Tag Archives: Luxury African Safaris

Ancient Art: Malilangwe’s primitive paintings

November 14, 2012 - Conservation,Did You Know?,History,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Safari,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana Lodge is located in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve; 130 000 acres of wilderness in the southern corner of Zimbabwe. It is a spectacularly diverse and beautiful piece of Africa, and is also home to nearly 100 rock art sites that date back more than 2 000 years. The careful protection of these sites is a key part of Singita’s conservation philosophy, and allows this ancient artwork to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. Head Guide at Singita Pamushana, Brad Fouché, shares his knowledge on the subject.

The area around the lodge is known for its lush mopane forests and majestic baobab trees, as well as a range of magical sandstone outcrops where most of the San paintings are located.

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve Rock Art 1

In Zimbabwe there are 15 000 known rock art and engraving sites, of which many are unique to the country, with little or no other examples found in the rest of Southern Africa. The three different groups of paintings found at the reserve are from San or Bushman hunter-gatherers, Iron Age farmers and Koi Koi/Khoekhoen people.

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve Rock Art 2

In addition to professional research undertaken to locate Stone and Iron Age rock painting sites in the area, field staff and guides at Singita Pamushana have recorded a great many other examples. No less than five recording projects have been conducted on the reserve in the last decade, and a total of 87 sites being recorded, with surely many more as yet undiscovered.

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve Rock Art 3

Some of the unique rock art that can be found here includes:

* Five extremely rare bi-cephalic (double-headed) animals, of which only two other examples have been discovered in Southern Africa.
* Fly whisks, which are relatively common in San rock art and were used only during the “curing” or “trance dance”.
* Two examples of formlings, a term coined by ethnologist and archaeologist Leo Frobenius to describe “large forms, shaped like galls or livers, into which human figures are painted”, and unique to the whole of Zimbabwe. Their meaning however remains poorly understood.
* Various animals, including elephant, rhino, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra, roan antelope, sable, kudu, impala, wild dog, baboon, aardvark, ostrich and unidentified birds of prey.

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve Rock Art 4

Find out more about the inspiration behind Singita Pamushana Lodge, one of Africa’s best-kept secrets, and read our latest Guides’ Diary from the area, written by field guide Jenny Hishin.

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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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Wildlife – the News in Pictures

November 08, 2010 - Wildlife

From Singita Guide, Marlon du Toit – Singita Kruger National Park

Featured in this article are a variety of photographs from elephants to lions and leopards.  In general the Singita Kruger concession is still blowing everyone away, including guides that have been here for a long time.  Viewings of wildlife have been spectacular over the past weeks.

As far as lions go, the Mountain Pride has been staying within the Kori Clearing vicinity for the last two weeks now.  That is good news for us as we don’t have to drive too the far north in order to find them.

Xinkelengene Cub

Young elephants having fun.


Another highlight from the last few days were two slender mongooses battling it out for territory.  They went about it as if their lives depended on it, and it was the first time I witnessed something like that.  Also, we have been seeing black rhino at least twice a week; amazing considering there are fewer that 500 in the whole entire park.

To keep up with monthly wildlife happenings at all of our Singita reserves, follow our Guide’s Diaries for updates.

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Singita Sasakwa Lodge

May 12, 2010 - Accommodation,Lodges and Camps,Singita Grumeti

Singita Sasakwa Lodge is built on a hilltop and is named after the village chief, Sasakwa, who used to call the hill home. The lodge overlooks the Serengeti plains and the expansive view is the focal point of the main lodge and all the private cottages.

The View from Singita Sasakwa Lodge in Tanzania

As you pull up to the Singita Sasakwa Lodge entrance, the best view in Africa acts as a backdrop to the foyer. It really is the most unbelievable, awe-inspiring setting and Singita Sasakwa Lodge successfully manages this grandeur, without ever being ostentatious.

At Singita Sasakwa everything – from the individual artworks, exceptional lodge specific décor, the people, the cuisine and the remarkable setting – combines to create an experience that touches your soul.

A private cottage at Singita Sasakwa Lodge.

When you visit Singita Sasakwa Lodge – and you see the Serengeti plains lying below you like a wilderness tapestry – something changes, something shifts.

View from the Sasakwa cottage private plunge pool. All cottages boast equally amazing plunge pools and views.

Sasakwa has an uncanny ability to put everything in perspective. Stress evaporates, smiles flow freely and you once again feel alive. There is a magic present, magic that acts as a reinvigorating energy that flows through every aspect of the experience.

For more information about Singita Sasakwa Lodge click here.

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Singita and its Environment

April 26, 2010 - Environment

Singita is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the African wilderness.

Aerial Photo of the Grumeti River

We believe that our untouched and expansive surrounding and the exceptional selection of wildlife – found in Singita Sabi Sand, Singita Kruger National Park, Singita Grumeti Reserves and the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve (home to Singita Pamushana Lodge) – are among our greatest assets.

We go to great lengths to ensure that the experiences we create, to showcase our beautiful reserves, are sustainable and don’t place undue pressure on the surroundings.

At Singita we live by our mantra and therefore we aim to only touch the earth lightly. This approach ensures that we don’t impose ourselves on nature, we don’t stand above it and we certainly don’t stand apart from it. Instead we immerse ourselves, and our guests, in the awe-inspiring environments surrounding the various Singita lodges and camps.

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Singita and the Community

April 23, 2010 - Community Development

At Singita we don’t stand apart from the environment, we immerse ourselves in it.

We aim to create sustainable experiences; and we believe that in order to do this we need to develop long-term relationships with the communities surrounding our nine lodges and camps. We continually work at empowering these communities in tangible ways.

Singita and the Community

To date we’ve realised a number of successful projects and these include: building schools, supporting agricultural initiatives, financing small businesses, developing feeding plans and extensive training in the areas of conservation and luxury hospitality.

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Dining at Singita

April 21, 2010 - Cuisine

Each Singita lodge and camp offers its own selection of enticing flavours.

All the Singita lodges and camps showcase South Africa’s diverse cooking methods. These methods are continually blended with the latest international culinary trends, influences and flavours to create an unforgettable dining experience for our guests. The result, of these unique combinations, is a series of spectacular dining experience at all nine Singita lodges and camps.

Dining at Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Our talented chefs (many of whom are from the surrounding local communities) combine prime homegrown produce with imported essentials to create the superb Singita cuisine, cuisine that is both delicious and wholesome.

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Singita in Zimbabwe

April 16, 2010 - Lodges and Camps

Singita in Zimbabwe consists of only the extraordinary Singita Pamushana Lodge.

Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana Lodge is set in the 130 000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. This reserve is located in the southern corner of Zimbabwe and it is a precious breeding ground for a number of endangered species. In fact the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve boasts one of the highest concentrations of Black Rhino in Africa.

The tranquil and beautiful Singita Pamushana Lodge overlooks the 1500 acre Malilangwe Lake and its surrounding sandstone hills.

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Singita History – Part 2

April 06, 2010 - History

In the early 1990′s – James Fawcett Bailes’ grandson (the current owner of Singita) – began to once again focus on the work his grandfather had started.

Using the original 1930′s aerial photographs, with the help of environmentalist Dave Wright; he went about restoring the land to its original condition.

In 1993 the first lodge, Singita Ebony, opened its doors and following its huge success Singita created four more luxury game lodges in South Africa.

In recent years Singita has added four additional luxury lodges and camps, beyond the South African borders, to the exceptional Singita offering. In doing so Singita has done more than just realize James Fawcett Bailes’ legacy.

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Happy Easter

April 02, 2010 - Singita

We hope that you and your family have a very happy Easter. If you’re traveling may your journey be safe and your destination fantastic!

We know that you won’t be reading blog posts over this long weekend so normal posting, on the Singita Blog, will resume next week Tuesday (the 6th of April 2010).

We’ll see you, back here, on Tuesday morning. Have an excellent break!

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