The next time you bite into a decadently chocolate-filled brownie at Singita Faru Faru Lodge, you may be surprised to know that the Pastry Chef in the kitchen who makes these creations, has a very interesting past.
(Peter is standing with the bow.)
Peter Andrew was born in 1979 in Fort Ikoma village on the outskirts of Singita Grumeti Reserves. Peter’s mother died when he was 16 years old; his Dad remarried and thus Peter was forced to leave his home and village to fend for himself. At the time he had no options for employment but poaching. He learnt hunting and tracking skills from a man much older than him, named Matere Muita, a father figure who taught him everything he needed to know about the skills of the hunt. They hunted together on foot day and night to harvest bush meat, tusks from elephants and skins from Colobus monkeys. Peter remembers that they took pride in never being caught – “You were not a skilled poacher if a Wildlife Officer caught you”.
However everything turned a corner in 2003 when Peter learnt that a good-hearted man named Mr. Harris, was offering jobs to poachers in neighbouring villages. This was Peter’s chance to change his life and earn an honest wage without fear of being locked in jail or eaten by lion. So Peter started work at Singita Sasakwa Lodge as a temporary employee helping with construction. He was interested in cooking and in 2004 took the opportunity to become the staff cook at Singita Sabora Tented Camp. He excelled in this position and developed quickly, so much so that in 2005 Peter became a Commis Chef at Singita Sabora and then further moved to Singita Faru Faru in 2011 as a full-time Pastry Chef where he currently works.
Stories like that of Peter Andrew continue to provide encouragement for the investment made by Singita in valuable conservation efforts.
With over 500 000 acres of land under management, Singita offers luxury safari, tourism opportunities whilst pursuing a core vision: the protection of vast wilderness areas that are home to magnificent wildlife populations and sensitive landscapes, for future generations.
Controlling poaching in the area has been a key priority facing Singita Grumeti Reserves since 2002. This illegal industry threatened the dynamics and balance of the eco-system and undermined the potential of the commercial tourism venture, required to ensure the long-term sustainability of the area. With the establishment of an effective anti-poaching unit consisting of 120 game scouts and thanks to the support of the Tanzanian Wildlife Division, Singita Grumeti Reserves has to date been able to achieve an increase of game populations by up to 600% in some species. Now Singita Grumeti employs close to 600 members of staff (a large proportion from local villages) in its effort to conserve the enormous tract of land in its care, and to support special Singita-style service to the guests that visit Singita Grumeti Reserves.
To read more about Singita’s community development and conservation projects in four regions around Africa, please take a look at Singita’s website.
All the effort made by the team at Singita Kruger National Park on Mandela Day last year to raise funds to purchase soccer balls for schools in our local community, was made worthwhile at the end of 2011 when a group of 11 Singita staff went into Hluvukani, one of the local communities situated just outside the Kruger National Park’s Orpen Gate, to deliver the balls to the schools.
The soccer balls were handed out at 7 different schools. At each school a soccer game took place between the staff and the school pupils. The games and the new balls caused much excitement for both players and spectators.
A great day was had by all and the Singita Kruger National Park staff are looking forward to when we will be taking a similar trip to Welverdiend, another one of the local communities, to complete the delivery of the remainder of the balls.
Singita Kruger National Park would like to thank Adidas SA for assisting us in achieving this special relationship with the community schools, by providing the balls at a specially discounted rate.
(Article contribution by Christen Bennett – Singita Kruger National Park.)
If you missed the story last year about celebrating Mandela Day at Singita Kruger National Park, enjoy the blog post here.
Eighty kilometres of gruelling single track cycling every day across dusty, rugged terrain through South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana, clocking up 300 kilometres over 4 days – we asked General Manager of Singita Sabi Sand what compels him to undergo this test of endurance year after year.
Actually there are a few good reasons why Jason Trollip keeps coming back for more. Amongst them are the incredible scenery, great wildlife and caring community spirit created by this event. However Jason tells us that the overriding goal is to raise funds for Children in the Wilderness and that’s really what tugs at his heart strings.
Children in the Wilderness is a non-profit environmental and life skills educational programme. Their vision is something that Singita can relate to and stand behind.
Jason – “The sense of achievement at the end of 4 days is incredible and experiencing 300 kilometres of some of the best areas that Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa have to offer is just sensational.
You have to at all times remember that the whole event is to raise money for environmental awareness – it’s a great cause, and knowing we are helping young people and conservation by having so much fun, made it a perfect 5 days away!”
Jason Trollip, General Manager, Singita Sabi Sand. Jason is now in his 9th year at Singita, beginning at Singita Kruger National Park and then most recently managing Singita Sabi Sand properties. No stranger to the Lowveld area, Jason grew up here, and prior to his management roles he was a field guide for 7 years – that totals 15 years in the bush. With a keen interest in birding, we look forward to seeing some of his sightings captured on camera.
All over South Africa yesterday there was a buzz in the air – all because of an extremely special occasion: Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday.
In case you didn’t know this, but as a result of the success of the birthday celebrations in London, June 2008, to commemorate Nelson Mandela and his life work, it was set in motion thereafter to acknowledge Mr. Mandela’s birthday each year as “Mandela Day“. What a perfect way to ensure that his legacy endures for a very long time.
The Mandela Day campaign message is simple: “Mr Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community”.
In a tucked away corner of the Kruger National Park, a group of people decided to take this challenge very seriously – our amazing Singita staff at Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges. They came up with some innovative and creative ways for everyone to particpate in order to raise funds to make a difference. Some signed up to shuffle for 6.7 minutes; delicious cupcakes were auctioned off; some chose to cycle 67 kilometres while others opted for running 6.7 kilometres – and even one staff member signed up to hug or kiss 67 girls! All proceeds are planned to support local primary schools in the area. What a day and a great amount of fun had by all – all for an oustanding cause.
If you have been following the updates on the Singita School of Cooking, located at our Staff Village in Singita Kruger National Park, then you will definitely enjoy watching our newest video clip. The clip details the background of the school; some of the success stories; and dreams of what we hope will be coming next. Listen to Oriel Mbowane, previous Sous Chef from Singita Sweni and now Skills Chef Trainer at the School of Cooking, talk about his own inspiring history and dreams for his students in the future.
For more information about Singita School of Cooking, take a look at our website and furthermore a previous blog article about this life-changing community project that has touched our hearts.
This week, Singita staff joined the Happy Homes preschool class and had some stories to tell….written/photography by Singita Guide, Nicky Silberbauer
Happy Homes pre-school offers after-hour classes for children from the community of Justica village, located on the outskirts of the Sabi Sand Reserve. This particular pre-school has just experienced generous, enthusiastic, and hands-on involvement from “Growing up Africa”, a New York based Foundation which provides focused support for preschools. Deborah Terhune, the Foundation Director and a past Singita guest travelled back to the Sabi Sand Reserve to put into action the plan she had been formulating with the school and with Singita, since her last visit. A brand new eco-classroom has been developed and sponsored by Deborah’s foundation and creative classes not only aim to educate children about their environment and how to care for it, but also generate an income for the school. Parents pay a small fee and children learn about different animals through fun activities.
This week it was great to watch the children play ‘pin the tail on the zebra’, a game new to them. After which they coloured in the zebra and the sky; later they placed grass in the foreground. The goal is to introduce the children to a new animal each week.
All of the children are extremely excited to be part of the eco-class. You will see some of the pictures from before the class where they were looking through recent game photos and practicing some of the calls of the wild.
Singita supports a pre-school development programme being conducted in 12 pre-schools in the Sabi Sand region, in collaboration with the South African Education Department. For further information about Singita’s support for pre-school and primary school development, read more on our website, or feel free to contact the Singita HR & Community Development Manager, Pam Richardson, email@example.com.
Did you know that when guests stay at Singita Pamushana all proceeds are used to fund various projects managed by the reserve’s Malilangwe Trust? A key, joint project that the Malilangwe Trust has embarked upon is to establish irrigation schemes so that nearby villagers and their livestock have a clean supply of water and are able grow their own vegetables. Women and children tend the crops – channeling water into the fields (thanks to a borehole that has been sunk), and keep up with weeding and removing pests. When you are next at Singita Pamushana, pay them a visit and they’ll proudly show you the crops – onions, cabbage and other leafy greens are in season right now, and you’re bound to be treated to an emotive impromptu choir performance!
Approximately 10,000 people located around the Malilangwe Reserve are now assisted daily through the provision of drinkable, clean borehole water.
For further information on this project please liaise with our Singita Pamushana Lodge Manager or with Singita HR & Community Development Manager, Pam Richardson – please contact us.
By Jenny Hishin
Recently Wynand Reiman, Singita Lebombo’s Senior Sous Chef (and Regional Chaine de Rotisseurs, Young Chef of the Year 2010 winner) carried out a teaching session on ‘how to make stocks and sauces’ with the Singita School of Cooking students. The students thoroughly enjoyed Wynand sharing his skill, knowledge and expertise with them.
Enthusiastically taking notes during the session.
Eight students were enrolled in the new cooking course that began on the 15th September 2010. This is an 18 month long program which prepares students selected from the local community, for a career as a professional chef.
If you would like to consider sponsoring a full scholarship, or be a co-sponsor please email the General Manager of Singita Kruger National Park at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more about the ambitious efforts of the Singita School of Cooking, please click here.
The Singita School of Cooking is located on site at the Staff Village that serves Singita Kruger National Park (Lebombo and Sweni Lodges). It was established with the aim of encouraging the development of culinary skills amongst local youth from our neighbouring communities. Each year, 8 to10 students are selected – based upon clear criteria including showing a real interest in cooking – to participate in an 18 month long training programme.
It was an incredible undertaking initiated by Kurt Abrahams a Senior Sous Chef at Singita Sweni and Jason Trollip the former General Manager of Singita Kruger National Park. Jason and Kurt took up the challenge of taking on young members of the local community who had little or no understanding of what being a chef is all about and training them to the level where they could find employment as skilled trainee chefs at the end of the year long course. Kurt embraced the project wholeheartedly and became the Head of the school sharing his knowledge, exceptional culinary skills and passion for training people. The programme was practical, with the perfect facilities already in existence at the staff village. The first group of students graduated successfully from The Singita School of Cooking (SSC) at the end of 2007.
Year to date the graduating students have all been employed either at a Singita property or by other organisations.
Since opening the SSC has continued to produce well educated, employable trainee chefs and with its reputation now well established we took a decision in 2010 to extend the course to 18 months. The objective now being to take the students to the next level and equip them with Comis Chef level skills, thereby giving them greater earning capability post graduation.
Oriel Mbowane was promoted from Sous Chef Sweni in September to Skills Chef Trainer for the school of cooking. The new course started on 15th September 2010
If you would like more information about sponsoring a Singita School of Cooking student please refer to our Giving Back section on our website.
Our very own Jaco Ehlers, Singita Sales Manager and charity-superhero, has just completed a 7 day cycle challenge all in the name of a good cause.
Jaco cycled the 330km-long Challenge4aCause challenge through the harsh, dusty terrain of the dramatic Damaraland Desert in Namibia to raise funds for the Save the Rhino Trust.
All the funds raised through the 2010 Challenge4aCause have been donated to an anti-poaching unit. The aim of this unit is to help preserve the highly endangered, and desert-adapted, black rhino.
And we have more cycling superheroes among us – Sabi Sand GM, Jason Trollip, and Singita Sabi Sand Head Ranger, Mark Broodryk, also recently took part in a charitable cycling event: the third and final Tour de Tuli (previously known as the Tour de Kruger). The 2010 Tour de Tuli saw 290 cyclists pedal 350kms to raise an impressive R700 000 for charity.
Every Rand and cent raised through the event will be used to teach rural children about the importance of the environment and the critical role they play in the preservation of our world.
For more photos visit the Singita Facebook page.