Category Archives: Sabi Sand

Big Cat Country: The Leopards of Singita Sabi Sand

October 21, 2015 - Experience,Sabi Sand,Wildlife

“You can lie out on the bare ground and look like a heap of pebbles. You can lie out on the naked rocks and look like a piece of pudding-stone. You can lie out on a leafy branch and look like sunshine sifting through the leaves; and you can lie right across the centre of a path and look like nothing in particular. Think of that and purr!”

The leopards of Singita Sabi Sand

This excerpt from Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories is a perfect explanation as to why it can be tricky to spot a leopard while in the bush. They are elusive creatures, but the Sabi Sand Reserve, in which Singita has a 45,000-acre concession, is very well known for its leopard activity. These cats form an important part of the diversity in the area, with Singita guides and trackers becoming familiar with various resident leopards that have established territory near the Sand River.

The leopards of Singita Sabi Sand

The Ravenscourt male

Females are more common, as adult males venture beyond the local area in order to establish new territories for themselves. There is however one male leopard of some significance, who was orphaned by a “rogue” male two years ago. His mother was the fondly-remembered Ravenscourt female; an incredibly beautiful leopardess who was a familiar sight for visitors to Singita Sabi Sand. Her cub subsequently became independent and moved south, while the “rogue” male has settled in the area and is known as the Nyeleti male leopard; a name that means ‘stars’ in Shangaan.

Singita Ebony Lodge

Singita Ebony Lodge

The leopards of Singita Sabi Sand

Hlaba’Nkunzi female and her cub

Since losing the Ravenscourt female, Hlaba’Nkunzi, a new female leopard from the western Sabi Sand has taken over her territory and given birth to two litters of cubs. She is an unusually adventurous leopard, and is regularly spotted close to the lodges during the early morning and evening. She even gave birth to her most recent litter under the private pool deck of one of Singita Ebony Lodge‘s suites.

The leopards of Singita Sabi Sand

Hlaba’Nkunzi’s young male cub

Over the last 10 months, we have been fortunate enough to observe one of these cubs grow up and adopt some of his mother’s habits, including a quiet tolerance of the game vehicles and a sense of comfort around the lodges. This young male is always a popular character to spot during a game drive, and reminds both guests and staff alike how fortunate we are to be in such close proximity to these incredible animals.

The leopards of Singita Sabi Sand

This article is the first in a series of wildlife stories that will showcase the interesting animals found across the five regions in which Singita’s lodges and camps are located. Please subscribe to the blog using the form on the right to ensure that you don’t miss the next one!

You can read more about the Ravenscourt female in this heart-wrenching tribute written by Head Guide, Mark Broodryk, and also see some gorgeous photographs of the first sighting of the Hlaba’Nkunzi cubs.

Special thanks to Ross Couper for the lovely photographs.

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Summer Salads at Singita Castleton

October 19, 2015 - Cuisine,Singita Castleton

Castleton salads

As summer approaches in the Sabi Sand, evenings are longer and days are lazier and warmer, the weather is perfect for salads and al fresco eating.  Long afternoon lunches are best enjoyed at Singita Castleton, where the farm table under the fig tree is laid with a sumptuous spread of tapenades, chilled soups, homemade breads, and fresh salads.  Follow up lunch with a swim – refreshed before heading out on a late afternoon game drive.  Our chefs at Singita Castleton shared this summer recipe so you can bring a taste of Singita’s early summer into your kitchen!

Asian Style Caprese Salad (2)


Salad ingredients

3 ripe beef tomatoes sliced
4 green tomatoes sliced and quartered
200g (1 cup) yellow cherry tomatoes
200g (1 cup) red cherry tomatoes
1 ball of buffalo mozzarella
10 basil leaves
10 basil flowers – optional
2 Tbsp mixed sesame seeds

Dressing ingredients

100ml raspberry vinegar
50g white sugar
100g extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the dressing

Make the dressing first as the tomatoes will need to be marinated for at least 30 minutes before serving.  In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together and whisk until well blended. Marinate the tomatoes.

Putting it all together

Arrange the varieties of tomatoes onto a plate with torn pieces of mozzarella and Thai basil and flowers for garnish. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top of the salad and use some left over dressing to drizzle onto the salad before serving.


Singita Castelton (game drive)-1-41

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Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2015

September 02, 2015 - Awards,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Singita Grumeti

Yesterday saw the publication of Condé Nast Traveller magazine’s much-anticipated annual Readers’ Travel Awards; a list of accolades for the world’s best destinations, hotels, villas, airlines and more, as chosen by their readers. Singita is delighted to announce that Singita Grumeti, a 350,000 acre concession adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and home to five of our lodges and camps, was voted the Best Hotel in the World for Service. This gratifying distinction honours the hard work and dedication of all our staff – field guides, trackers, front of house, chefs, banakelis, sommeliers, housekeepers, groundsmen and more. All of them contribute to creating unforgettable memories for all of our guests.

Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2015

Singita Grumeti was also listed third in the Readers’ Travel Awards Top 100, a global index of excellence in hospitality, rated according to elements like design, food, location, atmosphere, facilities and service. In addition, the property was awarded second place in the list of best hotels in the Middle East, Africa & the Indian Ocean, while Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa came in at number nine.

Singita could not be more proud of these awards, especially given that they were voted for by previous guests and Condé Nast Traveller readers. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all members of staff who work tirelessly to make Singita truly a “place of miracles”.

Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2015

You can visit our website to see a list of all previous awards or read this blog post which highlights last year’s most significant achievements.

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A Flying Start to an Unforgettable Safari

August 14, 2015 - Experience,Sabi Sand,Singita Boulders Lodge,Singita Castleton,Singita Ebony Lodge

Arrival at Singita Sabi Sand

You’ll never forget the first time you touch down at Singita Sabi Sand‘s air strip. After a brief flight over the seemingly endless grasslands and bushveld of the Kruger National Park, a pale ribbon of tarmac comes into view, cutting through the lush green carpet below as the plane approaches the clearing. A small herd of zebra nibble casually on the grass, completely unperturbed by your imminent arrival.

Arrival at Singita Sabi Sand

Arrival at Singita Sabi Sand

Within seconds, the aircraft is deftly lowered to the runway and comes to a smooth standstill in front of a small, thatched “terminal”, and you wait for the propellers to stop and the doors to open. The steps to the airstrip are lowered from the plane and a warm breeze fills the cabin with the unmistakable smell of the African bush; a mixture of dry grass, fragrant buchu leaves and the promise of an afternoon thunderstorm.

Arrival at Singita Sabi Sand

Your bags are whisked away by an efficient porter as your field guide and tracker introduce themselves and offer you a cooling drink and a steaming towel. Together they will care for you for the duration of your trip, escorting you on twice-daily game drives, teaching you the laws of the bush, preparing your evening gin and tonic, and sharing with you the delights of Singita’s 45,000 acre concession in the Sabi Sand. Once you are feeling refreshed from your journey, it’s time to jump in the game viewing vehicle and head to the lodge, where the adventure really begins.

Arrival at Singita Sabi Sand

Singita Sabi Sand is home to three of our 12 properties, Singita Ebony Lodge, Singita Boulders Lodge and Singita Castleton. To visit these lodges, please get in touch with our Reservations team. You can also discover the region on our website and through our monthly Wildlife Reports.

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Honeymoon Safari: A Match Made in Heaven

August 12, 2015 - Accommodation,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Sabi Sand,Safari,Singita Boulders Lodge,Singita Ebony Lodge,Singita Explore,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti,Singita Lebombo Lodge,Singita Mara River Tented Camp,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Singita Sabora Tented Camp,Singita Sasakwa Lodge,Singita Sweni Lodge

Honeymoon safari at Singita

Singita Sweni Lodge, South Africa

Wedding preparations can be as stressful as they are enjoyable, and yet nothing can prepare you for the blissful whirlwind of that special day. A luxurious and extraordinary honeymoon is the perfect way to reflect, unwind and celebrate the beginning of a new life together. The romance and adventure of an African safari is difficult to beat, whether you want to experience the ultimate in relaxation or get your blood pumping in thrilling moments of discovery.

Singita’s portfolio of properties, across three countries in Africa, is a wonderful starting point for an idyllic honeymoon. Anton de Wit, our Travel Service Manager, has some fantastic ideas for a memorable newlywed visit to our stunning lodges in South Africa, Zimbabwe or Tanzania:

Hot air balloon in the Serengeti | Singita

Singita Grumeti, Tanzania

See the Serengeti
Visitors to Singita Grumeti in Tanzania have the unique opportunity of chartering a hot air balloon for an unforgettable ride over the treetops of the Serengeti. This once-in-a-lifetime experience takes game viewing to new heights and gives photography buffs an amazing new perspective on the world below. You’ll skim above the grasslands and acacia forests, and at other times ascend to 1 000 feet to see the enormity of the reserve. The Singita Balloon Safari is a romantic and evocative way of experiencing the wilderness as you gracefully and silently glide over the plains, observing the wide variety of wildlife below.

Horseback safari in the Serengeti at Singita Grumeti

Horseback safari at Singita Grumeti

High adventure
Our more adventurous guests will also enjoy the variety of outdoor activities available, which can be customised for honeymooners looking for a little solitude. These include stargazing, mountain biking, guided bush walks, wine and whiskey tastings, visits to ancient rock art sites, archery, tennis, fishing and horseback safaris. The latter, also available at Singita Grumeti, affords guests the thrill of discovering the vast plains of the Serengeti on horseback; the surreal romance and excitement of exploring the exquisite wilderness of this unique area at eye level with the wildlife. Singita’s day rides and longer equestrian safaris allow guests to journey across the open plains with a herd of zebra or giraffe, bringing them truly in touch with the pulse of Africa.

Honeymoon safari at Singita

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Honeymoon safari at Singita

Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa

Rest & relaxation
Those looking for a less adrenaline-filled day will love the tranquility of our renowned Bush Spa, which offers a holistic and healing approach to treatments. The spa menu has been created to complement the beauty and serenity of the wilderness, and all treatments incorporate that peace and vibrant energy to revitalize and nourish guests. Body treatments such as massage, polishing scrubs and nourishing masks can be enjoyed in the comfort of your suite, out on a private deck or at the spa, and all treatments can be tailored for couples.

Honeymoon safari at Singita

Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Tanzania

Total seclusion
Each of Singita’s properties has been designed to offer guests total seclusion, from the small number of self-contained suites set at a generous distance from one another, to the option of a private vehicle for twice-daily game drives. Meals can also be enjoyed privately, whether by candlelight in your suite, under the stars on the deck or out in the bush, surrounded by hurricane lamps with your own private chef and “banakeli” (butler). It would be difficult to find a more romantic setting for enjoying a delicious dinner together than in a dining room created especially for you in the soft sand of a dry river bed, with the Milky Way twinkling overhead.

Honeymoon safari at Singita

Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Tanzania

Something for everyone
Singita’s twelve lodges and camps offer something different to every traveller. From the wide plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania, to the lush bushveld of the Kruger National Park and the majestic baobabs and sandstone outcrops of Zimbabwe, guests at Singita enjoy exclusive access to over half a million acres of pristine wilderness across five diverse ecosystems in Africa. Deciding which of these beautiful regions to visit is the only effort you’ll have to make; our dedicated Travel Services team will handle the rest.

Honeymoon safari at Singita

Singita Mara River Tented Camp, Tanzania

Our specialised Travel Service team are always available to help plan an unforgettable romantic getaway just for you. You can get in touch with them here or email

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Highlights from our Wildlife Reports

August 04, 2015 - Experience,Kruger National Park,Lamai,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Sabi Sand,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

If your morning routine doesn’t involve a sunrise game drive and a steaming cup of coffee overlooking the waterhole, then a close substitute would be catching up on our latest Wildlife Reports; first-hand field guide reports straight from the wilderness. These bush journals chronicle the evolving landscape throughout the year as well as noteworthy wildlife sightings and game statistics. Some of the most recent reports include some stunning sunsets, a pair of cheetah on a kill, an amorous leopard and a rare pack of endangered wild dogs in the Serengeti:


Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

We are fortunate in Africa to be blessed with some beautiful skies, whether it be the rosy dawns, the unpolluted blues of autumn days, or the sparkling splendour of our starry night skies. Most famous of all, however, are our sunsets, and after more than five and a half decades on this continent, I still appreciate each and every sunset that I am fortunate enough to see. There’s something about sunsets that inspire you to take time to think back on the day’s events, and just to marvel at the majesty of it all.

Report by Leon van Wyk, Coleman Mnisi, Nic Moxham and Ross Couper. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Sabi Sand Wildlife Report April 2015


Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

The month of June in the Lamai was unusually wet with the first half of the month yielding rainstorms of colossal proportions. The rain patterns of the Serengeti have been rather mercurial this year, seeing the second quarter producing more storm clouds which inevitably dictate the ebb and flow of the Mara River and, so too, the movement of the wildlife. On some mornings the level of the river rose over 60cm in a matter of hours.

Report by Paul Nell with photos by Stuart Levine, Adas Anthony and Ryan Schmitt. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Lamai Wildlife Report June 2015


Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

Imagine the thrill of coming across two male cheetah on a kill. It’s such a privilege to see, especially as they have disappeared from an estimated 76% of their historic range in Africa. Their population has declined by at least 30% over the past 18 years, and is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as killing and capture of cheetahs for trade and to prevent livestock loss.

Report by Jenny Hishin with photos by Mark Saunders and Simon Capon. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Pamushana Wildlife Report April 2015


Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

The Xhikelengane female, who is truly regarded as the grandmother of the leopards at Singita Kruger National Park, and definitely a favourite among the guides, has been doing her best to get the attention of the males in her region… Over the past few weeks we have noticed her moving further and further north out of her usual territory, and scent marking like her life depended on it! This behaviour is to attract potential suitors in her direction. Finally, after weeks of advertising, an unknown large male found her and we were lucky enough to see them mating twice over the course of four days. This intense and usually very secretive affair is one of the ultimate sightings on safari.

Report by Nick du Plessis, Barry Peiser and Deirdre Opie. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Kruger National Park Wildlife Report April 2015


Highlights from our Wildlife Reports - Singita

The call came in on the radio around 8:30am. Guide Ray Wankyo reported that he had spotted a pack of 13 wild dogs south of the Singita Grumeti boundary with the Serengeti National Park. Words cannot explain the excitement that proceeded after hearing that call. The entire guiding team piled into game viewers to go and witness this incredible sighting. In the 13 years since Singita Grumeti’s inception, wild dogs have only been seen on one other occasion on the concession, and that was back in 2007.

Report by Lizzie Hamrick with photos by Ryan Schmitt, Brad Murray. Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report April 2015

You can subscribe to our blog via RSS or email to stay up to date with our Wildlife Reports and plenty of other goings on at our 12 lodges and camps in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

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Satellites & Safaris: Rural education gets a boost

July 29, 2015 - Community Development,Did You Know?,Sabi Sand

Satellites and safaris don’t appear to be a traditional pairing, but they are in fact the ideal complement in Singita’s latest community development initiative. “Teaching & Technology”, which launched last month, is a partnership programme between the Mpumalanga Department of Education, Singita Community Development Trust and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Teaching and Technology | Singita

The project, which demonstrates how satellite communications can assist educators in rural areas, will roll out in 12 primary schools in the communities neighbouring the Sabi Sand Reserve. Web-based solutions will be used to upskill and train local teachers, who will ultimately share this benefit with learners and their entire communities.

Teaching and Technology | Singita

The ESA, together with partners Openet (Italy) and SES (Luxembourg), has outfitted each of the participating schools with satellite terminals, along with equipment including laptops, tablets, projectors and loudspeakers. Singita’s role is to manage the programme and to work alongside the Education Department to train and mentor the 200 teachers from these schools. The company will also be providing technical support to the schools in order to ensure the sustainability of such technology-based programmes in remote locations.

Teaching and Technology | Singita

“Singita’s goal is to create a model (to enhance teacher quality in rural areas), which can be replicated throughout Africa,” says Pam Richardson, Community Development Director at Singita. “The lack of resources and qualified educators are problems faced by rural communities across the continent.”

Teaching and Technology | Singita

The prosperity of the local community is a critical component in Singita’s success. The company’s eco-tourism philosophy is hinged not only on the hospitality provided by the lodges, but equally on sustainable conservation and the empowerment of local communities. Singita runs a number of thriving community development projects, making a tangible difference in the lives of the people living and working in and around its lodges.

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Mandela Day at Singita Sabi Sand

July 21, 2015 - Community Development,Events,Sabi Sand

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” – Nelson Mandela

Mandela Day 2015 at Singita Sabi Sand

Supporting the people who live in and around Singita’s reserves is an important part of maintaining the balance between sustainable tourism, community upliftment and environmental conservation. As part of this hands-on approach to community development, the staff at Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa celebrated Mandela Day this past Saturday with a feeding initiative for the children at two local care centres. Guests were invited to join in the making of sandwiches which were then packaged and delivered to the care centres in the neighbouring village of Justicia.

The voluntary involvement of the guests was especially touching, as was the visit by some of them to assist with the distribution of the sandwiches to 350 hungry children. It was a joyful and heart-rending tribute to Mr Mandela’s legacy and especially his commitment to stopping child hunger. It is a desire that Singita shares as part of its community development objectives; a dedication to saving the world, one sandwich at a time.

Mandela Day is held on 18 July every year to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday and in recognition of the life’s work of this great man. Please visit to find out how you can become a Madiba changemaker and make every day Mandela Day.

You can find out more about Singita’s community projects here.

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In the Kitchen at the Reimagined Singita Ebony Lodge

July 15, 2015 - Cuisine,Experience,Singita Ebony Lodge

The recent reimagining of Singita Ebony Lodge has created a contemporary safari experience unlike any other, combining the romance of a tented camp with the style of a classic bush lodge. This more modern interpretation of an African wilderness adventure is reflected throughout the lodge, including in the approach taken by the talented kitchen team.

Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa

Many of the global food trends charted by the industry’s sharpest minds have trickled down to our little piece of Africa, where creative and delicious creations are prepared throughout the day. And while the inspiration for the preparation and plating of these meals might be traditional (classic French cooking methods, beautiful but simple presentation), the ingredients can be much more innovative and nutritious.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Tried-and-tested flavour combinations are paired with mouthwatering “superfoods”, making more healthy options than ever available at meal times. For example, breakfast features a raw, sugar- and fat-free granola as well as a decadent honey-roasted seed and nut option to have with seasonal fruit. Freshly-pressed vegetable juice, wheatgrass and kombucha are served alongside a selection of premium coffees and teas to suit every palate.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

This season, our chefs are inspired by juicy heirloom tomatoes, organic maple syrup, local goats cheese, candy-stripe beetroot and all manner of homemade jams, marmalades and chutneys. One of the most popular dishes on the constantly evolving menu is a pan-fried quail, served with wild mushrooms, sage and polenta – a real winter warmer! As ever, the dietary needs of our guests are always considered, and speciality menus are designed regularly by our chefs to take any and all preferences into account.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

The new Singita Ebony Lodge comprises 12 suites, each with its own private plunge pool. Guests are immersed in nature with huge open spaces and interiors inspired by a combination of local tribal culture and the animal kingdom. Read more »

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The Radical Reinvention of Singita Ebony Lodge

July 13, 2015 - Accommodation,Lodges and Camps,Singita Ebony Lodge

As part of a new vision for its offering in the Sabi Sand, Singita recently unveiled a complete re-design of its original lodge, Singita Ebony, in South Africa. This property is where the story began 22 years ago and completes Singita’s reinvention of its private 45,000 acre game reserve within the Sabi Sand, following the 2014 renovation of Singita Boulders Lodge and Singita Castleton.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Situated on the banks of the Sand River, Singita Ebony Lodge was already considered one of Africa’s most iconic locations and was revolutionary in its pioneering approach to the modern luxury safari experience. The new Ebony will takes safari style to a new level altogether, following its transformation by design team Cécile & Boyd, working alongside architect Sally Tsiliyiannis from GAPP Architects. Their unique vision has created a fresh and contemporary interpretation of the classic safari lodge, combining tented camp and bush lodge style. Guests are immersed in nature with huge open spaces and interiors inspired by a combination of local tribal culture and the animal kingdom.

The new Singita Ebony Lodge comprises 12 suites, each with its own private plunge pool. Dramatic changes include internal and external walls being replaced by canvas and glass to create new safari tent-style suites to maximise views and space. The entire front wall of each suite between the bedroom and the veranda has been removed, allowing light to flood in. Outdoor pavilion decks – ideal for dining and relaxing – are suspended above the river banks as if hanging from the trees.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

The updated interiors feature curated still-life collections of antiques and artefacts, as well as vintage campaign furniture from the Bailes family collection. Materials like wood, iron, steel and aged bonze hark back to the 19th century, along with oversized sepia photography, glamorous leopard and zebra print upholstery that complements bold graphic tribal patterned murals. Replacing animal skins, Singita Ebony Lodge now features printed animal patterns on textured fabric to help attune guests to their surroundings within the context of Singita’s pivotal conservation philosophy.

Ebony’s central sociable hub will be the very heart of the lodge – a place to meet, relax, socialise and take in the view. The sitting room has been moved to the very front of the lodge, closer to nature, to create a contemplative space. The style is reflective of what Singita calls the ‘New Nomad’, the traveller who wants to return to nature but stay connected. A beautiful marble and cast iron table is the furniture centrepiece for this concept – it is a traveller’s desk with smart tools, a private dining room table for entertaining or a bar to enjoy an evening gin & tonic in one.

Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Singita’s evolution from a single-lodge company to one that is now responsible for 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.

To discover Singita Ebony Lodge for yourself, please contact our Reservations team who will design an unforgettable safari getaway just for you.

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