With us having unusually early rains in December it resulted in grass that is considerably longer now than it has been in years past, but, in saying that, it did not stop our guests from enjoying incredible sightings throughout the month.
Lions: We had a total of 155 lion sightings thanks to our eagle-eyed guides and trackers. The Butamtam pride continues to be seen on a daily basis as the area they move between is in the heart of our concession.
These lions decided that this was their Christmas tree, and they would decorate it accordingly…
The three new cubs we saw last month grew big enough to be introduced to the rest of the pride, making sightings of 20 lions or more common place.
Towards the end of the month one of the three-year-old females was seen mating with one of the dominate males, so in the New Year we can expect some new members.
The Nyasarori pride is doing very well, taking advantage of the numerous plains game found on the short Sabora and Nyasarori plains. The pregnant female is looking quite large so hopefully in the New Year we will find her with her new cubs along the Raho drainage.
The West pride is spending the majority of their time along the Raho drainage, south of our Explore camps, and most evenings guests can hear them calling each other – this must be one of the best ways to fall asleep.
Cheetah: This month we enjoyed 43 cheetah sightings.
The ‘mother-and-one’ again made up for the majority of the sightings, with them being seen on the Sabora and Nyasarori plains, as the grass is much shorter out there than on Sasakwa plains. Several successful hunts were seen by our guests, the majority of these being Thompson’s gazelle.
The two brothers that were seen last month were seen on three occasions this month, before they moved off into the national park. A new single male has taken their place, being seen on the Sasakwa plains 12 times. He has been seen hunting regularly, feeding mainly on young topi and impala.
Despite the large number of lions around our cheetah sightings continue to be relatively consistent.
Leopards: The female and her cub along the Grumeti river are doing well, on one occasion they were seen with the dominate male in the area relaxing in an acacia tree.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report December 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.