Category Archives: Singita Pamushana Lodge

A Private Retreat

September 17, 2012 - Accommodation,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

If you’ve been reading our Singita Pamushana Guides’ Diaries over the past few years you’ll be well-acquainted with the insights and descriptive attention to detail provided by Field Guide, Jenny Hishin, who writes the diaries.  Recently we asked Jenny to write a few notes about a special corner of Singita Pamushana – the private villa.  You’ll love having an insider’s view of the various exclusive features of this private retreat.

If a secret had a secret it would be suite 7, the private villa at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe. A handful of the world’s most celebrated (be it in business, royalty or on the silver screen) have chosen this as their holiday destination, and it’s not hard to see why from the second you open the front door.

You step into a sumptuous lounge decorated in a forest of greens – from the beaded chandelier to the designer bamboo chair, but before you can absorb the details the room opens up onto the pool deck and the view seduces you. You’re gazing upon a vast wilderness for as far as the eye can see, and beyond. This is Africa at her wildest, most pristine and naturally beautiful – and it’s the reason this property achieved Global Winner in the Conservation category of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2011. It’s a true conservationist’s paradise.

On this elevated wrap-around deck daybeds beckon, a private pool sparkles turquoise and a Swarovski spotting scope awaits should you want to zoom in on any movement below and observe the wildlife.

The west wing is given over to the master bedroom in a monochromatic theme. The original artworks and design demand attention, yet you are handed a remote control.  Press the button on it and the surround glass panels slide down vertically and disappear into a recess, taking your breath along with them. The open-air bedroom leads to an en-suite bathroom and his and hers’ dressing rooms.

Past a double-sided fireplace is what has to be one of the most extraordinary studies ever built. It too has glass surround panels that drop away, air-conditioning, high-speed wireless internet and US telephones. Elsewhere in the suite you’ll find, discreetly placed, a satellite TV and home entertainment system.

In the central area is a private dining room and a fully equipped kitchen. Personal attention is guaranteed with your own banakeli (waiter) offering discreet service and making sure your every requirement is met.  Whether for a family or intimate group of friends travelling together, meals are prepared to be savoured in the villa at any time throughout the day or night – or dining can take place in the main lodge areas.

The east wing has four double bedrooms with king size beds and en-suite bathrooms. Each one is a feast for the eyes – jewel colours dominate yet impart an atmosphere of sumptuousness and reflection. You’ll also find a guest toilet leading to an outdoor shower which has unsurpassed views.

Everything about a stay in the private villa is governed by exclusivity and tranquillity. Guests can fly in and out on private charter flights and, for the duration of their stay, they’ll have the benefit of a private game viewing vehicle and dedicated guide. With hundreds of kilometres of the most pristine wilderness to explore the only other life you’ll see is wildlife. You could choose to explore this on foot with your guide, or in a more relaxed manner, sundowner in hand, aboard the luxury watercraft on the Malilangwe Dam.

The main lodge itself is also designed with privacy in mind, with many quiet reading nooks and relaxing lounges, dining areas and outdoor decks. There is a separate yoga studio and a fully equipped gym. The spa is tucked away and offers a host of relaxing treatments and massages – and guests are welcome to request these in the villa or out on their private decks.

The private villa is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown that is Singita Pamushana – a most rare and precious jewel – and you’ll be forgiven for falling in love…

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Winter’s Arrival

July 27, 2012 - Lodges and Camps,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Winter’s arrival was sudden and all too soon, transforming the bush by its Midas touch.  No sooner had we acclimatized to prepare ourselves for the cold, winter seemingly  checked out and left us with sunny days in the mid to late 20s (Celsius).  The Sabi stars have been out in full bloom in and around the lodge, adding a touch of finesse to the dry and dusty surroundings.

Our wildlife continues to dazzle and surprise us – from dusty elephant herds squandering water at a pan to fish eagles manoeuvring through the air as they defend their nests from other birds of prey. Lion and leopard cubs have poked their little faces out from the diminishing grassland to prove to us that there are hidden wonders still out there.

Shelley Mitchley, Lodge Manager – Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe


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Watering Seeds of Success

June 13, 2012 - Community Development,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Sustainable Conservation

Sometimes people’s lives are being transformed and revived in a small corner of the globe and we don’t even know it is happening.  That is why we want to share some updates with you of what is taking place on the southern boundary of Malilangwe Reserve where Singita Pamushana Lodge is located (Zimbabwe).  Hluvuko and Chitengenyi are small scale irrigation schemes a few kilometres from Singita Pamushana.  Hluvuko was established in 2005 and Chitengenyi in 2008 and the schemes have been running successfully over the years, reflecting a story of benefits without boundaries.

Let’s take a few steps back in case you are reading this and don’t know about how these projects started.  Singita Pamushana Lodge was established for the sole purpose of generating income to assist in funding the conservation and community outreach programmes coordinated by the Malilangwe Trust.  The Trust’s Neighbour Outreach Programme (NOP) is the vehicle through which Singita Pamushana Lodge and The Trust achieve their community development purpose.  One of the Trust’s key focus areas is the Feeding Programme which helps ensure that local young children receive a nutritionally balanced meal each day, and so are able to maximise the benefits of their schooling.

The small scale irrigation schemes operate alongside this feeding programme, and aim to enhance food security within the wider community, in a sustainable manner. They were established to enable vulnerable communities to grow their own food, and also to supply drinking water for domestic and livestock consumption.  Hluvuko and Chitengenyi are two of the schemes. It is thrilling to be able to report that the objective of food security and an improvement in the nutrition of rural communities bordering the Malilangwe Reserve is now being achieved, for a large part of each year. Communities are now able to grow and access fresh vegetables from the communal gardens.

Hluvuko is 2.5 hectares and has 26 direct beneficiaries. This year they managed to grow tomatoes, onion, carrots, beetroot and rape, most of which will be ready for market in July.  This year is their first year of growing beetroot and the crop is doing very well and most likely will be purchased by the kitchens at Singita Pamushana Lodge.

Chitengenyi is also 2.5 hectares and has 62 direct beneficiaries.  Due to challenges with their borehole, this year they started planting late.  Thanks to the Malilangwe Trust the borehole was repaired last week and the scheme is back on track.

The success of these schemes is that they have gone beyond subsistence level and are now producing excess crops which community members are able to sell in order to supplement their income.  Now that’s a story we want to share far and wide.

Guests can be inspired by the knowledge that their stay is assisting to sustain the wilderness and to support the local communities in practical and effective ways.

(Update provided by Tendai Nhunzwi, Human Resources Manager, Malilangwe Reserve)

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Wonderful and Rare Sighting

October 10, 2011 - Safari,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

A wonderful sighting this morning (Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe) of a relaxed mother leopard and her two tiny cubs.  Hours were spent watching their intimate rituals of nursing, bathing and playing – Jenny Hishin.

For more photographs of this remarkable sighting, take a look at Singita’s Facebook page.

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Rhino Rules

October 05, 2011 - Events,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

Jenny Hishin – Singita Guide – shares some of her experiences from Singita Pamushana Lodge.


I’ve mentioned that we’ve been having some hair-raisingly close encounters with a black rhino (Diceros bicornis) around the area of the Malilangwe Dam, at the foot of the lodge. The story began in June when staff members awoke to the colossal sounds of huffing, puffing, bashing and crashing.

Two male black rhinos were engaged in a mighty battle over what seemed to be a territorial dispute. One of the bulls was injured but our scouts managed to keep track of him and determine the extent of his injuries – thankfully he recovered well.

The battle aside, this aggression over territory is an encouraging sign for us because it has been observed that rhinos in low density populations become more territorial and less tolerant of intruders as their population density increases.

Rhinos use dung and urine to stake out the areas of their rule, and their middens act as important communication posts to other rhinos wanting to pass through the area peacefully or challenge the ruler for it.

Black rhinos are not as social as white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) and solitary individuals of both sexes are likely to be encountered. They have earned the reputation from humans as irascible, temperamental animals that prefer to investigate and possibly chase off a potential threat, rather than wait to be attacked or hope that the intruder will go away.

Three months after the initial battle it now seems certain that the victor enjoys the banks of the vast dam as his exclusive real estate.  A highlight of a peaceful boat cruise on the luxury Suncatcher is to spot him on the dam’s green fringe – and a highlight of a far less peaceful excursion is to find him in the harbour area where we moor the boats!

For more of Jenny Hishin’s wildlife updates, follow the monthly Singita Pamushana Guides’ Diary – posted on Singita’s website.

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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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