Tag Archives: game drives

Curious Cats

June 09, 2014 - Sabi Sand,Wildlife

Just in! Field Guide Ross Couper from Singita Sabi Sand sent through this incredible snapshot from Thursday afternoon’s game drive. In it, a serval faces off with a pair of cheetahs:

Cheetah vs Serval by Ross Couper

“Upon a approaching a cheetah sighting, a serval and two cubs were seen moving through the grass within meters of the cheetah. The serval’s movement caught the attention of the cheetah after the adult serval attempted to catch a rodent in the grass. A chase ensued and the adult serval was surrounded by the two cheetah. A moment of sheer aggression from the serval saved its life and several tense minutes were felt amongst the guests viewing the interaction. As dusk settled we returned back to the lodge, the fate of the serval unknown. It was a true privilege to witness this interaction in the wild.”

Ross regularly shares his stunning wildlife photos with our Facebook community, so follow us there for the latest sightings, direct from the bush!

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Chocolate and Walnuts

October 01, 2012 - Cuisine,Safari

When on safari at Singita Pamushana, your day is spent in a multitude of ways:  early morning and sunset game drives interspersed with bird-watching, swims, long and restful naps, meeting locals in the neighbouring communities, learning about star constellations in the night skies, boat cruises, exploring age-old rock art sites, and finding out more about the protection of pristine wilderness on the reserve.

One of our favourite safari rituals is that time of the day when the game ranger finds a perfect spot during the morning drive and sets up for a leg-stretch and coffee break.  The cold mist of the early morning has lifted, the sun’s warmth encourages layers of sweaters and pullovers to peel away, and the view at the spot is incredible while you stand right in the heart of African wilderness.

Coffee is French-pressed right in front of you, mugs of hot chocolate are blended, and tea-bags dipped to make a steamy brew.  One of the best parts is the luscious treat that is unpacked from tin camping containers – something surprising every day and perfect for dipping into a hot beverage.  Crunchies, biscotti, rusks…but we don’t want to spoil all of the surprises!

Here’s one of our all-time favourites – and we truly had to bribe Peter for this special recipe.  Enjoy!  (Peter Liese heads up the star kitchen team at Singita Pamushana Lodge – we can’t wait to hear more from him.)

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1tsp baking powder

1tsp salt

6 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup walnuts chopped

¾ cup semi-sweetened chocolate chips

1 tbsps. confectioners’ sugar

Putting it all together:

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Butter and flour a large baking sheet, knocking off excess flour.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and granulated sugar for 30 seconds. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Stir in flour mixture; dough will be stiff. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Halve dough. With floured hands form dough into 2 slightly flattened 12-by-2inch logs on baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Bake logs until slightly firm to the touch about 35 minutes (leave oven on).

Transfer logs to a cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut diagonally into ¾ inch slices. Arrange biscotti cut sides down on baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

The biscotti keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Happy baking from Singita Pamushana Lodge!

Singita Pamushana Lodge is situated in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, 124 000 acres of wilderness in the southern corner of Zimbabwe, bordering the Gonarezhou National Park. It is a spectacularly diverse and beautiful piece of Africa, boasting geological diversity, habitat variability and a wide variety of plant and animal species. Home to one of the highest concentrations of the endangered black rhino as well as fourteen species of eagle, the area is known for its magical sandstone outcrops, mopane forests, and majestic baobab trees.

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Exploring the Den

July 29, 2012 - Conservation,Sabi Sand,Safari,Wildlife

One of the guides informed me that there was an active hyena den site close to one of the major pans in the more central parts of the Singita Sabi Sand reserve. I decided, as it was a rather cool afternoon, to make my way toward the area and see if I would have the opportunity to spend some time with these interesting characters.

I found the small track that cut straight into the thick bush west of the pan, and headed to where I was told the den was situated.  After driving for some time, to my amazement when I rounded the bend there they were, the entire clan, all lying around a large termite mound, which they used as a den site.

The female was suckling her two younger cubs, whilst the third slightly elder cub came forward, inquisitive about my presence.  He approached the vehicle, not knowing what to make of this large solid object.  I sat there for over an hour, savoring the moment, observing from behind tinted lenses, hyenas in their natural environment.  I find people often get the wrong idea about these unusual creatures, often confusing their ungainly appearance with an animal that does nothing but scavenge.  My experience with them however is very different and I have witnessed them hunting with incredible efficiency and a galloping grace.

Stay tuned for more of James Suter as he treks through the wilderness of Singita Sabi Sand this week.

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Wildlife – the News in Pictures

August 22, 2011 - Sabi Sand,Wildlife

Again it has been an action-packed month of great game sightings at Singita Sabi Sand.

“To share these wonderful moments with people who have a similar interest in and love of nature is for me the most rewarding aspect of my job. To immerse oneself into a world that holds such majesty and evokes such wonder in an unscripted and unexpected manner is what safari is all about.”  Dylan Brandt – Field Guide, Singita Sabi Sand.

The Singita Sabi Sand Guides’ Diary is compiled by James Crookes, Guide, Singita Sabi Sand.  For more astounding photography and wildlife updates read the full Guides’ Diary on Singita’s website.

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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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Pangolin – the Holy Grail

November 16, 2010 - Safari,Wildlife

Last night’s rare pangolin sighting at Singita Sabi Sand – the encounter described by James Crookes, Singita Guide

If you ask any guide what sighting would signify the pinnacle of their career, I have a strong suspicion that the response would be almost unanimous. One would probably expect an array of answers including mating leopards, lions taking down a buffalo, discovering leopard cubs at a den site and the list goes on. Whilst all these provide amazing experiences and would definitely be highly sought after by any guide, I know that perched safely at the top of my list was always a quest to find a pangolin (Manis temmincki).  To most people who have any affiliation with the African bush, the elusive pangolin, or scaly ant eater, has become the holy grail of the savannah.

A testament to the secretive lifestyle that this animal leads is the fact that even the most comprehensive of mammal behaviour literature provides very little insight into the daily life of the pangolin. Ecologist Jonathan Swart studied pangolins for both a masters degree and a doctorate. His field work was carried out in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and in the course of a year, he located and studied 18 of these animals in the 65,000 hectare reserve. It took him no less than four and a half months to locate his first research subject.

On this particular afternoon, hampered by drizzle and generally overcast conditions, I took a few of the staff out on a game drive, to enable them to experience and appreciate the environment in which they work.  As we rounded a bend, I noticed a creature crossing the road. It seemed to take a while for me to process the scene before me, but after a brief pause, there was almost a uniform announcement of “PANGOLIN!”  The vehicle came to an abrupt halt and was evacuated in seconds, everyone clambering to have a closer look and dispel the sense of disbelief that gripped us all.

Once I had digested the scene, gathered my thoughts and allowed my heart rate time to slow down, I embarked on what many guides can only dream of.  I picked up the radio, keyed the microphone and, in the calmest voice I could muster, announced: “located a single pangolin, stationary on Kiaat road, west of north south firebreak”, as if this was an everyday occurrence.  I could just picture the reactions on the other vehicles as the message was transmitted!  I waited to be asked to confirm the species, but unfortunately I didn’t get another opportunity to gloat.  With the animal appearing to be relaxed and no immediate danger of it disappearing into the night, others slowly made their way to the position.

It was a privilege to be able to spend almost two hours with this rare and special creature.  It was a completely surreal and moving experience, something I had always hoped for, but never really thought of as a realistic opportunity.  To be able to touch the scales and feel how surprisingly soft they actually are, being of a similar texture and slightly softer than one’s finger nails.  Watching how sensitive the pangolin is to touch and how it retracts slightly each time you stroke one of its scales. Intermittently, it would expose its head as it investigated the scene before it.  Once, it even rolled into a partial ball, possibly feeling slightly threatened by the unusual amount of attention it was receiving.  All of this provided a recipe for an amazing experience, one that I’ll treasure forever.

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