Tag Archives: luxury safari in Tanzania

Guest Photos From 2012: Mary Robbins

May 09, 2013 - Experience,Singita Explore,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti,Singita Sasakwa Lodge,Wildlife

The memories of a trip to Africa and an unforgettable visit to Singita are some of the most precious that a traveller can experience. And while it can be very difficult to recreate that feeling when a guest is back home, they often have spectacular photos to remind them of the unique landscape and wildlife of our continent. We are always thrilled when these photos are shared with us, along with the wonderful stories behind them.

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

One such visitor to Singita in September 2012 was Mary Robbins, from Lynn, Massachusetts. She travelled to Tanzania and stayed at Singita Faru Faru Lodge, Singita Explore, Singita Sasakwa Lodge and Singita Sabora Tented Camp. Although an enthusiastic safari-lover, this was her first trip with us and she was especially keen to see a leopard and was rewarded with an amazing sighting during her time at the lodges, as well as spotting plenty of other big cats.

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti


Looking back, she writes: “What a fabulous time Frances, my driver, and I had! We drove around the Serengeti and saw wonderful things.  We watched the animals for hours on end and that is the only way to really come to an understanding of the way the animals are – by watching the way they move and interact with one another and with other species and with their environment. This was a true safari – a journey into another world – rather than a quick drive across the plain to fill up the time and make a tourist happy.  Of course we saw all manner of animal and my personal favorites were:

  • The time we came upon a pride of lions lounging on a river bank – then one by one we watched them get up, go to the top of a rock, and splash down into the water and walk/swim across the river to the other side.
  • Watching three 3-month old cheetah cubs jumble and play around their mama.
  • Admiring a fine, big, male leopard in a tree.
  • Watching a pride of lions lounge around a tree and then jump up into it. Watching lion prides and little cubs is always wonderful.

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

Great Guest Photos from 2012: Mary Robbins visits Singita Grumeti

Thank you for visiting us Mary, we hope to see you again soon.

You can see other guest photos on our blog from Stephen Saugestad (Canada) and Jeff Thompson (USA). Don’t forget to catch up on our monthly Wildlife Reports too.

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A Lone Leopard at Singita Grumeti

April 15, 2013 - Africa,Environment,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

I was fortunate enough to have a number of different leopard sightings during my stay at Singita Grumeti. Most of these encounters were brief and had taken place in the lush vegetation along the Grumeti River, where the shy cats are easily able to camouflage themselves.

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

One morning during our visit, I was delighted to hear that a large male leopard had been located in the south western parts of the concession; just a stone’s throw from Singita Sabora Tented Camp. This region is known for its vast, open plains and I hoped to have a sighting of the handsome cat within such a unique habitat.

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

As we approached the area where the leopard had last been seen, we were quickly able to identify the characteristic figure of the large cat while he lay resting in an isolated acacia tree. We approached slowly, making sure not to scare the animal away but he seemed more comfortable than most of the leopards in the reserve who offered us just fleeting glimpses of their spotted hide. This healthy male appeared completely relaxed as he sat guarding a warthog that he had killed and dragged up into the tree, away from other opportunistic predators.

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

Leopard sighting at Singita Grumeti

I was amazed at the scene of this massive cat perched in a rather small tree in the middle of the Serengeti. After observing him for some time, we noticed a large burrow directly beneath the acacia, which appeared to be active, as indicated by the presence of flies around the entrance. It became clear that this burrow belonged to the unfortunate warthog that was now neatly placed in the upper branches of the tree, a victim of the leopard’s hunting skill and experience.

Singita Sabora Tented Camp - Tanzania

James Suter is an expert Field Guide and talented photographer who is exploring Singita Grumeti in Tanzania and reporting on the wildlife he finds there. You can read more of James’ journey with Singita through Southern Africa on the blog.

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The Great Migration

April 10, 2013 - Africa,Environment,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

Talented photographer and experienced Field Guide, James Suter, spent the better part of a year exploring Singita’s lodges and camps in Southern Africa. Towards the end of 2012, he visited Singita Grumeti in Tanzania and was lucky enough to experience part of the world-famous animal migration through the Serengeti.

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

One of the most popular attractions for visitors to East Africa is the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of zebra and over a million wildebeest and other plains game who follow the rains for more than 1800 miles. Witnessing this natural phenomenon as the animals move through the Serengeti is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially since Singita Grumeti offers the perfect vantage point from which to view “The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth”.

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

From December to March, Northern Tanzania is home to massive herds of wildebeest who give birth to roughly 500 000 calves over a period of just three weeks in a remarkable, synchronised event. The main reason for this is that very young calves are more noticeable to predators when mixed with older calves and therefore make for easier prey.

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

The month of July is the ideal time to visit Singita Grumeti, as this is roughly when the herds reach their first major obstacle and are forced to navigate across the Grumeti River. The western corridor of the Serengeti National Park – Africa’s No. 1 World Heritage Site - is where the action takes place and is the best place to watch the migration unfold.

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

The Great Migration - Singita Grumeti - Tanzania

We spent some time at Singita Grumeti in September and were blown away by the sheer numbers of game and the large herds of wildebeest. We drove out onto the vast plains and watched while a hundred thousand of the animals advanced slowly towards the game vehicle. The sights, sounds and smells were mesmerising and completely unforgettable.

There are six Singita lodges and camps to visit in Tanzania, including the brand new Singita Serengeti House, an exclusive-use retreat on the slopes of Sasakwa Hill. To learn more about Singita Grumeti and Lamai, read more on our blog or catch up on the monthly wildlife journals from the region.

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Let them eat cake!

November 26, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti

Spoiling our guests with delicious food has always been a key element of the Singita experience. From gourmet feasts and grassland picnics, to delectable bakes and alfresco breakfasts, we aim to make every meal something to remember. We asked chef Donna Patterson at Singita Grumeti to tell us about one of her favourite tea-time treats to serve at Singita’s lodges, and she kindly shared the simple steps for putting together her world famous Apple Caramel Cake.

This cake recipe is a favourite among all our guests, far and wide. It is baked time and again at all the Singita lodges throughout South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania, and is by far the most requested recipe by guests! It’s absolutely delicious and easy to make, as you’ll see:


3 eggs
1 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 Tblsp melted butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 apple


For the cake:
Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric beater until it doubles in size. Add the cream and melted butter and continue to mix.

Sift the flour and baking powder onto the surface of the egg mixture and fold through lightly with a metal spoon.

Thinly slice your apple and arrange in a spiral around the top of the cake mixture in your prepared baking tin.

Bake at 160°C until golden brown.

For the glaze:
In a pot boil together, 100g brown sugar, 100g butter and 100ml cream.

Pour this sauce over the top of the cake when it comes out of the oven. Allow to cool in the tin before serving.


Apple caramel cake | Singita Grumeti

Here’s a handy online volume converter you can use to adjust the metric measurements if necessary.

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A Special Cooking Class

November 09, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Mtori is a traditional Swahili dish prepared from the unusual combination of green bananas and stewing beef. Guests at Singita Sasakwa Lodge in Tanzania were recently treated to an expert cooking demonstration of this local speciality by chef Donna Patterson.

Chef Donna Patterson at Sasakwa Lodge

The tennis pavilion became a stage for what could have turned into a Masterchef class. While the children challenged each other to a game on the court, I carefully shared the recipe with the adults, that had been taught to me by one of the local chefs in our kitchen.

Traditionally the soup is served to Swahili mothers when they are pregnant and breastfeeding as it is a rich source of nutrients for the diet. It has evolved into a dish for the whole family, with the recipe being handed down from generation to generation.

Chef Donna Patterson at Sasakwa LodgeIngredients (serves 4):

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbls vegetable oil
6 green bananas, peeled and chopped
300g stewing beef, cubed (off the bone)
salt and pepper


Fry the onions and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes over a medium heat in a heavy based pot.

Add the cubed beef and stir to brown all sides of the meat.

Add the peeled and chopped green bananas and stir for a further 3 minutes.

Cover the mixture with water, reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the bananas become soft.

Traditionally the soup is mashed together with a wooden spoon and served as is. I tend to remove the meat, shred it and keep it aside and then blend the banana part of the soup in an electric blender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the meat back to the soup. Enjoy the tastes of Tanzania!

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Making Memories

November 02, 2012 - Accommodation,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti

Spending time with family and treasured friends, and making memories for a lifetime, is what Singita Serengeti House is all about.  Comfortable furnishings and details, seamless inside-outside lounging, a tennis court dedicated to the house, a swimming pool that invites an afternoon dip for everyone, and a personal team of staff, all help to make this exclusive-use retreat a place for total relaxation.  But more than that, looking out over an expanse of the Serengeti wilderness and sharing those moments with people you care about, is priceless.

Eating at Serengeti House is designed to do the same thing – untangle the normal daily stresses of our city lives.  How wonderful to wake up to home-baked, gluten-free muffins – or enjoy a picnic on the veranda overlooking the elephants at the watering hole in front of the house – even stop for tea while the chef whips up a milk tart made right there in the kitchen.  And if you haven’t tried milk tart yet, then you’re in for a special surprise.  This is a South African tradition but steeped in Dutch influences, and until you plan your next trip to Tanzania, here’s a little something to help you think about us.

Donna Patterson, Singita Chef, Grumeti Reserves – sharing my favourite recipe for Milk Tart.

Ingredients – what you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 pinch salt

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

The pie crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1 cup sugar.

Add 1 egg and beat until mixture is smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.

Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture just until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Press mixture into bottom and sides of two 9-inch pie pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Putting it all together:

In a large saucepan, combine milk, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from burner.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup sugar.  Add beaten eggs to sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk mixture into milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 5 minutes.

Pour half of mixture into each pastry shell.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Chill before serving – easy as that.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me how your baking goes.

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Opening Singita Serengeti House

September 10, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Singita Grumeti

Donna Patterson, Chef at Singita Serengeti House, reflects on the first days with guests at Singita’s newly opened homestead on the plains of Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

The recent opening of Singita Serengeti House was an exciting time for all involved.  Carefully guided by Boyd Ferguson, master creator at Cecile & Boyd’s, who has thoughtfully directed design strategy for Singita for almost two decades, Singita’s latest project was no less a marvel.

As everything came together in the last few minutes before opening, in a bloom of dust the magic helpers disappeared and a vehicle full of delighted guests pulled up.  We were open!

Serengeti House oozes the opulence of a locally-styled East African home.  Guests walk in and immediately become part of the family.  There is a wonderful feeling of ‘arriving at your own private homestead’, derived from the serenity and beauty of the location and the stature of the house on the plains of Grumeti Reserves.

Guests are treated to one of Serengeti House’s top attributes of it being entirely private and secluded from anyone or anything else on 350,000 acres of private reserve. The home hosts its own tennis court and pavilion, 25 metre infinity pool, four plush bedrooms and endless living areas for relaxation at any stage of the day. There is also a waterhole just in front of the house, which has become a favourite drinking spot for general game as well as a breeding herd of elephant.

The food at Serengeti House is personalised to guests’ requests and we tend not to use a menu.  As the chef, I interact directly with the guests throughout their stay and discuss their meals with them. The food is locally sourced, healthy and styled around simple but robust recipes.  All of the guests enjoy the ‘family-style’ dining which entails the kitchen team preparing platters of food and serving it in the centre of the table. Be it delicious cakes for afternoon tea, banana bread and coffee before the sun rises or a fresh lobster braai (BBQ) to end off the day, the food is designed and catered to whatever whim is the preference of the group. The kitchen is also part of the home and guests are more than welcome to pop in at any time and get their hands messy with the chefs.

I know that wonderful memories will be created here and return visits have already been mentioned among departing travellers.

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Resourcefulness in the Wild

June 21, 2012 - Cuisine,Singita Sasakwa Lodge

You can imagine how difficult it might be to source fresh and interesting greens and speciality vegetables in the far-reaches of the Serengeti.  This was the challenge that Frank Louw faced when he took over the helm of the Singita Sasakwa Lodge kitchen a few years ago.  In an effort to add some pizzazz to menu items and maintain the high standards set by Singita excellence, Frank set about to establish a kitchen greenhouse that would produce some delicate garden products not normally sourced in the surrounding wilderness areas.

We thought our blog followers would like to hear how the Greenhouse is doing at Singita Grumeti.

The green house is doing well. We are using it to the full extent and gathering herbs and lettuce from it every day.  Just yesterday I picked some Zebra tomatoes…they are scrumptious and pretty.  We are also growing spinach and our very own purple basil.  So nice for our salads. (Frank Louw – Sasakwa Chef)

Frank Louw, Singita Sasakwa Executive Chef and Michael Matera, Senior Chef de Partie – caretakers of the kitchen greenhouse, now in its second growing year.

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Campfire Feasting

June 20, 2012 - Accommodation,Cuisine,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Explore

One of the highlights of spending nights under canvas at Singita Explore is the feasting experience.  Nothing like dining with china and crystal in the permanent tented camp of Singita Sabora – instead Singita Explore presents something that harks back to an earlier explorer experience where tents are pitched in remote locations to follow the wildlife.  Pots are settled into camp fires for slow stewing and hot water heated over the coals for morning coffee.

Loraine Trollip, Operations Manager Mobile Division (Singita Grumeti), describes one of the firm favourites on the menu at Singita’s mobile camp in Tanzania – a potjie.

A potjie is a stew that is simmered for hours over an open fire in a three-legged cast iron pot.  Oxtail is often the traditional choice of meat for a potjie and provides a rich flavour.  Other ingredients that meld together for mouth-watering taste, include beef stock, red wine, sherry, mushrooms, garlic, leeks, bay leaves, and tomato.

Now that’s something to warm up an evening under the stars.

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Changing Threat into Opportunity

January 13, 2012 - Community Development,Cuisine,Singita Faru Faru Lodge

The next time you bite into a  decadently chocolate-filled brownie at Singita Faru Faru Lodge, you may be surprised to know that the Pastry Chef in the kitchen who makes these creations, has a very interesting past.

(Peter is standing with the bow.)

Peter Andrew was born in 1979 in Fort Ikoma village on the outskirts of Singita Grumeti Reserves. Peter’s mother died when he was 16 years old; his Dad remarried and thus Peter was forced to leave his home and village to fend for himself.  At the time he had no options for employment but poaching. He learnt hunting and tracking skills from a man much older than him, named Matere Muita, a father figure who taught him everything he needed to know about the skills of the hunt. They hunted together on foot day and night to harvest bush meat, tusks from elephants and skins from Colobus monkeys.  Peter remembers that they took pride in never being caught – “You were not a skilled poacher if a Wildlife Officer caught you”.

However everything turned a corner in 2003 when Peter learnt that a good-hearted man named Mr. Harris, was offering jobs to poachers in neighbouring villages.  This was Peter’s chance to change his life and earn an honest wage without fear of being locked in jail or eaten by lion. So Peter started work at Singita Sasakwa Lodge as a temporary employee helping with construction. He was interested in cooking and in 2004 took the opportunity to become the staff cook at Singita Sabora Tented Camp. He excelled in this position and developed quickly, so much so that in 2005 Peter became a Commis Chef at Singita Sabora and then further moved to Singita Faru Faru in 2011 as a full-time Pastry Chef where he currently works.

Stories like that of Peter Andrew continue to provide encouragement for the investment made by Singita in valuable conservation efforts.

With  over 500 000 acres of land under management, Singita offers luxury safari, tourism opportunities whilst pursuing a  core vision: the protection of vast wilderness areas that are home to magnificent wildlife populations and sensitive landscapes, for future generations.

Controlling poaching in the area has been a key priority facing Singita Grumeti Reserves since 2002.  This illegal industry threatened the dynamics and  balance of the eco-system and undermined the potential of the commercial tourism venture, required to ensure the long-term sustainability of the area.  With the establishment of an effective anti-poaching unit consisting of 120 game scouts and thanks to the support of the Tanzanian Wildlife Division, Singita Grumeti Reserves has to date been able to achieve an increase of game populations by up to 600% in some species.  Now Singita Grumeti employs close to 600 members of staff (a large proportion from local villages) in its effort to conserve the enormous tract of land in its care, and to support special Singita-style service to the guests that visit Singita Grumeti Reserves.

To read more about Singita’s community development and conservation projects in four regions around Africa, please take a look at Singita’s website.

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