So, with the migration having moved off the concession, our resident game species have started filtering back. Big numbers of topi, eland, buffalo and zebra are spread out across the Grumeti.
As the month came towards an end we started seeing huge numbers of zebra moving in from the east, all heading west towards the centre of the concession – in some areas as many as 5 000 where seen.
We a received some decent rain throughout the month, which was very well received as we have started our yearly burning across the concession. These areas are now flush with new growth making them a magnet for our resident herbivores.
Lions: If lions are what you want to see while on safari then Singita Grumeti is the place for you! Guests are spoiled with numerous sightings of lions during their stay. With five prides spread out from Faru Faru, in the east, out towards the Explore camps in the west, our guides regularly locate them. We estimate that between these five prides we have a total of 140 lions.
As you know from previous reports our main pride is the Butamtam Pride which number around 55 individuals. They have split into three groups which seldom come together. Their core territory is the central section of Sasakwa Plains down towards the Raho Drainage and the Grumeti River near German Bridge. They are controlled by two different coalitions of males, the four Butamtam males and three new males which have come into the area. The new males have taken over the pride which move around Sasakwa Hill and the airstrip, while the four Butamtam males move between the two prides that have moved further south towards the Raho Drainage and Grumeti River.
The Nyasarori Pride, which number around 41 lions, hold the territory along the Raho Drainage towards Sabora Camp and the Nyasarori Plains. There are four big males that have control of this area. They have also split into two different groups, one of 17, comprising six females and nine sub-adult cubs, and the other of 20, with eight females and 12 sub-adult cubs. The group of 17 spend the majority of their time along the Raho Drainage while the other group moves along Sabora Drainage towards Nyasarori Dam.
The West Pride, which controls the area along the Raho Drainage south of the Explore camps, do not move far from the drainage, but they do venture north towards the Gambanyira plains on the odd occasion. There are 12, members in this pride, four females and eight cubs, with three males that hold this territory. The Mkuyu Pride which has split off from the Butamtam Pride, number 16. Five are females with 11 cubs, and their territory is along the Grumeti River around German Bridge. They are controlled by the four Butamtam males.
The Colobus Pride have moved further south into the triangle and they total nine members – two females and seven cubs. They too are controlled by the Butamtam males.
We have had two females and six sub-adult cubs move onto the Mbogo Drainage near Faru Faru, and we are now seeing them every other day, so we have named them the Mbogo Pride as this is where they spend majority of their time.
Leopards: A great month for our leopards across the concession, with a total of 52 sightings seen!
In the beginning of the month we came across a mating pair on Mbogo Drainage. They were seen mating during a three day period, at which time they crossed the Grumeti River and where not seen again until they were done with their mating. I was lucky enough to see them on one of the days and got to witness something I have never seen before: leopards mating in a tree! I have heard of them doing this but on very rare occasions, so was very chuffed that I managed to see it happen.
The big territorial male that was copulating with the female was then seen for several days afterwards along the Grumeti River, downstream of the Faru Faru bush breakfast site. He managed to kill an adult warthog close to Eagle’s Nest and this provided our guests with some great viewing.
The female with the two cubs has moved up onto Sasakwa Hill and was seen feeding on a young waterbuck just off the guest access. The female is relatively relaxed but the cubs still need a lot of work as they dash off at the first site of a vehicle.
A female has been seen regularly on Punda Milia Hill, and from the looks of it she is suckling young. We have not yet seen the youngsters but we think she is hiding them in a very rocky area making it impossible to get near. Let’s hope that once the cubs are bigger we will get our first glimpse of them.
Another great month for cheetah viewing, with a total of 59 sightings.
Several females have been seen on a daily basis throughout the month, mainly on Sasakwa and Nyati plains, as well as out towards Sabora plains.
One female looks pregnant so we are hoping that she will give birth on the concession as we do not get to see cheetah cubs very often.
A coalition of two males passed through the concession, and while they were around guests managed to seem them make several kills, all of which were Thompson’s gazelle.
Elephants: What a great month for elephants seen! A breeding herd of 150 spent about two weeks along the Grumeti River, below Faru Faru, and then moved further north. Several other breeding herds were moving between Ridge Hill and Sasakwa Dam, giving guests at Sasakwa a great view from their rooms.
Read the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Journal August 2018
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.