Category Archives: Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana Comes out Tops

June 06, 2011 - Events,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Now in their seventh year, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (www.tourismfortomorrow.com), under the stewardship of the WTTC recognizes best practices in sustainable tourism within the Travel & Tourism industry worldwide.  Chosen from 12 finalists and over 180 Award entries from more than 60 countries, the four winners who best exemplified successful work in advancing sustainable tourism were Singita Pamushana – Conservation Award, Guludo Beach Lodge – Community Benefit Award, Alpine Pearls – Destination Stewardship Award and Intrepid Travel – Global Tourism Business Award.

Winning the Tourism for Tomorrow Award in the Conservation category is a momentous endorsement of 17 years of conservation efforts at our Zimbabwe property, Singita Pamushana, since it gives enormous encouragement to our team of research ecologists, anti-poaching scouts and all involved in the management and protection of this beautiful part of Zimbabwe”, said Mark Witney, Chief Operating Officer of Singita Game Reserves.  “We hope that as a result of winning the award, visitors will be encouraged to experience for themselves this success story in terms of both the preservation of habitat and wildlife and the significant community projects we support.”

The winners underwent a rigorous judging process by an international team of 22 independent judges, led by Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, and a leading expert on sustainable tourism.  Mr. Christ is also an award-winning travel writer and eco-traveller who has explored more than 125 countries.

Costas Christ commented: “We are entering a new era where sustainable tourism principles and practices are no longer represented by a handful of well-meaning companies. Instead, sustainability itself has emerged as an important global initiative for protecting natural environments and assisting the well being of local communities.”

Article submitted by The Travel Corporation, sponsors of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2011.

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Getting to know Malilangwe

March 28, 2011 - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Sustainable Conservation,Wildlife

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, home to Singita Pamushana Lodge, presents a unique sanctuary for wildlife conservation in Africa.  The reserve’s core objective is to provide a naturally functioning ecosystem, where the full spectrum of wild species native to the area are protected, and where these species can live as they have for thousands of years.

Located adjacent to the Gonarezhou National Park in the south-eastern corner of Zimbabwe, Malilangwe occupies an area of 400 km2 of geologically and floristically diverse habitats. In all, 38 distinct plant communities are identified and early government prospectors described the area as ‘very wild broken country.

The rugged but breathtakingly beautiful sandstone hills, with their deep secret ravines and plateaus, likely earned the area this reputation. Weathered grey, sometimes cracked and sometimes smooth, they are adorned with lime, grey and orange lichen. White fig tree roots strangle then split the rock to reveal a myriad of sunset colours. These bewitching hills straddle the property and provide a refuge for mountain acacia and iron wood trees. Under their shade klipspringer and hyraxes hide themselves; wild dogs den and Black Eagles soar.  The hills are studded with fairytale springs and seeps which are favoured watering holes for black rhino, swimming pools for elephants and mud wallows for ‘dagga boys’ – the ill-tempered old buffalo bulls who have left the herd.  Numerous San rock art paintings, dating back to the Late Stone Age (more than 2000 years ago), bear witness to the historic diversity of animals that occupied this area, and whose descendents still roam free.

In the heart of the hills lies the Malilangwe lake, reputed in Zimbabwe for the excellent fishing opportunities it affords. The lake is also home to hippos and crocodiles, and an array of water birds. Few sites could offer a more spectacular fishing spot or sun-downer cruise.

To the south of the hills the soils are dark and rich – derived from basalt rock of the Jurassic period. In this semi-arid savanna, herds of plains species such as impala, zebra and wildebeest graze, and giraffe can be seen browsing Acacia trees. Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and sable also favour this area, but are more elusive. Woven through the mopane and Acacia trees are stream-like depressions that function as ‘vleis’ (open moist grasslands). These provide food for bulk grazers like white rhino and the herds of more than 500 buffalo.

North of the hills is black rhino and wild dog country. This densely wooded area makes game viewing difficult but extremely rewarding. Amongst the Grewia scrub grow giant baobab trees. Hollows in their gnarled branches trap water and their silvery limbs are home to Buffalo Weavers and honey bees. By-gone hunters used climbing pegs to scale the massive stems in search of honey and water. In some trees these climbing pegs are still evident while in others only swirling scars remain.

The Chiredzi River, a perennial source of water, forms the western boundary of Malilangwe. On it’s sandy banks grow tall ebony and sausage trees. They camouflage the rare and mysterious Pel’s Fishing Owl, and in the tangled ‘wait-a-bit’ undergrowth shy nyala feed, bushbuck bark and francolin call. Lions, leopards and hyenas traverse the entire property, and are often heard calling at night.

As a result of a healthy, functioning ecosystem, game has thrived at Malilangwe.  Population growth has soared to such an extent that Malilangwe has been able to restock other wildlife areas in Zimbabwe. Of particular pride are the black and white rhino populations which have grown so well over the past 10 years that Malilangwe is now able to restock other parts of Africa with these remarkable, endangered species.

Article contribution by Sarah Clegg, BSc, MSc – Consulting Ecologist at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve for the past 15 years.

To view the Malilangwe wildlife in their natural habitat, follow Kim Wolhuter’s extraordinary video footage published regularly on Singita’s Facebook page.  Kim is an internationally acclaimed, documentary film-maker residing on the Malilangwe Reserve recording footage for upcoming documentary projects.

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Funding a life source

January 28, 2011 - Community Development,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Did you know that when guests stay at Singita Pamushana all proceeds are used to fund various projects managed by the reserve’s Malilangwe Trust? A key, joint project that the Malilangwe Trust has embarked upon is to establish irrigation schemes so that nearby villagers and their livestock have a clean supply of water and are able grow their own vegetables. Women and children tend the crops – channeling water into the fields (thanks to a borehole that has been sunk), and keep up with weeding and removing pests.  When you are next at Singita Pamushana, pay them a visit and they’ll proudly show you the crops – onions, cabbage and other leafy greens are in season right now, and you’re bound to be treated to an emotive impromptu choir performance!

Approximately 10,000 people located around the Malilangwe Reserve are now assisted daily through the provision of drinkable, clean borehole water.

For further information on this project please liaise with our Singita Pamushana Lodge Manager or with Singita HR & Community Development Manager, Pam Richardson – please contact us.

By Jenny Hishin

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Empowering communities to be the change

July 06, 2010 - Community Development,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana is situated in the 140 000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve operates the Malilangwe Trust, much like the Singita Grumeti Reserves operates the Grumeti Fund. This trust is actively involved in uplifting, among other things, the surrounding communities.

The Malilangwe Trust’s approach to community upliftment is one of community empowerment. In all their initiatives the affected community is responsible for 70% of the project and the Malilangwe Trust is responsible for the remaining 30%.

This forward thinking community ownership approach has been a vital aspect in the long-term success of the Trust community focused programmes. The other vital element, in the long-term success of the various initiatives, has been the involvement of government.

In the school, clinic and irrigation garden projects the Trust has supplied the infrastructure leaving room for government to supply the staff, medication, training, books and other necessary supplies.

This approach – the partnership between the Malilangwe Trust and the communities – and the involvement of government has resulted in effective, sustainable and far-reaching upliftment.

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Have you lost your heart to a baobab lately?

June 30, 2010 - Environment,Singita Pamushana Lodge

The Shangaan believe that the baobab holds immense power. In fact it is a widely held Shangaan belief that when a person sits beneath a baobab tree it steals a piece of that person’s heart. This piece is only returned when they once again sit beneath that same baobab tree.

The baobab is the quintessential African tree and the Malilangwe Reserve is full of these beautiful giants.

Singita Pamushana Lodge and the Baobab.

The direct translation of the word baobab is tree of life, which is apt considering that every part of it can be used.

1. The white pulp, from the fruit of the baobab, is mixed with water and used as a treatment for fever, colds and flu.
2. The seeds, from the baobab fruit, are refreshing to suck on and – when roasted – they make an excellent coffee style        hot beverage.
3. Over the years hollow baobab trunks have served as houses, prisons, storage barns and places of refuge from                    animals.
4. The leaves can be boiled and eaten just like spinach.
5. The bark makes excellent ropes and floor mats. It is also believed to have the power to help an individual secure               respect, prestige and security in their job.

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    The Mopani – a butterfly by any other name is still just as beautiful …

    June 28, 2010 - Environment,Singita Pamushana Lodge

    The Mopani tree bears this beautiful name thanks to its butterfly shaped leaves. Mopani means butterfly.

    The amazing Mopani tree has more to it than just butterfly shaped leaves … it is also highly intelligent in design. It stores tannins, which lie dormant in its root and bark until an animal tries to eat the leaves.  When an animal takes a nibble it releases the tannin making the leaves inedible to most creatures.

    The Mopani Tree.

    photo CC attribution: artbandito on Flickr

    The Mopani tree may be intelligent in design but it is also an elephant’s favourite snack. To get past the tannin issue the elephant doesn’t bother with nibbling off the tree instead it tears a whole Mopani branch from the tree. So, while the rest of the Mopani is rendered inedible thanks to the tannin, the elephant’s branch tastes delicious!

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    When Patterned took on Plain and won! – the décor of Singita Pamushana

    June 23, 2010 - Singita Pamushana Lodge

    The décor at Singita’s Pamushana Lodge draws its inspiration from the local Shangaan culture creating an authentic and luxurious Zimbabwe safari experience for guests. Here there are no muted-khaki or beige tones in sight. Instead rich patterned fabrics, decadent and heavy wood furniture, beading, African frescos and other artwork are used to create a sumptuous and captivating lodge setting.

    Nothing has been ignored or overlooked in both the suites and the public lodge areas. The suites, central bar, swimming pools, indoor and outdoor sitting rooms and dining areas are all wonderfully comfortable and inviting with superb attention to detail.

    Singita Pamushana Lodge.

    The hand-painted and distinctly patterned walls throughout Singita Pamushana Lodge call out, they want to be touched. The carved wood of the bar needs to be stroked. The deck, overlooking the dam, has to be lounged on at least once a day and the suites’ private outdoor showers beckon morning, noon and night.

    Singita Pamushana Lodge - The Extensive Deck.

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    Getting to know the locals – the Shangaan People in Zimbabwe

    June 18, 2010 - Africa,Singita Pamushana Lodge

    The original Shangaan took their name from their king, Soshangane. The Shangaan weren’t traditionally warriors instead they were agriculturalists and pastoralists.

    At the height of his power the King Soshangane ruled the impressive Gaza Empire. This empire consisted of what is now south-eastern Zimbabwe – which is where the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve and Singita Pamushana Lodge are situated – as well as the area from the Save River to the southern part of Mozambique.

    In traditional Shangaan culture the sangoma, a healer and spiritual guide, is seen to be one of the most important members of the Shangaan tribe. Over the years the sangoma’s medicine gourd, a nhunguvani, has become an accepted symbol of the traditional cultural heritage of the Shangaan.

    The Shangaan are now mainly found in southern Mozambique and in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

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    Cathedral Mopane forests and majestic ‘upside-down’ Baobab trees – Singita Pamushana

    June 14, 2010 - Singita Pamushana Lodge

    Singita Pamushana is located in the 140 000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve situated in south-east Zimbabwe. These 140 000 acres are home to four separate eco-systems, an abundance of wildlife – including the Big 5 – and a collection of over 400 different species of birds.

    In true Singita style Pamushana Lodge offers its guests a personal and unique African safari experience.

    Singita Pamushana Romance!

    Everything from its unrivalled setting – overlooking the expansive Malilangwe Lake – to its local Shangaan inspired décor and the trademark Singita service, all helps to create an adventure that is exciting, warm and incredibly romantic.

    SIngita Pamushana - What a View!

    Food is as much a part of Singita Pamushana Lodge as the décor, setting and service. Early morning pre-game drive snacks followed by brunch, a late lunch, decadent afternoon tea, sundowners and refreshments in the bush and then dinner. All so delectable and so beautifully presented, that any attempt at resistance is ultimately futile!

    Singita Pamushana Lodge Safari Experience.

    Photographs, no matter how talented the photographer, simply cannot capture the magic and charm that flow through every aspect of Singita Pamushana Lodge. It is simply a place you have to experience in person in order to understand how such beauty has the ability to make any heart sing.

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    Finding your way to one of Africa’s best kept secrets

    June 11, 2010 - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

    Singita Pamushana Lodge is an easy and relatively short flight from Johannesburg.

    The Monday and Thursday weekly flights are scheduled to depart at 13h40 from OR Tambo International Airport to Buffalo Range International Airport, Zimbabwe, where you’re met by a Singita representative. From Buffalo Range Ridge Airport you are transported by road to Singita Pamushana Lodge.

    The best part of the trip, (obviously we’re talking about the best part of the trip before you arrive at Singita Pamushana Lodge), has to be standing on the runway waiting to board the flight to Zimbabwe. As you wait you’ll have the opportunity watch a series of international flights prepare for takeoff, just 100 metres from where you’re standing, while you nonchalantly sip on your ice-cold beverage and pretend this is all completely normal.

    It’s the most informal and charming airport experience you’re ever likely to experience; and it all takes place on the runway of South Africa’s largest International Airport … incredible!

    Insider tips:

    When flying with a smaller airline, checking in can be quite confusing. To help make sure you’re 100% in the-know we’ve included the following tips:

    • If you’re flying on the Federal Air scheduled flight check-in is at International Departures, Terminal A, at counter 84.
    • Unless you’ve been instructed otherwise, check-in will always be at counter 84, Terminal A.
    • In all likelihood, counter 84 will display another airline’s signage. Ignore this. Federal Air shares the check-in counter with other airlines and is only allowed access to the check-in desk an hour before the flight is scheduled to leave.

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