The Singita Blog

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014: Part Two

January 30, 2015 - Experience, Safari, Wildlife

Hippo by Ross Couper | Singita Kruger National Park

In yesterday’s post we shared the highlights from our monthly Wildlife Journals from the first half of 2014. These diary entries, penned by our field guides in the bush, document the fascinating flora and fauna found across Singita’s concessions in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. They are filled with interesting sightings, unusual animals and amusing anecdotes (just look at these bounding baboons!), and illustrated with their own stunning photographs. Here are some of the most memorable stories from July to December:

JULY – SINGITA KRUGER NATIONAL PARK (SOUTH AFRICA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

On the 11th of July we had a sighting that was so unusual that we could hardly believe our ears when it came over the radio. Clement had found and called in members of the Shishangaan pride with cubs, but one of the cubs was just a little different. He is snow white!

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report – July 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Kruger National Park

AUGUST – SINGITA SABI SAND (SOUTH AFRICA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

The Sabi Sand has always been famous for its excellent leopard viewing, with a good number of relaxed or habituated leopards existing in this area. These wonderfully adaptable carnivores can, of course, exist in just about any habitat where there is food and cover. Having claimed that the Sabi Sand boasts excellent leopard viewing, I would not for a moment suggest that finding leopards here is easy, and nor would I ever take a leopard sighting for granted. Indeed, one can sometimes spend days searching for a leopard without success, and with guest expectations high, the pressure on guides and trackers can really mount!

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report – August 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Sabi Sand

SEPTEMBER – SINGITA PAMUSHANA (ZIMBABWE)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

As the first rays of light lit the landscape on World Rhino Day (22 September) we chose to explore an area that our well-protected rhinos seem to prefer. We were hugely rewarded with the very first sighting of the drive being a family of six white rhinos that were just waking up from their night’s rest in an open grassy area.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report – September 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Pamushana

OCTOBER – SINGITA GRUMETI (TANZANIA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Just like the three previous months, the first half of October was characterised by lots of game all over the concession. Large herds of migratory zebra continued to slowly move through the area, as well as pockets of a few thousand wildebeest. The migratory animals joined hundreds of topi on the Sabora Plains. The topi calving season that began in late September continued into October, and multitudes of tiny calves dotted the herds throughout the plains.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report – October 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Grumeti

NOVEMBER – SINGITA SABI SAND (SOUTH AFRICA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

With our ever-growing elephant population in the Sabi Sands that forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, there is always the question of how their numbers are being controlled in a confined area, even with the conserved area as large as it is. I have included a few quotes from Dr Sam Ferreira, SANParks’ large mammal ecologist, in this article. This is the most recent information available on the population control within the area of Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report – November 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Sabi Sand

DECEMBER – SINGITA PAMUSHANA (ZIMBABWE)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

The most astonishing, frightening and incredible sighting of my career… My hands trembled as I grabbed my 400 mm lens and my 1.4 convertor and fitted them to the camera body. While doing this and trying to stay calm I could tell from the sounds that these two highly endangered, rarely observed and very aggressive animals were not having a swim – they were having the battle to end all battles. Both were bulls – the one much bigger than the other. They fought in the water and on the bank. Their thundering feet shook the earth and their bellowing cries echoed off the sandstone walls and amplified over the water.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report – December 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Pamushana

Don’t forget to read yesterday’s post for great stories and photos from the first half of last year, or visit our website to see all the Wildlife Reports from 2014.

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Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014: Part One

January 29, 2015 - Experience, Kruger National Park, Lamai, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Sabi Sand, Singita Grumeti, Wildlife

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

A boulder-hopping leopard. A snow-white lion cub. Two black rhinos battling it out in a dam. A lion feasting on a crocodile. These are just some of the animal antics and incredible sightings that were caught on camera and reported by our intrepid field guides in the their Wildlife Reports during 2014. These monthly bush journals document the fascinating game and shifting landscapes observed in the five diverse ecosystems across hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness that Singita conserves. Immerse yourself in this untamed paradise with a look back at some of the highlights from the first half of last year:

JANUARY – SINGITA SABI SAND (SOUTH AFRICA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

The monkeys were alarm calling during high tea at Singita Boulders Lodge. After closer inspection Leon, the assistant head ranger, saw a glimpse of a leopard walking on the northern bank of the Sand River, which runs in front of the lodge. It was the Nyaleti male – a leopard in his prime who is often seen on the Singita reserve and is in the process of staking his territory.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report – January 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Sabi Sand

FEBRUARY – SINGITA LAMAI (TANZANIA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Two cheetahs set against a backdrop of seemingly never-ending plains, dotted with a few squiggly balanites trees: one of the many things about Singita Lamai that is so quintessentially African. Plains are the perfect habitat for cheetahs, who need large expanses of flat ground to build up their speed. The difficulty with flat plains is that it is hard for the cats to gain the height they need to survey the land for prey, so cheetahs are often seen on top of termite mounds or fallen trees, getting a better look at things.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report – February 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Lamai

MARCH – SINGITA PAMUSHANA (ZIMBABWE)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Both these sets of scamps looked like twins at first glance, but I’m sure they aren’t. It is quite common for elephants, giraffes, impalas and many other herd animals to group their youngsters together and take turns to babysit them. They’re kept out of harm’s way and are allowed to learn the ways of the wild under the watchful eye of their guardian. Of course, there is nothing better than to play and explore with a best friend who is your same age and size… Long may these friendships last!

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report – March 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Pamushana

APRIL – SINGITA KRUGER NATIONAL PARK (SOUTH AFRICA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

The time of autumn and approaching winter is most probably one the most vocal times of the year for lions, due to the cool dense air being able to transport the sound of a roar a lot further (up to 7 km away), but this is not the only reason why the rulers are belting out their assuring dominant presence. The five Shishangaan males have recently fought their way in and have taken over the territory from the two previous males. This has led to copious mating activity and will result in an exciting new bloodline in our N’wanetsi section of Kruger.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report – April 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Kruger National Park

MAY – SINGITA GRUMETI (TANZANIA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

The newest cubs in the Butamtam Pride that we reported first seeing in the March journal are continuing to thrive. They have grown a lot but are still small bundles of fur and fun! Their confidence has grown as well. In April we spotted them with their moms, in what was clearly the first time they were introduced to the rest of their pride. The lionesses and eight one-year-old juveniles were busy eating a recent eland kill, and resting in the heat of the day. The little cubs weren’t happy about their extended family at first, clearly frightened by the new environment and the new creatures in it. They meowed and yipped at their mom, running away from the rest of the pride into the long grass.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report – May 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Grumeti

JUNE – SINGITA LAMAI (TANZANIA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

It’s no surprise that the Lamai and Kogatende areas of the Serengeti around Singita Mara River Tented Camp are home to many elephants. The mighty Mara River itself provides a seemingly endless supply of fresh water, flowing year-round. In addition, countless smaller rivers and estuaries stem off from the river at a rate of about one every 500 metres. The result is not only the large volume of water available, but also its accessibility – the animals don’t have to travel far for a drink or a bath.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report – June 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Lamai

Check back tomorrow for the highlights from July to December. You can see all the Wildlife Reports on our website, as well as other “Highlights” posts from the past year or so on the blog.

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Singita’s Wine Offering

January 26, 2015 - General

Singita Boulders Lodge ready to host you for dinner

Interest in South African wine continues to grow apace at Singita’s lodges. Head of Singita Premier Wine since 2000, François Rautenbach not only manages the selection, acquisition, maturation and distribution of the wines for each lodge, but developed and now oversees the service-driven, guest-focused wine culture that differentiates Singita from its competitors at the top end of the safari market.

Guests often marvel at the attention to detail and effort that is evident in the choice and quality of wines on offer at the different lodges. Many of the wines are not available anywhere else, and older vintages of wines are the norm rather than the exception. François’s close working relationships with specific winemakers, developed over the years, ensures that Singita is offered sought-after allocations not available to any other buyers. Singita also has a reputation for being one of the biggest buyers at South Africa’s most prestigious wine auctions, including the Nederburg Auction and Cape Winemaker’s Guild Auction.

Gregory pouring wine

Ultimately what matters is the preference of the guests, so it’s interesting to discover that the majority of guests favour barrel-fermented whites and Cabernet Sauvignon-led blends or straight Cabernet Sauvignon for their red wines. The biggest challenge right now is keeping up with demand, especially for vintage red wines. ‘Wine consumption across our 12 lodges has doubled in the past two years, largely as a result of average occupancies doubling.’On average, an astounding 50 000 bottles of wine are consumed each year, of which at least 50 percent are red wines – this percentage increases to 55 percent in winter. Wines are matured under carefully managed conditions, which is why the lodges are able to offer the majority of their red wines at five years or older. It’s also not unusual to have multiple vintages of a particular wine on offer, adding to the complexity of the task at hand.

François compiles Singita’s wine collection with the same measured, long-term approach that is taken to conservation and sustainability, investing carefully for the future and encouraging new wine developments rather than reacting to current fashion trends or local market demands.

Singita Lebombo Lodge wine cellar

Sums up François: ‘Ultimately, acquainting guests with the scope and depth of Singita’s wine offering and staying in tune with what they want to drink, is what inspires me to continue to aim for excellence in this position. The fact that we are becoming adept at turning guests from all corners of the globe into ambassadors for South African wine is a bonus!’

If you would like to know more about our Singita wine stories and connect with our previous blogs posts, read some interesting insights about Stocking The Singita Wine Cellars and some more information on Singita Premier Wine here.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Salads: Poached Nectarine and Rocket

January 20, 2015 - Cuisine, Singita Castleton

Singita Castelton (picnic)-1-10

Few things epitomise summer more than long, hot afternoons spent around a generously-laden table in the company of friends and family. Such appetizing scenes are a regular occurrence at Singita Castleton where the dedicated kitchen team, at this incredible private-use lodge, serve light but hearty fare to groups of up to twelve guests. One such dish, shared by Head Chef Calum Anderson, is this delicious salad packed with fresh, bold flavours and would make the ideal side for a summer barbecue:

Summer Salads at Singita

POACHED NECTARINE AND ROCKET SALAD WITH PARMA HAM,
GRILLED HALLOUMI AND PISTACHIO

Ingredients – what you’ll need:

For the nectarines:
- 3 firm but ripe nectarines
- 150g sugar
- 300ml water
- ½ vanilla pod
- Small pinch saffron (optional)

For the dressing:
- 1 lemon juiced
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper

For the salad:
- 200g washed rocket leaves
- 80g thinly sliced Parma ham
- 200g halloumi cheese
- 8 mint leaves
- 60g toasted pistachios, chopped finely

Summer Salads at Singita

Method – what to do:

For the poached nectarines:
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan.
Split vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the saucepan along with the saffron.
Bring the syrup up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes before removing from the heat and allowing to cool slightly.
Cut nectarines into wedges (about 12 slices per fruit) and place them into the sugar syrup and allow to infuse for a few hours.

For the dressing:
Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.

For the salad:
Strain syrup off of the nectarines and prepare to use for the salad.
Heat up a griddle pan on the stove until smoking hot, then quickly grill the halloumi cheese, looking for clear grill marks when it’s done.
In a salad bowl arrange the rocket, Parma ham, halloumi, mint and nectarines neatly and finally sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.
Serve the simple lemon dressing on the side.

Serves 6

Calum’s other heavenly creation in the Summer Salads series includes a bright and healthy Yellow Salad. Be sure to keep following for more of Calum’s fresh and healthy recipes. You can also explore the Cuisine category on our blog for more delectable recipes from all of our chefs at Singita.

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Merry Christmas

December 24, 2014 - General

One of the themes on our blog and for Singita as a company over the past year has been celebrating the people that help to make a visit to our lodges so unique and unforgettable for our guests. These #singitastories profiled some of our team members and their journey to Singita, often in remarkably challenging circumstances.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Singita

Saitoti Ole Kuwai (a field guide at Singita Grumeti) was inspired to follow a career in conservation after seeing the tragic effects of poaching first hand in his community. Peter Andrew (pastry chef at Singita Faru Faru Lodge) was a formidable poacher before being given the opportunity to turn his life around in the kitchens at Singita Grumeti. A group of spirited and dedicated people make up the Super Sweni Team who ensure that every visit to Singita Sweni Lodge feels like coming home. Michael Matera (chef at Singita Sabora Tented Camp) worked his way up from grounds attendant to highly capable right-hand to Executive Chef, Frank Louw, learning English and winning awards along the way. There is certainly no shortage of inspiration at Singita, for staff members and guests alike.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Singita

These stories only scratch the surface of the incredible talent and character evident in all of our staff and we are so proud of each and every member of our Singita family. CEO Luke Bailes acknowledged all of their achievements during the past year in a recent internal newsletter: “Thank you for your contribution to making Singita what it is today. I am deeply grateful to all of you. We receive emails every week from highly satisfied guests – testimony to the tremendous effort everyone goes to, in order to delight your guests.”

Merry Christmas from all of us at Singita

From all of us at head office, the staff at each lodge, our field guides and trackers, the chefs and cooks in the kitchens, and our conservation and community development teams, may we take this opportunity to wish you a blessed Christmas and an outstanding 2015.

You can read all of the #singitastories here and don’t forget to watch the accompanying videos on our Vimeo channel.

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Creatures Great & Small: Leopard Tortoise

December 22, 2014 - Conservation, Did You Know?, Wildlife

Leopard tortoise at Singita

Leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis)

My partner, a tracker named Johnston, is quick to spot wildlife and fun… With his hand raised to stop the vehicle, we stare at his movements and look in the direction he’s looking. While we are expecting him to point out a predator track in the sand or an animal in the distance, he turns to us and says, “Leopard!” Everyone grabs their cameras and looks frantically around to see where this elusive leopard is. Johnston climbs off the tracker seat and saunters off down the road. By this time our poor guests are all speechless not knowing what’s going to happen. Then he points to the ground, smiles broadly, and announces, “Leopard. Leopard tortoise.” Indeed it was a leopard tortoise, and on this occasion it had retreated into its shell after feeling the vibrations of the vehicle. We all sat quietly and slowly a small head poked out and all four legs were set in motion. It may not be a Big Five species, but it is one of the Little Five and shares this accreditation due to their names being similar to the Big Five.

Field guide and tracker

Field guide and tracker

Leopard tortoises all have unique and beautiful gold and black markings on their shells, hence their name. They generally eat grasses, and this must suit them well because they live up to 100 years. They are great diggers although they only burrow when building a nest for their eggs.

Singita Sabi Sand

Singita Sabi Sand

The leopard tortoise is one of the world’s largest tortoise species as they can grow to 70 cm in length and 12kgs in weight. As with other tortoise species, the leopard tortoise has a large shell which protects its softer body. It is able to retract its limbs back into its shell so that no body part is left vulnerable.

It’s easy to forget that there’s more to Africa’s wildlife than elephants, giraffes, leopards and lions; the continent is home to all sorts of fascinating small creatures too. We shine a spotlight on these more diminutive beasties in our Creatures Great & Small blog series, which has previously showcased the flap-necked chameleon and the Giant African land snail.

You can read more stories like this one in our monthly Wildlife Reports, which are written by our field guides and illustrated with their stunning photography.

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A Festive Family Gathering at Singita

December 19, 2014 - Experience, Sabi Sand, Singita Castleton

family_8

At a time where solitude is hard to come by and quality time with loved ones comes at a premium, the exclusivity of Singita’s lodges, camps and private-use properties is the ultimate luxury in a fast-paced world. Each location allows us to share a unique part of the world with our guests, while maintaining respect for the natural environment and making a tangible difference in the local communities.

Family time at Singita Castleton

Families visiting Singita during the festive period are especially fortunate to be able to celebrate the season by spending time together in an unforgettable setting. Each of the five regions in which Singita operates offers something different; from the lush riverine landscape of the Sabi Sand and pristine wilderness of the Kruger National Park to the breathtaking grandeur of the Serengeti and tranquility of southeastern Zimbabwe. There can be no better location for a family gathering at this wonderful time of the year.

Family time at Singita Castleton

Each lodge caters for a variety of group activities, including guided safari walks, mountain biking, archery, star gazing, tennis, cooking classes and wine tasting*. Long, lazy afternoons spent by the pool are also a wonderful way to relax in the company of loved ones. Those craving peace and quiet can opt for a spa treatment, a browse around the extensive Boutique & Galleries or work up a sweat in the gym.

Family Christmas at Singita Castleton

Twice-daily game drives provide the perfect opportunity to see incredible wildlife, while spot-lit evening drives reveal the elusive magic of nocturnal Africa. Game drives are all conducted in state-of-the-art Land Rovers, each accommodating a maximum of six guests. During your stay, you are likely to spot a great variety of local flora and fauna, including all of The Big 5; lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.

Family time at Singita Castleton

Each game drive features a “bush stop” where guests can stretch their legs, enjoy a snack and share a drink or a cup of freshly-brewed coffee. Meals back at the lodge can be shared in the “boma”, in the main dining area or even in your room for the ultimate private dining experience. The kitchen teams prepare mouthwatering dishes using fresh ingredients from the vegetable garden, while others are locally-sourced or homemade by the talented chefs. A visit to Singita and all that it offers is full of unforgettable moments, not least of which are the hours spent together around the table, making guests feel truly at home.

Family time at Singita Castleton

Chat to our Reservations team to find out more about how the staff at each lodge can customize the perfect African Christmas experience for you and your family.

Special thanks to Brian Futter from The Art of Christmas for the festive decor seen in these photos.

*Please visit the website to see which activities are available at each lodge.

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Christmas under the Sun

December 15, 2014 - Experience, Sabi Sand, Singita Castleton

Across all our lodges, Christmas at Singita is a time of joyful celebration infused with Africa’s seductive warmth, vibrancy and generosity of spirit.

Christmas at Singita Castleton

Christmas at Singita Castleton

Meaning ‘place of miracles’ in Shangaan, Singita is privileged to share the fascinating and diverse wonders of nature with our guests at this festive time of year marked by sharing, feasting and celebration inspired by the sunshine and the magical surroundings of the wilderness.

christmas_5

 

_MG_4135 - christmas cake 2

Whether visiting us with family or friends, we invite you to connect with your surroundings and embrace the luxury of space and sense of peace inherent in the Singita experience, and become part of our extended family this Christmas.

Christmas at Singita Castleton

Christmas at Singita Castleton

Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Singita Castleton (shown here) is an exclusive use lodge. It is steeped in history, capturing the spirit of the original Castleton house, giving the lodge a historical and comforting nature. Contact our reservations team to find out more.

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Sunrise in the Serengeti

December 12, 2014 - Experience, Safari, Singita Explore, Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Singita Grumeti, Singita Mara River Tented Camp, Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Sunrise in the Serengeti

For some people, the day begins when the train passes by in the distance or a high-pitched alarm pierces the early morning quiet. They get moving with a cup of takeaway coffee, absent-mindedly scanning the morning paper, getting stuck into their email inbox or dodging traffic on the way to the office.

Sunrise in the Serengeti

Sunrise in the Serengeti

The mornings at Singita are a little bit different. The drone of cars, the ping of cellphones and the whoosh of the espresso machine are replaced by the chatter of birds and the far-off cry of a scavenging hyena. The resident Cape buffalo grunts with contentment as he scratches against his favorite rubbing post shortly before sunrise, then slips away quietly to find a shady spot to rest for the day.

Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Ambling to the main lodge with the cool morning air in your face, damp earth disturbed by little paws and fresh spoor on the road is the only evidence of evening visitors. Arriving at the lodge one normally finds a scrub hare getting the last of his fill on the dew-spangled lawn before dashing to the lavender bushes to hide for the day.

Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Singita Sasakwa Lodge

The well-rested guests faces are filled with anticipation as they chat excitedly on the veranda while the sun peeps over the horizon in the east, a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The babblers and hornbills hop about the lodge, signalling that it is indeed time to rise and shine. When the vervet monkeys start stretching their legs on the lawn playing rough and tumble, our guests set off in the open game-viewing vehicles to enjoy a slow bumble across the plains.

Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Brad Murray, Lodge Manager at Singita Sasakwa Lodge in Grumeti, Tanzania, describes an average morning for him and his team. Stylish and graceful, the turn-of-the-century manor house and private cottages at Singita Sasakwa Lodge are a blend of authentic European style and East African influences, and surrounded by breathtaking vistas of the Serengeti plains. View our gallery or watch this stunning video of the lodge to see more.

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Festive Recipe: Hazelnut & Coffee Christmas Cake

December 10, 2014 - Cuisine, Kruger National Park, Singita Lebombo Lodge, Singita Sweni Lodge

What do you think of when you imagine the smell of the holiday season? For many of us, it’s the rich aroma of Christmas baking; cinnamon-dusted cookie dough, spiced fruits and freshly baked gingerbread. It’s not much different in the kitchen at Singita during December, as the chefs prepare to welcome visitors and families from all over the world to our uniquely African Christmas table.

Fruit & nut tart

Fruit & nut tart

Festive Cookies at Singita Kruger National Park

Festive cookies

Hazelnut and Coffee Christmas Fruitcake

Hazelnut and Coffee Christmas Cake

Here Singita Kruger National Park‘s Chef de Partie, Christien Schrecker, shares her recipe for Christmas cake with a delicious nutty twist:

Ingredients – what you will need:
250g sultanas
250g dried cranberries
250g chopped dried peaches
50g glace cherries
250g hazelnuts
250g pistachio nuts
1 cup sherry
1 cup brandy
1 cup Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
1 cup strong black coffee
125g butter
½ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
½ cup warm water
½ cup plum jam
1 cup cake flour
¾ cup self-raising flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method – what to do:
1. In a large mixing bowl, soak the dried fruit and nuts with the alcohol and cup of coffee for 24 hours.
2. After the 24 hours, strain the fruits and nuts and keep the liquid for later.
3. Mix the tablespoon of coffee powder with the jam and water and keep aside.
4. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment until white and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs, mix thoroughly, then add the jam and coffee mixture.
6. Add the fruits and nuts and all the dry ingredients.
7. Press into a greased tin and cover with foil.
8. Bake the cake at 140˚C for 2 hours, then brush the cake with the leftover alcohol mixture when it comes out of the oven.
9. The cake can get basted with liquid until all of it is absorbed, this can be done at 12 to 24 hour intervals over a couple of days.

Singita Ebony Lodge

Singita Ebony Lodge

singita_ebony_2

We would love to hear what your favourite Christmas recipes are – please share with us in the comments! If you need any assistance with metric measurements, try this handy online conversion calculator.

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