Category Archives: Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration Diaries 2013: Part One

June 12, 2013 - Africa,Conservation,Environment,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

The Great Migration through Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration through Singita Grumeti

It’s always a special time of year for our staff and guests at Singita Grumeti in Tanzania, when the dull rumble of hooves echoes across the savannah as the Great Wildebeest Migration begins. Over the next few weeks, more than one million animals will travel through the area and up through Singita Lamai, home of Singita Mara River Tented Camp. This year’s event is now in full swing, as the bearded creatures began arriving en masse from the southeast on the 1st of June, passing first alongside Singita Faru Faru Lodge.

Horseback Safari - The Great Migration through Singita Grumeti

A few days later, thousands of wildebeest flooded the Nyati plains, with the herds extending southwards into the Serengeti National Park, as far as the eye could see. By Wednesday the 5th, the herds that remained on Nyati plains were growing slowly more and more dense, spreading west and north towards Singita Sabora Tented Camp and the Sasakwa Plains. By Friday evening there was an incessant hum on Sasakwa Hill that originated from the thousands of animals murring on the plains below; a sound similar to that of flowing water.

The Great Migration through Singita Grumeti

On the morning of Monday, June 10th, the herds extended throughout Singita Grumeti, surrounding the lodges entirely. As it is also currently rutting season, it has been fascinating to watch the bulls running back and forth to protect their cows and calves from other bulls, while simultaneously having to continue the migration.

The Great Migration through Singita Grumeti

Although these herds are completely unpredictable, we expect that they will stay with us at least another two weeks, probably longer! We look forward to watching their antics and sharing more amazing photographs of them with you.

Hot Air Balloon Safari - The Great Migration through Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration is an annual event in the Serengeti in which 1.5 million wildebeest (and 200 000 zebra) travel from the Ngorongoro region of Tanzania up to Kenya’s Maasai Mara game reserve and beyond, following the rains in search of better grazing. This natural phenomenon passes right through Singita Grumeti and Singita Lamai, making our lodges the ideal vantage point from which to observe this epic 1200-mile-long journey.

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Guest Photos From 2012: Mary Robbins

May 09, 2013 - Experience,Singita Explore,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sasakwa Lodge,Wildlife

The memories of a trip to Africa and an unforgettable visit to Singita are some of the most precious that a traveller can experience. And while it can be very difficult to recreate that feeling when a guest is back home, they often have spectacular photos to remind them of the unique landscape and wildlife of our continent. We are always thrilled when these photos are shared with us, along with the wonderful stories behind them.

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

One such visitor to Singita in September 2012 was Mary Robbins, from Lynn, Massachusetts. She travelled to Tanzania and stayed at Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Singita Explore, Singita Sasakwa Lodge and Singita Sabora Tented Camp. Although an enthusiastic safari-lover, this was her first trip with us and she was especially keen to see a leopard and was rewarded with an amazing sighting during her time at the lodges, as well as spotting plenty of other big cats.

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

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Looking back, she writes: “What a fabulous time Frances, my driver, and I had! We drove around the Serengeti and saw wonderful things.  We watched the animals for hours on end and that is the only way to really come to an understanding of the way the animals are – by watching the way they move and interact with one another and with other species and with their environment. This was a true safari – a journey into another world – rather than a quick drive across the plain to fill up the time and make a tourist happy.  Of course we saw all manner of animal and my personal favorites were:

  • The time we came upon a pride of lions lounging on a river bank – then one by one we watched them get up, go to the top of a rock, and splash down into the water and walk/swim across the river to the other side.
  • Watching three 3-month old cheetah cubs jumble and play around their mama.
  • Admiring a fine, big, male leopard in a tree.
  • Watching a pride of lions lounge around a tree and then jump up into it. Watching lion prides and little cubs is always wonderful.

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

Thank you for visiting us Mary, we hope to see you again soon.

You can see other guest photos on our blog from Stephen Saugestad (Canada) and Jeff Thompson (USA). Don’t forget to catch up on our monthly Wildlife Reports too.

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A Lone Leopard at Singita Grumeti

April 15, 2013 - Africa,Environment,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

I was fortunate enough to have a number of different leopard sightings during my stay at Singita Grumeti. Most of these encounters were brief and had taken place in the lush vegetation along the Grumeti River, where the shy cats are easily able to camouflage themselves.

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

One morning during our visit, I was delighted to hear that a large male leopard had been located in the south western parts of the concession; just a stone’s throw from Singita Sabora Tented Camp. This region is known for its vast, open plains and I hoped to have a sighting of the handsome cat within such a unique habitat.

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

As we approached the area where the leopard had last been seen, we were quickly able to identify the characteristic figure of the large cat while he lay resting in an isolated acacia tree. We approached slowly, making sure not to scare the animal away but he seemed more comfortable than most of the leopards in the reserve who offered us just fleeting glimpses of their spotted hide. This healthy male appeared completely relaxed as he sat guarding a warthog that he had killed and dragged up into the tree, away from other opportunistic predators.

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

I was amazed at the scene of this massive cat perched in a rather small tree in the middle of the Serengeti. After observing him for some time, we noticed a large burrow directly beneath the acacia, which appeared to be active, as indicated by the presence of flies around the entrance. It became clear that this burrow belonged to the unfortunate warthog that was now neatly placed in the upper branches of the tree, a victim of the leopard’s hunting skill and experience.

Singita Sabora Tented Camp - Tanzania

James Suter is an expert Field Guide and talented photographer who is exploring Singita Grumeti in Tanzania and reporting on the wildlife he finds there. You can read more of James’ journey with Singita through Southern Africa on the blog.

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The Great Migration

April 10, 2013 - Africa,Environment,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

Talented photographer and experienced Field Guide, James Suter, spent the better part of a year exploring Singita’s lodges and camps in Southern Africa. Towards the end of 2012, he visited Singita Grumeti in Tanzania and was lucky enough to experience part of the world-famous animal migration through the Serengeti.

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

One of the most popular attractions for visitors to East Africa is the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of zebra and over a million wildebeest and other plains game who follow the rains for more than 1800 miles. Witnessing this natural phenomenon as the animals move through the Serengeti is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially since Singita Grumeti offers the perfect vantage point from which to view “The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth”.

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

From December to March, Northern Tanzania is home to massive herds of wildebeest who give birth to roughly 500 000 calves over a period of just three weeks in a remarkable, synchronised event. The main reason for this is that very young calves are more noticeable to predators when mixed with older calves and therefore make for easier prey.

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

The month of July is the ideal time to visit Singita Grumeti, as this is roughly when the herds reach their first major obstacle and are forced to navigate across the Grumeti River. The western corridor of the Serengeti National Park – Africa’s No. 1 World Heritage Site - is where the action takes place and is the best place to watch the migration unfold.

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

We spent some time at Singita Grumeti in September and were blown away by the sheer numbers of game and the large herds of wildebeest. We drove out onto the vast plains and watched while a hundred thousand of the animals advanced slowly towards the game vehicle. The sights, sounds and smells were mesmerising and completely unforgettable.

There are six Singita lodges and camps to visit in Tanzania, including the brand new Singita Serengeti House, an exclusive-use retreat on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill. To learn more about Singita Grumeti and Lamai, read more on our blog or catch up on the monthly wildlife journals from the region.

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Singita Serengeti House: Cécile & Boyd’s Interiors

March 27, 2013 - Accommodation,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Singita Grumeti,Singita Serengeti House

Singita Serengeti House lounge

Singita Serengeti House, in the vast Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania, was opened earlier this year as an exclusive-use retreat, and in response to a growing demand from discerning travellers for privacy and flexibility. Its unique position in the heart of the Serengeti, offers breathtaking vistas from the slopes of Sasakwa Hill across the endless, open plains of this untouched wilderness. Top South Africa design team, Cécile & Boyd’s, crafted the exquisite interiors and have been involved in the conceptualisation of every one of our lodges and camps since Singita Ebony Lodge opened in 1993.

Singita Serengeti House details

Singita Serengeti House bedroom

While what lies outside is rather spectacular, the interiors of Singita Serengeti House are also something to behold. Throughout the house, ample indoor and outdoor lounging and dining areas, all with uninterrupted views, provide relaxing spaces for guests to truly immerse themselves in the beauty of the surrounding landscape while enjoying each other’s company. A cool neutral palette of subtle, sun-bleached colours mimics the Serengeti grass plains, bringing the outside in.

Singita Serengeti House details

Singita Serengeti House interiors

Mirror is used throughout the house to maximise light and space. Humble materials in natural fibres, rattan, grass matting, polished cement floors, bleached, raw timbers and local stones bring an honest, earthy feel to the understatedly glamorous, boldly proportioned, light-saturated rooms curated with a modern African art collection by Kurt Pio and Sarah Pratt, artefacts and objects, and anthropologically relevant tribal sculpture. All the decorative pieces were designed and commissioned or sourced by Cécile & Boyd’s, including witty eye-catching papier-mâché hunting trophies and leather thong chandeliers inspired by Masai skirts.

Singita Serengeti House interiors

Singita Serengeti House dining room

All the suites have spacious bathrooms designed as luxurious extensions to the bedroom and living areas, with outdoor showers and private terraces. The private kitchen and resident chef caters exclusively to the needs of the party staying in the house, taking into consideration everything from individual food allergies to favourite cooking styles and flavours. Delicious food and an excellent wine cellar always forms an integral part of the Singita experience, and meals are carefully planned and orchestrated from candle-lit gourmet dinners to informal picnics in the bush.

You can see more photographs of this incredible property in this blog post, or read the online brochure for more. Please contact enquiries@singita.com for further details on booking the house for a group of family and friends.

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Highlights from our Guides’ Diaries

March 13, 2013 - Africa,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lamai,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

grumeti-environmental-education-class-banner

Did you know that our team of expert field guides write a monthly wildlife journal that chronicles the fauna and flora surrounding each lodge? High summer in Africa is a particularly fascinating time to document the local wildlife. Here are a few photographs from the most recent Guides’ Diaries from Singita Kruger National Park, Singita Lamai, Singita Grumeti and Singita Pamushana Lodge.

Carmine bee-eater

The southern carmine bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) occurs across sub-equatorial Africa, ranging from KwaZulu-Natal and Namibia to Gabon, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. This species is a richly coloured, striking bird, predominantly carmine in colouration (hence the name). They are highly sociable, gathering in large flocks, in or out of breeding season. Unperturbed by the light rain, they continue to move in a large flock as they hunt small insects within the lower areas of the floodplain. This was a sight that we followed for a few hours, mesmerised by their acrobatic displays.

by Ross Couper (Singita Kruger National Park). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Giraffes

I’ve never seen as many giraffe about as there are at the moment. It’s possible that with all the rain and resulting thick vegetation they’ve moved to the few open areas where they can see, from their high vantage, any approaching danger. Giraffe are hunted by lions so it’s best that they avoid any ambush attacks.

By Jenny Hishin (Singita Pamushana Lodge). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Zebra

It is interesting to note that despite all the theories as to why zebra are striped, there is one that seems to be most valid; it’s as a defence mechanism against flies, especially the stinging types, like tsetse and horseflies. Flies are attracted to horizontally polarized light. Zebra stripes are predominantly vertical and, when they lower their heads to feed or drink, this effect is reinforced. It appears that this assists them in avoiding the bites and diseases associated with tsetse and horseflies, in that the flies do not see vertically polarized light.

By Lee Bennett (Singita Lamai). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Cheetah

Our cheetah sightings have been climbing recently and January was the best so far – sixty different cheetah sightings, and most of them consisting of more than one animal! The usual suspects on the property have become more and more comfortable with the vehicles and are less afraid to be seen. Then there are multiple newcomers who continue to sporadically show up. They include two additional brothers and a few single females. All of the newcomers are still quite skittish.

By Ryan Schmitt and Lizzie Hamrick (Singita Grumeti). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Our Guide’s Diaries are published on a monthly basis from our lodges in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. You can read all of them here.

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Introducing Singita Serengeti House

January 31, 2013 - Accommodation,Africa,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Serengeti House

Singita Serengeti House

Singita Serengeti House, an exclusive-use retreat designed for families and friends, has opened in the 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserves in the heart of the Serengeti in northern Tanzania. Located on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill with breathtaking vistas of the endless, open plains of the Serengeti, the house is Singita’s response to a growing demand from discerning travellers for privacy and flexibility. Itineraries, activities and meals are tailor made and tweaked as guests dictate the day-to-day pace and rhythm of their vacation according to their interests and needs.

Singita Serengeti House pool deck

Early morning and late-afternoon game drives may be interspersed with vigorous swims or lazing around the pool with a good book, a game of tennis, a cooking lesson in the private kitchen from the resident chef, spa treatments or mountain biking. Making it up as one goes along is part of the magic of taking up residence at Singita Serengeti House. There is a waterhole right in front of the house, which is a favourite drinking spot for general plains game as well as a breeding herd of elephant.

Singita Serengeti House veranda

Singita Serengeti House lounge

The house accommodates eight people in two suites in the main house and two further guest suites on either side of the main house, connected by pathways from a central pool deck with a 25-metre rim-flow lap pool. There is also a private tennis court, mountain biking and archery.

Singita Serengeti House bedroom

Singita Serengeti House bathroom

Refined yet comfortable interiors by Cécile & Boyd’s are complemented by a relaxed, unpretentious ambience and warm-hearted service, adding up to a luxurious home environment in the bush. It is a place that encourages a wealth of shared experiences – thrilling game viewing, memorable outdoor feasts, storytelling and impromptu celebrations – from which to shape priceless memories.

Singita Serengeti House wildlife - zebras

Singita Serengeti House wildlife - giraffe

The house may only be booked on an exclusive-use basis and includes all staff, a private vehicle and a safari guide. Besides guided game drives in an open-sided 4×4 vehicle, guests can also do guided walks and horseback safaris. At Singita Sasakwa Lodge, situated an easy 1.5km drive away, there is also a fully equipped gym, yoga room, spa and Boutique & Gallery.

Singita Serengeti House wildlife - cheetah cub

We’ll soon be posting some more photographs of Cécile & Boyd’s stunning interiors at Singita Serengeti House so be sure to subscribe to the blog to avoid missing out! You can also read the online brochure to see more.

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From Cellar to Sideboard: Wine at Singita

January 23, 2013 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Kruger National Park,Sabi Sand,Singita,Singita Grumeti,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Samp risotto served with white wine at Singita Kruger National Park

Attention to every detail of the Singita experience, including the pairing of food and wine, is just another way that we aim to delight our guests. Our team of wine procurers and sommeliers are consummate professionals in their field and have the enviable task of sourcing and managing hundreds of top-end wines for our highly discerning guests.

Singita Premier Wine is the department dedicated to sourcing and supplying wines for all the Singita properties, and has been in operation for more than a decade. It is headed up by François Rautenbach, who manages the selection, purchase and temperature-controlled maturation and distribution of each and every wine. He also oversees the service of the wines, from hosting informal wine tastings with guests, to managing an in-house sommelier apprenticeship program along with the managers at each lodge.

An evening wine tasting in the bush at Singita Sabi Sand

Each property shares a primary wine list, but it is tweaked with additional wines or older vintages to suit each lodge on the property. On average, a Singita wine list has in excess of 180 wines, many of them at least five years old. “In compiling our lists, we try to include not only unique wines but also lesser known producers to ensure a sense of adventure and newness,” says François.

Sommeliers are on hand at all the lodges, handpicked not only for their wine knowledge, personality and exposure to travel, but also for their love of the African bush. Over the years, many of Singita’s sommeliers have been qualified winemakers mentored by François to guide guests through several vineyards, vintages and cultivars to enhance their knowledge and appreciation of South African wines.

François Rautenbach

It was a logical step to establish Singita Premier Wine Direct, a unique guest service that makes South African wines available as personally selected consignments to take home or to be shipped door-to-door anywhere in the world.  Guests either choose to take their wine with them as carry-on baggage, using specially produced re-usable Singita Poly-bags, or it is sent as an export wine consignment. Exports account for a remarkable 30 percent of what Singita purchases.

“Singita Premier Wine Direct is available to current, past and future Singita guests, but usually comes into play when specific wines have been enjoyed in camp. Key to the service is developing a personal guest wine profile of wines enjoyed and purchased, so that we can offer future wine selections geared to specific preference,” explains François.

Expanding and tailor-making a world-class wine service across the collection of Singita lodges and camps is a constant challenge, but one which François relishes almost as much as mentoring his growing team of sommeliers.

The wine cellar at Singita Lebombo Lodge

For more information or to order wine through Singita Premier Wine Direct please contact us at premierwine@singita.com.

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Highlights from our Guides’ Diaries

December 04, 2012 - Experience,Kruger National Park,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

The monthly wildlife journals penned by our field guides are always such a special treat! At this time of year, with summer approaching, the fauna and flora surrounding the lodges is especially abundant and breathtaking. We hope you enjoy these beautiful photos taken from October’s Guides’ Diaries.

Ammocharis coranica

With the phenomenal rainfall over the last few weeks, the grey and brown colours of winter have been replaced by the new flush of green that has sprouted up everywhere. The concession is in full bloom and it looks incredible. The bush transforms into new life and revitalises itself from seemingly dead plant material to flourishing green life. The light rainfall has also spurred the bloom of several wild flowers. This ground lily (Ammocharis coranica) grows in open grasslands and flowers from October to February.

by Ross Couper (Singita Kruger National Park). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Shishangaan lion cubs

We got our first look at the newest members of the Shishangaan lion pride! While watching several other pride members feasting on a buffalo carcass, we spotted a restless lioness rolling from one side to the other on her back. On closer inspection, we saw three small fur balls that had been nursing from her peering back at us from between the blades of grass.

Upon returning later in the afternoon, we saw that the buffalo carcass was completely devoured with only a few morsels remaining. The mother of the three cubs was seen feeding on the last of the meat, and the cubs seemed fascinated with the carcass. Even at this young age you could see their instinct kicking in as they fought amongst themselves for the small soft scraps that were left.

by Ross Couper (Singita Kruger National Park). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Scrub hare

We flushed this scrub hare from its daytime resting place in a patch of grass on the side of the road where it flattened and froze in defence. It didn’t so much as twitch a whisker while relying on its superb camouflage to keep it hidden in the surrounding scrub. Scrub hares live in savanna woodland and mixed grass habitat.

By Jenny Hishin (Singita Pamushana Lodge). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Cheetah cub

We’ve been following the progress of two female cheetah cubs since they were born 14 months ago and I’m thrilled to report that they are still doing well. It’s been so interesting to watch their characters develop. One is a real tomboy – inquisitive, daring and a bit of a bully – while the other female is more timid, cautious and shy. If all goes well, these two cheetah cubs should reach independence in the next few months. Let’s hope they choose to stay on our abundant wildlife reserve.

By Jenny Hishin (Singita Pamushana Lodge). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Wildebeest invasion

In the latter part of September we saw large groups of wildebeest filing into Ikorongo. This was just a preview of what was to be experienced throughout the month. Tens of thousands of the incessantly restless animals spent the entire month moving onto the property, invading the plains of the western corridor once more.

By Ryan Schmitt (Singita Grumeti). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Lion

With the well-stocked wildlife buffet located on the Sasakwa plains, it wasn’t surprising that the Nyasirori lions found it unnecessary to move at all from the vicinity of Sasakwa Dam and its surrounds. It hasn’t been difficult to find lions lurking on the plains. While sipping coffee or tea from Sasakwa’s sprawling patios, all you need do is glance around the area with a pair of binoculars and you are bound to find the pale belly of a lion basking back at you.

By Ryan Schmitt (Singita Grumeti). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Elephants

The elephant herds that frequented Sasakwa hill in September moved back down onto the plains and surrounding woodlands once again. On more than a few occasions groups of over 100 elephants were seen, and Sasakwa Dam still seemed to delight them on their visits. After a quick drink in the afternoon to top up their reserves, it seemed the best thing to do was for every mammoth to take the weight off its feet by getting into the water and have a jolly good time cavorting, splashing and spraying!

By Ryan Schmitt (Singita Grumeti). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

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Let them eat cake!

November 26, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti

Spoiling our guests with delicious food has always been a key element of the Singita experience. From gourmet feasts and grassland picnics, to delectable bakes and alfresco breakfasts, we aim to make every meal something to remember. We asked chef Donna Patterson at Singita Grumeti to tell us about one of her favourite tea-time treats to serve at Singita’s lodges, and she kindly shared the simple steps for putting together her world famous Apple Caramel Cake.

This cake recipe is a favourite among all our guests, far and wide. It is baked time and again at all the Singita lodges throughout South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, and is by far the most requested recipe by guests! It’s absolutely delicious and easy to make, as you’ll see:

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 Tblsp melted butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 apple

Instructions:

For the cake:
Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric beater until it doubles in size. Add the cream and melted butter and continue to mix.

Sift the flour and baking powder onto the surface of the egg mixture and fold through lightly with a metal spoon.

Thinly slice your apple and arrange in a spiral around the top of the cake mixture in your prepared baking tin.

Bake at 160°C until golden brown.

For the glaze:
In a pot boil together, 100g brown sugar, 100g butter and 100ml cream.

Pour this sauce over the top of the cake when it comes out of the oven. Allow to cool in the tin before serving.

Enjoy!

Apple caramel cake | Singita Grumeti

Here’s a handy online volume converter you can use to adjust the metric measurements if necessary.

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