Tag Archives: African Safari

Tales from an African Game Ranger

May 07, 2012 - Conservation,Safari,Wildlife

As a young boy I prided myself in being able to identify most of the bird species found in South Africa.  This passion never disappeared and by the age of twenty-one I decided I was going to become a Game Ranger.  I caught the “bush bug”.

Ever since then James Suter has been living and breathing exhilarating experiences in the wilds of Africa – for many years as a Singita Field Guide, connecting guests to safari in a real and authentic way – allowing them to savour moments in the wilderness, and be transformed by the power of those moments. We are thrilled to introduce James Suter as he brings safari to life in Singita’s upcoming new blog and social media series.  Be inspired by heart-pounding photography, video and stories, as James walks through the bush tracking wildlife, and rambles along rugged terrain in a Land Rover tapping into a daily discovery and experience of the Singita reserves and wilderness.

Follow him on Facebook and right here on Singita’s blog.

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100% South African

December 30, 2011 - Cuisine

As the Singita kitchens are gearing up for memorable New Year’s celebrations this weekend, Kyle Ralph, Sous Chef at Singita Boulders Lodge, shares insights into the delicacies behind the menu.

At Singita we try our utmost to use the best South African products that are available to us. The beef we source is from one of Africa’s best beef suppliers who has been producing top quality since 1974.  Along with all of the other local suppliers we have sourced we are only too pleased to showcase the best of South Africa.

In the recipe shown below we use Karan beef, blue cheese from the Cape and butternut from local Belfast farmers.

Ingredients:

4 x 200g per portion Beef fillet

2 x large butternut or pumpkin

20-30 marjoram leaves- picked

250g blue cheese

200g green beans or asparagus

2 TBSP butter

salt and pepper to taste

The vegetables:

Peel and seed the butternut, cutting one butternut into medium-sized pieces.  Place in a tray and season with salt and pepper, oil and some thyme leaves.  Roast for 8-10 min until tender, and then set aside in the refrigerator.

With the second butternut, roast whole in the oven for about 20-30minutes until soft.  If the skin becomes a bit burnt, don’t worry; what we are after is inside.

Cut the cooked butternut in half and discard the seeds.  Scoop out the flesh of the butternut into a blender, add butter and blend.  If the puree is too thick just add some water until you achieve the right consistency.

Crumble the blue cheese into medium-sized pieces.

Cook green beans in boiling water for 1-2 minutes and then run under cold water and keep aside until needed.

For the sauce:

1 liter beef stock (store bought is fine)

500ml red wine

1x large carrot

1x onion

1x leek

1 stick celery

2 cloves garlic

3 sprigs of rosemary

50ml sherry vinegar

2TBS of dark brown sugar

Making the sauce:

Cut onion, celery, carrot and leek into small rough cubes and sauté with 1 tsp of oil till softened, and then add garlic and rosemary

Add sugar and caramelize for depth of flavor (the sugar should just melt and form a light brown color) then de-glaze with sherry vinegar and reduce by about half.

Add red wine and reduce by half.

Add the beef stock and reduce by ¾; it should have a shiny and slightly thick

Putting it all together:

Pre-heat a heavy base pan; season the beef fillet with salt and pepper.

Place about 2TBSP of vegetable oil in the pan and put your beef in the hot pan; don’t move the beef around for about 3-4minutes, it should form a beautiful crust before you turn it.  Once turned, cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side.

Then place a little bit of blue cheese on top of the beef and place into a 180˚C  oven for 2 minutes.  Take out and let the meat rest for another 2 minutes.  This should give you a perfect medium rare fillet.

To plate, place a bit of the butter puree on the plate (this is were your creativity comes in).  Lightly mix the blue cheese and butternut cubes with the fresh marjoram leaves, and place on top of the puree.

Put the rested beef fillet on the plate and pour over some red wine sauce.

Enjoy!  And warmest wishes for a wonderful 2012.

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Stripes Galore

October 06, 2011 - Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

The dam on the plains in front of Singita Sasakwa Lodge was a hive of activity before the rains started in earnest.  Animals trek for miles to reach the waterhole, which is one of the few that offers a good field of view. In particular there have been huge herds of zebra coming in to drink, often wading deep into the water. From around 09h00 through to 17h00 it is always busy.  Sometimes there are smaller herds of impala joining the zebra and often the Butamtam lion pride is found positioned close to the waterhole in the hopes of making a kill.

This striking black and white photography was taken by Lee Bennett, Head Guide at Singita Grumeti Reserves.  To follow wildlife updates from Grumeti Reserves, refer to the monthly Guides’ Diaries posted on Singita’s website.

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“Memories of Africa” by Michael Kors

September 20, 2011 - Events,Kruger National Park,Safari

After three vacation stays at Singita Lebombo Lodge, prominent designer Michael Kors describes Singita’s dramatic retreat remotely situated in the Kruger National Park as his “favourite escape in the world”.  Often inspired by his travels, Kors captured the luxe African holiday experience in his new Spring 2012 collection, tempering urban slickness with gauzy textures, leather accessories, utility jackets and rich colours of sand, olive, and cinnamon.  Kors describes this new look as “Afri-luxe” boasting the “rustic modernism of Lebombo Lodge” and created for the “new voyager”.  This is a look that will be as comfortably worn on a rainy, city street as next to a sleek, infinity pool overlooking beautiful African bush.

Explore the uniqueness of Singita Lebombo Lodge and the wildlife experience at Kruger National Parkread more.

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Seeing Spots…More Cheetah Sightings

June 13, 2011 - Wildlife

As the sun was setting this image was captured in the more central parts of Singita’s private concession in the Kruger National Park.  In the past, Singita Kruger National Park has not been regarded as a concession that produces abundant cheetah sightings.  Well that’s all changed!  This month alone we have had over 10 different sightings – all of them unbelievable in their own way.  This female and her three cubs have realized the benefits of the abundance of general game in the concession and both her and the cubs are in a very healthy condition.  We will watch with interest as they continue to grace us with their presence.

By James Suter, Guide at Singita Kruger National Park.  Follow our monthly Guides’ Diaries for more enthralling updates about the diverse wildlife at each of the Singita game reserves.

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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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The Wild Side of Singita Explore

May 25, 2011 - Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

Singita Explore (mobile tented camp set up on the plains of the Singita Grumeti Reserves), through the eyes of James Suter and Marlon du Toit (Safari Brothers), professional guides at Singita Kruger National Park.  A life-changing adventure!

(Photography by James and Marlon)

Game drives in the Grumeti concession differ from those in South Africa, and Marlon and I took some time before we realised this. Every time we head out onto the plains and our guide stops, we immediately grab our binoculars and start scanning the landscape. As we start spotting animals, which one always does every time one looks around, we start calling out the names of the different species.

This is really exciting as not only are a lot of these species new to us but the abundance of life is astounding. We managed to tick off many new species of birds, Aardwolf, and saw lions climbing trees, which we are told is a very common habit of the Butamtam pride.

Once again the wealth of game including massive herds of eland, topi, zebra, giraffe and elephants blew us away. One of the most enjoyable moments for me was getting out of the vehicle and watching the sun set over the Serengeti amongst hundreds of animals.

Keep up with stunning photography on the Singita Facebook page…more to come.

To book Singita Explore, please take a look at our introductory offer available through 15 December 2011.

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Quintessentially Caesar

April 15, 2011 - Cuisine,Singita Grumeti

Something easy and special from the Singita Grumeti Kitchen.

Roast Chicken Caesar Salad

Serves 4

Everyone’s favourite classic Caesar with delicious roast chicken turns it into the perfect main course.

1 Lemon and herb roast chicken

4 boiled eggs (8 minutes), peeled and cut into quarters

3 slices white bread, crusts cut off and cubed

Fresh Parmesan

Lettuce greens (classic uses Cos lettuce but mix it up according to preference)

Caesar dressing

Olive oil

Seasoning

Drizzle bread with olive oil and bake in a moderate oven until golden. Cool and then put into a mixing bowl with chicken, lettuce,  tablespoon finely grated parmesan, a  little dressing and drizzle of olive oil; lightly toss. Place on a platter or in individual bowls followed by the boiled egg with extra dollops of dressing.  Using a peeler make Parmesan shavings and place on top. Serve.

Caesar dressing

½ cup Homemade mayonnaise

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Capers, chopped fine

40 ml Parmesan, finely grated

Juice of one lemon

3 Anchovy fillets

Combine all ingredients – for smoother consistency, blend.  Refrigerate until needed.  Should last up to a week.

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Chef in the Wild

March 16, 2011 - Cuisine,Singita Grumeti

Do you ever wonder what takes place in a day in the life of a chef?  And for that matter, a chef who lives on the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania running the Singita Sasakwa kitchen, delivering world-class cuisine, and managing staff and an interesting national and international supply chain?

Take a peek into the world of Frank Louw – Sasakwa Chef, Singita Grumeti Reserves.


Working in the Serengeti is one of those dream jobs that you always think “other” people have. Then you wake up and can’t believe that the surreal “other” reality actually involves you.  It must however be said that as with most romantic adventures in life there is always a lesser known side of the story.

Reality?  It is an adventure…a chance of a life time…but there are hidden difficulties and challenges that do make every day unique.  Sourcing the best available produce can fray even nerves of steel; flexibility is key as dishes change and new ones are created as, and when, orders arrive. Planning, planning and planning become your new best friends.  The highs and lows of sharing skills and mentoring others, always aiming for higher standards, coming up with new ideas, keeping it fresh, and having fun all at the same time, are all part of a day in the life of a chef in the wild!  Not to mention the odd monkey running off with a loaf of bread.

Boring?  Not for a second.  Surrounded by people who believe they can improve, become better and never give up, and all striving for common goals that creep closer every day.  Laughing and working together, creating bonds that will last forever; you know these moments are the ones you will look back on and smile.

Written by Frank Louw, from his kitchen desk at Singita Sasakwa Lodge – and photos courtesy of Frank.

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What Makes a Singita Guide Tick?

February 24, 2011 - Sabi Sand,Safari,Wildlife

Written by Leon van Wyk, Assistant Head Guide, Singita Sabi Sand


It would not be difficult to write a whole book on the subject of what makes a guide tick. It is somewhat more challenging to write such an article in précis form, but a guide should always be up for a challenge. Having been a guide for almost two decades, perhaps I am in a good position to share with the reader a little of what it is that keeps me passionate about what I do.

It is always good to wake up a little earlier than really necessary. I’m not one who can leap out of bed twenty minutes before I’m due to meet my guests for a game drive. Setting my alarm for the seemingly indecent hour of 04h00 means that I’m not rushed. I can have an invigorating shower and enjoy the feeling of waking up with the birds. The dawn chorus of birds is something to be enjoyed and appreciated at every opportunity. Having had ample time to wake up and get ready at leisure, I believe a guide is much better prepared for the day, and in a more relaxed frame of mind, than if he/she stole an extra half an hour in bed and had to rush to be on time to meet guests.

As guides, we are all obviously passionate about the environment in which we are privileged to live and the game drive is rightly what we enjoy most about this line of work. Every guide who lasts a long time in this industry needs to also be genuinely passionate about people and sharing knowledge and experiences with his/her guests in such a way that the guide’s passion and enthusiasm is infectious. Not every game drive is an action-packed, adrenalin-charged sequence of events. There is no doubt that many guides and guests want to see predators in action, or get a kick out of seeing the so-called “Big Five” on one game drive. Being a guide who is no longer a novice, I still gain a huge thrill when I see guests enjoying themselves, particularly when they start taking a keen interest in the little things. Guests who were once not very interested in watching birds at all, have become avid birders. I love seeing them appreciate the things that I appreciate, whether it is a massive dead leadwood tree, a relaxed old elephant bull having a slow drink, a bee-eater feeding its mate or a nursery group of twenty baby impalas, all exuding freshness, innocence and curiosity.

The sounds and the smells are all very much part of the experience as well and it is so important to pause frequently to enjoy the sounds of the night, smell the damp grass and earth after a good rain and gaze at stars in sheer wonder at the enormity of it all. Finding fresh leopard tracks in wet sand is still a thrill to any guide and it is not difficult to involve the guests and encourage them to share in the excitement, hope and expectation.

There is just so much to share with guests, and once a guide has bonded with them and starts seeing everything through their eyes, the guide-guest relationship has the potential to become very meaningful indeed. There are often just not enough hours in the day to do everything you would like to do with your super-keen guests. For many, a trip to a game reserve is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and as guides we have the opportunity, the privilege and the responsibility of making it unforgettably special for our guests.

Very few careers can offer the variety that a guide enjoys. Sure, the hours can be long at times, but when you’re having fun, you hardly notice it. There is often an opportunity during the day to pull off the boots and take a half-hour cat nap. There has never yet been an occasion when I have not looked forward with eager anticipation to my next game drive. Of course it is not only the game drives that we look forward to, but the walks too, as they often offer better opportunities to focus on little treasures and allow time to become acquainted with guests a little better. Joining guests for the occasional drink or meal is also a privilege which we guides enjoy and it allows the guests and their guide a great opportunity to chat about the day that they’ve experienced, or the one that they look forward to experiencing, together.

I have hardly scratched the surface, but if I had to cut it even shorter, I would conclude that the most brief answer to the question “What makes a Singita guide tick?” is “A passion for people, a passion for the environment, an insatiable desire to learn and a willingness to share with others what we enjoy”. I sincerely hope that these attributes are still a part of my humble make-up and will continue to be for many more years. Guiding is, without a doubt, one of the most privileged careers.

To read more updates from our Singita Guides, follow the Guides’ Diaries posted every month on our website – exhilerating wildlife accounts that you won’t want to miss.

These photographs of Singita Sabi Sand Reserve were taken by Singita Guide, Leon van Wyk.

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