The Singita Blog

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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Creatures Great & Small: Banded Mongoose

June 30, 2015 - Did You Know?, Wildlife

Most safari enthusiasts who have spent some time out on game drive will be familiar with the sight of a small, furry creature darting into the undergrowth as the vehicle trundles down the path. Usually seen as a brown blur out of the corner of one’s eye, the banded mongoose is easily identifiable by the distinctive stripes along its back. They have long claws on their front feet which are used for digging up insects, especially beetles and their larvae, and they eat an array of fruit, meat and other morsels.

Banded mongoose at Singita

Banded mongooses live in mixed-sex groups of roughly 20 animals and sleep together at night in underground dens (often abandoned termite mounds) and change dens every 2-3 days. The females tend to breed all at the same time, giving birth within hours of each other to litters of 2–6 pups. The young stay in the den for their first four weeks of their lives, being carefully guarded by a adult caretakers while the other pack members forage for food. All the pack members take care of the pups, the mothers suckle each other’s offspring indiscriminately, and each young pup has an adult “escort” that catches prey for it.

Banded mongoose at Singita

Collective noun options for mongooses include ‘business’ and ‘rush’ – both referring to the frenetic pace at which they go about their daily search for food, relying mainly on their acute sense of smell. They are also known for their constant, high-pitched chatter; chirps to keep in contact with their family, sharp chittering for sounding the alarm, delighted squeaks upon finding food and even soft purring sounds of contentment.

Banded mongoose at Singita

Animal lovers will be fascinated by our monthly Wildlife Reports, which comprise stories and information like this. They are written and photographed by our field guides from across our concessions in South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

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Game Drive G&T

June 26, 2015 - Cuisine, Experience, Kruger National Park

For a gin and tonic lover, there is nothing quite as wonderful as that first sip from a freshly-made cocktail; that initial hit of bitterness, the dance of bubbles across the tongue and the clink of ice blocks against the glass. And those who have experienced it on the edge of a waterhole in the gathering dusk will tell you that the most delicious gin and tonic is one served off the back of a game vehicle.

Game drive in Singita Kruger National Park

These days, gin is gaining in popularity as a “trendy” spirit, spawning a variety of artisanal producers who distill the liquor using traditional methods and creating interesting new flavour profiles. The bars at Singita are stocked with a variety of well-known brands as well as a few bottles of handcrafted gin, like the Amber variety from Inverroche, a small batch distiller in Still Bay, South Africa. The well balanced and full bodied flavour combines the fresh floral botanicals of Africa with spices and berries from India and Europe.

Game drive in Singita Kruger National Park

A classic gin and tonic can be spiced up with all sorts of interesting ingredients, like lavender flowers, grapefruit zest, slices of cucumber, a twist of black pepper or a sprig of rosemary. Purists would no doubt prefer the simplicity of the original, so here is the recipe for a traditional gin and tonic, best enjoyed with a view and preferably a Big 5 sighting!

Game drive in Singita Kruger National Park

How to make the perfect gin and tonic:

Ingredients – what you’ll need:
2 oz. (60ml) of gin
3 oz. (90ml) tonic water
A handful of ice cubes
2 lime wedges

Method – what to do:
1. Squeeze one of the lime wedges into the bottom of a highball glass then drop in the wedge
2. Pour in the gin
3. Fill the glass most of the way with ice then stir for a few seconds
4. Top with tonic water and the second lime wedge (not squeezed)

Game drive in Singita Kruger National Park

These photographs were taken on a recent game drive in Singita Kruger National Park, a 33,000-acre concession on the South African border with Mozambique. The lodges in this reserve, Singita Lebombo Lodge and Singita Sweni Lodge, were built to “touch the earth lightly”, as part of Singita’s mission is to create and maintain a balance between conservation, community development and ecotourism. You can find out more about this philosophy on our website.

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Conservation & Community: How Tourism Helps

June 24, 2015 - Community Development, Conservation, Did You Know?, Environment, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Singita Pamushana Lodge, Sustainable Conservation

For more than two decades, Singita has been a “place of miracles”, offering guests a unique and extraordinary safari experience. Our 12 lodges and camps have been the recipient of numerous awards and the number of guests who return year after year speaks for itself. And while we are extremely proud of this, Singita’s enduring purpose, which is to preserve and protect the miraculous places of which we are custodians, remains our primary focus. 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. As well as our commitment to environmentally conscious hospitality, our core vision supports sustainable conservation and the empowerment of local communities.

Malilangwe Reserve, Zimbabwe

Malilangwe Reserve, Zimbabwe

Dr Bruce Clegg, Resident Ecologist at the Malilangwe Trust, Singita’s conservation partner in Zimbabwe, explains the extent to which tourism contributes to wildlife conservation and rural community development in Africa:

Dr Bruce Clegg

Dr Bruce Clegg

“Travel and tourism contributes only 3.6% of the total GDP in Africa, the majority of which is generated from just a handful of countries on the continent. Ecotourism accounts for only a fraction of this relatively small figure, putting wildlife conservation and development of rural communities at a considerable disadvantage.

Wildlife conservation at Singita

Tourism is a difficult business. Africa only attracts 5% of global travellers. The market is very competitive, overhead costs high and profit margins low. In addition the industry is sensitive to shocks caused by political instability, disease outbreaks, natural disasters etc. and it takes many years to develop a credible reputation. This means that little extra money is available for large-scale conservation efforts or community development. Strong competition between companies for bookings necessitates promotion of the charismatic animal species that underpin the industry (most notably lions and the other members of the Big Five) and more urgent conservation needs such as protection of critically endangered, but less captivating plants and animals are overlooked. For these reasons the hope placed in ecotourism as a solution to Africa’s poverty and conservation problems has not been fulfilled.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Child Supplementary Feeding Programme

However, a small light is beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel. A few progressive organisations have recognised these failings and instead of continuing to base their activities on wishful thinking have changed their approach and setup partnerships between their ecotourism ventures and charitable NGOs or generous philanthropists. These partnerships appear to work better. Ecotourism provides environmentally sensitive employment for locals thereby promoting community development, and the charitable partners provide the extra funds required to conduct meaningful conservation projects and additional community upliftment.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana

Singita has taken this approach a step further and also included professional conservation and community development organisations in their partnerships to provide the technical input and experience required to run truly meaningful projects. This has the added advantage of giving the donors confidence that their funds will pay for best practice, and visiting tourists the assurance that their dollars will actually make a difference. A three-way partnership of this nature is very promising and may well be the industry standard of the future. If this approach becomes widely adopted, ecotourism’s role in conservation and community development may at long last reach its full potential.”

Wildlife conservation at Singita

Singita is the trusted guardian of a million acres of pristine land in Africa and responsible for many successful community development projects, making a tangible difference in the lives of the people living and working in and around our lodges. Please visit our website to find out more about the wonderful work of our conservation and community upliftment teams.

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Shining a Light on Solar Power

June 03, 2015 - Conservation, Did You Know?, Kruger National Park, Lodges and Camps, Singita Lebombo Lodge

Solar power at Singita Lebombo Lodge

In the height of summer, the sun beats down on the red volcanic rocks of the Lebombo Mountains. With the temperature rising, the morning game drives return to the cool sanctuary of Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges, as animals search out the deep shade of the jackalberry trees. Even the pod of grunting hippos sinks a little deeper beneath the waters of the N’Wanetsi and Sweni Rivers.

Singita Kruger National Park

Solar power at Singita Lebombo Lodge

Animals and guests alike may be seeking out the shade, but a short drive from the pool deck at the lodge, the searing sunshine is helping to slash the property’s carbon footprint. “It’s a resource that’s abundant, so we decided that we need to be using it to reduce our carbon footprint on the environment,” says Gavin McCabe, Technical Services Manager at Singita Kruger National Park, where the final adjustments are being made to a groundbreaking solar energy project. “We are the first concession in the whole of the Kruger National Park to switch over to solar energy,” says McCabe.

Producing sufficient solar energy to power the 15-suite Lebombo Lodge and 6-suite Sweni Lodge, didn’t happen overnight though. The first step was to identify a suitable site clear of large trees, to allow for maximum sunlight, where the solar array would have minimal impact on the sensitive bushveld ecosystem. Once authorities from the South African National Parks had approved the site, supporting pillars to mount the array of panels had to be carefully installed.

“These metal beams were inserted into the ground using a hydraulic hammer, so there’s absolutely no foundation; no concrete in the soil at all,” explains McCabe. Before the panels could be installed, a heavy-duty electric fence also had to be erected to keep out any curious locals. “Elephants and baboons were the biggest concern,” says McCabe. “And the monkeys as well; you can just imagine them running across these panels!”

Solar power at Singita Lebombo Lodge

With the structure in place 1188 photovoltaic solar panels were installed, connected to state-of-the-art batteries and inverters situated close to the lodge. Two new diesel generators provide back-up power for cloudy days and when the battery systems run low. Previously, the generators powering both lodges guzzled up to 40 000 litres of diesel per month, but with solar energy providing clean carbon-free power that consumption will be halved. A similar solar installation is also ensuring a lighter footprint for the Singita staff village.

_DSC1797

Aside from ensuring a lighter carbon footprint, guests at Singita Kruger National Park will also see another benefit of the impressive new solar scheme. With the batteries silently providing power after sunset, there’s no chance that the humming of a diesel generator will break the perfect quiet of a bushveld night. And if you do happen to hear a low rumble? Well, that’s probably the resident hippos in the N’Wanetsi River…

This new solar energy system is an excellent example of how Singita aims to always “touch the earth lightly”; a commitment that is manifested in the way the lodges were constructed; how they operate today; and how guests experience the wildlife and the natural habitat. Visit our Conservation section to find out more about the various projects that drive sustainable hospitality at Singita.

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Design Details: Singita Castleton

June 01, 2015 - Accommodation, Experience, Lodges and Camps, Sabi Sand, Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton, South Africa

Set in park-like indigenous grasslands fronting onto bushveld vistas, Singita Castleton is an private-use lodge unlike any other. Imbued with a history acquired over generations, this private getaway offers guests a never-to-be-forgotten bush experience in the heart of the Sabi Sand. Designed to create an intimate experience for family and friends, Singita Castleton offers the seclusion of a private home, where every need is attended to in a surrounding that is infinitely peaceful and secluded.

Singita Castleton, South Africa

A palette of warm, earthy tones, cloudy greys and dried parchment grass colours complement a series of South African botanical art etchings commissioned exclusively for the house, each one reflecting an example of local indigenous flora. The botanical imagery is repeated in the signature wallpaper while elsewhere in the house collected installations with historical references add an element of nostalgia to the décor.

Singita Castleton, South Africa

Honest, humble textures of worn leather, linen and ticking stripe fabrics pair with bagged washed walls, pewter chandeliers and hand-woven grass lampshades, evoking the classic simplicity of a bygone era. Honest meals made in the welcoming farmhouse kitchen are served on a time-worn heritage dining room table. Hand-picked antiques, horn and tribal artefacts are layered with modern counterparts to create an eclectic boutique destination. The study is a quiet corner of solitude, decorated with accents of bone and prints. This pared-down aesthetic allows the house to breathe, harmonising English furniture with Asian accessories introduced by the sea traders who sailed down the East coast of the continent, and African influences.

Singita Castleton, South Africa

The tended lawns embrace secluded garden bungalow suites, each offering additional privacy and retreat. The bedrooms harmoniously layer antique furnishings with industrial elements, linens and hand-loomed cotton in painterly floral prints, cosy throws and comfortable down pillows. There is a delicate balance of masculine and feminine sensibilities in muted tones with touches of sepia. The romantic bathrooms balance delicate details with metal doors and anglepoise lamps. Basins set into oversized workbenches reference vintage industrial design, but in a modern conversation, fresh and interested.

Singita Castleton, South Africa

Singita Castleton, South Africa

And, in true African lodge style, deep verandahs frame vast views to create additional living space designed to be lounged in during the still heat of the afternoon and retreated to while absorbing the subdued evening sounds of the surrounding bush. The garden lends itself to traditional lawn games – the sack race, egg and spoon, perhaps a game of croquet. The spa offers a heavenly simplicity with references to vintage industrial elements. An outdoor boma for fireside dinners under the stars completes the authentic African bush experience.

DISCOVER SINGITA CASTLETON:

Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Singita Castleton is set within 45,000 acres of private reserve. The lodge consists of a main house with communal living spaces, and accommodation located in six individual cottages within the grounds, catering for up to 12 people. Please contact our Reservations team to find out more about this exclusive-use property.

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Introducing the Shishangaan Lions

May 29, 2015 - Experience, Kruger National Park, Safari, Wildlife

shishangaan_7

If you follow our Facebook page or are an avid reader of our monthly Wildlife Reports, you will no doubt have seen the thrilling news of the recent birth of not one but two rare white lion cubs at Singita Kruger National Park. This remarkable event was first announced in July last year, in a very exciting note from field guide Nick du Plessis: “On the 11th of July we had a sighting, that when it came over the radio, you could hardly believe your ears! 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!”

shishangaan_1

He went on to say: “The fact that this rare white lion is seen as far east as this in the Kruger National Park is nothing short of a miracle, and as far as we know has never been spotted or recorded in this area before! The fact that the rare white lions continue to reoccur in their natural habitat despite historical forced removals by humans for commercial trophy hunting and breeding in the 1970s is a real testimony to their genetic diversity and pure resilience! We hope this is just the beginning of something very very special at Singita Kruger National Park.”

shishangaan_11

Nick proved to be correct, as the white lion cubs have become one of the stars of the monthly guide’s journals from the region. Here are a few snippets from recent Wildlife Reports, following the progress of the cubs and the rest of the Shishangaan pride over the past few months:

December 2014
The large Shishangaan Pride has made a long awaited return to the concession! For the last few months, following the fires, the pride had been non-existent and majority of our lion sightings had been of the Mountain Pride, further north. When the rains finally came and the burnt areas started to green up and teem with wildlife, the lions were caught on the wrong side of the now-flowing N’wanetsi River and it wasn’t possible to cross safely at Gudzane stream with their cubs.

shishangaan_9

Shortly after, and seemingly out of nowhere, lion tracks were seen around the central parts of the concession! The previous day we had seen four of the dominant males further north of this location. Upon investigation, we stumbled upon a magnificent sighting of 21 lions (and this isn’t even the full complement of the Shishangaan Pride)! Five lionesses with 16 cubs of varying ages and sizes were seen, including the white lion cub, which looks slightly dirty, but is growing well and thriving. This leaves five lionesses unaccounted for, some of which should have cubs! With the pride having successfully hunted and fed where there is so much plains game, we hope that they will stay on the western side of the concession.

So far the Shishangaan Pride has been seen much further south of the concession than we have ever known them to be, which means with the dominant males around, there is a definite shift in territory. This is because the lionesses with cubs need to be as close to the central parts of their territories as possible and thus avoid the chance of encountering any nomadic male lions that would try to hurt or kill the cubs.

shishangaan_12

January 2015
The Shishangaan male lions brought down a fully-grown female giraffe in the middle of the month. They seem to have perfected a hunting technique of late, with it being their third giraffe kill in as many months. There was a total of 36 sightings of the Shishangaan pride this month, including 16 cubs from five lionesses and the strong and healthy-looking 9-month-old white lion cub.

shishangaan_8

February 2015:
It is sometimes quite difficult to decide what to write about in a monthly journal, there are normally a couple of particularly interesting events to choose from which may have happened or been developing over some time. But this month was an absolute ‘no-brainer’ as the sightings and regularity of the Shishangaan pride has never been more dependable. Guests have enjoyed a total of 63 lion sightings this month, most of which have been of the Shishangaan pride.

What has made it even more exciting, and was the reason for the pride splitting in the first place, is the number of cubs that have been seen in the last couple of weeks. We now believe there to be a total of at least 28 cubs, with a further two lactating females that haven’t brought their little cubs out of hiding yet. And within that huge number of cubs there is a second little white cub! We knew there was a chance of this, but to actually see the second little cub as proof that the gene is definitely in circulation was just brilliant, and this time it is a female! Why that is so important is that the young white male, once reaching sexual maturity, will be evicted from the pride and we may never see him again – this is the species way of discouraging inbreeding. On the other hand, with a bit of luck, the female should theoretically spend her entire life within the pride, meaning staying in this area, reaching maturity and having cubs of her own.

shishangaan_5

March 2015:
A total of 89 lion sightings this month. The majority of the sightings (67) were of the bigger portion of the Shishangaan pride, which comprises of 5 lionesses and 17 cubs, one of them being the older male white cub. The smaller portion of the pride has the young female white cub and she is also doing well.

SEE THE PRIDE IN ACTION:

Don’t miss the next sighting of these beautiful lions – follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the latest news, photos and video straight from our field guides.

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Cooking Up a Storm at Singita Kruger National Park

May 14, 2015 - Community Development, Cuisine, Did You Know?, Kruger National Park, Singita Lebombo Lodge

From the outside, it’s not much to look at: a nondescript building in the heart of the Singita Kruger National Park staff village. Take a step closer and the sound of pots clattering on iron stovetops breaks the bushveld silence. A babble of chatter and laughter wafts out across the dusty courtyard, as a flash of chef’s whites whips past the screen door. Welcome, to the Singita School of Cooking (SSC).

Singita School of Cooking

Students at the SSC with Chef Skills Developer, Louis Vandewalle

A cooking school in the wilderness may seem something of an anomaly, but there’s a good reason the stockpots are boiling furiously out here in the Kruger bushveld. “Communities and conservation can’t function independently, they have to co-exist,” explains Louis Vandewalle, Chef Skills Developer at SSC. “The idea behind the Singita School of Cooking was two-fold: to increase the skill level in our lodge kitchens, but also to provide opportunities for the surrounding communities.”

Singita Lebombo Lodge Dining Area

The dining area at Singita Lebombo Lodge

The SSC opened its doors in 2007, and today offers an intensive 12-month curriculum that sees nine students drawn from local communities untying their brand-new knife-rolls in March each year. A multi-faceted training program combines theory components completed in the classroom and online, alongside intensive practical training in the dedicated SSC kitchens.

Singita School of Cooking

If the course is testing, making it through the selection process is even tougher. In 2014 the School had 85 applicants for just nine places. After interviews by Singita lodge staff and chefs, 30 hopefuls were shortlisted and put through their paces in a series of theory and practical tests. “It’s not about their skills in the kitchen,” says Vandewalle. “We focus on character and attitude. We want to make sure that they have the right foundation for us to build their kitchen skills on. And, most importantly, we want to ensure that those who join the programme will stay the course.”

Singita School of Cooking

Aside from occasional government grants the School is funded entirely by Singita: an investment of $7500-$8000 per student that covers uniforms, equipment, ingredients and a monthly stipend. After months of training, real-world experience is gained in the kitchens of Singita Lebombo Lodge with students rotating through pastry, cold section and hot kitchen. At the end of the 12-month course, students emerge as competent commis chefs.

Singita School of Cooking

Singita School of Cooking

“Unlike many chef schools with longer programs, we focus on the fundamentals,” says Vandewalle, as a stockpot bubbles on the central range. “By the time they leave this kitchen our students have a limited set of skills, but they are extremely proficient at what they do. We’re trying to develop work skills and work ethics too.” He goes on to explain how time-management and forward planning are vital skills for the young chefs to learn. “Each day one chef is appointed to be in charge of the kitchen. The responsibility then rests on them to allocate tasks to each of the student chefs, work out portions and run the kitchen.”

Singita School of Cooking

“We have a very high success rate with students finding employment, either with Singita lodges or further afield,” adds Vandewalle. “Because of Singita’s extremely high standards, we find that’s more than sufficient for what other lodges and guesthouses are expecting.” For most students though, a position in one of the Singita kitchens is first prize.

Singita School of Cooking

“I’ve always wanted to be in the kitchen, but just never had the opportunity,” bubbles Unity Mokhomolo (25) from the village of Welverdiend, who says she’s happiest in the pastry section. “After the course I am hoping to be one of the students that Singita takes to work at the lodges. Singita started my career in the kitchen, so I want to work for them. If that happens, I will grab that opportunity with both hands.”

DISCOVER MORE:

The Singita School of Cooking was established to encourage the development of culinary skills and employment opportunities among local youth as part of Singita’s broader objective to assist communities to thrive, both economically and socially. Visit our website to find out how you can help to make a difference in the lives of our students at SSC, or read about some of our star pupils on the blog.

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Rock Art at Singita Pamushana

May 11, 2015 - Conservation, Conservation, Did You Know?, History, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Singita Pamushana Lodge

The forests and sandstone kopjes surrounding Singita Pamushana Lodge are home to more than 80 known rock art sites with more almost certainly yet to be discovered. These range from single figures to large ‘galleries’ containing multiple paintings, sometimes from different time periods.

Rock art at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Carbon dating from pieces of charcoal found in sediments at two of the sites suggest that the paintings range from 700 to 2,000 years-old and fall into three main traditions. The oldest are those painted by San Bushmen hunter gatherers who used porcupine quills and bird feathers as brushes, and ochre mixed with blood and dyes from tree-bark as paint.

Rock art at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

The more geometric spot paintings found in the reserve were painted by Khoi San herders, while finger-paintings, often white in colour, were made by the Bantu-speaking people using ground egg shells as paint.

Rock art at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Many of the earliest paintings are figurative and illustrate everyday scenes from the lives of the hunter gatherers who made them. These include hunting scenes and animals like elephant, rhino, zebra and many other creatures of the bush including, most significantly, eland which were sacred to the San and represented rain and fertility.

Rock art at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Many rock art experts now believe, however, that the original interpretations of these paintings by the early colonialists were too simplistic. Scenes which looked easy to interpret missed complex underlying meanings, including metaphors for aspects of the San’s strong spiritual traditions that included trance, rain and initiation dances among other rituals. Many scenes on closer inspection show creatures that are half-animal and half-human, for example, and probably depict shamans in a trance state.

Rock art at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

The study of rock art is open to interpretation and the full meanings of these paintings will probably never be known for sure. “The San Bushmen were intensely spiritual people,” says Dr. Bruce Clegg, Resident Ecologist at the Malilangwe Trust. “At the Lisililija Spring site, for example, on one panel there’s a row of people in a trance dance which is connected by a spiritual line to a rainfall event pouring down on a female figure which is a sign of fertility in San belief. It’s one big celebration connecting human people to their spiritual counterparts.”

WATCH THE VIDEO:

The San Bushmen are the original hunter-gatherers and one of the earth’s oldest continuous cultures. Guests at Singita Pamushana Lodge can take an educational tour of the best rock art sites in the reserve, including those shown in the accompanying film, and learn about their remarkable way of life.

Rock art at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Richard and Sarah Madden are freelance travel writers and filmmakers currently based at in the Malilangwe Reserve at Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe. Their series of short films from the region is entitled “Bush Tales” and explores Singita’s community development, ecotourism and conservation work in Southern Africa. Richard and Sarah met while producing documentaries for the Discovery Channel and are now freelance and, prior to working with Singita, spent two years in Africa writing and filming the multi-media Bush Telegraph column for the Daily Telegraph.

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Singita Ebony Lodge Comes Full Circle

May 08, 2015 - Accommodation, Experience, Sabi Sand, Singita Ebony Lodge

Singita was originally founded in 1993 with the opening of Ebony Lodge on family owned land that became part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. When Luke Bailes, owner of Singita, bought and consolidated the land from his grandfather, he set about restoring it.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

In 1992, Bailes asked his old school friend, Mark Witney, if he was interested in taking time out from the city to open a new safari venture. He was. Soon after, Witney moved to the bush where he assumed multiple roles for many years – lodge manager, safari guide, maintenance man, and even relief pilot for the inter-lodge Cessna Caravan shuttle service – before employing an assistant lodge manager.

Twenty-two years later, Singita Ebony Lodge is set to reopen after an extensive reinvention, elevating the lodge to the same forward-thinking standard of innovation as the recently reopened Singita Boulders Lodge. The end result is a conscious departure from what may have been expected – or anything that has gone before. Instead, a quintessential safari aesthetic that captures the spirit and sentiment of the original while adding a youthful, relaxed charm, has been added.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Singita’s evolution from a single-lodge company to one that is now responsible for more than half 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.

Singita Ebony Lodge stands on the banks of the Sand River in the heart of South Africa’s “big cat country”, beneath the leafy branches of the ancient and enormous trees for which it is named. The lodge is due to re-open in mid-June 2015; please contact our Reservations team to find out more.

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