Category Archives: Singita Grumeti

Close to Nature with Singita Explore

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

Singita Explore (morning tea)-1-107

Singita Explore, Tanzania

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

Singita Explore, Tanzania

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

Singita Explore, Tanzania

Singita Explore (interior - main tent)-1-50

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

Singita Explore, Tanzania

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

Singita Explore, Tanzania

Singita Explore (lunch)-1-79

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

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

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

Singita Explore (exterior - lodge)-1-24

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

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The People of Singita: An Update on Michael Matera

November 14, 2014 - People of Singita,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Towards the end of last year, we kicked off a series of profiles on some of the members of our team. These #SingitaStories introduced blog readers to the amazing women who run Singita Sweni Lodge, an ex-poacher who became a pastry chef and one of the most respected wildlife trackers in the world.

Dining al fresco at Singita Sabora Tented Camp

The first in this series was the story of Michael Matera, then Senior Sous Chef at Singita Sasakwa Lodge. Michael worked his way up from the position of Grounds Attendant at Singita Sabora Tented Camp to assisting in the staff kitchen, where he learned the basic cooking skills that would set him up for a career as a chef. After many long hours at the stove, lots of extra lessons and taking an English course to improve his language competency, Michael was promoted to the main guest kitchen. He flourished here and was subsequently named Tanzanian Chef of the Year, and Senior Sous Chef under Executive Chef, Frank Louw.

Michael Matera and Frank Louw

Michael Matera and Frank Louw

We are very proud to report that Michael continues to be an asset to the team at Singita Grumeti. After another year of hard work and dedication, he was recently promoted to the role of Chef at Singita Sabora Tented Camp. This is especially significant as Michael is the first Tanzanian to hold this position, and as Frank remarks, “makes him an inspiration to so many other young Tanzanians wanting to make a change in their lives.”

The cuisine at Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Michael’s experiences have inspired him to pass on the knowledge and enthusiasm he has developed for cooking over the past ten years. He says: “Training is my passion. I love seeing staff growing in front of me and knowing that I had a small contribution to their new future”. This philanthropic attitude is a striking reminder of one of Singita’s core principles; to make a tangible difference in the lives of the people living and working in and around its lodges.

Michael Matera and his kitchen team at Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Michael Matera and his kitchen team at Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Warm congratulations to Michael for this wonderful achievement! We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on his progress at the lodge. You can read all the “People of Singita” blog posts here, and also watch the #SingitaStories videos on our Vimeo channel.

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Tanzania’s Serengeti – A Year-Round Destination

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

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

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

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

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

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

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

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

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

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

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

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

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

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

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

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

Tanazina's Serengeti - A Year-Round Destination

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

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

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Cocktail Recipe: The Sabora Special

September 04, 2014 - Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Singita Sabora Tented Camp

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It’s often the simple things in life that are the most rewarding; a good book, soft, fluffy towels and a quiet afternoon by the pool. At Singita Sabora Tented Camp in Tanzania, moments like these are easy to come by, as guests unwind in the peaceful seclusion of 350,000 acres of untouched wilderness. Simple pleasures also come in the form of the camp’s signature non-alcoholic cocktail, the recipe for which is shared with us by Lodge Manager, Wilson Owino:

Ingredients – what you’ll need:
Equal parts:
* Fresh passionfruit juice
* Fresh mango juice
* Fresh lime juice
And then:
* A drizzle of honey
* A splash of grenadine syrup

Method – how it is made:
The fresh juices are all shaken together with ice, with a small drizzle of honey for sweetness. The concoction is then poured into a hurricane glass in front of the guest at check-in along with a splash of grenadine to give a feeling of a sunrise in the glass.

Cocktail Recipe: The Sabora Special

You can spike the Sabora Special with vodka or rum for some extra zing, or add pomegranate seeds for a fruity twist. Share your version with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out our other delicious recipes here.

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Wonderful Wildlife Videos with James Suter

August 26, 2014 - Experience,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Explore,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you will no doubt have seen field guide James Suter’s incredible series of reports from our twelve lodges and camps in Africa. His stories from the bush were accompanied by spectacular photographs and expert descriptions of the animals and landscapes that he saw. Highlights included a run-in with a black rhino, getting reacquainted with an old friend, a mother cheetah defending her cubs and some stunning shots of the iconic baobab trees of southern Zimbabwe.

These special moments in the wilderness have now been brought to life in a series of videos from his year-long journey through each of Singita’s private reserves and concessions. We hope you enjoy these and encourage you to share them with others who might enjoy a taste of our Africa:

WALKING WITH ELEPHANTS AT SINGITA PAMUSHANA LODGE, ZIMBABWE

A CHEETAH FAMILY AT SINGITA PAMUSHANA LODGE, ZIMBABWE

ELEPHANT HERD AT SINGITA FARU FARU LODGE, TANZANIA

MAGNIFICENT PLAINS GAME AT SINGITA GRUMETI, TANZANIA

MIGRATING WILDEBEEST AT SINGITA GRUMETI, TANZANIA

All videos shot on location by Oliver Caldow with James Suter, an independent field guide who works with us from time to time. If you enjoyed reading about James’ adventures on the blog, you may also enjoy our monthly Wildlife Reports, written by our other Singita field guides. You can also follow our new Vimeo channel to see the latest Singita videos.

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The Story of Peter Andrew

July 16, 2014 - Conservation,People of Singita,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti,Sustainable Conservation,The Grumeti Fund

The Story of Peter Andrew | Singita Stories

The Story of Peter Andrew | Singita Stories

Sitting poolside at Singita Faru Faru Lodge at tea time, in the dappled shade of the acacia trees, our guests are treated to a feast of sweet and savoury delights before their afternoon game drive. It is a wonderfully indulgent spread; all manner of cakes, candies and confections are on offer, all washed down with homemade lemonade, iced coffee and exotic teas. It might be very hard to imagine that the hands of the pastry chef responsible for these heavenly morsels were also once those of a poacher.

The Story of Peter Andrew | Singita Stories

The Story of Peter Andrew | Singita Stories

Peter Andrew was born in a small village on the outskirts of Singita Grumeti in Tanzania. At the age of 15, with no apparent employment alternatives available to him, he started poaching. He was a skilled huntsman and extremely fast on his feet, which made it easier to escape from conservation officers. This deadly combination made Peter a force to be reckoned with but it wasn’t an easy or ethical way to make a living.

The Story of Peter Andrew | Singita Stories

The Story of Peter Andrew | Singita Stories

In 2003, Peter was approached by Brian Harris, former Wildlife and Community Development Manager of Singita Grumeti, who wanted him to stop poaching in exchange for a job at one of the lodges. He was hesitant initially due to his lack of education, but after further prompting from his grandmother, Peter was eventually persuaded and started off helping with the construction of Singita Sasakwa Lodge. The following year, he was accepted as an apprentice in the kitchen at Singita Sabora Tented Camp, where he excelled in his position. Peter also took it upon himself to specialise in pastry and learn English so that he could improve his situation further. He developed so quickly in fact, that in 2005, Peter was promoted to Commis Chef and then moved to Singita Faru Faru Lodge in 2011 as a full-time Pastry Chef, where he remains a vital part of the kitchen team.

The Story of Peter Andrew | Singita Stories

Food at Singita Faru Faru Lodge

Peter’s achievements are numerous: he turned his back on poaching, found himself a wonderful new profession, worked hard to overcome his circumstances and changed his life for the better. He is rightly proud of himself, as we are proud of him, and the determination and strength of character that make him an invaluable member of the Singita family.

The Story of Peter Andrew | Singita Stories

This is the third in a series of short films profiling the people of Singita, many of whom come from challenging circumstances to become artisans and professionals in their chosen field. These #singitastories share a common thread; of people from humble beginnings who choose to effect positive change in their lives, and the lives of those around them. Read more about the anti-poaching unit at Singita Grumeti and subscribe to the blog to make sure you catch the next video in the series. 

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Update: The Great Migration 2014

July 04, 2014 - Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

This time of year at Singita Grumeti is always very exciting for guests and staff alike, as millions of wildebeest and other plains game move through the Serengeti on their annual migration. The low rumble of hooves started very early this year, beginning in early May; six weeks before it was expected. Field Guide Elizabeth Hamrick reports from Tanzania:

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

“The 2014 ‘long rains’ saw little precipitation at Singita Grumeti, but while our location in the Northwestern Serengeti had very little rain, the central Serengeti saw almost none. The result of the extreme lack of rain was a lack of suitable grasses so when the wildebeest left Ndutu in the southern Serengeti at the end of March, the 80km trip through to Singita Grumeti (which usually takes about three months) only took one month. By the first of the month, the Ikorongo Game Reserve was full of at least 50,000 wildebeest. Within the next two days, wildebeest in the multiple hundreds of thousands engulfed Singita Grumeti; the Great Migration had arrived.

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

By the end of the month the herds started forming long lines, marching eastwards out of the reserve and by about the 5th of June only the weak and the wounded remained.

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

There are currently herds scattered about 1.5km south of Singita Mara River Tented Camp in the Lamai Triangle, and we have also received reports that a big chunk of the migration has turned south again, and are hanging out in the central Serengeti. 2014 continues to prove how unpredictable this phenomenon can be, and we wait in anticipation to see what happens next.”

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Grumeti

Guests at Singita Mara River Tented Camp were also lucky enough to witness the first crossing this week from start to finish. It occurred a short way from the camp near the Kogatende airstrip and lasted close to an hour!

The Great Migration 2014 at Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Elizabeth compiles a monthly Wildlife Report from Singita Grumeti, which is situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. You san see Instagram photos from our guests who visit the region with the hashtag #singitagrumeti and follow us on Instagram here.

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The Story of Saitoti Ole Kuwai

June 27, 2014 - Experience,People of Singita,Singita Grumeti

Saitoti Ole Kuwai - Field guide at Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

If you have been an avid reader of our blog and monthly Wildlife Reports, then the name Saitoti Ole Kuwai won’t be new to you. He is a regular contributor to the bush ranger diaries from Singita Grumeti, where he works as a field guide, and his photographs often feature in our Highlights posts.

Zebra at Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

Saitoti Ole Kuwai - Field guide at Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

Saitoti is a proud Masai and grew up in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Tanzania, where he took his first steps towards his future profession by learning how to track animals from other tribesmen. He was inspired to follow a career in wildlife conservation after seeing the effects of poaching first hand, and pursued his formal training before joining Singita in 2005.

Saitoti Ole Kuwai - Field guide at Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

Leopard at Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

He describes his work in the Serengeti as “an honour and a big privilege” and is completely dedicated to the protection and conservation of African wildlife for future generations. “My day starts in the dark; I always wake up at 4 o’clock. It’s early in the morning but you can still hear things like hyena and jackal calling and that tells me that the bush is awake.”

Cheetah at Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

To Saitoti, game drives are like fishing, where the vast plains are an endless sea and you never know what you’re going to catch. He says: “What’s needed for you is the passion, the passion to wait.”

Saitoti Ole Kuwai - Field guide at Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

“I love to tell guests about the traditions, culture, customs and lifestyle of my tribe. The best thing about my job is being involved in ensuring the health and growth of the area’s wildlife. Living in close harmony with animals is important because through them we learn so much.” Watch the video to learn more about this dedicated conservationist:

This is the second in our #singitastories series, introducing you to some of Singita’s team members. We previously featured Time Mutema, a field guide at Singita Pamsushana Lodge in Zimbabwe. Browse our Vimeo channel for more about the people of Singita, interesting wildlife sightings and to see the inspiration behind all our lodges and camps.

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Say Hello to the Butamtam Lion Cubs!

June 13, 2014 - Conservation,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

These pictures hardly need a caption – we would be surprised if you could tear your eyes away from their little furry faces long enough to read it! If you are interested however, you may like to know that these gorgeous young lions are offspring of the Butamtam pride at Singita Grumeti in Tanzania. These lions are healthy breeders; over the past two years one of the major prides got so big that it split into two, and two of the other prides seem to be heading in the same direction. In addition, all of their cubs have higher than usual survival rates which is wonderful to hear.

The Butamtam lion cubs at Singita Grumeti by Ryan Schmitt

The Butamtam lion cubs at Singita Grumeti by Ryan Schmitt

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Photos by Field Guide Ryan Schmitt. Ryan regularly posts snapshots from his adventures in the bush on our Facebook and Instagram feeds so follow us there to see more!

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Creatures Great & Small: The Flap-Necked Chameleon

May 30, 2014 - Did You Know?,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

Chameleons really are funny little creatures! Did you know that, besides being masterful at camouflage and having tongues roughly 1½ times their body length, chameleons can rotate each eye in a different direction and go through life without the benefit of ears? There are 156 different species concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and many of them can be found at Singita’s lodges and camps throughout the region.

Flap-necked chameleon at Singita Grumeti

In this gorgeous photo, Singita Grumeti Guide Manager, Ryan Schmitt, carries this female flap-necked chameleon from the middle of the road to the safety of the grass. This particular reptile is a real crowd pleaser with guests and staff alike, and can often be found stalking their favourite snacks of grasshoppers and butterflies.

See more of the unique and fascinating wildlife to be found at Singita by reading our monthly field reports, written by the guides themselves.

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