Tag Archives: Luxury African Safari Experience

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.

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Introducing Singita Serengeti House

January 31, 2013 - Accommodation,Africa,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Serengeti House

Singita Serengeti House

Singita Serengeti House, an exclusive-use retreat designed for families and friends, has opened in the 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserves in the heart of the Serengeti in northern Tanzania. Located on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill with breathtaking vistas of the endless, open plains of the Serengeti, the house is Singita’s response to a growing demand from discerning travellers for privacy and flexibility. Itineraries, activities and meals are tailor made and tweaked as guests dictate the day-to-day pace and rhythm of their vacation according to their interests and needs.

Singita Serengeti House pool deck

Early morning and late-afternoon game drives may be interspersed with vigorous swims or lazing around the pool with a good book, a game of tennis, a cooking lesson in the private kitchen from the resident chef, spa treatments or mountain biking. Making it up as one goes along is part of the magic of taking up residence at Singita Serengeti House. There is a waterhole right in front of the house, which is a favourite drinking spot for general plains game as well as a breeding herd of elephant.

Singita Serengeti House veranda

Singita Serengeti House lounge

The house accommodates eight people in two suites in the main house and two further guest suites on either side of the main house, connected by pathways from a central pool deck with a 25-metre rim-flow lap pool. There is also a private tennis court, mountain biking and archery.

Singita Serengeti House bedroom

Singita Serengeti House bathroom

Refined yet comfortable interiors by Cécile & Boyd’s are complemented by a relaxed, unpretentious ambience and warm-hearted service, adding up to a luxurious home environment in the bush. It is a place that encourages a wealth of shared experiences – thrilling game viewing, memorable outdoor feasts, storytelling and impromptu celebrations – from which to shape priceless memories.

Singita Serengeti House wildlife - zebras

Singita Serengeti House wildlife - giraffe

The house may only be booked on an exclusive-use basis and includes all staff, a private vehicle and a safari guide. Besides guided game drives in an open-sided 4×4 vehicle, guests can also do guided walks and horseback safaris. At Singita Sasakwa Lodge, situated an easy 1.5km drive away, there is also a fully equipped gym, yoga room, spa and Boutique & Gallery.

Singita Serengeti House wildlife - cheetah cub

We’ll soon be posting some more photographs of Cécile & Boyd’s stunning interiors at Singita Serengeti House so be sure to subscribe to the blog to avoid missing out! You can also read the online brochure to see more.

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Singita Premier Wine’s Winter Escapades

August 17, 2011 - Cuisine,Events,Experience,Sabi Sand

Singita is recognised as one of South Africa’s most influential buyers of wine, with an extensive cellar showcasing a premium selection of wines, including some of the country’s most sought-after private reserves and limited release wines.  François Rautenbach heads up Singita Premier Wine, managing the selection, purchase, storage, and service of the wines at Singita lodges, in addition to managing Singita Premier Wine Direct which allows guests to order wines to be shipped home at the end of their safari.  As a buyer of premiers wines Francois spends time at some of South Africa’s finest wine estates – we’ve asked him to share some of his experiences as he scouts out the best labels for Singita’s cellars.

(Singita Premier Wine Boutique – Singita Sabi Sand)

Deep into mid-winter in Southern Africa there is a dramatic change in the bush colouring from verdant dense greens to the straw-browns of the dry season.  Extended animal movements abound as they search for the last vestiges of green fodder and the elusive pools of fresh water.

Having been requested to speak at the inaugural Winebiz Conference on wine marketing and sales, I travelled once again to the wintery Winelands.   A great time to be hosting such an event in the Cape as the winemakers use the cooler wet days to finalise their blends and bottle those vintage wines that have been slumbering, developing magnificently in barrel.  The wine marketers grab onto these new and exciting developments and releases to enhance the attraction of their portfolios.

In this regard it may seem odd that a ‘bush wine specialist’ was requested to speak on the topic ‘Put your best foot forward – optimising cellar door experiences’.  However with the many years of hosting thought-provoking and informative wine tastings in the Singita Cellars not to mention the wonderful success of the Premier Wine Boutique as an added-value home of wine, information and passion, it suddenly seemed quite possible that we could add real value and insight into the Wine Farm’s visitor experience.

On a cool, bright and sunny day the conference turned out to be both stimulating and informative and well worth attending even as a delegate let alone as a speaker.

Further to the conference I received an impromptu invitation to Ken Forrester Vineyards nestled in the foothills of the Stellenbosch – Helderberg Ridge mountains for a vertical presentation of the now 10 year production of the famed single-vineyard ‘FMC’.  Now that sounded like an absolutely rare and unique opportunity.  An exciting prospect as I departed for the farm enthralled by a magnificent sunset of pink and orange hues.

Ken a renowned, lifelong restaurateur realised his dream of wine making when he purchased a small run-down farm with his family. Realising that not only was Chenin Blanc the wine style that offered South Africa it’s greatest potential for renown but that this newly acquired farm hosted one of the unique ‘heritage’ blocks of old dry-land bush vine Chenin planted in 1967 (Mmm, my own lifelong wine endeavours – sharing the same birth date!).  Ken set about a tireless journey to revitalise the vineyard and image of this historical grape.

Roping in Martin Meinert, winemaker and blender extraordinaire and long time restaurant partner into this new project they tackled the 1998 & ’99 vintages with gusto but with little success.  Even greater care and attention ensued with each bush vine pruned back to one bud which captured the entire root system’s energy into a couple of bunches but resulted in a yield of less than 1 ton of grapes per acre.  Wow – the resulting first release 2000 vintage showed ground-breaking concentration yet remained balanced and enthralling!

With a single long, farm-style table at centre stage in the tasting room sandwiched between small and jam-packed barrel maturation and fermentation rooms the tableau of ten spaces set with five large glasses each raised the expectations even further for an individual experience. Personally pouring each vintage Ken held us enraptured with tales of the wine’s development, the original description of the FMC’s acronym (now know in political correctness as the Forrester-Meinert Chenin) and the attention given to each of the multiple hand harvests completed through the vineyard to ensure perfectly even ripeness throughout the bunches of grapes used to fill each individual 400 litre Loire Valley French oak barrels.

Presented with the youthful, distinctly green tinged 2009 vintage redolent with stewed apple and ruby grapefruit on the nose we set off on a journey through the last decade.  What concentration displayed by this emerging teenage wine with promise of supreme pleasure in years to come.

Quickly followed on by an enticingly approachable 2008, a deep yellow in colour, bouquet and stone fruit inspired palate already offering tremendous pleasure.

Next the powerful 2007 with a deep golden yellow hue fit for an artist’s brush. An entry of delicate herbal ‘Garrigue’ or Cape Floral notes underpinned by distinctive almond and marzipan leading to a riveting flavour demanding rich food or further maturation time.

Just when we thought we had seen the spectrum, the 2006 emerged to enthral with dainty intensity, freshness and elegance.  The lightest coloured and most superbly balanced – what difficulty to not consume in one draft.

Finally the 2001 flowed into it’s receptacle to offer complete integration with the richness of matured marmalade upfront and the tight and lengthy finish to follow – supreme now yet with a portent to further years of pleasure to come.

As the ‘Cape Doctor’ South-Easter started blowing, rattling doors and windows we could ruminate over the first decade of a now internationally iconic wine as we savoured giant tempura prawns dipped in hoisin sauce, crisp pork belly and artisinal cheeses subtly proving that the food matching versatility of Chenin Blanc is unsurpassed.

Nodding off to sleep some time later I looked forward to the development of Singita Premier Wine’s own stocks in maturation and to the next decade of a developing heritage.

Find out more information about Singita Premier Wine on Singita’s website – or contact us directly at premierwine@singita.com.

Happy imbibing,

François

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