Category Archives: General

A Winter Weekend at Singita Sweni Lodge Part 1

July 10, 2015 - General

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

Singita_Mar 08 2015_2987

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

Singita_Mar 06 2015_1282

Sydney suggests making pasta noodles from scratch:

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

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

Singita_Mar 06 2015_1340

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


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Ross Couper: Field Guide and Wildlife Photographer

May 04, 2015 - Did You Know?,General,People of Singita

Singita Field Guide Ross Couper

Field Guide Ross Couper and his stunning wildlife photographs will be no stranger to regular readers of this blog. His keen eye for animals in interesting situations and the gorgeous landscapes surrounding our lodges have produced some of the finest photos we’ve ever had the privilege of publishing.

Copyright Ross Couper

Born in Zimbabwe, Ross grew up at Matopos National Park, where his father was Park Warden, and developed a deep love for capturing nature through painting and sculpture. The impracticalities of these art forms for an enthusiastic traveller like Ross brought forth an interest in photography as a way of documenting his surroundings. In this excerpt from his interview with the South African Tourism blog, he explains more about his passion for photography:

Copyright Ross Couper

Q: When did your passion for wildlife photography begin?
A: Photography happened because of a “don’t know what to get you for Christmas” situation with my wife. As a result she purchased my first camera with the hope of getting on top of my ‘Best Ever Christmas Gift’ list. In short, she has been up there ever since 2009. I had a great interest in art, however due to travelling the globe it limited my scope to take my art further, so receiving a camera was an outlet to capture my artistic view on life during my travels.

Copyright Ross Couper

Q: What inspires your images?
A: Finding an artistic view of capturing a unique moment. Capturing an image where the viewer will be in awe of how the image was captured and evoke a feeling of being in the moment when it occurred. As a wildlife artist, I always had an idea in my head before putting it onto canvas and I find that I have the same inclination when it comes to my photography. I am a photographer that prefers to take time to really study my subjects. I like to effectively capture moments that showcase the beauty of the wildlife in Africa and the scenery that embraces in every inch of the content.

Copyright Ross Couper

Copyright Ross Couper

Q: How would you describe your style of photography?
A: I have a strong drive to acquire uniqueness in my images, by capturing the beauty of the African surroundings and its wildlife, with the hope that my photography will inspire people around the world to travel and visit the wild areas of Africa and experience the imagery that has been captured first hand. I’d describe my style of photography as artistic. I enjoy portraying a wildlife subject as if it were stepping out of the frame and engulfing the viewer to feel as though they were in the moment. Captivating an audience to view an image and wonder, just how was this photograph was captured. A profound quote by Anne Geddes that inspires me: “The best images are the ones that retain their strength and impact over the years, regardless of the number of times they are viewed”.

Copyright Ross Couper

Copyright Ross Couper

Q: What are the challenges regarding wildlife photography, and what attributes should a wildlife photographer have?
A: Patience, timing, light, subject availability are all just a few requirements that come to mind. There are always challenges but I believe it’s how you overcome a challenge that makes you a great photographer. For instance if the light is fading and you don’t get the shot you are looking for, keep persistent to attaining that image, go out again, focus on the goal and keep trying. I can recall an event where I was due to service my car and on route out of the National Park during a day off, I was informed that there was a leopard and two cubs sitting on a rocky outcrop within an hour’s detour to my route out of the park. I called the car dealership and mentioned I was running late. Finding the leopard on the rock and getting a glimpse of the leopard cubs resulted in me sitting in the back of the car with my eye glued to my cameras view finder for 5 hours waiting for a perfect view. After calling the car dealership for the third time I knew it would be better just to cancel as this was an opportunity of a lifetime.

Copyright Ross Couper

Copyright Ross Couper

Q: What would you say to foreigners wanting to come and visit South Africa’s wild spaces?
A; What are you waiting for? There is no place like Africa. It’s place where you cry when you arrive due its beauty and you will cry when you leave because of it’s beautiful people. It will engulf you and sink deep into heart as a special place that you will always return to. It’s a soul enriching visit.

Copyright Ross Couper

Copyright Ross Couper

Read the full interview on the South African Tourism blog and follow us on Instagram to see more of his beautiful photos from the bush.

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Sharing #ourSingita

March 31, 2015 - General

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Tanzania

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Tanzania

One of the advantages of producing the Singita blog is providing a platform for sharing interesting stories, the latest news and beautiful photographs with our readers. Some of our most popular posts include Highlights from our Wildlife Reports and close-ups of the lodge design and decor, while food-lovers seem to enjoy our unusual Africa-inspired recipes and styling ideas.

Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

The subjects of animals, landscapes, food, architecture and interiors are reflected in many of our visitors’ own social media posts. As a way of showcasing and celebrating this content, a new page was created on the Singita website to serve as an online scrapbook.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Guests are now able to share their most memorable moments by adding the hashtag #ourSingita to their Twitter and Instagram posts, which in turn are published on this page along with the latest Singita blog posts. Users are also able to share content via Pinterest and Facebook, or even submit their photos, videos and stories via the website. It’s a wonderful way to stay updated on the latest goings on at the lodges and gain a guest’s perspective of the experience of staying at Singita.

#ourSingita - Place of Miracles

The new #ourSingita page on our website

Keep your finger on the pulse by following Singita on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Vimeo. Don’t forget that you can also subscribe to the blog via RSS for regular updates from our 12 lodges and camps in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

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16 Years Hosting Veterinarians Wildlife Course

March 10, 2015 - General

Singita Pamushana Lodge located on the 130,000-acre Malilangwe Reserve, partners with the Malilangwe Trust, every year to co-host an internationally renowned course on Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife.  The course originated in Zimbabwe more than 30 years ago when the Government Veterinary Service (GVS) was asked to assist in the training of National Parks personnel in safe wild animal capture.

Vets course

It is the culmination of ideas, knowledge, and experience gained over the last three decades and is designed to benefit both the wildlife industry in southern Africa as well as other professionals from around the world working with captive or free-ranging wild animals. This is the 16th year the 10-day course has taken place and this year included students from 17 different countries.  The objective is to educate wildlife health and management professionals in the science and art of wildlife capture. These skills can be of huge benefit in the preservation of wildlife populations all over the world.

Whether it be a rhino in Africa or a snow leopard in Asia, threatened or endangered species cannot be effectively managed without the occasional intervention. This can be for health reasons, the fitting and removal of GPS tracking technology, or even relocation into areas where numbers are low or a species has disappeared altogether. The course teaches the relevant wild animal capture skills to achieve all these.


Participants obtain a wealth of both theoretical and hands-on practical experience unavailable on equivalent courses. The field aspects are conducted in a wild and free-roaming environment, so safety is paramount.  A key feature is the wide range of local, regional and international lecturers and wildlife managers that assist in teaching both theoretical and field aspects of safe wildlife capture. All are leaders in their individual fields and include veterinarians and pathologists, managers and researchers, game capturers and helicopter pilots.

The course integrates a variety of topics including legislation, theoretical and applied pharmacology, theoretical and applied physiology, stress and capture-related conditions, safety and first aid in the field, use of helicopters, ethical principles, chemical immobilisation and species requirements, drug injecting equipment, dart projectors, ancillary treatments in wildlife capture, transport of wild animals and post-mortem techniques.


The CPRWA course is run by the Zimbabwe Wildlife Veterinary Trust and Wildlife Capture Africa headed by Dr. Chap Masterson in conjunction with the Malilangwe Trust (

Richard and Sarah Madden are freelance travel writers and filmmakers. Richard has written for the Daily Telegraph (UK) for more then 20 years and met Sarah while presenting documentaries for the Discovery Channel which were produced by Sarah. Prior to working with Singita, the couple spent 18 months in Africa writing and filming the multi-media Bush Telegraph column for the Daily Telegraph. The column includes reports on safaris, wildlife conservation and community stories from all over southern and eastern Africa.

Richard and Sarah Madden resized


This film was mostly shot on a Leica V-Lux ( For invaluable additional footage, huge thanks to Josh Mostert, Wildlife Capture Africa.

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Singita’s Wine Offering

January 26, 2015 - General

Singita Boulders Lodge ready to host you for dinner

Interest in South African wine continues to grow apace at Singita’s lodges. Head of Singita Premier Wine since 2000, François Rautenbach not only manages the selection, acquisition, maturation and distribution of the wines for each lodge, but developed and now oversees the service-driven, guest-focused wine culture that differentiates Singita from its competitors at the top end of the safari market.

Guests often marvel at the attention to detail and effort that is evident in the choice and quality of wines on offer at the different lodges. Many of the wines are not available anywhere else, and older vintages of wines are the norm rather than the exception. François’s close working relationships with specific winemakers, developed over the years, ensures that Singita is offered sought-after allocations not available to any other buyers. Singita also has a reputation for being one of the biggest buyers at South Africa’s most prestigious wine auctions, including the Nederburg Auction and Cape Winemaker’s Guild Auction.

Gregory pouring wine

Ultimately what matters is the preference of the guests, so it’s interesting to discover that the majority of guests favour barrel-fermented whites and Cabernet Sauvignon-led blends or straight Cabernet Sauvignon for their red wines. The biggest challenge right now is keeping up with demand, especially for vintage red wines. ‘Wine consumption across our 12 lodges has doubled in the past two years, largely as a result of average occupancies doubling.’On average, an astounding 50 000 bottles of wine are consumed each year, of which at least 50 percent are red wines – this percentage increases to 55 percent in winter. Wines are matured under carefully managed conditions, which is why the lodges are able to offer the majority of their red wines at five years or older. It’s also not unusual to have multiple vintages of a particular wine on offer, adding to the complexity of the task at hand.

François compiles Singita’s wine collection with the same measured, long-term approach that is taken to conservation and sustainability, investing carefully for the future and encouraging new wine developments rather than reacting to current fashion trends or local market demands.

Singita Lebombo Lodge wine cellar

Sums up François: ‘Ultimately, acquainting guests with the scope and depth of Singita’s wine offering and staying in tune with what they want to drink, is what inspires me to continue to aim for excellence in this position. The fact that we are becoming adept at turning guests from all corners of the globe into ambassadors for South African wine is a bonus!’

If you would like to know more about our Singita wine stories and connect with our previous blogs posts, read some interesting insights about Stocking The Singita Wine Cellars and some more information on Singita Premier Wine here.  






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Merry Christmas

December 24, 2014 - General

One of the themes on our blog and for Singita as a company over the past year has been celebrating the people that help to make a visit to our lodges so unique and unforgettable for our guests. These #singitastories profiled some of our team members and their journey to Singita, often in remarkably challenging circumstances.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Singita

Saitoti Ole Kuwai (a field guide at Singita Grumeti) was inspired to follow a career in conservation after seeing the tragic effects of poaching first hand in his community. Peter Andrew (pastry chef at Singita Faru Faru Lodge) was a formidable poacher before being given the opportunity to turn his life around in the kitchens at Singita Grumeti. A group of spirited and dedicated people make up the Super Sweni Team who ensure that every visit to Singita Sweni Lodge feels like coming home. Michael Matera (chef at Singita Sabora Tented Camp) worked his way up from grounds attendant to highly capable right-hand to Executive Chef, Frank Louw, learning English and winning awards along the way. There is certainly no shortage of inspiration at Singita, for staff members and guests alike.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Singita

These stories only scratch the surface of the incredible talent and character evident in all of our staff and we are so proud of each and every member of our Singita family. CEO Luke Bailes acknowledged all of their achievements during the past year in a recent internal newsletter: “Thank you for your contribution to making Singita what it is today. I am deeply grateful to all of you. We receive emails every week from highly satisfied guests – testimony to the tremendous effort everyone goes to, in order to delight your guests.”

Merry Christmas from all of us at Singita

From all of us at head office, the staff at each lodge, our field guides and trackers, the chefs and cooks in the kitchens, and our conservation and community development teams, may we take this opportunity to wish you a blessed Christmas and an outstanding 2015.

You can read all of the #singitastories here and don’t forget to watch the accompanying videos on our Vimeo channel.

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Awards Round-Up 2014

November 28, 2014 - Awards,General,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Singita Grumeti,Sustainable Conservation

Singita Awards 2014

Singita Boulders Lodge

This year Singita has been honored with international recognition received from leading publications around the world. Recently, five of our properties were named among the Top 20 Safari Lodges/Camps in Andrew Harper’s 2014 “Readers’ Choice Awards” with Singita Boulders Lodge chosen as the best safari lodge in the world.

Both Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park, respectively were named as the #1 and #3 Lodges and Resorts in Africa and the Middle East in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards”. In addition to this honor, Singita Sabi Sand, Singita Kruger National Park and Singita Grumeti were named among the top 10 “Best Africa Safari Lodges and Wilderness Spots” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2014 Gold List (USA).


Singita Boulders Lodge


Singita Ebony Lodge


Singita Lebombo Lodge


Singita Sweni Lodge

Singita Castleton, which was completely renovated and reopened in 2013, was recognized as one of the best resorts in Robb Report’s annual “Best of the Best” issue and was also listed, along with Singita Grumeti, in their May 2014 “Top 100 Resorts” issue.

Singita Awards 2014

Singita Castleton

Singita Grumeti and Singita Sabi Sand were recognized in Condé Nast Traveller’s UK edition of the “Readers’ Travel Awards,” where they were both listed among the top 10 hotels in the Middle East, Africa & the Indian Ocean. Singita Grumeti was honored as the #1 hotel in hotel in the Middle East, Africa & the Indian Ocean and was also ranked as the #2 travel destination in the World’s Top 100. In addition to the “Reader’s Travel Awards”, Singita Castleton was featured on Condé Nast Traveller’s “Hot List” in the UK.


Singita Sabora Tented Camp


Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Most recently the 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards (USA) were announced and Singita Sabi Sand was voted #4 in the world/ #2 in Africa and Singita Grumeti #7 in the world/ #3 in Africa.

Singita Awards 2014

Singita Sabi Sand

Singita has been the fortunate and grateful recipient of a number of awards over the years, all of which you can see on our website. Most recently, Singita was honoured with a World Tourism Award at World Travel Market 2014 in recognition of the company’s outstanding contribution to environmentally conscious hospitality.

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What to Pack: Singita Pamushana Lodge

September 02, 2014 - Did You Know?,Experience,General,Lodges and Camps,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

Packing for a safari in the African bush can be a little bit daunting for the uninitiated. What shoes do I bring? Are shorts appropriate? Do I need a long-sleeved shirt? Does it get cold enough for a jacket? Should I bring my own binoculars? We’ve answered these and many other questions in the “Tips for Travellers” section for each lodge but we thought a quick refresher might be in order.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

The gear and clothing required for each lodge is relatively similar, but this time we’ll focus on Singita Pamushana Lodge, situated in the beautiful and mostly untouched Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in Zimbabwe. The area is home to hundreds of baobab trees and an unrivalled gathering of birds with more than 500 species, including many raptors. During a stay at Singita Pamushana Lodge, you are likely to spot a great variety of wildlife, including species such as black rhino, white rhino, Lichtenstein hartebeest, sable, nyala, klipspringer, cheetah, wild dog, lion and leopard.

Singita's essential safari gear

Singita's essential safari gear

Lodge Manager, Emily Capon, says that layers are the most important thing to consider when packing for the bush. In summer (October to April), the weather is warm during the day and cooler in the morning and evenings. She recommends casual summer clothes (shorts and cool shirts) and a warm sweater for the cooler times of day. During the fall and winter (May to September), the temperature during the day is usually fairly mild, with plenty of sunshine, but colder in the mornings and evenings. In these cooler months, casual light clothing and a very warm parka or jacket is recommended for the extremely chilly mornings and nights. It is suggested that you stick to a tonal, neutral colour palette (khaki, beige, light brown) and avoid dark colours as they absorb heat, and bright colours as they can attract bugs.

Fishing at Singita Pamushana lodge in Zimbabwe

Other essential items of clothing include comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots for walks; sandals to wear around the lodge, a sturdy cap or sun hat, and a swimming costume or bathing suit so that you can enjoy the stunning infinity pool that overlooks the dam. Please note that in the event of rain during a game drive, waterproof ponchos will be provided for your comfort.

The pool at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

It’s a good idea to pack your favourite sun block, lip balm and mosquito repellent, as although all of these items are provided at the lodges, you might want to bring along your preferred brand. Sunglasses are also essential, along with an extra pair of correction glasses (if required), contact lens solution, an extra set of contact lenses (if required) as well as a sufficient supply of any prescription medication.

You’ll no doubt want to capture those precious memories with your camera and/or video camera, and don’t forget spare memory cards, your tripod and lenses, and any charging equipment (220V although we do have international adapters in all the rooms). The lodge does have a number of pairs of binoculars that guests are welcome to use on game drives or when bird-watching from the lodge. Your own pair of compact, high quality binoculars will greatly enhance your game-spotting ability however, and offer the best possible close-up of the local wildlife.

Game drives at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Emily Capon has worked at Singita for just over five years. She says: “Zimbabwe is home for me, I grew up here and there are so many reasons to love it! The most common comment from guests is about how friendly all the people are and that is definitely true. I love Singita Pamushana Lodge as it is so different to anything else and so vibrant and happy!” You can get in touch with our reservations team to find out more.

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Heri kwa sikukuu ya Pasaka!

April 18, 2014 - General

No, that isn’t a typo; that’s how you say Happy Easter in Swahili! For the people of Tanzania, where you will find Singita Grumeti and its five lodges and camps, Swahili is their mother tongue, and a language they share with 140 million other people in East Africa.

From our Singita family in the Serengeti, Singita Pamushana Lodge in Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe and our concessions in Sabi Sand and Kruger National Park, we wish you a very peaceful Easter with your loved ones.

Happy Easter from Singita

Why not catch up on our latest Wildlife Reports over the weekend? They’re written by our field guides and published monthly to bring you first-hand sighting reports from the bush. Want more regular updates? Follow us on Facebook.

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Highlights from Instagram

April 11, 2014 - General

Follow Singita on Instagram

One of the many wonderful benefits of visiting one of our 12 lodges and camps in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, is that there is never a shortage of photo opportunities. From big game, baby animals, unusual birds and other unique wildlife, to stunning landscapes, beautiful food, designer interiors and exquisite sunsets; it’s a shutterbug’s paradise. Our Instagram account gives followers a daily taste of life in the bush with gorgeous photos from our managers, guides, chefs, sommeliers, community projects, conservation teams and, of course, our guests.

Follow Singita on Instagram

Follow us on Instagram at @Singita_ and see our other social feeds here.

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