Category Archives: Lodges and Camps

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 Mobile Tented Camp

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 Mobile Tented Camp. 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 Mobile Tented Camp,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 Mobile Tented Camp

One of the highlights of spending nights under canvas at Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp 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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A Night Under the Stars

November 07, 2011 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

Just back from Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp, Mark Witney, Chief Operating Officer at Singita, shares his musings about a night under canvas and the vast African sky.

If you have never spent a night in the African bush with nothing between you and the vast African night sky but a canvas tent, you have to put it on your ‘bucket list’!

Anthropologists are pretty certain that man originated in Africa and I have to believe that this accounts for the spiritual experience often described by first-time visitors to this continent. Africa is etched deeply in the DNA of all of mankind. The best way to experience this is to immerse yourself in the sights, smells, sounds and feel of the night, and what better way to do this than to lie in a comfy bed in a beautiful tent with a gentle breeze blowing.

An evening at Singita Explore starts with a gathering around the fire. Cocktails and campfire talk as you watch the fire throw sparks up into the dark sky, and above you a view of the Milky Way as you have never seen it before. Because there is no surrounding light pollution, each star in this huge galaxy is clearly visible. Satellites drift across the evening sky, distant reminders of the technological world that seems so irrelevant when you contemplate the universe. Nearly 14 billion years old and expanding at hundreds of kilometres per second, around a billion galaxies in the universe and approximately a billion stars per galaxy – the numbers are beyond comprehension. Our sun is just one of those billion x billion stars and our earth is just a tiny speck revolving around that tiny sun. How irrelevant we are and how full we are of our own self-importance!

Nearby a fiery necked nightjar calls its plaintive prayer ‘good Lord – deliver us’.  Far away a hyena whoops to announce that her night patrol has begun.

“Dinner’s ready” shakes you out of your reverie and to the table set just beyond the campfire. Hurricane lamps create a warm glow as you sit down to a simple but beautifully prepared meal. Potato and leek soup with bread freshly baked on the fire, grilled game meat with locally grown, organic vegetables and a good old fashioned malva pudding with cream for dessert.

Coffee is served around the fire and as the embers fade so too does the conversation.

Back to your tent and, in the silence of the camp as you snuggle between the sheets, you become aware of the fact that many of the nocturnal creatures are just beginning their ‘day’.  A spotted eagle owl hoots while the nightjars continue their repetitive call to the Lord. A lone hyena, closer now, whoops gently and sadly and in the distance you can just make out the roar of a territorial male lion announcing his dominance.

As you drift off to sleep you briefly contemplate how strangely familiar it all feels and yet how far away you are from the life you lead. You are hooked – and you’ll be back!

Take a minute to dream about a tented experience at Singita – watch our new video…. Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp…Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

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Finding your way to Singita Sabi Sand

August 25, 2011 - Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand

We asked Andrew Temblett – Assistant Lodge Manager at Singita Boulders Lodge – to provide some helpful tips and guidance for reaching the lodges at Singita Sabi Sand – Ebony Lodge, Boulders Lodge and Castleton Camp.

(Singita Boulders Lodge – Singita Sabi Sand)

There are a few ways to arrive at Singita Sabi Sand but certainly the easiest and most efficient way is by air; and depending on your particular requirements you may fly from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nelspruit or a neighboring lodge on either a scheduled charter, private charter or even a chartered jet.  Singita Sabi Sand has its own airstrip and the most common flights are taken from Johannesburg or Nelspruit.  Johannesburg is roughly a 50 minute, relaxed flight to Singita Sabi Sand, and from Nelspruit the flight is approximately 20 minutes.  Depending on where you will be flying from should determine the flight path that allows for greatest ease and efficiency.

One of the best parts of flying to Singita Sabi Sand is the arrival “lounge” on the airstrip where you are welcomed by your Guide and Tracker, a delectable snack and refreshing drink – a mere 5 minute drive from the lodges, it couldn’t be more efficient.

There are also self-drive options and transfer company options allowing you to drive yourself or be transferred by chauffeur, bearing in mind the drive from Johannesburg is 5 hours and the drive from Nelspruit is 2 hours.

The drives have their benefits though as they are scenic especially as you approach the White River Hazyview area.  Driving also builds the excitement of beginning your safari in the bush and understanding more about where you are travelling to.  Passing through the local communities on the way provides a glimpse into the world where most of our staff come from.  Also as you drive to Singita, with each passing mile you will be in awe of the remoteness of our “miracle”.

(The view of the Sand River from Singita Ebony Lodge deck)

Whichever way you chose, you will arrive and be greeted by our fabulous staff, who will endeavor to have you settled into your new “home” and have you pampered from morning to night.

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