Category Archives: Singita Grumeti

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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Making Memories

November 02, 2012 - Accommodation,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti

Spending time with family and treasured friends, and making memories for a lifetime, is what Singita Serengeti House is all about.  Comfortable furnishings and details, seamless inside-outside lounging, a tennis court dedicated to the house, a swimming pool that invites an afternoon dip for everyone, and a personal team of staff, all help to make this exclusive-use retreat a place for total relaxation.  But more than that, looking out over an expanse of the Serengeti wilderness and sharing those moments with people you care about, is priceless.

Eating at Serengeti House is designed to do the same thing – untangle the normal daily stresses of our city lives.  How wonderful to wake up to home-baked, gluten-free muffins – or enjoy a picnic on the veranda overlooking the elephants at the watering hole in front of the house – even stop for tea while the chef whips up a milk tart made right there in the kitchen.  And if you haven’t tried milk tart yet, then you’re in for a special surprise.  This is a South African tradition but steeped in Dutch influences, and until you plan your next trip to Tanzania, here’s a little something to help you think about us.

Donna Patterson, Singita Chef, Grumeti Reserves – sharing my favourite recipe for Milk Tart.

Ingredients – what you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 pinch salt

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

The pie crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1 cup sugar.

Add 1 egg and beat until mixture is smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.

Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture just until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Press mixture into bottom and sides of two 9-inch pie pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Putting it all together:

In a large saucepan, combine milk, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from burner.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup sugar.  Add beaten eggs to sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk mixture into milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 5 minutes.

Pour half of mixture into each pastry shell.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Chill before serving – easy as that.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me how your baking goes.

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Opening Singita Serengeti House

September 10, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti

Donna Patterson, Chef at Singita Serengeti House, reflects on the first days with guests at Singita’s newly opened homestead on the plains of Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

The recent opening of Singita Serengeti House was an exciting time for all involved.  Carefully guided by Boyd Ferguson, master creator at Cecile & Boyd’s, who has thoughtfully directed design strategy for Singita for almost two decades, Singita’s latest project was no less a marvel.

As everything came together in the last few minutes before opening, in a bloom of dust the magic helpers disappeared and a vehicle full of delighted guests pulled up.  We were open!

Serengeti House oozes the opulence of a locally-styled East African home.  Guests walk in and immediately become part of the family.  There is a wonderful feeling of ‘arriving at your own private homestead’, derived from the serenity and beauty of the location and the stature of the house on the plains of Grumeti Reserves.

Guests are treated to one of Serengeti House’s top attributes of it being entirely private and secluded from anyone or anything else on 350,000 acres of private reserve. The home hosts its own tennis court and pavilion, 25 metre infinity pool, four plush bedrooms and endless living areas for relaxation at any stage of the day. There is also a waterhole just in front of the house, which has become a favourite drinking spot for general game as well as a breeding herd of elephant.

The food at Serengeti House is personalised to guests’ requests and we tend not to use a menu.  As the chef, I interact directly with the guests throughout their stay and discuss their meals with them. The food is locally sourced, healthy and styled around simple but robust recipes.  All of the guests enjoy the ‘family-style’ dining which entails the kitchen team preparing platters of food and serving it in the centre of the table. Be it delicious cakes for afternoon tea, banana bread and coffee before the sun rises or a fresh lobster braai (BBQ) to end off the day, the food is designed and catered to whatever whim is the preference of the group. The kitchen is also part of the home and guests are more than welcome to pop in at any time and get their hands messy with the chefs.

I know that wonderful memories will be created here and return visits have already been mentioned among departing travellers.

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Riding with the Migration

June 25, 2012 - Safari,Singita Grumeti

Martin Dodwell, Equestrian Guide at Singita Grumeti, has just completed the riding safari of a lifetime with Singita guests.  The migration has just arrived at Singita Grumeti and for their last three days of riding, the small group rode with huge herds of wildebeest (literally thousands) and galloped alongside buffalo, giraffe, topi, zebra and more.

A truly exhilerating experience.

For more information about Singita’s Horseback Safaris, read further on our website.

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