Category Archives: Experience

The Migration 2014 Arrives at Singita Grumeti

May 20, 2014 - Community Development,Conservation,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sasakwa Lodge,Wildlife

It’s that time of year again! The wildebeest have started arriving on the Sasakwa Plains of the Serengeti and the herds seem to be multiplying at an astonishing rate with each passing day. Overnight, the grassland below Singita Sasakwa Lodge has been flooded by tens of thousands of wildebeest, making for some very exciting horseback game-spotting for our lucky guests.

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

Singita Grumeti, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, is an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem, the home of the Great Migration. Singita manages 350,000 acres of this land, and generates the funds necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the reserve via low impact tourism. Visit our website to find out more about our conservation and community development projects in the area.

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First Sighting of the Hlabankunzi Leopard Cubs

May 19, 2014 - Experience,Sabi Sand,Safari,Wildlife

Leopard cubs at Singita Sabi Sand

Last week was a very special one for visitors to Singita Sabi Sand, as the brand new Hlabankunzi leopard cubs made their public debut! The female has moved into the territory of the Ravenscourt female, who was killed roughly a year ago, and now patrols a prize piece of Singita’s 45,000 acre concession. Briefly before the cubs were spotted for the first time, Head Field Guide Mark Broodryk sent us this report:

Leopard cubs at Singita Sabi Sand

“We suspect that she has her cubs under the deck of Room 11 at Singita Ebony Lodge and is as comfortable around the lodge as the Ravenscourt female was. Field guides Dylan, Ruel and I saw Mobeni’s new cubs for the first time yesterday morning, still very tiny and not exactly sure of numbers just yet. She has them close to the Khosa pan area in the Ximobanyane drainage. She seems to be a different leopard now that the Ravenscourt female has gone, she is not nearly as nervous as she used to be and we are able to view her fairly regularly. Her son has become independent and if approached correctly, also provides good viewing. Just yesterday we followed him for about 1½ hours and he curled up to sleep about 10m from the vehicle! Overall we seem to have come out on top with our leopard viewing and looks like the legacy of the leopard viewing for this reserve will continue.”

Leopard cubs at Singita Sabi Sand

Keep your eyes on our Instagram and Facebook accounts to see the latest photos of the cubs, straight from our field guides.

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Elephant Antics at Singita Sabi Sand

April 26, 2014 - Experience,Sabi Sand,Wildlife

One story from our latest Wildlife Report from Singita Sabi Sand got plenty of attention this week and was shared on various news and social media networks worldwide. It’s easy to see why when you look at this amusing series of photos by field guides Leon van Wyk and Ross Couper – they certainly gave us the giggles!

Marula tree at Singita Sabi Sand

Time has once again flown by, and yet another marula season has come and gone. February 2014 saw a real bumper crop of these delicious fruit being produced by the many hundreds of marula trees that are to be found at Singita Sabi Sand. Various animals were seen tucking into this fruity feast with great gusto! Not only the elephants, who are so famous for enjoying these smooth-skinned, large-stoned fruits, but also monkeys, baboons, impala, kudu, warthogs, zebra… and, of course, humans.

Elephant antics at Singita Sabi Sand

There has long been an African myth about the marula fruit intoxicating large mammals that have consumed huge amounts of the fallen fruit. This bush legend played in my mind recently when we had a sighting of an elephant herd moving through the bush, feeding on the fermenting marula fruit. The younger elephants walked behind the older siblings, picking up and eating the fruit as they moved – the older elephants seemed to be ‘teaching’ the youngsters what was safe to eat. An adult cow had forcefully shaken a nearby marula tree, knocking off lots of the fruit, which a few younger elephants passed by our vehicle to eat. We watched in awe because the youngsters definitely seemed to display signs of being rather tipsy!

Elephant antics at Singita Sabi Sand

As amusing as the idea may be, it is in fact extremely unlikely. In reality, an elephant eating only marulas may consume roughly 30kg in one day or approximately 714 individual fruits. This is less than half of the marulas needed to produce intoxication. There have been reports of elephant behaviour that resembles an intoxicated state, but research shows that this is unlikely to occur only from eating marulas.

Elephant antics at Singita Sabi Sand

It has been speculated that the behaviour may be the result of the elephants eating beetle pupae that live in the bark of marula trees. These pupae have traditionally been used by the San people to poison their arrow tips, and this toxin could lead to behavioural changes in animals that consume it. Another explanation is that bull elephants, who are particularly fond of marula fruit, are simply defending their favourite food resource.

Elephant antics at Singita Sabi Sand

The beautiful elephants of Singita Sabi Sand feature regularly in our monthly Wildlife Reports and on our social media pages. Spanning more than 45,000 acres, this concession is also renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings.

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Touching the Earth Lightly: Celebrating Earth Day 2014

April 22, 2014 - Conservation,Conservation,Did You Know?,Environment,Experience,Lamai,Lodges and Camps,Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Singita celebrates Earth Day

Earth Day is honoured every year on April 22, in a worldwide show of support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. Singita’s lodges and camps are committed to “touching the earth lightly”, and this is manifested in the way the lodges are constructed; how they operate today; and how guests experience the wildlife and the natural habitat around them.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

Singita Mara River Tented Camp is the epitome of sustainable tourism and consciously seeks to eliminate the unnecessary use of energy. In keeping with this philosophy, the camp operates “off-the-grid” and relies on a custom designed solar power system, with an inverter battery bank that ensures an uninterrupted power source at night or on rainy days. The photo voltaic solar panels used to harvest energy from the sun supply electricity to the camp’s energy-saving LEDs lights, pool pump, and washing machines, among other things.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

The camp’s potable water comes from a borehole near the site and is, in turn, heated by solar geysers. Although this water is drinkable, Singita is also planning an additional filtering system which will be in place before the end of the year, eliminating the need to use any plastic bottled water at this location.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

The camp has been purpose-built to be environmentally conscious, and as a result has a clean and efficient recycling programme that is leading the way for the rest of Singita’s lodges. Waste management is extremely important to this process. For example, fresh produce is transported and wrapped using traditional methods, such as recycled wooden boxes and wood chips or sawdust for packing. These boxes are then returned to the local supplier for the following week so that no plastic or modern packaging is used, eliminating unnecessary waste going into the country’s landfills.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

To limit the construction footprint, Singita Mara River Tented Camp makes use of a series of open-air decks instead of separate buildings for the gym and spa. Energetic guests have access to yoga mats, kettle bells and jump ropes, while the spa offers treatments on the decks or in the tents, without using any electrical equipment. Toiletries used in the lodge are also all organic.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

Singita’s achievements with the efficient and environmentally-friendly construction and operations of Singita Mara River Tented Camp are significant in light of our planet’s ongoing struggle to maintain balance and fight climate change. The wonderful “lightness” of this property will serve as a template for all future lodge designs, setting a benchmark for responsible but luxurious travel.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

Conservation lives hand-in-hand with ecotourism and community development at Singita. We believe it’s the responsible way to maintain and extend the sustainability of our wildlife reserves. Read more about our conservation efforts on our website.

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A Love for Leopards

April 02, 2014 - Experience,Sabi Sand,Singita Boulders Lodge,Singita Ebony Lodge,Wildlife

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

As with many South Africans, I grew up visiting game reserves fairly regularly, and going on camping trips in remote locations with my family during school holidays. I completely took for granted that, at a fairly young age, I had seen such incredible creatures as lions and elephants at close proximity, and in their natural habitat.

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

It was only a couple of years ago when I visited the Kruger National Park for the first time that I realised that for all my childhood game-spotting, I had never seen a leopard in the wild. Their feline grace, exquisite colouring and enigmatic nature totally captivate me, and we spent a week scouring the bushes for these elusive spotted cats but to no avail.

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

In January I was lucky enough to visit Singita Sabi Sand for the first time and was determined to track down a leopard. James and Leon, my tracking-and-guiding team, were duly briefed and we set off into the wakening bush on the first morning game drive in search of one of the area’s resident leopards. There are a number of handsome males with territories that traverse Singita’s concession in the Sabi Sand; Nyaleti, Ravenscourt and Khashane among them. They are regularly featured in the guides’ Wildlife Reports from the region and have even been spotted in and around the lodges themselves!

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

It was an absolute thrill an hour later to discover a male leopard walking casually through the bush in front of our vehicle. We followed him through the undergrowth for a short while, and watched him leap silently into a nearby ebony tree, where he used the height of the branches to get a better view of the surrounding area. We sat in the vehicle and watched him quietly for a few moments, astounded by his beauty.

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

I was lucky enough to have two more leopard sightings in as many days at Singita Sabi Sand; both equally breathtaking. It was an experience that rendered me quite speechless and something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Leopards at Singita Sabi Sand

All photos by field guide Ross Couper. Text by blog manager Julia da Silva.

Singita Sabi Sand is a privately owned game reserve in the Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Spanning more than 45,000 acres, Singita Sabi Sand is renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings.

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Design Details: Singita Mara River Tented Camp

March 24, 2014 - Accommodation,Experience,Lamai,Lodges and Camps,Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

In the design of Singita Mara River Tented Camp the focus was on creating an immersive experience at the famed river crossing point for the annual migration. The look and feel, conceptualised by Cécile & Boyd, is a profound celebration of contemporary African design and offers a sense of laid back luxury.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

The camp draws inspiration from its East African location, but with a feeling of bohemian glamour that seeks to balance form and function in a non-traditional way. This creates an visual ambience that is elegant but relaxed, with an industrial metal frame work in black hammorite, hung with beige tents and then lined inside in cool white cotton canvas walls and ceilings. Wooden decks and basket walls and roofs tie the camp to the site in a delicate and respectful way, ensuring that it touches the earth lightly.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

As part of their interpretation of the vision for the camp, GAPP Architects & Urban Designers created generous ‘fitto’ screens that provide shade for the outdoor dining and lounge areas, and suspended sapling walls are strategically placed the define the space and offering privacy for our guests. The tents are positioned on the edge of ‘hovering’ decks, so that one is slightly elevated, maximising the views and creating separate living areas on different levels. Fly sheets allow guests to enjoy the space and also to sleep with the main tent flaps open, while protected from inquisitive insects.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Strong contemporary design puts a fresh spin on local creativity, with inspiration coming from traditional, everyday African objects like baskets, beads and pots. There has been a distinct focus on sourcing the talented work of young inspiring African designers. The camp’s signature colour palette of camel, red, grey and charcoal has been incorporated into various decor items and furniture pieces, and live alongside timber sculptures carved from single pieces of wood. Similarly, wooden turned lights, whose shapes are derived from African pots and then extruded to form the various shapes, are expressed in a contemporary form. The lights are manufactured from sustainable jacaranda wood, while others are made of papier-mâché.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Deep, low-slung sofas and beds are layered in hand spun natural fabrics, throws and cushions of differing weights from heavy sack to sheer muslin voiles. ‘Campaign’ inspired retro travel chests in canvas and raw leather with polished metal detailing create desks, trousseaux and side tables. The relaxed atmosphere is further enhanced with bamboo cutlery, wonky crockery and wobbly glass, wood raffia and huge linen napkins bound in plaited rings.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Extensive use of sustainably sourced, hand crafted African basket ware lends a contemporary but tactile element to the design. For example the wire baskets on the screen near the pool are the exact shape and design of grain sorting baskets, but constructed in wire so that they evolve into a purely decorative element. Baskets used for filtering traditional beer have been painted and hung in a group to form an art work.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

The culture and heritage of neighbouring Masai and local Kuria tribes inspired the jewel-like colours of red, black and blue, while their use of pattern and natural materials heavily influenced the design. Throughout the interior there are items of interest to inspire the guests to see this creativity in a new way and invite the staff to share stories of how African culture and design has been interpreted in a new way.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Internal bathrooms with generous open shower areas and vanity units offer incredible views through a folded-back tent flap towards the river. In the outdoor bathroom, the tub is perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the gorgeous river view while offering total privacy. Beds face eastwards so that the rising sun acts as a natural alarm clock in the early morning, and refreshments are taken on the decks to catch the cooling breeze… the experience is designed to allow the guest to fully engage in this indescribable location.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp is the epitome of sustainable tourism and consciously seeks to eliminate the unnecessary use of energy and non-biodegradable materials. In keeping with this philosophy, the camp operates “off-the-grid” and relies entirely on a custom designed solar system for its power and the use of recycled and natural materials wherever possible. Contact our reservations team to find out more about visiting this untouched wilderness.

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Guest Feedback: Seeing the Serengeti on Horseback

March 19, 2014 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Explore,Singita Grumeti

Horse riding safari in the Serengeti | Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

There can be few more thrilling experiences in life than discovering the vast plains of the Serengeti on horseback; the surreal romance and excitement of exploring the exquisite wilderness of this unique area at eye level with the wildlife. Singita’s day rides and longer equestrian safaris allow guests to journey across the open plains with a herd of zebra or giraffe, bringing them truly in touch with the pulse of Africa. A recent regulation passed by the Tanzanian government now allows Singita’s equestrian safaris to traverse the full breadth and width of the concession, adding even more opportunities for unique game spotting and the discovery of more remote areas of the reserve.

Horse riding safari in the Serengeti | Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

David and Paula Evans traveled to Singita Grumeti from the United States last year and were so moved by the experience that they sent this kind note of thanks to Jason Trollip, Singita’s Tourism Manager for the region.

Horse riding safari in the Serengeti | Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

David writes:

The purpose of this e-mail is two-fold.

First, to compliment Singita on what my wife, Paula, and I could only describe as a holiday of lifetime – made possible largely by the unstinting professionalism, charm and dedication of your on-site teams.

Horse riding safari in the Serengeti | Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

Whilst not wanting to decry the unbelievable quality and attention to detail in all that Singita Sasakwa Lodge and Singita Explore we stayed at displayed in abundance, for us it was the people on the ground that made all the difference.

I would particularly single out Ali and Martin (at the Equestrian Centre) and Nick (at Explore).

Horse riding safari in the Serengeti | Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

Our four-day horseback safari provided us with a series of unforgettable and quite unique moments. From the unquestionable quality of the horses, to the professionalism, skill and knowledge of Martin and Ali, these were four days we will never forget. All this topped off with Martin and Ali’s entertaining and witty company. It was also an unexpected honour to be the first guests to enter one of the reserves on horseback following the new permission recently issued by the government. For advanced riders and repeat guests, having these extra areas to explore is important we feel, given the amount of ground that can be covered on horseback. To us this is an added incentive to return!

Horse riding safari in the Serengeti | Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

Sheer bliss – an experience we are desperate to repeat.

And now to Singita Explore. Paula and I have been very fortunate in life to stay at some of the best hotels/resorts in the world – we haven’t held back! But I can safely say that what Nick and the team provided us with rivalled the best – all with the challenges of being in the depths of the Serengeti. Quite remarkable. Nick was an incredible host and you could see he would do just anything to ensure your every need is catered for. A real star.

Horse riding safari in the Serengeti | Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

So – we thank you all; we will be back.

I would close by saying that never before have we felt the urge to send an e-mail in such glowing terms following a holiday. You should all be very proud of what you have accomplished at Singita Grumeti.

Regards
David and Paula Evans

Our sincere thanks to David and Paula for taking the time to write this letter of appreciation. We very much look forward to welcoming you both back to Singita Grumeti!

All photos © 2013 David Evans

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Bringing a Touch of Safari to Singapore

February 11, 2014 - Africa,Experience,General,Safari,Singita Lebombo Lodge

Singita Lifestyle Event in Singapore

Art and design form an essential part of the experience at Singita, as each lodge elegantly combines the practicalities of life in the bush with a rich palette of African-inspired colours, shapes and textures. This understated “safari chic” aesthetic was recently celebrated at an event in Singapore where likeminded creatives in the world of art, fashion, design and gastronomy came together to share in their appreciation for good style.

Singita Lifestyle Event in Singapore

The venue was transformed into a tented safari camp and pop-up boutique, showcasing international tradespeople, art, contemporary lifestyle products and fashion. Stimulating installations and collectible artworks were displayed alongside wearable art and handmade furnishings, creating a treasure trove of African craftsmanship in the middle of a bustling Asian metropolis.

Singita Lifestyle Event in Singapore

A portion of the sale proceeds in-store and online directly benefited local community and conservation programs, including Singita’s own anti-poaching canine unit operating in the Sabi Sand Reserve. In addition, Singita and Asia to Africa Safaris co-sponsored a fantastic two-night stay for two at Singita Lebombo Lodge which was raffled off at the opening gala.

Singita Lifestyle Event in Singapore

The boutiques and galleries at Singita’s lodges allow guests the opportunity to take home a memento that not only reminds them of their safari adventure with us, but adds a unique and stylish touch of Africa to their homes. A range of collectable sculptures, home-ware and furnishings will allow you to recreate ‘the safari dream’ within your own home. Find out more on the blog.

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Field Guide Favourites: Best of 2013

January 28, 2014 - Africa,Conservation,Environment,Experience,Safari,Wildlife

The African continent is captivating for many reasons; exotic landscapes, diverse cultures and astounding natural beauty among them. A rich and varied wildlife population is no doubt the highlight for many visitors to Africa, with many unique and mysterious species inhabiting our jungles and grasslands. It is critical that the bio-diversity of this land is protected and conserved, which is why Singita’s core vision is to preserve large tracts of wilderness in Africa for future generations with hands-on conservation teams on each property.

The experienced and highly-skilled Singita field guides play a critical role in this process by educating guests about the importance of conservation and instilling in them a deep sense of appreciation for our natural environment. Their beautiful photos from twice-daily game drives have become an extremely popular feature of the social media accounts and are an inspiration to all members of the Singita family. Here, they have selected their favourites from 2013 for you to enjoy:

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

Best wildlife photos of 2013 | Singita

bestof2013new_11

Catch up on our monthly Wildlife Reports and like our Facebook page for first-hand ranger reports straight from the bushveld.

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Cocktails at the Watering Hole: The Singita Sunrise

January 24, 2014 - Experience

Cocktails in the bush | Singita

A poolside aperitif is the perfect way to end a sweltering summer’s day in the bush. Returning from an evening game drive, you are met by the glow of the hurricane lamps dotting the wooden deck, as their reflection glistens on the water. The gentle clink of ice in your glass is accompanied by the singing of crickets and the distant grunting of a lion rising from his daytime slumber.

Cocktails in the bush | Singita

One of our most popular cocktails is the Singita Sunrise, a rebranded version of the classic tequila-based drink.

Ingredients – what you need:
45ml (3 parts) tequila
90ml (6 parts) orange juice
15ml (1 part) Grenadine syrup
Orange slice and a cherry to garnish

Method – what to do:
Pour the tequila and orange juice into glass over ice.
Add the grenadine, which will sink to the bottom.
Do not stir. Garnish and serve.

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Tanzania

Why not make your own Singita Sunrise this weekend? Share your photos with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tag them with #singitasunrise.

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