had recorded 70 mm of rain, which fell in and around Sasakwa Hill.
Our resident animals of topi, zebra, eland and buffalo have enjoyed having the concession to themselves, filling up the Sasakwa and Sabora plains throughout the month. The elephants have also been a constant during the month with some herds as large as 100 individuals being seen.
An overview of the month’s sightings follows:
Lions: If lions are what you want to see during your safari, then Singita Grumeti is the place for you. This month we had a total of 172 sightings!
Across our concession we have five prides that we see on a daily basis: The Butamtam pride, Mkuyu pride, Nyasarori pride, Colobus pride and the West pride. On any given day you can see up to 60 different individuals
The Butamtam pride holds the majority of our sightings, as the
core of their territory is on the Sasakwa plains. It is currently our largest pride, consisting of four males, ten females and twenty-two cubs all ranging in age from two months to twenty months!
Currently four of the mothers, who birthed the nine youngest cubs, are spending a great deal of time along Chooi drainage as it is a great place for these lionesses to hide their young cubs while they go off looking for a meal. The older cubs and their mothers are moving between the rhino sanctuary and Fort Ikoma Road.
Once again the Nyasarori pride has mostly been seen along the Raho drainage as it is holding small pockets of water that attract a ready supply of animals, and the lions have learnt to ambush along the drainage. The pride consists of twenty-four individuals: five males, six females and thirteen cubs. We are expecting this number to grow as a mating pair were recently seen “on honeymoon” south of Singita Sabora Tented Camp.
The West pride is doing very well along the Raho drainage, south of Singita Explore Tented Camps with two new cubs seen for the first time this month. Their numbers are now two males, six females and fourteen cubs. Guests staying at Balanities Camp were treated to the two dominant males walking right past the camp while patrolling their territory!
Cheetah: Another great month for cheetah sightings, with a total of 59 this month!
A female with two sub-adult cubs was seen for the first time this month, west of Singita Explore Tented Camps on the Gambaranyere plains. Explore guests have loved watching her training her cubs in the art of hunting. On one occasion guests were lucky enough to see her catch a Thomson’s gazelle, not kill it, and then allow the cubs to try and kill it themselves… After about ten minutes, they managed to catch the gazelle and the young male cub ended the hunt – so a great learning curve for the cubs before they start life on their own.
The “mother-of-one” and her cub are still thriving out on the plains and have been providing many of our guests with their first ever successful hunts witnessed. As with the “mother-of-two”, this female is allowing her cubs to successfully finish off many of her hunts. The pictures taken by Field Guide, Mishi Mtili show one of the cubs finishing off a young impala. All valuable life lessons for the cub if she is to make it on her own.
Guest were treated to a truly incredible sighting this month… mating cheetahs! I have been guiding for 15 years and have never had the chance to see this, so when I heard a mating pair had been spotted, I rushed out to witness this for the first time. For many of the guides on the property this was also a first, as it is seldom sighted because they usually mate at night.
A male cheetah has been seen regularly throughout the month on Sasakwa plains and seems to be a pro hunter, as guests have witnessed ten of his kills this month!
Leopards: Our leopard sightings have been dominated by the Mkombre female and her cub, with them being seen on a daily basis. They have been moving between Mkombre drainage and Arab Camp hill and, with the grass being so short at the moment, the quality of the sightings have been unbelievable.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report August 2017
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.