Category Archives: Lodges and Camps

Singita Pamushana Lodge: An African Gem

December 20, 2012 - Conservation,Environment,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Safari,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

James Suter

Singita Pamushana Lodge is easily described as one of the most beautiful places on earth. Situated in the heart of the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in south-eastern Zimbabwe, it is an oasis of beauty, thriving with both wildlife and a rich archaeological and cultural heritage. It is home to over four hundred species of birds, including fourteen species of eagle and ten different types of owls. The area is dotted with majestic baobabs and cathedral-like mopane forests, as well as impressive rocky outcrops littered with nearly a hundred rock painting sites dating back over two thousand years. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to discover all the wonders of this untouched wilderness area for myself.

Lion at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Rhino at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

The reserve was established back in 1994 in order to conserve forty thousand hectares of land, its environment and its wildlife. A strong focus was placed on safeguarding protected species such as the black and white rhino, the roan antelope, and Zimbabwe’s most rare antelope, the Lichtenstein’s hartebeest.

Cheetah at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Wildlife of Singita Pamushana Lodge

Malilangwe is also where I had my most memorable and unusual cheetah sighting. I saw my first ever pangolin here, a unique species with its shy and nocturnal habits making it almost impossible to observe in the wild. I came face to face with the ill-tempered black rhino and lived to tell the tale. I scaled the massive sandstone outcrops, embracing the scenic treasures and meandered along the Chiredzi River.

Baobab tree at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Wildlife of Singita Pamushana Lodge

I truly soaked up every minute and cherished every unique sighting, and I can’t wait to share all my experiences at Singita Pamushana Lodge with you over the next few weeks.

Find out more about the unique rock art that surrounds the lodge by reading our recent blog article. James Suter will be back next week with the extraordinary tale of an unfortgettable cheetah sighting.

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Diary of an African Christmas: Stocking the Pantry

December 19, 2012 - Events,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Singita Lebombo Lodge

Preparations are underway in the kitchen at Singita Lebombo Lodge in the Kruger National Park as the team busily fills the larder with mouthwatering festive delights. We asked Ludwig von Tonder, our very own Singita Christmas elf, to tell us all about it.

Strawberries

There’s something about the bright red and green colour of strawberries that always reminds me of Christmas. And after the sun has ripened them to ruby perfection, December is the ideal month for making strawberry jam.

If you’re like me and need no excuse to indulge in something sweet, then Sally’s Seed Loaf with homemade strawberry jam is the perfect (almost) guilt-free treat. With the festive season in mind, we have taken the basic recipe and added some cranberries and spices to invoke the spirit of Christmas. Rooibos tea is used instead of water to celebrate our African heritage, while oats, wholewheat and organic rye flour and various seeds combine to make a delicious, fibre-rich loaf that is full of goodness.

Sally's Seed Loaf with homemade strawberry jam

Another essential Christmas treat is our homemade fruit mince pies. Generous helpings of raisins, currents and cranberries are cooked together with dark treacle sugar, orange and spices until soft and sticky. The fragrant mixture is then preserved and kept throughout December, always at the ready to be spooned into pastry cases, baked, and showered with icing sugar. These white, powdery mounds filled with their sweet treats remind us that even in Africa we can have some snow for Christmas.

Making fruit mince pies

After weeks of preparation, I’m now gratified to see our well-stocked pantry that is bursting with homemade items. Jars of strawberry jam, chocolate chip cookies, macadamia nut rusks, fruit-mince at the ready and our fruitcakes silently awaiting December 25th, only being opened every few days to receive a regular shot of brandy. The days are getting longer and increasingly hotter as we count down to Christmas Day; the excitement building all the while.

Putting out the lanterns

The candlelit boma

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Diary of an African Christmas: Dusting the Chandelier

December 12, 2012 - Events,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Singita Lebombo Lodge

For many of our guests, especially those from the Northern Hemisphere, the idea of a warm, sunny Christmas is rather a novelty. And although we don’t have snowflakes and fir trees, the charm of spending this special day in the African bush is undeniable. We asked Ludwig von Tonder, our very own Christmas elf at Singita Lebombo Lodge in the Kruger National Park, to take us through the lodge’s preparations leading up to the big day.

Christmas decorations

As I self-consciously hum Boney M’s White Christmas to get into the spirit of things, I realize that even here, among the thorn trees and rolling grasslands that never see the snow, there is a sense of timeless tradition in our African Christmas.

Beaded Christmas decorations

We prepare for the much-anticipated celebrations of December 25th by polishing the ornaments, dusting the chandeliers and hanging festive decorations. Fruitcakes are being assembled and bejewelled with fresh cherries, the first gift of the season. The fruit is doused with brandy and then used to stud the richly spiced cake which will serve as a delicious tea-time treat well into the new year.

Even here in the relative isolation of the African bush, nature joins in the party by amazing us with the built-in Christmas decorations of the nearby thorn trees. It’s as if the local flora is equally excited for the festive season’s kick-off.

The next few weeks will be filled with the celebration of Christmas traditions from all over the world, as we stockpile the pantries and adorn the lodge with glittering reminders of the spirit of good cheer. Join us throughout December as we share the food, decor and inspiration behind Singita’s uniquely African Christmas.

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Not Your Average Camp Cuisine

December 03, 2012 - Cuisine,Experience,Lamai,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Mara River Tented Camp

One of the most remarkable things about Singita Mara River Tented Camp is the exceptional food that is whipped up in the kitchen by our resourceful team of expert chefs. In the Lamai’s hot climate guests are kept cool with light, healthy cuisine conducive to refreshing and re-energising the body. Restorative fresh fruit smoothies, iced Fair Trade coffees and teas, crunchy salads and ethically sourced ingredients, such as organic eggs and grass-fed meat, are the order of the day with luscious desserts and homemade ice-cream adding a touch of sweet decadence.

Chef Donna Patterson, who forms part of the kitchen team at Singita Grumeti, has kindly shared the recipe for her delicious chilled carrot and spicy mango soup. Its bright, zingy flavours and refreshing lightness epitomise the type of beautiful and surprising meals our guests enjoy.

Ingredients – what you need:
1 white onion
5 large carrots
1 red chilli (medium heat)
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tblsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 ripe mango
1L mango juice
Salt
White pepper
Mascarpone to garnish

Method – what to do:

Chop the onion, peeled carrots and chilli roughly into equal sizes.
In a medium saucepan fry the chopped carrots, onion and chilli for a couple of minutes.
Reduce the heat and add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick lastly cover with the mango juice. Allow the soup to simmer slowly until the carrots are soft.
Blend in an electric processor and strain through a sieve.
Season the soup to taste with salt and white pepper.
Place the soup in the fridge to cool down.
Lastly finely dice the fresh mango and keep refrigerated until serving.
To serve, place the diced mango into the soup and serve in bowls. I like to garnish it with a dollop of mascarpone.

Enjoy!

Chilled carrot and spicy mango soup

Like the sound of this soup? Why not browse more of Chef Donna’s delightful recipes on the blog. Here’s a handy online volume converter you can use to adjust the metric measurements if necessary.

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Introducing Singita Mara River Tented Camp

November 27, 2012 - Accommodation,Africa,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Tent interior and deck

We are thrilled to share the first pictures from our brand new camp, Singita Mara River Tented Camp, situated in the Lamai triangle, the northernmost tip of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The camp offers a pared-down approach to the quintessential Singita safari without compromising on any creature comforts.

View of the Mara River

Singita’s philosophy of preserving iconic locations by offering ‘fewer beds in larger areas’ is epitomised by Mara River Tented Camp’s remote position in the Lamai triangle – with only 16 beds surrounded by 98,000 acres of untouched wilderness. It is a wildlife viewing area with abundant year-round concentrations of resident plains game, big cats and elephant in addition to the Mara River’s large populations of crocodile and hippo.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp tent decks

Remote and unspoilt, Singita Mara River Tented Camp has been designed with the growing need for our guests to make an authentic and meaningful connection with nature, that leaves behind a lighter footprint. Close to the ground and off the grid, the concept and design of the camp encourages constant engagement with the wild. Each of the six guest tents offers priceless solitude, peace and sheer luxury of space. Conceptualised and designed by Cécile & Boyd’s, the attention to detail in the camp is breathtaking – arguably our most beautiful interiors yet.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp splash pool

In keeping with the concept of sustainable living, the camp is built from natural and recycled materials including wood, stone, canvas and raw leather. It is 100% ‘off the grid’, relying entirely on a central, custom-designed solar power array using photovoltaic technology – a system that uses solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity.

Singita Mara River Tented Camp lounge

There has been a conscious focus on sourcing original work from talented young designers and craftspeople, celebrating the best of contemporary African design and inspiring guests to see local creativity in a fresh, new way. Campaign-style retro travel chests made from pale wood; wooden turned lights fashioned from sustainable Jacaranda wood; decorative wire baskets the exact shape and design of traditional grain-sorting baskets; and splashes of primary red and blue with black in Masaai-inspired patterns. The ambience is pure boho-glamour – relaxed and cool, fun and functional – while retaining that elegant yet relaxed, feet-up style that defines the Singita brand.

Tent bedroom Singita Mara River Tented Camp lounge areas

Find out more by reading our online brochure, and check back later this week for a special foodie report from chef Donna Patterson on the unique cuisine of Singita Mara River Tented Camp.

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Explore Camping…by far the best at night!

October 29, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Singita Explore

Donna Patterson, Singita Chef, spends a few days at one of the Singita Explore tented camps, helping out the team.  We asked her to share her” insider” insights into the experience…and her favourite time of the day.

When the sun sets, the cool of the evening starts to rest over the comfortable tents of the Singita Explore. The fires crackle, the lanterns flicker and the evening sounds become loud, musical choirs against the pitch-black silence. The stars are scattered like twinkling Tanzanite and appear brighter than diamonds. There is a certain clarity among the guests’ voices that eagerly share stories about their adventures from the day.

For many, evenings at Explore are perfection beyond words. You cannot fathom the quiet that acts as a backdrop to the sounds of the wild – the hyena calling in the distance. . . “whoo-hoop” – and the muffled roars of lion far, far away. As your chef prepares a culinary treat – baked, grilled, steamed or fried over the open flames – you sip on the drink of your choice and are entertained with bush stories from your guide.

As the local Swahili staff will say “lala salama” ~ sleep well”.  And indeed you will!

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Living between the migration

October 18, 2012 - Conservation,Lodges and Camps,Singita Explore,Wildlife

Donna Patterson, Chef at the newly opened Singita Serengeti House, takes a break and spends a few days at one of the Singita Explore tented camps, helping out the team.  We asked her to share her” insider” insights into the experience…and some of her favourite views.

The game drive expedition through Singita Grumeti in Tanzania, in between and alongside thousands of animals, is tremendous.  Cohabitating with these beautiful beasts is something the tents of Singita Explore allow for.  Every sense is brought alive, starting with the smell of the animals, and the sound of their calling and their mandibles chewing.

To distinguish between yourselves and the herds, and put into perspective the magnitude of the migration, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest a balloon ride over the plains.  In fact, any elevation above the plains puts it all into perspective!  Wherever an Explore tented camp is set up, the camp staff like to find a spot for breakfast that is fit for kings. I am especially fond of the setting on Koria Hill that sets the stage for guests to see a spectacular 360 degree view of the wildebeest around them.

What a story to tell back home… “we’re eating breakfast with the gnus – which make up the majority of the world’s largest annual movement of animals on the planet.”

You can’t get much closer to the migration than camping at Singita Explore!

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Winter’s Arrival

July 27, 2012 - Lodges and Camps,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Winter’s arrival was sudden and all too soon, transforming the bush by its Midas touch.  No sooner had we acclimatized to prepare ourselves for the cold, winter seemingly  checked out and left us with sunny days in the mid to late 20s (Celsius).  The Sabi stars have been out in full bloom in and around the lodge, adding a touch of finesse to the dry and dusty surroundings.

Our wildlife continues to dazzle and surprise us – from dusty elephant herds squandering water at a pan to fish eagles manoeuvring through the air as they defend their nests from other birds of prey. Lion and leopard cubs have poked their little faces out from the diminishing grassland to prove to us that there are hidden wonders still out there.

Shelley Mitchley, Lodge Manager – Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe


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Campfire Feasting

June 20, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Explore

One of the highlights of spending nights under canvas at Singita Explore is the feasting experience.  Nothing like dining with china and crystal in the permanent tented camp of Singita Sabora – instead Singita Explore presents something that harks back to an earlier explorer experience where tents are pitched in remote locations to follow the wildlife.  Pots are settled into camp fires for slow stewing and hot water heated over the coals for morning coffee.

Loraine Trollip, Operations Manager Mobile Division (Singita Grumeti), describes one of the firm favourites on the menu at Singita’s mobile camp in Tanzania – a potjie.

A potjie is a stew that is simmered for hours over an open fire in a three-legged cast iron pot.  Oxtail is often the traditional choice of meat for a potjie and provides a rich flavour.  Other ingredients that meld together for mouth-watering taste, include beef stock, red wine, sherry, mushrooms, garlic, leeks, bay leaves, and tomato.

Now that’s something to warm up an evening under the stars.

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The Essential Packing List

May 08, 2012 - Accommodation,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Safari

We asked Marianda Venter, Lodge Manager at Singita Boulders, to take a few minutes to compile some handy tips for packing for an African safari.  Hope you find these tips helpful.


Packing for any trip, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a week-long trip, isn’t the most relaxing way to spend your afternoons and evenings prior to your departure. The stress of forgetting something important or packing too much is always in the back of your mind.

But packing for your Singita Boulders’ safari should be an exciting experience and remember, don’t get carried away; stick to the essentials.  We offer laundry service daily so keep that in mind when packing.

If you want to free up a little space in your luggage, it may be helpful to know that we supply the following:

Mosquito repellent and mosquito wipes
International adaptors
Torches/flash lights
We have 5 pairs of binoculars for our guests to use

So what are the essentials?

A camera

Whether  you are an amateur or a professional, make sure you bring a camera to capture the magical moments on safari.  Along with your camera, also include your charger and/or batteries.  We have international adaptors in the rooms and 220 volt plugs to charge in the game drive vehicles. We can also assist with burning photos on to disks but an extra memory card is always handy.  If you have additional tri-pods and lenses, bring those along too as there is often an opportunity to capture an unusual moment in the bush.

What to wear

It’s advisable to pack closed-toe shoes and neutral clothing.  During your morning and afternoon game drives, you’ll stop for a break or your guide might show you something on foot and so it’s often practical to be wearing comfortable, closed footwear.  Definitely pack cool and light sandals and flip flops for wearing around the lodge.  Out on a game drive or bush walk, wearing neutral clothing is essential for blending into the natural environment.   Oh and don’t forget your hat – or make sure to purchase one from the Singita Boutique.

Weather is often unpredictable and it is always good to be prepared for either extreme – hot or cold.  So pack a few layers in lightweight but also warmer fabrics.

Again, back at the lodge some guests prefer freshening up before meals and others come through directly from the drive.  What ever you feel comfortable wearing for meals and lounging around the lodge and pool areas, make sure it’s packed;  we have no specifications.

Sunscreen and sunglasses

These are an absolute must.  We have sunscreen stock available but if you prefer a specific brand we recommend you pop a smaller version in your bag. The African sun can be harsh and daily protection is essential.  You’ll be grateful to have your sunglasses with you throughout the day.

Stay connected

If you need to stay connected, you are more than welcome to bring your mobile and hand-held devices.  We have wireless in all the rooms and public areas and these devices can often be used to download pictures and videos too.  We also have two computers in our library if you need to stay in touch with family or friends.

And don’t forget to contact us if you have any questions about your stay or wonder about any other details at our Singita lodges – enquiries@singita.com

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