Category Archives: Experience

A Festive Family Gathering at Singita

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

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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.

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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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Stargazing on Safari

December 05, 2014 - Experience,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singia Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe

Pumbaa: Hey, Timon, ever wonder what those sparkly dots are up there?
Timon: Pumbaa, I don’t wonder; I know.
Pumbaa: Oh. What are they?
Timon: They’re fireflies. Fireflies that, uh… got stuck up on that big bluish-black thing.
Pumbaa: Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away.

Singia Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe

There’s only one guaranteed sighting we can give you on safari, and that’s to lie back in your seat, in the pitch black darkness of a remote African wilderness, and look to the heavens – just as Pumbaa and Timon did in The Lion King.

Stargazing Safari at Singita Pamushana Lodge

On the way back from an evening game drive your guide might ask you to pause for a few moments and quietly absorb the humbling enormity of our night skies. And that’s when the magic starts to happen… As soon as everyone is silent you’ll hear the nocturnal sounds of the wild – the rolling thunder of a lion’s roar, a choir of frogs or the whistling whisper of a nightjar.

Stargazing Safari at Singita Pamushana Lodge

Then your guide, armed with a laser pointer, will take you on an astral journey from one end of the solar system to the other. With no air or light pollution you’ll see stars and planets you’ve never witnessed before with the naked eye. You might be told mythological stories of Orion The Hunter in his eternal pursuit of Scorpio, or given the rather imaginative descriptions ancient astronomers chose for various constellations.

Stargazing Safari at Singita Pamushana Lodge

You’ll lose yourself in the Milky Way, our galaxy which is essentially a floating island of stars in the vast ocean of the universe. You’ll witness where stars are born in nebulas, spin with asteroids and fly on the coattails of comets. You’ll wish upon a shooting star and let the moment live with you forever.

Field Guide at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Jenny Hishin, contributed to this post with her words and the stunning time-lapse photos of the stars. Jenny also writes the monthly Wildlife Reports from the region which document interesting animal sightings and changes in the natural environment. Find out more about Singita Pamushana Lodge and all the activities available at the lodge here.

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Close to Nature with Singita Explore

November 21, 2014 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Singita Explore,Singita Grumeti

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Singita Explore, Tanzania

Experiencing the Serengeti’s acacia-dotted open plains filled with game, eating meals cooked over an open fire, and sleeping under canvas beneath star-studded skies is part of the allure of an African safari. Derived from a Swahili word with Arabic origins, the word ‘safari’ refers to a journey or voyage. The spirit of adventure and thrill of discovery encapsulated in that evocative word is the inspiration behind Singita Explore, our tented camps set up in remote, handpicked locations within Singita Grumeti’s 350,000 acres in Tanzania. As close to nature as you can get, Singita Explore places high value on today’s ultimate luxuries – space, solitude, quiet and freedom.

Singita Explore, Tanzania

Booked on a private-use basis to ensure complete exclusivity, Singita Explore meets a growing demand for tailor-made safaris that allow guests the flexibility to do what they want when they want, without having to share anything or see anyone else. Because the vast Singita Grumeti concession is private, it is unlikely that guests will see another vehicle or hear anything other than the sounds of the wild carried on the wind as it whispers through the grass.

Singita Explore, Tanzania

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Each camp site is chosen to maximise game viewing, depending on the time of year, the weather and the special interests of the guests. The vast herds of game that lend the Serengeti its iconic status are constantly moving around depending on the annual rains and the availability of water and grazing. During the migration, tents are pitched directly in the path of vast herds of grazing wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle. At other times of the year, guests have access to an abundance of game, which may include breeding herds of elephant and the predators.

Singita Explore, Tanzania

There are a total of six guest tents and two mess tents for dining and relaxation, which means that Singita Explore is well suited to multi-generational parties of up to 12 people but can just as easily be set up for as few as two guests. As romantic as they are practical, each khaki tent has an en suite bathroom with a bucket shower and a flush toilet. The Cecile & Boyd-designed interiors, characteristically layered and detailed with every creature comfort, offer easy living and encourage true relaxation. Everything about the camp is designed for minimal energy consumption with little environmental impact. Completely off the grid, the camp is run on solar power.

Singita Explore, Tanzania

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Singita Explore offers the same attentive service that is intrinsic to any Singita safari, coupled with the intimacy of being in a private tented camp. There is time to truly engage with staff so that, after a couple of days, it feels as if they are part of the family. A private guide takes you to the centre of all the game-viewing action, is available to lead an interpretative bush walk in the cool of the early morning, teach tracking skills or play football with the kids after breakfast.

A private chef and camp staff turn every mealtime into an occasion, whether it’s an impromptu picnic beneath a shady tree or a lantern-lit dinner cooked over an open fire with only the yelping of hyenas or the roar of nearby lion breaking the silence. In keeping with the relaxed setting, mealtimes are interactive, sociable and enlivened by unforgettable stories about Africa, usually told around the campfire. The food is rustic, uncomplicated and healthy with lots of generous salads, wholesome soups, bread cooked on sticks over the coals, barbecued meats, and decadent teatime cakes.

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In the early morning, you can lie in bed with your tent flaps open to witness the rising sun while enjoying a cup of Tanzanian coffee brewed the old-fashioned way on the fire. At night, safely tucked up between luxurious sheets, the sounds and smells of the surroundings are there to remind you of the day’s adventures.

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Singita Explore is a breathtaking private use camp on the plains of the Serengeti, that combines an authentic camping experience with comfortable elegance and modern convenience. You can find out more by visiting our website or reading the digital brochure

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One Day at Singita Kruger National Park

November 10, 2014 - Experience,Kruger National Park

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

We recently received this wonderful piece of writing from a guest at Singita Lebombo Lodge who wanted to share her special experience with us. It describes her arrival at the air strip, her first game drive, the details of her suite and the most treasured memories of her trip. We thought you might like to read it too:

Lebombo Day 2

My bush experience begins as I wait for my transfer from the air strip to the lodge. Where else in the world do you get greeted under an open-sided thatched airport “arrivals lounge” by someone with the charming name of Evidence presenting you with a warm, scented cloth with which to clean your hands? The build-up continues on the ride to the lodge in the open-topped land rover as I hear the field guide talking on his radio to a colleague about a lion kill he has just witnessed and I notice that the guide’s eyes are never still, constantly scanning his surroundings as he drives.

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

A further warm welcome awaits me at the lodge when I meet my personal “banakeli” (hostess) who will take care of me during my stay. It feels surreal eating lunch on the deck overlooking the river whilst watching a baby elephant mischievously cavorting in the water below.

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

Heading to my room, I am thrilled to see nyala antelope grazing alongside the wooden walkways that lead to the private suites that are scattered above the river that runs below the Lodge. My suite is stunning; beautifully appointed and tastefully furnished, and it is only upon closer inspection that I fully appreciate that every element is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also designed to be fully functional, exceptionally comfortable and totally luxurious.

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

I notice many unique and brilliant touches: the internal tree trunk in the hallway that looks like it is holding up the ceiling but whose boughs serve as a key holder; a handwoven basket into which I can place all my paraphernalia when going for a game drive; a string of tiny red beads placed around the hot water tap; a cabinet filled with delicious snacks, drinks, a coffee machine, fresh milk, and every other conceivable luxury that one could imagine. I wish that I could spend a week in this haven of hedonism but a late afternoon game drive beckons and so I hurry to the main reception area where a sumptuous tea awaits me before setting off.

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

As with the various staff who attend to my comforts and needs, the field guide assigned to me will be responsible for my game viewing and any extra activities that I may wish to experience; be it a game walk or a bush bike ride, star gazing or archery. He will tailor-make any activity to suit me and I am struck that the key element that drives Singita and contributes to the unique experience that it offers, is all about the relationships that one forms; with the wonderful staff, with the environment and the elements, and with the wildlife that forms the integral core of one’s stay.

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

I see four of the Big 5 on that first, magical drive, the most poignant of which was the sighting of a two-year-old leopard, the only one of three cubs to survive under the protection of his watchful mother, who herself was subsequently attacked and killed by lions. Stopping for drinks at sunset, crystal glasses and bowls of snacks were laid out on the hood of the vehicle, and we listened to our guide and tracker telling bush tales with the sounds of the wild in the background.

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

If my senses weren’t sufficiently awakened by a few hours in the bush, then they certainly were by the food which was to follow! To say I was wined and dined like a queen is an understatement. From my own personal menu designed to include all of my favourite foods, to a selection of wines from one of the finest cellars in the world, I was amazed that the quality, quantity and selection of ingredients is possible, given the remote location and difficulty of accessibility.

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After one of the best night’s sleep for years and a delightful personal wake up call, I make the decision to forego the early morning game drive. Instead I watch from the deck of my suite as a huge herd of elephants slowly make their way along the banks of the river, eating and drinking with all the grace and majesty that befits these magnificent beasts. On my walk up to the main lodge for breakfast, I am accompanied by an amusing troop of vervet monkeys and even see a brazen youngster grabbing a selection of dried fruit from the breakfast table before being chased away by an incensed member of staff. This does nothing to shatter my peace and the opportunity to enjoy some alone time in camp without other guests around.

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

Later, sipping a coffee made by the lodge’s barista, I reflect upon a day where I felt that every part of me had been touched and was connected to both myself and my surroundings. I ponder the welcome card I found on my pillow that simply states: Singita. Pause/Experience/Remember. I did, I have done and I always shall.

Belinda Lemkus grew up in South Africa and is now based in the UK, where she lives in London with her husband and two daughters. This was her second visit to Singita.

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Tanzania’s Serengeti – A Year-Round Destination

October 22, 2014 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Explore,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti,Singita Mara River Tented Camp,Singita Sabora Tented Camp,Singita Sasakwa Lodge,Singita Serengeti House,Wildlife

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

The Serengeti in Tanzania is inextricably associated with the annual wildebeest migration in the imagination of most travellers in search of the ultimate African safari. However, once the wildebeest have moved on in their perpetual search for grazing, the Serengeti offers diverse and fascinating game viewing, from big predators to prolific prey, on its vast open plains and along its river banks.

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

Warm and fairly dry, January to March is a great time to visit the region with large herds of topi, zebra, eland, giraffe and Thompson’s gazelle starting to gather on the open plains. This is also the calving season and thousands of these animals, including big herds of wildebeest that stay behind, give birth over a period of a few weeks.

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

The concentrated herds attract the attention of predators, especially the big cats, and sightings of leopard and lion are common. Scattered rain showers freshen up warm days and produce bright green landscapes and crisp, clear skies conducive to beautiful photography. As it’s the end of the dry season, the Mara and Grumeti rivers start to recede forcing the animals to congregate close to available water sources which makes them easier to find.

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

The months of April and May are known as the season of the long rains, transforming the landscape as lush, longer grasses grow and rivers, lakes and pans start to fill up with water again. Large herds of herbivores, including significant breeding herds of elephant and buffalo, are common sightings. During this time, throughout the Serengeti there is greater exclusivity at wildlife sightings and increased flexibility when it comes to planning itineraries.

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

By May there is a sense of anticipation in the Serengeti as the migration could arrive at any time to seek dependable water sources and start grazing on the long, golden grasslands. Industry insiders consider it to be the most underrated month to visit with fewer people, prolific game sightings and mild, sunny days ideal for bush walks and picnics.

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

The dry season commences again in June and continues until the end of October. Considered high season in Tanzania, it is characterised by pleasantly warm, sunny days and easy game viewing due to the short grasses. September and October are fantastic months in the Lamai, with multiple daily Mara River migration crossings, increased predator action and excellent crocodile, hippo and hyena sightings.

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

In September and October, diverse game congregates along the Grumeti River and in pans, while river crossings by thousands of wildebeest and other migratory plains game are always a thrilling sight. October is Singita head guide Ryan Schmitt’s best time of the year in the Serengeti, due to the all-round excellent game viewing.

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

The short rains in November and December are characterised by brief, spectacular thunderstorms that give way to clear skies and amazing colour contrasts for photography. Awesome cheetah and lion sightings are common, there are large numbers of babies and youngsters amongst both predator and prey species, and migratory birds return to the newly green landscapes.

Discover the Serengeti through our monthly Wildlife Reports, which are written by the field guides themselves, and describe thrilling wildlife sightings, beautiful landscapes and unusual species. Please contact our Reservations team to find out more about visiting our six lodges and camps in Tanzania.

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The Story of Eksoni Ndlovu

October 14, 2014 - Did You Know?,Experience,Kruger National Park,People of Singita,Wildlife

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Like many of the trackers who work at Singita, Eksoni Ndlovu grew up in a small rural community near the Kruger National Park. He learned the basics of tracking and animal interaction as a young man, while tending his family’s cattle and keeping them safe from wild animals. He has since spent more than 23 years honing his craft as an expert tracker and is respected the world over for his skill and perseverance.

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“Tracking is an art, not everyone can do it. You need to be patient and you need to be persistent… A good tracker needs to think like an animal. They need to listen, keep quiet and always be aware.”

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Eksoni’s passion for wildlife conservation is apparent to all those around him. He spends a considerable amount of time passing on his knowledge and experience to apprentice bush rangers so they too can help to preserve this beautiful wilderness. “I’m giving my skills to the community because I want them to learn and follow in my footsteps”.

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Guests also play an important role in protecting, maintaining and enhancing the land. Enos, one of the guides, observes: “We are giving back to conservation by educating our guests about the animals and how we take care of them for future generations.” Singita not only preserves large tracts of land but also works to ensure that people like Eksoni pass on their knowledge to others and in so doing preserve this ancient skill.

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Watch this short video to learn more about Eksoni’s story:

Find out more about Singita’s conservation efforts on our website. You can also share this and other #singitastories via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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Recipe: Mango and Caramel Swiss Roll

September 29, 2014 - Cuisine,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps

Singita Lebombo Lodge

Mango and Caramel Swiss Roll | Singita

Did you know that the Swiss Roll isn’t even from Switzerland? The first references to this teat-time favourite are in fact British, and variations now abound as far afield as Hong Kong, India, Portugal and Spain. Each region has its own twist on the original, including Singita Kruger National Park‘s mango-and-caramel-flavoured one. Chef de Partie and pastry queen extraordinaire, Christien Schrecker, shares her recipe for this delicious sponge cake roll:

Ingredients – what you’ll need:
For the yellow sponge:
5 egg yolks
1 egg
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
yellow food colouring
45g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
20g melted butter

For the chocolate sponge:
5 egg yolks
1 egg
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
30g self-raising flour
15g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
20g melted butter

For the filling:
1 cup whipped cream
¼ cup Caramel Treat or dulce de leche
2 cups diced fresh mango

Method – what to do:
1. Whisk the egg yolks, whole eggs, sugar and vanilla together until white and fluffy.
2. Add the yellow colouring a little at a time until the desired colour is achieved. (We use 2-3 drops of a concentrated colouring gel)
3. Gently fold in the flour and xanthan gum and then fold in the melted butter.
4. Spread the batter onto a Swiss roll tray (2cm thick) and bake at 160˚C for 10 minutes.
5. As soon as the sponge comes out of the oven, turn it out onto a clean, dry tea towel.
6. Roll the sponge up tightly while still warm, and keep aside until cool.
7. Repeat steps 1-6 with the ingredients for the chocolate sponge.
8. Unroll the yellow sponge and spread the caramel over it then sandwich the chocolate sponge on top. Spread the cream over the chocolate sponge and scatter with mango.
9. Roll the cake up tightly and trim the edges for serving.

Here’s a handy online volume converter if you need help with the metric measurements and you can find more great recipe ideas here.

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Recent Facebook Highlights

September 19, 2014 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Safari,Wildlife

Singita’s Facebook community has always been an active space where guests and fans share their thoughts and memories alongside beautiful snapshots by our rangers in the bush. In particular, there have been a number of stunning wildlife photos posted by field guide Ross Couper from Singita Sabi Sand recently that have been shared far and wide. Here is a brief selection:

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A pack of wild dog entertained each other, whilst guests watched in awe at the social interactions taking place. A perfect spring morning.

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A tender moment of an elephant calf that was deserted and shortly afterwards adopted by another female elephant.

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Confident, self assured, tranquil – a few words that come to mind whilst watching the Nyeleti male leopard grooming himself.

Facebook Highlights - Singita - Copyright Ross Couper

A young male leopard keeps attentive to his surroundings as the afternoon light fades to darkness.

You can see more of Singita Sabi Sand’s wildlife and landscapes in this “week in the life” video, shot by another of our talented field guides, Dylan Brandt:

Follow us on Facebook and join 13 000 other wildlife lovers who get regular updates from all twelve lodges in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. One such example is this incredible face-off between a hippo and a pride of lions, captured by a guest.

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