Tag Archives: Did You Know?

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.

Read More


Stocking the Cellar: The Story of Singita’s Wines II

April 08, 2013 - Did You Know?,Experience

Among the many factors involved in creating the best safari experience in Africa is the logistical challenge of sourcing and stocking the extensive wine cellars at each lodge and camp. In this behind-the-scenes story, we share the fascinating details of what it takes to put together a top-end wine list in such remote locations.

Wine at Singita

As you will have read previously, Singita Premier Wine is the department dedicated to sourcing and supplying wines for all the Singita properties. The wine list at each lodge offers an average of 180 different bottles, all of which need to be painstakingly selected, purchased, matured and distributed throughout South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. François Rautenbach is the talented man responsible for this process and has been involved with Singita Premier Wine for over a decade.

To assist in purchasing the best wines, the lodges document consumption patterns of guests, record every wine tasting ever hosted and every wine opened. François also tracks international wine trends and, of course, trusts his own palate and taste when it comes to sourcing new wines.

Wine at Singita

Recognised as one of South Africa’s most influential buyers of wine, Singita has an extensive selection of premium wines, including some of the country’s most sought-after private reserves and limited-release wines. Wines are matured under carefully managed conditions, which is why the lodges can offer the majority of their red wines at five years or older.

The wine cellar at Singita Boulders Lodge

Sourcing wines is an on-going job, and François and his team work directly with the producers, either making personal visits to the farms or tasting samples sent to them. The Nederburg Auction is attended annually with specific emphasis on purchasing rare sweet wines not available elsewhere. At the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, unique wines with proven rarity and provenance are purchased, often with specific guests in mind.

Food and wine pairing

Singita Ebony Lodge and Singita Boulders Lodge in the Sabi Sand reserve were the first lodges to house an extensive wine cellar and boutique, and the wine culture established there remains the benchmark for Singita lodges throughout Africa.

Singita Sabi Sand has a large walk-in fridge which acts as the storage and distribution hub for the lodges in the Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park and Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe. Complementing this is a 60-ton, exclusive-use maturation facility located at Delvera estate in Stellenbosch. Three tons of wine is transported monthly by means of temperature-controlled containers (known as reefers) from Stellenbosch to the refrigerated hub at Singita Sabi Sand. In 2008, a similar bulk fridge was built at Singita Grumeti to function as the East-African hub.

Francois Rautenbach

In order to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, a bulk monthly delivery schedule is in place to move the maximum amount of wine at a time. A 20-foot reefer is loaded with 12 600 bottles of wine in Stellenbosch before departing via Cape Town, Durban and on to Dar es Salaam, where the container is cleared through customs. Once cleared the bottles are packed into two refrigerated trucks and driven to Singita Grumeti – a journey of four to five days – where it is unloaded directly into the walk-in fridge. From there, bottles are progressively distributed to each lodge or camp depending on demand.

For more information or to order wine through Singita Premier Wine Direct (available to current, past and future Singita guests) please contact us at premierwine@singita.com. You can also read more about Singita’s wines on the blog.

Read More


Travel Essentials for a Successful Safari

April 02, 2013 - Africa,Did You Know?,Experience,Safari

Singita

For many of our guests, an African safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The relative isolation of each lodge and camp and the unique daily itineraries, call for certain travel essentials to make the trip as comfortable and memorable as possible. We asked Jason Trollip, Tourism Manager at Singita Grumeti, Singita Serengeti and manager of various Singita lodges for almost a decade now, to tell us what he recommends guests pack for a safari.

Jason has a passion for wildlife and has travelled large parts of Africa himself, visiting wilderness areas and working with local communities on development projects around game reserves. As a result, he has an intimate knowledge of the African bush and experience with all the practical challenges such an unusual location can pose.

Jason Trollip on the plains of the Serengeti

Good quality camera
While the lenses on today’s mobile phones are incredibly good, they are no match for a high quality, digital point-and-shoot or SLR when you’re trying to capture the perfect landscape or wildlife shot.

Small binoculars
Compact, high quality binoculars will greatly enhance your game-spotting ability and offer the best possible close-up of the local wildlife. The best ones are made by companies like Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss, although mid-range brands such as Nikon and Bushnell also make excellent options.

Singita

Headgear
A lightweight canvas hat with a brim that covers the ears to protect you from the hot African sun, and that will stay on in a moving vehicle, is a very handy item indeed. Backcountry and Tilley both have an excellent selection of good quality safari hats in different styles.

Long-sleeved shirts
A light, durable, long-sleeved shirt will offer practical comfort by protecting you from the midday sun while keeping you warm on those cooler morning and evening game drives. Columbia makes a great range in a huge variety of colours and styles.

Singita

Other clothing
Summer in southern Africa begins in October and runs until April, during which time it is most comfortable to wear shorts and lightweight shirts and t-shirts. A light fleece or long-sleeved top may be required if the temperatures drop when the sun goes down. It remains relatively warm in winter (May to September), so you are unlikely to need more than a good sweater to keep out the chill. A raincoat is recommended at all times of the year, but especially during the wet season which is from March to early May and from late October to early January.

Cotton clothing in neutral colours is recommended for game drives and neutral colours are compulsory for all walking safaris. Keep whites and dark colours to a minimum, as these colours attract certain bugs. Formal attire is not required.

Sunscreen
A small range of sunscreen is available at each lodge, but in case your preferred variant is not available, we would recommend that you bring this with you. The sun in Africa is particularly fierce so a high, broad-spectrum SPF is strongly recommended.

Singita

Malaria prophylaxis
Since malaria is present in all the regions in which Singita lodges are situated, it is essential to ensure that anti-malarial precautions be taken. Yellow fever inoculations are also compulsory when visiting Tanzania. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information.

Insect repellent
Mosquitos and tsetse flies can be a nuisance on safari so it is advisable to make use of a mild insect repellant while visiting our lodges. We stock a small selection of products for this use but also recommend Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard as one of the most effective.

Singita

Reference books
While each lodge keeps a number of excellent bird books and informational titles on the local fauna and flora, any enthusiastic ornithologist or game-spotter will tell you that keeping a personal record of your sightings by ticking them off in your own book is essential! Roberts Birds of Southern Africa and the Sasol Guide to Birds of Southern & East Africa is a particularly good one for the twitchers among you. Other good reference material includes Dr. Richard Estes’ The Safari Companion, an excellent field guide to observing and understanding the behaviour of African mammals.

Singita

For further information, please contact our knowledgeable reservations team who will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Read More


Sign up to receive the Singita newsletter

×