The Singita Blog

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports

August 04, 2015 - Experience, Kruger National Park, Lamai, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Sabi Sand, Safari, Singita Grumeti, Wildlife

If your morning routine doesn’t involve a sunrise game drive and a steaming cup of coffee overlooking the waterhole, then a close substitute would be catching up on our latest Wildlife Reports; first-hand field guide reports straight from the wilderness. These bush journals chronicle the evolving landscape throughout the year as well as noteworthy wildlife sightings and game statistics. Some of the most recent reports include some stunning sunsets, a pair of cheetah on a kill, an amorous leopard and a rare pack of endangered wild dogs in the Serengeti:

SINGITA SABI SAND, SOUTH AFRICA

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

We are fortunate in Africa to be blessed with some beautiful skies, whether it be the rosy dawns, the unpolluted blues of autumn days, or the sparkling splendour of our starry night skies. Most famous of all, however, are our sunsets, and after more than five and a half decades on this continent, I still appreciate each and every sunset that I am fortunate enough to see. There’s something about sunsets that inspire you to take time to think back on the day’s events, and just to marvel at the majesty of it all.

Report by Leon van Wyk, Coleman Mnisi, Nic Moxham and Ross Couper. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report April 2015

SINGITA LAMAI, TANZANIA

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

The month of June in the Lamai was unusually wet with the first half of the month yielding rainstorms of colossal proportions. The rain patterns of the Serengeti have been rather mercurial this year, seeing the second quarter producing more storm clouds which inevitably dictate the ebb and flow of the Mara River and, so too, the movement of the wildlife. On some mornings the level of the river rose over 60cm in a matter of hours.

Report by Paul Nell with photos by Stuart Levine, Adas Anthony and Ryan Schmitt. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report June 2015

SINGITA PAMUSHANA, ZIMBABWE

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

Imagine the thrill of coming across two male cheetah on a kill. It’s such a privilege to see, especially as they have disappeared from an estimated 76% of their historic range in Africa. Their population has declined by at least 30% over the past 18 years, and is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as killing and capture of cheetahs for trade and to prevent livestock loss.

Report by Jenny Hishin with photos by Mark Saunders and Simon Capon. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report April 2015

SINGITA KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

The Xhikelengane female, who is truly regarded as the grandmother of the leopards at Singita Kruger National Park, and definitely a favourite among the guides, has been doing her best to get the attention of the males in her region… Over the past few weeks we have noticed her moving further and further north out of her usual territory, and scent marking like her life depended on it! This behaviour is to attract potential suitors in her direction. Finally, after weeks of advertising, an unknown large male found her and we were lucky enough to see them mating twice over the course of four days. This intense and usually very secretive affair is one of the ultimate sightings on safari.

Report by Nick du Plessis, Barry Peiser and Deirdre Opie. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report April 2015

SINGITA GRUMETI, TANZANIA

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

The call came in on the radio around 8:30am. Guide Ray Wankyo reported that he had spotted a pack of 13 wild dogs south of the Singita Grumeti boundary with the Serengeti National Park. Words cannot explain the excitement that proceeded after hearing that call. The entire guiding team piled into game viewers to go and witness this incredible sighting. In the 13 years since Singita Grumeti’s inception, wild dogs have only been seen on one other occasion on the concession, and that was back in 2007.

Report by Lizzie Hamrick with photos by Ryan Schmitt, Brad Murray. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report April 2015

You can subscribe to our blog via RSS or email to stay up to date with our Wildlife Reports and plenty of other goings on at our 12 lodges and camps in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

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Satellites & Safaris: Rural education gets a boost

July 29, 2015 - Community Development, Did You Know?, Sabi Sand

Satellites and safaris don’t appear to be a traditional pairing, but they are in fact the ideal complement in Singita’s latest community development initiative. “Teaching & Technology”, which launched last month, is a partnership programme between the Mpumalanga Department of Education, Singita Community Development Trust and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Teaching and Technology | Singita

The project, which demonstrates how satellite communications can assist educators in rural areas, will roll out in 12 primary schools in the communities neighbouring the Sabi Sand Reserve. Web-based solutions will be used to upskill and train local teachers, who will ultimately share this benefit with learners and their entire communities.

Teaching and Technology | Singita

The ESA, together with partners Openet (Italy) and SES (Luxembourg), has outfitted each of the participating schools with satellite terminals, along with equipment including laptops, tablets, projectors and loudspeakers. Singita’s role is to manage the programme and to work alongside the Education Department to train and mentor the 200 teachers from these schools. The company will also be providing technical support to the schools in order to ensure the sustainability of such technology-based programmes in remote locations.

Teaching and Technology | Singita

“Singita’s goal is to create a model (to enhance teacher quality in rural areas), which can be replicated throughout Africa,” says Pam Richardson, Community Development Director at Singita. “The lack of resources and qualified educators are problems faced by rural communities across the continent.”

Teaching and Technology | Singita

The prosperity of the local community is a critical component in Singita’s success. The company’s eco-tourism philosophy is hinged not only on the hospitality provided by the lodges, but equally on sustainable conservation and the empowerment of local communities. Singita runs a number of thriving community development projects, making a tangible difference in the lives of the people living and working in and around its lodges.

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A Wildlife Showcase

July 24, 2015 - Sustainable Conservation, Wildlife

There was a time when the earth was lush with unspoilt wilderness teeming with game; today, places like this are the exception rather than the rule. As trusted guardian of over half a million acres of untouched African bush, Singita is proud to play a role in the conservation, preservation and protection of such vulnerable land.

Our concessions, reserves, and properties represent some of the most pristine wilderness areas on the continent and we are dedicated to maintaining these incredible pieces of earth for future generations. In this short film, we celebrate Africa’s abundance and diversity of wildlife, and the fragile ecosystems of which they are a part.

Singita

Read more about Singita’s rich history, as well as what the future holds for this devoted pioneer of ecotourism. You can also follow the Conservation category on our blog for the latest news from our hands-on environmental sustainability teams.

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Mandela Day at Singita Sabi Sand

July 21, 2015 - Community Development, Events, Sabi Sand

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” – Nelson Mandela

Mandela Day 2015 at Singita Sabi Sand

Supporting the people who live in and around Singita’s reserves is an important part of maintaining the balance between sustainable tourism, community upliftment and environmental conservation. As part of this hands-on approach to community development, the staff at Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa celebrated Mandela Day this past Saturday with a feeding initiative for the children at two local care centres. Guests were invited to join in the making of sandwiches which were then packaged and delivered to the care centres in the neighbouring village of Justicia.

The voluntary involvement of the guests was especially touching, as was the visit by some of them to assist with the distribution of the sandwiches to 350 hungry children. It was a joyful and heart-rending tribute to Mr Mandela’s legacy and especially his commitment to stopping child hunger. It is a desire that Singita shares as part of its community development objectives; a dedication to saving the world, one sandwich at a time.

Mandela Day is held on 18 July every year to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday and in recognition of the life’s work of this great man. Please visit mandeladay.com to find out how you can become a Madiba changemaker and make every day Mandela Day.

You can find out more about Singita’s community projects here.

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A Winter Weekend at Singita Sweni Lodge Part 2

July 17, 2015 - Experience, Lodges and Camps, Singita Sweni Lodge

An important part of the magic of going on safari is the experience of intimacy with nature. Nothing can prepare you for the innate sense of peace that arises after only a few hours spent in the wild, in the company of some of the most beautiful and exotic creatures on earth, and in a spectacular, untamed landscape. This feeling of closeness with the natural world is never more apparent than during an evening spent under the stars, listening to the wind rustling in the trees and the distant call of a cackling hyena.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

Each one of Singita Sweni Lodge‘s six private suites features a large wooden deck suspended over the river below, and surrounded by knobthorn and marula woodland. Nestled in the corner of each deck is a luxurious outdoor bed, draped in a delicate layer of mosquito netting and a cosy goose-down duvet. At this time of year, which is cooler in South Africa, soft blankets and hot water bottles are slipped between the sheets for extra comfort. It is a wonderful spot to spend a quiet afternoon with a good book, and also provides an opportunity for guests to enjoy an entire night outside. The beds receive a special turndown after dark and are equipped with a handy kit of overnight essentials, including a flashlight and insect repellant.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

Sleeping on the deck in the cool night air is an almost indescribable sensation; there is an element of vulnerability certainly, but more than that, it brings a humbling awareness of one’s place in the world and harmony with the Earth. The smells and sounds of the bush soon become a rhythmic lullaby that sends guests into a long and restful slumber.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

The twittering of birds is usually the first thing one hears upon waking – rollers, drongos, kingfishers and even the haunting cry of the fish eagle echoing across the stillness. Come morning, it’s easy to catch a flash of feathers as they dart along the river bank looking for breakfast. The chill of dawn is thawed by a steaming cup of freshly-brewed coffee, best enjoyed from the comfort and warmth of the bed. A grunting hippo in the rockpool nearby is the only other sound one is likely to hear as the sun rises on another glorious winter’s day in the African bush.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

Read part one of this blog mini-series from Singita Sweni Lodge which is a real hit with the foodies – a recipe for homemade pasta puttanesca, the perfect winter lunch! You can also find out more about the lodge in this short film on our Vimeo channel

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In the Kitchen at the Reimagined Singita Ebony Lodge

July 15, 2015 - Cuisine, Experience, Singita Ebony Lodge

The recent reimagining of Singita Ebony Lodge has created a contemporary safari experience unlike any other, combining the romance of a tented camp with the style of a classic bush lodge. This more modern interpretation of an African wilderness adventure is reflected throughout the lodge, including in the approach taken by the talented kitchen team.

Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa

Many of the global food trends charted by the industry’s sharpest minds have trickled down to our little piece of Africa, where creative and delicious creations are prepared throughout the day. And while the inspiration for the preparation and plating of these meals might be traditional (classic French cooking methods, beautiful but simple presentation), the ingredients can be much more innovative and nutritious.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Tried-and-tested flavour combinations are paired with mouthwatering “superfoods”, making more healthy options than ever available at meal times. For example, breakfast features a raw, sugar- and fat-free granola as well as a decadent honey-roasted seed and nut option to have with seasonal fruit. Freshly-pressed vegetable juice, wheatgrass and kombucha are served alongside a selection of premium coffees and teas to suit every palate.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

This season, our chefs are inspired by juicy heirloom tomatoes, organic maple syrup, local goats cheese, candy-stripe beetroot and all manner of homemade jams, marmalades and chutneys. One of the most popular dishes on the constantly evolving menu is a pan-fried quail, served with wild mushrooms, sage and polenta – a real winter warmer! As ever, the dietary needs of our guests are always considered, and speciality menus are designed regularly by our chefs to take any and all preferences into account.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

The new Singita Ebony Lodge comprises 12 suites, each with its own private plunge pool. Guests are immersed in nature with huge open spaces and interiors inspired by a combination of local tribal culture and the animal kingdom. Read more »

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The Radical Reinvention of Singita Ebony Lodge

July 13, 2015 - Accommodation, Lodges and Camps, Singita Ebony Lodge

As part of a new vision for its offering in the Sabi Sand, Singita recently unveiled a complete re-design of its original lodge, Singita Ebony, in South Africa. This property is where the story began 22 years ago and completes Singita’s reinvention of its private 45,000 acre game reserve within the Sabi Sand, following the 2014 renovation of Singita Boulders Lodge and Singita Castleton.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Situated on the banks of the Sand River, Singita Ebony Lodge was already considered one of Africa’s most iconic locations and was revolutionary in its pioneering approach to the modern luxury safari experience. The new Ebony will takes safari style to a new level altogether, following its transformation by design team Cécile & Boyd, working alongside architect Sally Tsiliyiannis from GAPP Architects. Their unique vision has created a fresh and contemporary interpretation of the classic safari lodge, combining tented camp and bush lodge style. Guests are immersed in nature with huge open spaces and interiors inspired by a combination of local tribal culture and the animal kingdom.

The new Singita Ebony Lodge comprises 12 suites, each with its own private plunge pool. Dramatic changes include internal and external walls being replaced by canvas and glass to create new safari tent-style suites to maximise views and space. The entire front wall of each suite between the bedroom and the veranda has been removed, allowing light to flood in. Outdoor pavilion decks – ideal for dining and relaxing – are suspended above the river banks as if hanging from the trees.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

The updated interiors feature curated still-life collections of antiques and artefacts, as well as vintage campaign furniture from the Bailes family collection. Materials like wood, iron, steel and aged bonze hark back to the 19th century, along with oversized sepia photography, glamorous leopard and zebra print upholstery that complements bold graphic tribal patterned murals. Replacing animal skins, Singita Ebony Lodge now features printed animal patterns on textured fabric to help attune guests to their surroundings within the context of Singita’s pivotal conservation philosophy.

Ebony’s central sociable hub will be the very heart of the lodge – a place to meet, relax, socialise and take in the view. The sitting room has been moved to the very front of the lodge, closer to nature, to create a contemplative space. The style is reflective of what Singita calls the ‘New Nomad’, the traveller who wants to return to nature but stay connected. A beautiful marble and cast iron table is the furniture centrepiece for this concept – it is a traveller’s desk with smart tools, a private dining room table for entertaining or a bar to enjoy an evening gin & tonic in one.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Singita’s evolution from a single-lodge company to one that is now responsible for a million acres of land, operating 12 lodges and camps in five wilderness regions across three African countries, has always been characterised by a pioneering spirit and a sincere desire to preserve wilderness areas for future generations. Its low-impact, high-value tourism model – fewer guests paying a premium for the privilege of experiencing vast open spaces – exists to sustain these wilderness areas and their resident wildlife, while providing an exclusive safari experience.

To discover Singita Ebony Lodge for yourself, please contact our Reservations team who will design an unforgettable safari getaway just for you.

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A Winter Weekend at Singita Sweni Lodge Part 1

July 10, 2015 - General

There’s nothing like discovering an intimate escape for a winter’s weekend (July is winter in the southern hemisphere) – especially if it includes safari, the tranquility of the wild, a pampering spa and some of the best wine and food that South Africa has to offer. Singita Sweni Lodge is that place – nestled beautifully amongst hundreds of trees at the edge of the Sweni River, within a private 33,000 acre concession in the Kruger National Park. In this peaceful, six-suite hideaway, the decks of the lodge seem to hover in the branches, while inside, rich calming colours and textures echo the hues of the natural surroundings.

Singita_Mar 08 2015_2987

Arrival times of daily Federal Air flights usually coincide with lunch hour and one of the chefs’ most tempting menu items is a puttanesca pasta. Something perfect to pile onto a plate and settle in front of a weary traveler as the quietness and awe of the bush starts to permeate the senses. It’s not unusual to hear the sound of hippo in the Sweni River below the deck of the dining room. Sydney Mkhize, one of the chefs at Singita Sweni, knows just the right way to combine the flavours for the best puttanesca, so we asked him to share his secrets with us.

Singita_Mar 06 2015_1282

Sydney suggests making pasta noodles from scratch:

400g Flour
300g Egg yolks
Pinch of salt
To make pasta dough, mix together the flour, egg yolks and pinch of salt. Knead the dough until it comes together and has a little shine to it. Rest for 1 hour, then roll with a pasta machine. Blanch just before dishing up.

For the pasta sauce:
30g Sundried tomato
30g Olives
30g Capers
Parmesan
Olive oil
Add the chopped sundried tomato, chopped olives, and capers to a pan, on a medium heat with a little olive oil. When warm, add the pasta and toss in the pan.
Finish with grated Parmesan, or shavings and plate in a comforting big bowl.

Singita_Mar 06 2015_1340

That’s the perfect meal for a winter lunch – and a wonderful way to start the safari weekend.

Sweni

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Rhino Relocation at Singita Pamushana

July 03, 2015 - Conservation, Conservation, Lodges and Camps, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Singita Pamushana Lodge, Sustainable Conservation

In an age where the destruction of pristine wilderness continues to accelerate, Singita is making a profound difference in many parts of Africa. Orchestrating an interdependent relationship between communities, wildlife and tourism that ensures true sustainability, Singita is blazing a trail which is seldom achieved on this scale anywhere else on the continent.

Black rhino - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

One recent example of this ongoing effort took place last week, when eight, critically endangered black rhinos were safely relocated by the Malilangwe Trust, Singita’s conservation partner in Zimbabwe. The black rhinos were sent from the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve to the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana to help rebuild the local population and battle the devastating effects of poaching.

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

The rhinos were bred from a group that was released onto the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve as part of a range expansion programme in 1998. After originally being relocated from South Africa, their numbers had grown rapidly in the Reserve, which is also the home of Singita Pamushana Lodge. A decision was made to relocate a small group of animals in order to reduce competition for space and food, while helping to establish a new population north of the border.

Black rhino - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Following a call from the Zimbabwean government to donate 10 black rhinos to Moremi in late 2014, ecologists determined that the habitat in Botswana was both suitable and adequately protected. So on June 14 this year, the rhinos were successfully moved to their new home with the assistance of the Botswana Defense Force.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Singita’s 100-year purpose – to protect and preserve large tracts of wilderness for future generations – is supported by the Trust, whose central aim is to promote the conservation of rare species, including black rhino, and to add value to its neighbouring communities. The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, home to an unrivaled gathering of birds with more than 400 species, including many raptors, remains virtually untouched by humankind. Through eco-tourism, Singita Pamushana Lodge helps in fostering the sustainability of the wildlife and broader ecology, while enabling guests to share the magic of the lodge and the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.

Black rhino - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Focused on eco-conscious hospitality, sustainable conservation and evolving local communities, Singita’s vision is to share a unique part of the world while respecting the natural environment and challenging today’s notion of luxury. Find out more about this commitment to responsible tourism on our website or visit the Conservation category on our blog.

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Design by Nature: Singita Boulders Lodge

July 02, 2015 - Experience, Lodges and Camps, Sabi Sand, Singita Boulders Lodge

Nature has always been an inspiration for the aesthetic at Singita’s lodges, and no less so at Singita Boulders Lodge in South Africa. This new short film takes the viewer on an evocative journey through the design process with interior designer Boyd Ferguson and Singita CEO, Luke Bailes, to reveal a space rich with colour and texture. Inspired by the essential elements of fire, earth, wind and water, every detail combines to create a harmonious palette that integrates seamlessly with the raw beauty of the landscape beyond.

Singita Boulders Lodge

Rustic, handmade furnishings made from fossilised tree stumps, slabs of solid stone, wrought iron and leather are balanced with the soft, sensual feeling of a sheep-skin rug, natural flax bed linen and cloud-like cotton towels. These subtle layers of luxury blend soulful, sensual Africa with high design to instil a sense of tranquillity and ease guests into the rhythm of safari life.

Singita Boulders Lodge

Singita Boulders Lodge is set along the banks of the Sand River in Singita’s privately owned concession within the Sabi Sand Reserve. Follow us on Vimeo to see more short films about the lodge, the landscape in which it sits and the stunning wildlife at Singita Sabi Sand.

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