Category Archives: Sabi Sand

Singita Ebony Lodge Comes Full Circle

May 08, 2015 - Accommodation,Experience,Sabi Sand,Singita Ebony Lodge

Singita was originally founded in 1993 with the opening of Ebony Lodge on family owned land that became part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. When Luke Bailes, owner of Singita, bought and consolidated the land from his grandfather, he set about restoring it.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

In 1992, Bailes asked his old school friend, Mark Witney, if he was interested in taking time out from the city to open a new safari venture. He was. Soon after, Witney moved to the bush where he assumed multiple roles for many years – lodge manager, safari guide, maintenance man, and even relief pilot for the inter-lodge Cessna Caravan shuttle service – before employing an assistant lodge manager.

Twenty-two years later, Singita Ebony Lodge is set to reopen after an extensive reinvention, elevating the lodge to the same forward-thinking standard of innovation as the recently reopened Singita Boulders Lodge. The end result is a conscious departure from what may have been expected – or anything that has gone before. Instead, a quintessential safari aesthetic that captures the spirit and sentiment of the original while adding a youthful, relaxed charm, has been added.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Singita’s evolution from a single-lodge company to one that is now responsible for more than half a million acres of land, operating 12 lodges and camps in five wilderness regions across three African countries, has always been characterised by a pioneering spirit and a sincere desire to preserve wilderness areas for future generations. Its low-impact, high-value tourism model – fewer guests paying a premium for the privilege of experiencing vast open spaces – exists to sustain these wilderness areas and their resident wildlife, while providing an exclusive safari experience.

Singita Ebony Lodge stands on the banks of the Sand River in the heart of South Africa’s “big cat country”, beneath the leafy branches of the ancient and enormous trees for which it is named. The lodge is due to re-open in mid-June 2015; please contact our Reservations team to find out more.

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Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014: Part One

January 29, 2015 - Experience,Kruger National Park,Lamai,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Sabi Sand,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

A boulder-hopping leopard. A snow-white lion cub. Two black rhinos battling it out in a dam. A lion feasting on a crocodile. These are just some of the animal antics and incredible sightings that were caught on camera and reported by our intrepid field guides in the their Wildlife Reports during 2014. These monthly bush journals document the fascinating game and shifting landscapes observed in the five diverse ecosystems across hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness that Singita conserves. Immerse yourself in this untamed paradise with a look back at some of the highlights from the first half of last year:

JANUARY – SINGITA SABI SAND (SOUTH AFRICA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

The monkeys were alarm calling during high tea at Singita Boulders Lodge. After closer inspection Leon, the assistant head ranger, saw a glimpse of a leopard walking on the northern bank of the Sand River, which runs in front of the lodge. It was the Nyaleti male – a leopard in his prime who is often seen on the Singita reserve and is in the process of staking his territory.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report – January 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Sabi Sand

FEBRUARY – SINGITA LAMAI (TANZANIA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Two cheetahs set against a backdrop of seemingly never-ending plains, dotted with a few squiggly balanites trees: one of the many things about Singita Lamai that is so quintessentially African. Plains are the perfect habitat for cheetahs, who need large expanses of flat ground to build up their speed. The difficulty with flat plains is that it is hard for the cats to gain the height they need to survey the land for prey, so cheetahs are often seen on top of termite mounds or fallen trees, getting a better look at things.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report – February 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Lamai

MARCH – SINGITA PAMUSHANA (ZIMBABWE)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Both these sets of scamps looked like twins at first glance, but I’m sure they aren’t. It is quite common for elephants, giraffes, impalas and many other herd animals to group their youngsters together and take turns to babysit them. They’re kept out of harm’s way and are allowed to learn the ways of the wild under the watchful eye of their guardian. Of course, there is nothing better than to play and explore with a best friend who is your same age and size… Long may these friendships last!

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report – March 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Pamushana

APRIL – SINGITA KRUGER NATIONAL PARK (SOUTH AFRICA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

The time of autumn and approaching winter is most probably one the most vocal times of the year for lions, due to the cool dense air being able to transport the sound of a roar a lot further (up to 7 km away), but this is not the only reason why the rulers are belting out their assuring dominant presence. The five Shishangaan males have recently fought their way in and have taken over the territory from the two previous males. This has led to copious mating activity and will result in an exciting new bloodline in our N’wanetsi section of Kruger.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report – April 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Kruger National Park

MAY – SINGITA GRUMETI (TANZANIA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

The newest cubs in the Butamtam Pride that we reported first seeing in the March journal are continuing to thrive. They have grown a lot but are still small bundles of fur and fun! Their confidence has grown as well. In April we spotted them with their moms, in what was clearly the first time they were introduced to the rest of their pride. The lionesses and eight one-year-old juveniles were busy eating a recent eland kill, and resting in the heat of the day. The little cubs weren’t happy about their extended family at first, clearly frightened by the new environment and the new creatures in it. They meowed and yipped at their mom, running away from the rest of the pride into the long grass.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report – May 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Grumeti

JUNE – SINGITA LAMAI (TANZANIA)

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

Highlights from our Wildlife Reports 2014 - Singita

It’s no surprise that the Lamai and Kogatende areas of the Serengeti around Singita Mara River Tented Camp are home to many elephants. The mighty Mara River itself provides a seemingly endless supply of fresh water, flowing year-round. In addition, countless smaller rivers and estuaries stem off from the river at a rate of about one every 500 metres. The result is not only the large volume of water available, but also its accessibility – the animals don’t have to travel far for a drink or a bath.

Read the full Wildlife Report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report – June 2014
Read all Wildlife Reports from the region here: Singita Lamai

Check back tomorrow for the highlights from July to December. You can see all the Wildlife Reports on our website, as well as other “Highlights” posts from the past year or so on the blog.

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Summer Salads: Poached Nectarine and Rocket

January 20, 2015 - Cuisine,Singita Castleton

Singita Castelton (picnic)-1-10

Few things epitomise summer more than long, hot afternoons spent around a generously-laden table in the company of friends and family. Such appetizing scenes are a regular occurrence at Singita Castleton where the dedicated kitchen team, at this incredible private-use lodge, serve light but hearty fare to groups of up to twelve guests. One such dish, shared by Head Chef Calum Anderson, is this delicious salad packed with fresh, bold flavours and would make the ideal side for a summer barbecue:

Summer Salads at Singita

POACHED NECTARINE AND ROCKET SALAD WITH PARMA HAM,
GRILLED HALLOUMI AND PISTACHIO

Ingredients – what you’ll need:

For the nectarines:
- 3 firm but ripe nectarines
- 150g sugar
- 300ml water
- ½ vanilla pod
- Small pinch saffron (optional)

For the dressing:
- 1 lemon juiced
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper

For the salad:
- 200g washed rocket leaves
- 80g thinly sliced Parma ham
- 200g halloumi cheese
- 8 mint leaves
- 60g toasted pistachios, chopped finely

Summer Salads at Singita

Method – what to do:

For the poached nectarines:
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan.
Split vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the saucepan along with the saffron.
Bring the syrup up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes before removing from the heat and allowing to cool slightly.
Cut nectarines into wedges (about 12 slices per fruit) and place them into the sugar syrup and allow to infuse for a few hours.

For the dressing:
Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.

For the salad:
Strain syrup off of the nectarines and prepare to use for the salad.
Heat up a griddle pan on the stove until smoking hot, then quickly grill the halloumi cheese, looking for clear grill marks when it’s done.
In a salad bowl arrange the rocket, Parma ham, halloumi, mint and nectarines neatly and finally sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.
Serve the simple lemon dressing on the side.

Serves 6

Calum’s other heavenly creation in the Summer Salads series includes a bright and healthy Yellow Salad. Be sure to keep following for more of Calum’s fresh and healthy recipes. You can also explore the Cuisine category on our blog for more delectable recipes from all of our chefs at Singita.

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A Festive Family Gathering at Singita

December 19, 2014 - Experience,Sabi Sand,Singita Castleton

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At a time where solitude is hard to come by and quality time with loved ones comes at a premium, the exclusivity of Singita’s lodges, camps and private-use properties is the ultimate luxury in a fast-paced world. Each location allows us to share a unique part of the world with our guests, while maintaining respect for the natural environment and making a tangible difference in the local communities.

Family time at Singita Castleton

Families visiting Singita during the festive period are especially fortunate to be able to celebrate the season by spending time together in an unforgettable setting. Each of the five regions in which Singita operates offers something different; from the lush riverine landscape of the Sabi Sand and pristine wilderness of the Kruger National Park to the breathtaking grandeur of the Serengeti and tranquility of southeastern Zimbabwe. There can be no better location for a family gathering at this wonderful time of the year.

Family time at Singita Castleton

Each lodge caters for a variety of group activities, including guided safari walks, mountain biking, archery, star gazing, tennis, cooking classes and wine tasting*. Long, lazy afternoons spent by the pool are also a wonderful way to relax in the company of loved ones. Those craving peace and quiet can opt for a spa treatment, a browse around the extensive Boutique & Galleries or work up a sweat in the gym.

Family Christmas at Singita Castleton

Twice-daily game drives provide the perfect opportunity to see incredible wildlife, while spot-lit evening drives reveal the elusive magic of nocturnal Africa. Game drives are all conducted in state-of-the-art Land Rovers, each accommodating a maximum of six guests. During your stay, you are likely to spot a great variety of local flora and fauna, including all of The Big 5; lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.

Family time at Singita Castleton

Each game drive features a “bush stop” where guests can stretch their legs, enjoy a snack and share a drink or a cup of freshly-brewed coffee. Meals back at the lodge can be shared in the “boma”, in the main dining area or even in your room for the ultimate private dining experience. The kitchen teams prepare mouthwatering dishes using fresh ingredients from the vegetable garden, while others are locally-sourced or homemade by the talented chefs. A visit to Singita and all that it offers is full of unforgettable moments, not least of which are the hours spent together around the table, making guests feel truly at home.

Family time at Singita Castleton

Chat to our Reservations team to find out more about how the staff at each lodge can customize the perfect African Christmas experience for you and your family.

Special thanks to Brian Futter from The Art of Christmas for the festive decor seen in these photos.

*Please visit the website to see which activities are available at each lodge.

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Christmas under the Sun

December 15, 2014 - Experience,Sabi Sand,Singita Castleton

Across all our lodges, Christmas at Singita is a time of joyful celebration infused with Africa’s seductive warmth, vibrancy and generosity of spirit.

Christmas at Singita Castleton

Christmas at Singita Castleton

Meaning ‘place of miracles’ in Shangaan, Singita is privileged to share the fascinating and diverse wonders of nature with our guests at this festive time of year marked by sharing, feasting and celebration inspired by the sunshine and the magical surroundings of the wilderness.

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_MG_4135 - christmas cake 2

Whether visiting us with family or friends, we invite you to connect with your surroundings and embrace the luxury of space and sense of peace inherent in the Singita experience, and become part of our extended family this Christmas.

Christmas at Singita Castleton

Christmas at Singita Castleton

Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Singita Castleton (shown here) is an exclusive use lodge. It is steeped in history, capturing the spirit of the original Castleton house, giving the lodge a historical and comforting nature. Contact our reservations team to find out more.

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Summer Salads: Yellow Salad

December 02, 2014 - Cuisine,Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton, Sabi Sand, South Africa

The weather in the Southern Hemisphere is warming up as we approach the festive season, which means more time spent outdoors with loved ones. The al fresco dining table at Singita Castleton, shaded by the branches of the marula tree overhead, makes the perfect location for a casual summer meal. The table is laden with freshly baked breads, cured meats, homemade preserves and ice cold drinks, but the spread wouldn’t be complete without a deliciously crisp salad. Chef Calum Anderson shares his recipe for a crunchy yellow salad that complements a simple, mezze-style lunch; perfect for the whole family:

yellow_salad

YELLOW SALAD

Ingredients – what you need:

½ punnet yellow cherry tomatoes
1 large yellow pepper (bell pepper/capsicum)
2 small yellow pattypan squash
¼ pineapple
1 cup fresh sweetcorn, cut off the cob
4 baby corn
1 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method – what to do:

Prepare the vegetables:
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half
- Slice the pepper very finely into long strips
- Slice the patty pans thinly into rounds
- Core the pineapple and slice thinly
- Blanch and refresh baby corn in iced water and then cut in half length ways
Add all the ingredients to a bowl, along with the sweetcorn.
Mix salad together with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and season to taste.

Serves 4

Singita Castleton is an exclusive use lodge set within 45,000 acres of private reserve at Singita Sabi Sand. The property comprises a main house with communal living spaces, and accommodation located in six individual cottages within the grounds, catering for up to 12 people. Facilities include a vast garden, swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, tennis court and spa treatment room, all of which overlooks a popular waterhole where animals regularly gather to drink. Discover more on our website.

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Awards Round-Up 2014

November 28, 2014 - Awards,General,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Singita Grumeti,Sustainable Conservation

Singita Awards 2014

Singita Boulders Lodge

This year Singita has been honored with international recognition received from leading publications around the world. Recently, five of our properties were named among the Top 20 Safari Lodges/Camps in Andrew Harper’s 2014 “Readers’ Choice Awards” with Singita Boulders Lodge chosen as the best safari lodge in the world.

Both Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park, respectively were named as the #1 and #3 Lodges and Resorts in Africa and the Middle East in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards”. In addition to this honor, Singita Sabi Sand, Singita Kruger National Park and Singita Grumeti were named among the top 10 “Best Africa Safari Lodges and Wilderness Spots” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2014 Gold List (USA).

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Singita Boulders Lodge

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Singita Ebony Lodge

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Singita Lebombo Lodge

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Singita Sweni Lodge

Singita Castleton, which was completely renovated and reopened in 2013, was recognized as one of the best resorts in Robb Report’s annual “Best of the Best” issue and was also listed, along with Singita Grumeti, in their May 2014 “Top 100 Resorts” issue.

Singita Awards 2014

Singita Castleton

Singita Grumeti and Singita Sabi Sand were recognized in Condé Nast Traveller’s UK edition of the “Readers’ Travel Awards,” where they were both listed among the top 10 hotels in the Middle East, Africa & the Indian Ocean. Singita Grumeti was honored as the #1 hotel in hotel in the Middle East, Africa & the Indian Ocean and was also ranked as the #2 travel destination in the World’s Top 100. In addition to the “Reader’s Travel Awards”, Singita Castleton was featured on Condé Nast Traveller’s “Hot List” in the UK.

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Singita Sabora Tented Camp

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Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Most recently the 2014 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards (USA) were announced and Singita Sabi Sand was voted #4 in the world/ #2 in Africa and Singita Grumeti #7 in the world/ #3 in Africa.

Singita Awards 2014

Singita Sabi Sand

Singita has been the fortunate and grateful recipient of a number of awards over the years, all of which you can see on our website. Most recently, Singita was honoured with a World Tourism Award at World Travel Market 2014 in recognition of the company’s outstanding contribution to environmentally conscious hospitality.

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Community Projects: Early Childhood Development

November 20, 2014 - Community Development,Did You Know?,People of Singita,Sabi Sand,Singita Boulders Lodge,Singita Ebony Lodge

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

Modern conservation requires a keen focus on keeping tourism, the community and conservation in a constructive and positively enhancing balance. The health and survival of each of these aspects is crucial to the survival of the whole. This complementary approach is central to Singita’s driving philosophy, in which it is imperative that we assist communities to thrive, both economically and socially.

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

One such example of this commitment to the empowerment of local communities can be seen in action at Singita Sabi Sand, where an early childhood development programme is in place. Growing to Read ensures that 10 pre-schools in local villages are provided with professional training and guidance by a dedicated trainer from The READ Educational Trust, a long-standing, non-profit organisation and recognised child development leader.

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

The teachers from these pre-schools learn the most efficient and effective ways of developing the cognitive, physical and social skills of the young children in their care. Carefully chosen educational toys and books are also supplied to the pre-schools, along with stationary “tool-kits”. Teachers are thereby further enabled to implement the modern and effective methodologies that are shared with them.

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

Children who develop in structured and stimulating environments such as these are better able to form the foundation they need to succeed in their later schooling, and in life. Central to the programme is the importance of literacy, and the need for teachers to nurture and develop these skills in their young charges. In addition, Teach with Africa, a USA-based organisation, sends a team of experienced lecturers to work closely with these schools on an annual basis, in support of the overall Growing to Read programme.

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

Community Development: READ programme | Singita Sabi Sand

The success of this project prompted the Community Development team to partner with Singita Kruger National Park, where the children of the Welverdiend and Hluvukani staff villages are now also involved.  This means that 1700 young learners are now benefitting from the programme and Singita’s commitment to providing continuing support to these pre-schools.

Mandla Mathonsi, Community Development Officer

Mandla Mathonsi, Community Development Officer

WANT TO HELP?
The teaching and facilities in the local pre-primary and primary schools benefit greatly from support and enhancement, and any contributions will be put to sound use. For more information about becoming a funding partner to the Singita Community Development Trust, please contact HR and Community Development Manager, Pam Richardson, at +27 21 683 3424 or pam.r@singita.com.

You can find out more about Singita’s community development projects on our website.

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World Rhino Day 2014

September 22, 2014 - Conservation,Sabi Sand,Sustainable Conservation,Wildlife

World Rhino Day was established in 2010 and serves to celebrate all five species of rhino: Black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos. It is celebrated every year on 22 September and has grown to become a global phenomenon, uniting NGOs, zoos, cause-related organisations, businesses, and concerned individuals from nearly every corner of the world.

Singita Anti-Poaching Unit | World Rhino Day 2014

It is devastating to think that 500 000 rhinos once roamed the continents of Africa and Asia, and that this figure has dwindled to a mere 29 000 rhinos living in the wild*. Large-scale poaching of this now critically endangered species has prompted intensive conservation efforts in recent years, not least of all by our wildlife teams at Singita.

Singita Anti-Poaching Unit | World Rhino Day 2014

Today, the environmental stakes couldn’t be higher, as poaching methods have become increasingly sophisticated and poachers more daring. One way in which Singita Sabi Sand takes a stand against the unlawful massacre of these majestic creatures, is with the dedicated in-house anti-poaching unit that secures the safety and preservation of the species in the reserve. Working with specialists in counteracting illegal hunting and wildlife trade, a highly trained tracker dog unit was created to track both animals and humans. This tactic is being included in many national parks’ security operations, including the Kruger National Park and the units have become an integral part of Singita’s anti-poaching measures.

Singita Anti-Poaching Unit | World Rhino Day 2014

Mark Broodryk, Head Guide at Singita Sabi Sand says, “The biggest advantage of a dog unit is that the dogs track using their keen sense of smell and thus are extremely effective – even tracking in pitch darkness.” The dogs’ work rate and endurance surpasses that of a human and they ask for very little in return for the unenviable tasks they are called to do. Highly trained and able to perform multiple functions from pursuing intruders to tracking sick or injured animals or sniffing out products from illegal possessions, the dogs are highly valued, professional assets supporting important conservation initiatives.

Singita Anti-Poaching Unit | World Rhino Day 2014

Another reason for the success of the canine operation is that their presence acts as a deterrent to potential poachers. Once tracking dogs have been deployed into an area, the news quickly spreads amongst poachers and criminal syndicates and the level and frequency of poaching incidents is shown to drop dramatically.

*Statistics courtesy of savetherhino.org

Sustainable tourism is what allows Singita to be able to carry out this important work. Each guest represents a valuable contribution towards conservation measures in the reserve. Not only does the revenue from tourism support conservation initiatives, but just by coming to see this place, putting value on it and sharing the beauty with others, it inherently makes a world of difference.

For guests seeking to make a larger contribution, donations are accepted and welcome. Please contact Pam Richardson at pam.r@singita.com.

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Recent Facebook Highlights

September 19, 2014 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Safari,Wildlife

Singita’s Facebook community has always been an active space where guests and fans share their thoughts and memories alongside beautiful snapshots by our rangers in the bush. In particular, there have been a number of stunning wildlife photos posted by field guide Ross Couper from Singita Sabi Sand recently that have been shared far and wide. Here is a brief selection:

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A pack of wild dog entertained each other, whilst guests watched in awe at the social interactions taking place. A perfect spring morning.

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A tender moment of an elephant calf that was deserted and shortly afterwards adopted by another female elephant.

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Confident, self assured, tranquil – a few words that come to mind whilst watching the Nyeleti male leopard grooming himself.

Facebook Highlights - Singita - Copyright Ross Couper

A young male leopard keeps attentive to his surroundings as the afternoon light fades to darkness.

You can see more of Singita Sabi Sand’s wildlife and landscapes in this “week in the life” video, shot by another of our talented field guides, Dylan Brandt:

Follow us on Facebook and join 13 000 other wildlife lovers who get regular updates from all twelve lodges in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. One such example is this incredible face-off between a hippo and a pride of lions, captured by a guest.

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