The Singita Blog

Creatures Great & Small: The Flap-Necked Chameleon

May 30, 2014 - Did You Know?, Singita Grumeti, Wildlife

Chameleons really are funny little creatures! Did you know that, besides being masterful at camouflage and having tongues roughly 1½ times their body length, chameleons can rotate each eye in a different direction and go through life without the benefit of ears? There are 156 different species concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and many of them can be found at Singita’s lodges and camps throughout the region.

Flap-necked chameleon at Singita Grumeti

In this gorgeous photo, Singita Grumeti Guide Manager, Ryan Schmitt, carries this female flap-necked chameleon from the middle of the road to the safety of the grass. This particular reptile is a real crowd pleaser with guests and staff alike, and can often be found stalking their favourite snacks of grasshoppers and butterflies.

See more of the unique and fascinating wildlife to be found at Singita by reading our monthly field reports, written by the guides themselves.

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Visual Inspiration

May 27, 2014 - Experience, Lodges and Camps, Singita Grumeti, Singita Mara River Tented Camp, Singita Serengeti House

Over the past few years, Singita has collaborated with some extremely talented filmmakers to produce stunning videos that showcase our twelve lodges and camps in Africa. These include breathtaking snapshots of the people and surroundings that define all our lodges and camps, as well as interesting wildlife sightings from our guides in the bush.

We are thrilled to bring you the latest footage from Tanzania that captures the spirit and design of Singita Serengeti House and Singita Mara River Tented Camp. We have also launched a brand new Vimeo channel where you can follow us and browse through our entire collection of videos and short films.

Singita Serengeti House

Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Another highlight of our Vimeo channel is the story of Joyful Nghala, who graduated from the Singita School of Cooking (SSC) at the end of last year. The SSC, located on site at the Singita Kruger National Park staff village, was established to encourage the development of culinary skills and job potential among local youth. Read more about our community development projects here.

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The Migration 2014 Arrives at Singita Grumeti

May 20, 2014 - Community Development, Conservation, Experience, Safari, Singita Grumeti, Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Wildlife

It’s that time of year again! The wildebeest have started arriving on the Sasakwa Plains of the Serengeti and the herds seem to be multiplying at an astonishing rate with each passing day. Overnight, the grassland below Singita Sasakwa Lodge has been flooded by tens of thousands of wildebeest, making for some very exciting horseback game-spotting for our lucky guests.

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

The Great Migration 2014 | Singita Grumeti

Singita Grumeti, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, is an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem, the home of the Great Migration. Singita manages 350,000 acres of this land, and generates the funds necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the reserve via low impact tourism. Visit our website to find out more about our conservation and community development projects in the area.

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First Sighting of the Hlabankunzi Leopard Cubs

May 19, 2014 - Experience, Sabi Sand, Safari, Wildlife

Leopard cubs at Singita Sabi Sand

Last week was a very special one for visitors to Singita Sabi Sand, as the brand new Hlabankunzi leopard cubs made their public debut! The female has moved into the territory of the Ravenscourt female, who was killed roughly a year ago, and now patrols a prize piece of Singita’s 45,000 acre concession. Briefly before the cubs were spotted for the first time, Head Field Guide Mark Broodryk sent us this report:

Leopard cubs at Singita Sabi Sand

“We suspect that she has her cubs under the deck of Room 11 at Singita Ebony Lodge and is as comfortable around the lodge as the Ravenscourt female was. Field guides Dylan, Ruel and I saw Mobeni’s new cubs for the first time yesterday morning, still very tiny and not exactly sure of numbers just yet. She has them close to the Khosa pan area in the Ximobanyane drainage. She seems to be a different leopard now that the Ravenscourt female has gone, she is not nearly as nervous as she used to be and we are able to view her fairly regularly. Her son has become independent and if approached correctly, also provides good viewing. Just yesterday we followed him for about 1½ hours and he curled up to sleep about 10m from the vehicle! Overall we seem to have come out on top with our leopard viewing and looks like the legacy of the leopard viewing for this reserve will continue.”

Leopard cubs at Singita Sabi Sand

Keep your eyes on our Instagram and Facebook accounts to see the latest photos of the cubs, straight from our field guides.

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Lion Line-Up

May 08, 2014 - Sabi Sand, Wildlife

This photo of the Mhangeni pride walking in what appears to be military formation through Singita Sabi Sand, was taken last week by Field Guide Ross Couper. Of the unusual and entertaining sighting, he says: “As the honey coloured morning light filtered through the mist on the horizon, we knew we were in for a very good morning.” Ross’ stunning photo was even featured in the Cape Times a few days later, aptly captioned “Dawn Patrol”.

Lion photo by Ross Couper Copyright 2014

Follow us on Facebook to see more wildlife shots straight from our field guides in the bush.

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Meet the Lebombo Euphorbia

May 06, 2014 - Did You Know?, Environment, Kruger National Park

Lebombo euphorbias growing along a ridge at Singita Kruger National Park

Singita is very fortunate to share its concession in the Kruger National Park with an astonishing variety of unique and interesting flora. The 33,000 acres of land in the southeastern reaches of the park lie between the red rhyolite-based Lebombo Mountains in the east and the flat grasslands with their extremely fertile basaltic soils in the west. This creates a beautiful and varied landscape filled with rich, verdant plant life.

Lebombo euphorbias growing along a ridge at Singita Kruger National Park

Flora, like fauna, has its own preferences in terms of habitat, and the differences in soil type and topography allow for a wonderful and flourishing spectrum to exist. One such example of this unique vegetation is the Lebombo euphorbia (Euphorbia confinalis), a cactus-like tree with a single trunk and a canopy of upward-growing branches. It is only found in the Lebombo mountain region, and, along with its cousin, the Transvaal candelabra euphorbia, is an incredibly picturesque and exotic part of the local landscape.

Transvaal candelabra euphorbias growing in the boma at Singita Lebombo Lodge

They are very drought resistant and are particularly beautiful from June to August, when they grow small, light-yellow flowers in groups of three along the spine of each cucumber-shaped lobe.

Transvaal candelabra euphorbias dot the ridge along which Singita Lebombo Lodge is situated

Trees of the euphorbia family are filled with a white, milky latex and are extremely toxic. As a result, the tree is not eaten by many animals. Despite this, the traditional uses are quite varied – they include using it to stun fish (making them easier to catch), for treating lesions and wounds on cattle, and as an effective poison for hunting arrows.

Find out more about the local flora of Singita Kruger National Park, as well as interesting game spotting and animal stores by catching up on the latest Wildlife Reports from the region.

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Elephant Antics at Singita Sabi Sand

April 26, 2014 - Experience, Sabi Sand, Wildlife

One story from our latest Wildlife Report from Singita Sabi Sand got plenty of attention this week and was shared on various news and social media networks worldwide. It’s easy to see why when you look at this amusing series of photos by field guides Leon van Wyk and Ross Couper – they certainly gave us the giggles!

Marula tree at Singita Sabi Sand

Time has once again flown by, and yet another marula season has come and gone. February 2014 saw a real bumper crop of these delicious fruit being produced by the many hundreds of marula trees that are to be found at Singita Sabi Sand. Various animals were seen tucking into this fruity feast with great gusto! Not only the elephants, who are so famous for enjoying these smooth-skinned, large-stoned fruits, but also monkeys, baboons, impala, kudu, warthogs, zebra… and, of course, humans.

Elephant antics at Singita Sabi Sand

There has long been an African myth about the marula fruit intoxicating large mammals that have consumed huge amounts of the fallen fruit. This bush legend played in my mind recently when we had a sighting of an elephant herd moving through the bush, feeding on the fermenting marula fruit. The younger elephants walked behind the older siblings, picking up and eating the fruit as they moved – the older elephants seemed to be ‘teaching’ the youngsters what was safe to eat. An adult cow had forcefully shaken a nearby marula tree, knocking off lots of the fruit, which a few younger elephants passed by our vehicle to eat. We watched in awe because the youngsters definitely seemed to display signs of being rather tipsy!

Elephant antics at Singita Sabi Sand

As amusing as the idea may be, it is in fact extremely unlikely. In reality, an elephant eating only marulas may consume roughly 30kg in one day or approximately 714 individual fruits. This is less than half of the marulas needed to produce intoxication. There have been reports of elephant behaviour that resembles an intoxicated state, but research shows that this is unlikely to occur only from eating marulas.

Elephant antics at Singita Sabi Sand

It has been speculated that the behaviour may be the result of the elephants eating beetle pupae that live in the bark of marula trees. These pupae have traditionally been used by the San people to poison their arrow tips, and this toxin could lead to behavioural changes in animals that consume it. Another explanation is that bull elephants, who are particularly fond of marula fruit, are simply defending their favourite food resource.

Elephant antics at Singita Sabi Sand

The beautiful elephants of Singita Sabi Sand feature regularly in our monthly Wildlife Reports and on our social media pages. Spanning more than 45,000 acres, this concession is also renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings.

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Touching the Earth Lightly: Celebrating Earth Day 2014

April 22, 2014 - Conservation, Conservation, Did You Know?, Environment, Experience, Lamai, Lodges and Camps, Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Singita celebrates Earth Day

Earth Day is honoured every year on April 22, in a worldwide show of support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. Singita’s lodges and camps are committed to “touching the earth lightly”, and this is manifested in the way the lodges are constructed; how they operate today; and how guests experience the wildlife and the natural habitat around them.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

Singita Mara River Tented Camp is the epitome of sustainable tourism and consciously seeks to eliminate the unnecessary use of energy. In keeping with this philosophy, the camp operates “off-the-grid” and relies on a custom designed solar power system, with an inverter battery bank that ensures an uninterrupted power source at night or on rainy days. The photo voltaic solar panels used to harvest energy from the sun supply electricity to the camp’s energy-saving LEDs lights, pool pump, and washing machines, among other things.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

The camp’s potable water comes from a borehole near the site and is, in turn, heated by solar geysers. Although this water is drinkable, Singita is also planning an additional filtering system which will be in place before the end of the year, eliminating the need to use any plastic bottled water at this location.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

The camp has been purpose-built to be environmentally conscious, and as a result has a clean and efficient recycling programme that is leading the way for the rest of Singita’s lodges. Waste management is extremely important to this process. For example, fresh produce is transported and wrapped using traditional methods, such as recycled wooden boxes and wood chips or sawdust for packing. These boxes are then returned to the local supplier for the following week so that no plastic or modern packaging is used, eliminating unnecessary waste going into the country’s landfills.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

To limit the construction footprint, Singita Mara River Tented Camp makes use of a series of open-air decks instead of separate buildings for the gym and spa. Energetic guests have access to yoga mats, kettle bells and jump ropes, while the spa offers treatments on the decks or in the tents, without using any electrical equipment. Toiletries used in the lodge are also all organic.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

Singita’s achievements with the efficient and environmentally-friendly construction and operations of Singita Mara River Tented Camp are significant in light of our planet’s ongoing struggle to maintain balance and fight climate change. The wonderful “lightness” of this property will serve as a template for all future lodge designs, setting a benchmark for responsible but luxurious travel.

Singita celebrates Earth Day

Conservation lives hand-in-hand with ecotourism and community development at Singita. We believe it’s the responsible way to maintain and extend the sustainability of our wildlife reserves. Read more about our conservation efforts on our website.

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Heri kwa sikukuu ya Pasaka!

April 18, 2014 - General

No, that isn’t a typo; that’s how you say Happy Easter in Swahili! For the people of Tanzania, where you will find Singita Grumeti and its five lodges and camps, Swahili is their mother tongue, and a language they share with 140 million other people in East Africa.

From our Singita family in the Serengeti, Singita Pamushana Lodge in Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe and our concessions in Sabi Sand and Kruger National Park, we wish you a very peaceful Easter with your loved ones.

Happy Easter from Singita

Why not catch up on our latest Wildlife Reports over the weekend? They’re written by our field guides and published monthly to bring you first-hand sighting reports from the bush. Want more regular updates? Follow us on Facebook.

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Highlights from Instagram

April 11, 2014 - General

Follow Singita on Instagram

One of the many wonderful benefits of visiting one of our 12 lodges and camps in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, is that there is never a shortage of photo opportunities. From big game, baby animals, unusual birds and other unique wildlife, to stunning landscapes, beautiful food, designer interiors and exquisite sunsets; it’s a shutterbug’s paradise. Our Instagram account gives followers a daily taste of life in the bush with gorgeous photos from our managers, guides, chefs, sommeliers, community projects, conservation teams and, of course, our guests.

Follow Singita on Instagram

Follow us on Instagram at @Singita_ and see our other social feeds here.

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