Category Archives: Singita Castleton

Robin Hood of Ravenscourt

August 19, 2014 - Did You Know?,Sabi Sand,Singita Boulders Lodge,Singita Castleton,Singita Ebony Lodge

Close to the Western boundary of the Singita Sabi Sand private game reserve is Harry’s Pan, a shallow, glassy lake fringed with reeds. It is on a portion of land purchased from the Lewis family in 1992 and features an unusual landmark – a rusting old car atop a termite hill overlooking the lake. Former Singita Field Guide James Crookes recounts the story:

Robin Hood of Ravenscourt | Singita Sabi Sand

The pan was originally named Pam Pam Dam, after Mrs Lewis’ old English Sheepdog, who regularly played in the water of the dam. After Pam Pam died, Mrs Lewis bought a Rhodesian Ridgeback cross Boxer and named him Robin Hood, or Rob for short.

Robin Hood of Ravenscourt | Singita Sabi Sand

When driving past the pan, one immediately notices the old DKW Auto Union jeep that is perched on top of a termite mound beneath a weeping boer bean tree. Harry Gorman, once the caretaker of the Lewis’ portion of the Ravenscourt property, tells us how Rob had a particular affinity for the vehicle: “He claimed the back seat of the DKW for himself and acted as if he owned the jeep; growling, snarling and even biting anyone that tried to push it. Mrs Lewis had to control Rob if strangers tried to get into the jeep and if ever the engine was started, no matter where he was, Rob would come running and join in the ride.”

Robin Hood of Ravenscourt | Singita Sabi Sand

Two days after the Lewis’ left for a holiday in France in October 1975, Rob died at an animal hospital in Johannesburg, where he was being treated for cancer. Mr Lewis phoned Harry Gorman and instructed him to go to Johannesburg and collect Rob’s body, together with his cushions, mattress and blankets. Harry was also to collect the box of leftover medicine, chains and Rob’s leash, made of Kangaroo skin with a silver clip and handle. All of this was to be buried together with the dog at Pam Pam Dam underneath the DKW Auto Union jeep, which was still in perfect working order at the time.

Robin Hood of Ravenscourt | Singita Sabi Sand

When Mrs Lewis next visited Ravenscourt Ranch, she fitted a small brass plaque to the weeping boer bean tree, which read: “Robin Hood of Ravenscourt, our beloved ‘Rob’, March 1964 – October 1975”. This plaque can still be seen today on the tree alongside the jeep.

Robin Hood of Ravenscourt | Singita Sabi Sand

Pam Pam dam has since become known as Harry’s Pan, largely due to the involvement of Harry Gorman in the story of this section of the Ravenscourt property, as well as the proximity of this pan to his home.

Ravenscourt Ranch is the original name of a plot of land purchased by the Bailes family which now forms part of Singita Sabi Sand, a privately owned game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

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Architecture & Inspiration: An interview with Singita architect Sally Tsiliyiannis

January 20, 2014 - Accommodation,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton

Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Singita Castleton is an exclusive-use lodge that has recently been transformed into a charming hideaway catering specifically to groups and families. The property comprises a stone-walled ‘homestead’ and a series of beautifully appointed, air-conditioned double en-suite cottages, offering a unique, private villa experience in the heart of the bush.

Singita Castleton

Set within 45,000 acres of private reserve, Singita Castleton has been designed to combine the best elements of a private safari lodge with the rustic charms of a country farmhouse, with the added benefit of extensive high-end facilities, including a vast garden, swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, tennis court and spa treatment room. Guests can relax together in the courtyard, gather around the traditional ‘boma’ or meet in the country-style kitchen, yet the individual cottages allow guests to retreat to the privacy of their own space as and when it’s needed.

Singita Castleton

Architect Sally Tsiliyiannis, who is a director of the Cape Town office of GAPP Architects & Urban Designers, had the task of overseeing the painstaking restoration of the main homestead, and recently told Men’s Journal USA about the experience:

MJ: When you are working on a safari lodge, how do you make it luxurious without allowing the buildings to overwhelm their setting?
ST: The trick is to let the surroundings be in control – the luxury is already there. Ultimately it’s about making the most ordinary things seem extraordinary and, of course, throwing in all the creature comforts that guests expect.

Singita Castleton

MJ: What styles and touches do you view as uniquely African and thus worth preserving at Singita Castleton?
ST: The existing camp was steeped in history and much loved by many. Although the  existing buildings were actually quite ordinary (simple thatched cottages with small windows, screeded floors and earth coloured plastered walls), we realised the importance of retaining the essence of the place in the redesign. The key to the transformation was the opening up of spaces within and between the buildings and the introduction of new layers of texture and material to blend the buildings more subtly into the landscape. Letting in more natural light helped align the spaces closer with nature.

Singita Castleton

MJ: Which animals are the hardest to keep off the property?
ST: Elephants are the most destructive and have to be kept out of the camp – otherwise pretty much anything can wander in. Monkeys are very mischievous but their antics are irresistible.

Singita Castleton

MJ: What draws you to working in the bush?  
ST: Mostly being outside with the smell of the air and the African sun. Flying low over the bush, site meetings under the trees while elephants take mud baths nearby, the genuine, unpretentious people and the glory of the night sky.

Singita Castleton

MJ: What are the limitations of working in the bush?
ST: The bush is the most extraordinary source of inspiration so there is never a sense of there being ‘limitations’. Things just happen at a slower pace because of logistical challenges so time is inevitably in short supply.

MJ: Are there any great examples of African architecture you draw on for inspiration?
ST: The greatest architecture in Africa is the trees – I constantly use them as a source of inspiration.

You can read all about Singita Castleton’s reopening earlier this year, and see more photos of this gorgeous exclusive-use retreat on our website.

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Singita Castleton Reopens

October 07, 2013 - Accommodation,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Sabi Sand,Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton - main house

For many years, Singita Castleton, situated in the heart of South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve, was the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather. The property was later transformed into a charming hideaway catering specifically to groups and families, comprising a stone-walled ‘homestead’ and a series of beautifully appointed, air-conditioned double en-suite cottages.

In keeping with Singita’s trend-leading evolution towards a new style of exclusive safari experience, Singita Castleton has undergone a total renovation, taking private rental to a new level of luxury and comfort. The result is a private villa experience in the heart of the bush where guests can share in the communal living spaces of the main house, with the option to retreat to one of six individual cottages within the grounds for complete privacy. Singita Castleton truly encapsulates a sense of exclusivity within exclusivity.

Swimming pool - Singita Castleton

Set within 45,000 acres of private reserve, Singita Castleton is steeped in history, capturing the spirit of the original Castleton house, and giving the lodge a historical and comforting nature. It has been designed to combine the best elements of a private safari lodge with the rustic charms of a country farmhouse, with the added benefit of extensive high-end facilities, including a vast garden, swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, tennis court and spa treatment room.

Guests can relax together in the courtyard, gather around the traditional ‘boma’ or meet in the country-style kitchen, yet the individual cottages allow guests to retreat to the privacy of their own space as and when it’s needed. All of this is overlooking a waterhole where animals regularly gather to drink.

Bathroom - Singita Castleton

Décor is rich throughout with splashes of colour contrasting with traditional tartans and classic prints. Botanical art references, country furniture and flagstone floors also add a nostalgic, relaxed ambience to the lodge, which comes complete with a private guide, tracker, housekeeper and chef. The former Senior Sous Chef at Singita Lebombo Lodge in Kruger National Park, Chef Calum Anderson, will head up the kitchen at Castleton.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve borders the Kruger National Park in northeast South Africa. It is the oldest private reserve in the country and is recognised globally for its formidable concentration of the big five, especially frequent leopard sightings.

To ensure the Singita experience is truly unrivalled, Singita Castleton can easily be combined with Singita Sweni Lodge in neighbouring Kruger National Park – a tranquil sanctuary flanking the Sweni River and also available for private rental for up to 12 guests – or Singita Pamushana Lodge, situated in the south east of Zimbabwe, with sensational views over the Malilangwe dam and sandstone hills.

Bedroom - Singita Castleton

Singita Castleton is only available on an exclusive-use basis. For further information please visit our website, or to make a reservation, please contact enquiries@singita.com

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