Tag Archives: Malilangwe Trust

An African Treasure

November 07, 2015 - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife

Field guide and wildlife photographer Ross Couper was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in the Matopos National Park, so he has a special connection to the country and its fauna and flora. Here he shares his knowledge and memories of the local African Wild Dog population with us:

Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana Lodge is located within the private Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in southeastern Zimbabwe, which shares its southern boundary with Gonarezhou National Park. The park’s rich wildlife consists of 500 species of birds, 147 species of mammals, more than 116 species of reptiles, 34 species of frogs and 49 species of fish.

African wild dogs at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

Painted Dogs, also known as African Wild Dogs, are unique to Africa and they are among this continent’s most endangered species. It is estimated that less than 7,000 remain in the wild. One of my favourite experiences seeing these animals at Singita Pamushana was one winter’s morning when we drove out past a rocky section of the concession; a piece of land that would make an ideal location for their dens.

African wild dogs at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe, Zimbabwe

As the land rover came to stop, above the early morning chorus of several birds, we could hear the distant calls from a hyena. It was a frantic scene; three hyena were moving in various directions, whooping and calling. Suddenly a flash of white appeared amongst the tall grass followed by three or four more – it was the wild dogs’s tails. Before we knew it, several pack members had arrived as if they are reinforcing the movement towards the hyenas. The scavengers beat a hasty retreat and the wild dogs feasted on the unfortunate impala ram that they had hunted earlier.

Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe

Observing these precious animals in their natural habitat from the comfort of a game viewing vehicle is such a privilege, as is the ability to provide them with a safe, natural habitat in which to flourish. The 130,000-acre reserve was specifically established to conserve and protect this significant wilderness region; something it has done with great success since 1994.

Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe

All proceeds from the management of Singita Pamushana Lodge benefit the Malilangwe Trust, and its numerous conservation and community outreach programmes. This Zimbabwean-based and -managed Trust was set up to develop a blueprint for creating harmony between conservation initiatives and community development in villages that neighbour wildlife areas. You can read more about the Trust and Singita’s work in the area on our website.

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Get to Know Us: Singita Pamushana’s Golden Oldies

October 30, 2015 - Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,People of Singita,Singita Pamushana Lodge

There are three things that sum up what it means to be a part of the Singita team: purpose; pursuing excellence in your choice of career; and working in a fully empowered way. These core motivators, along with a passion for Africa and its conservation, are embodied in all our staff and perhaps never more so than in those who have lived and breathed this “Place of Miracles” for large parts of their lives. Today we invite you to meet four members of our Singita Pamushana Lodge family:


One of our longest serving members is Moses Mafanele, also known as the “the original Shangaan”, who started out at the Malilangwe Trust. He’s come a long way since joining the lodge kitchen as a porter in 2000. Almost 15 years (and several roles later), Moses is now chef de partie.

Estere Mango (L) and Moses Mafanele (R)

Estere Mango (L) and Moses Mafanele (R)

The 1st of June holds special significance for housekeeping supervisor, Estere Mango. On that date in 1998 she started out as the lodge housekeeper. On the same date last year, she was promoted to supervisor. Coincidently – and perhaps best of all – 1 June is also the birthday of her eldest child.

Tichaedza “Tich” Zinyemba, who also started out in the housekeeping department in 2010, was promoted in May last year and became the newest member of the Singita Pamushana banakelis. Known for her infectious giggle, Tich keeps the rest of the team on their toes and performing to their highest standards.

Tichaedza Zinyemba (L) and Poilani Jamitas Jojo (R)

Tichaedza Zinyemba (L) and Poilani Jamitas Jojo (R)

Poilani “Polly” Jamitas Jojo is the unofficial master of the lodge dining areas, leading other waiters by example and encouraging hard work and dedication in his younger teammates. Having worked at the Malilangwe Trust since 1999, Polly spent eight years honing his craft before taking on his role at the lodge. He is affectionately called “Madala” (old man) and is the proud father of a second-generation Singita staff member, David, one of property’s newest trackers.

These four remarkable people, and all of their colleagues, are part of an extended family. Through their collective hard work, they contribute daily to Singita’s enduring purpose.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Singita offers a diverse range of work opportunities. Whether you studied business, or hospitality, Singita is a place where you will learn, grow and work together with an incredible team, to achieve a greater purpose. Visit our Careers section on Singita’s website to find out more.

Singita Pamushana Lodge is a remarkable example of the company’s ecotourism philosophy: enabling guests to share the magic of the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, while helping to foster the sustainability of the wildlife and broader ecology in the region. Please explore our website to learn more about one of Africa’s most exclusive, remote hideaways.

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Conservation for Kids: Education Through Exploration

October 05, 2015 - Community Development,Conservation,Did You Know?,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Sustainable Conservation

As part of its ongoing commitment to the surrounding communities, Singita Pamushana (Zimbabwe) partners with the Malilangwe Trust which runs regular courses in conservation education for pupils at local schools. The four-day courses are held at nearby Hakamela Camp for students in Grade 6 and 7 who come from eleven local schools.

Conservation education at Singita Pamushana

The courses are designed to teach students the value of conserving the environment and the wildlife for both their own future and that of their communities. The courses consist of classroom lessons at Hakamela, game drives in the reserve, and visits to the Malilangwe Dam to learn about aquatic conservation.

“Young people are the future,” says Tendai Nhunzwi, Director of Malilangwe’s Neighbour Outreach Program. “If we involve them in conservation at a tender age, it will help make wildlife and the environment sustainable. When they have been on these courses, the children become ambassadors to the local communities and we have seen some very positive results.”

Conservation education at Singita Pamushana

“Parents tell us that the children chide them when they are doing things wrong, whether it’s causing erosion through over-ploughing or cutting down trees. Poaching has also been reduced and the local communities have begun to report suspected poachers. The plays that the children create and then act out at the end of the course often show the dangers of poaching and why it so destructive.”

Shepherd Mawire, Projects Co-ordinator for the Malilangwe Trust and the man who designs and runs the Conservation Education programme, agrees. “The results are very positive,” say Shepherd. “When they come on the course, many of the children have never even used cutlery before so they have to learn quickly.”

Conservation education at Singita Pamushana

“We teach them about all aspects of the environment from explaining how wildlife is identified and categorised, the diets of the animals, to how all the creatures in the ecosystem depend on one another and what happens if the cycle of nature is disturbed.”

“The children understand how looking after the wildlife and the environment can benefit them in the long-term,” concludes Shepherd. “Singita Pamushana is a source of jobs for them and their families and the benefits are long-term. Even telling the children that they will not be able to go on the course if they have a bad attendance record has improved the present registers at the schools.”

Conservation education at Singita Pamushana

“And when we ask them at the end of each course what they would like to do when they grow up, it’s amazing to see how much their horizons have expanded from just a few days before. At the beginning most want to be teachers, nurses or to join the police which are the jobs they see around them every day. But by the end of the course, they realise that there are other options open to them and they want to be guides, game scouts or part of the research team. Their mind-set has already changed and they want to be part of a good thing that’s happening.”

Richard and Sarah Madden are freelance travel writers and filmmakers who were based in the Malilangwe Reserve at Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe. Their series of short films from the region is entitled “Bush Tales” and explores Singita’s community development, ecotourism and conservation work in Southern Africa. 

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Conservation & Community: How Tourism Helps

June 24, 2015 - Community Development,Conservation,Did You Know?,Environment,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Sustainable Conservation

For more than two decades, Singita has been a “place of miracles”, offering guests a unique and extraordinary safari experience. Our 12 lodges and camps have been the recipient of numerous awards and the number of guests who return year after year speaks for itself. And while we are extremely proud of this, Singita’s enduring purpose, which is to preserve and protect the miraculous places of which we are custodians, remains our primary focus. Our concessions, reserves, and properties represent some of the most pristine wilderness areas on the continent and we are dedicated to maintaining these incredible pieces of earth for future generations. As well as our commitment to environmentally conscious hospitality, our core vision supports sustainable conservation and the empowerment of local communities.

Malilangwe Reserve, Zimbabwe

Malilangwe Reserve, Zimbabwe

Dr Bruce Clegg, Resident Ecologist at the Malilangwe Trust, Singita’s conservation partner in Zimbabwe, explains the extent to which tourism contributes to wildlife conservation and rural community development in Africa:

Dr Bruce Clegg

Dr Bruce Clegg

“Travel and tourism contributes only 3.6% of the total GDP in Africa, the majority of which is generated from just a handful of countries on the continent. Ecotourism accounts for only a fraction of this relatively small figure, putting wildlife conservation and development of rural communities at a considerable disadvantage.

Wildlife conservation at Singita

Tourism is a difficult business. Africa only attracts 5% of global travellers. The market is very competitive, overhead costs high and profit margins low. In addition the industry is sensitive to shocks caused by political instability, disease outbreaks, natural disasters etc. and it takes many years to develop a credible reputation. This means that little extra money is available for large-scale conservation efforts or community development. Strong competition between companies for bookings necessitates promotion of the charismatic animal species that underpin the industry (most notably lions and the other members of the Big Five) and more urgent conservation needs such as protection of critically endangered, but less captivating plants and animals are overlooked. For these reasons the hope placed in ecotourism as a solution to Africa’s poverty and conservation problems has not been fulfilled.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Child Supplementary Feeding Programme

However, a small light is beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel. A few progressive organisations have recognised these failings and instead of continuing to base their activities on wishful thinking have changed their approach and setup partnerships between their ecotourism ventures and charitable NGOs or generous philanthropists. These partnerships appear to work better. Ecotourism provides environmentally sensitive employment for locals thereby promoting community development, and the charitable partners provide the extra funds required to conduct meaningful conservation projects and additional community upliftment.

Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe

Singita Pamushana

Singita has taken this approach a step further and also included professional conservation and community development organisations in their partnerships to provide the technical input and experience required to run truly meaningful projects. This has the added advantage of giving the donors confidence that their funds will pay for best practice, and visiting tourists the assurance that their dollars will actually make a difference. A three-way partnership of this nature is very promising and may well be the industry standard of the future. If this approach becomes widely adopted, ecotourism’s role in conservation and community development may at long last reach its full potential.”

Wildlife conservation at Singita

Singita is the trusted guardian of a million acres of pristine land in Africa and responsible for many successful community development projects, making a tangible difference in the lives of the people living and working in and around our lodges. Please visit our website to find out more about the wonderful work of our conservation and community upliftment teams.

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Neighbour Outreach Programme at Singita Pamushana Lodge

March 13, 2015 - Community Development,Did You Know?,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

As part of its ongoing commitment to the local community, Singita Pamushana Lodge provides support across a broad spectrum of projects through the Malilangwe Trust, its non-profit development and conservation partner.

Neighbour Outreach Programme | Singita Pamushana Lodge

The Neighbour Outreach Programme (NOP) includes a Supplementary Feeding Programme for children up to school age, support for local primary schools and cultural projects which include the fostering of traditional tribal dance at a young age.

Neighbour Outreach Programme | Singita Pamushana Lodge

The Supplementary Feeding Programme began in February 2003 when, after two years of severe drought, Singita responded to the government’s call for assistance. “At that time, many local children were severely malnourished,” says Shepherd Mawire, NOP Project Co-ordinator. “But the programme has since provided additional food and nourishment to thousands of children in the local communities.”

Neighbour Outreach Programme | Singita Pamushana Lodge

Every day 19 000 children (mostly aged 5 years and younger) are provided with a nutrient rich soya-corn blend. The ingredients are delivered to 436 feeding points and 11 primary schools which are managed by volunteers appointed by the local communities to oversee this core village activity.

Neighbour Outreach Programme | Singita Pamushana Lodge

The programme not only provides much needed nutrition, but also helps the children realise their educational and developmental potential by ensuring that hunger does not get in the way of their ability to concentrate and learn during the school day.

Neighbour Outreach Programme | Singita Pamushana Lodge

The NOP also supports the local primary schools in the form of much-needed extra stationery and books while working with the community on other projects agreed with them. A pilot scheme that will provide honey from bee-hives has been launched and there are five kitchen garden irrigation schemes growing nutritious, fresh vegetables which are otherwise in short supply.

One of the NOP’s most important cultural initiatives is in providing musical instruments, costumes and regalia for the primary school children who compete in the national tribal dance competitions held annually in August.

Sarah Madden | Singita Pamushana Lodge

Sarah Madden asked more about the motives behind the programme – “We want the children to learn about their Shangaan cultural roots,” says Shepherd. “We want the cultural soul to survive into the next generation and to do that we need to start at the grass-roots primary school level. We want the children to know that despite our modern technological world, this was how it was done in the past. It’s all part of our mission to empower and support the local community.”


Richard and Sarah Madden are freelance travel writers and filmmakers. Richard has written for the Daily Telegraph (UK) for more then 20 years and met Sarah while presenting documentaries for the Discovery Channel which were produced by Sarah. Prior to working with Singita, the couple spent two years in Africa writing and filming the multi-media Bush Telegraph column for the Daily Telegraph. The column includes reports on safaris, wildlife conservation and community stories from all over southern and eastern Africa.

You can read their previous report from Singita Malilangwe here.

This film was shot on a Leica V-Lux (www.leica-camera.com)

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16 Years Hosting Veterinarians Wildlife Course

March 10, 2015 - General

Singita Pamushana Lodge located on the 130,000-acre Malilangwe Reserve, partners with the Malilangwe Trust, every year to co-host an internationally renowned course on Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife.  The course originated in Zimbabwe more than 30 years ago when the Government Veterinary Service (GVS) was asked to assist in the training of National Parks personnel in safe wild animal capture.

Vets course

It is the culmination of ideas, knowledge, and experience gained over the last three decades and is designed to benefit both the wildlife industry in southern Africa as well as other professionals from around the world working with captive or free-ranging wild animals. This is the 16th year the 10-day course has taken place and this year included students from 17 different countries.  The objective is to educate wildlife health and management professionals in the science and art of wildlife capture. These skills can be of huge benefit in the preservation of wildlife populations all over the world.

Whether it be a rhino in Africa or a snow leopard in Asia, threatened or endangered species cannot be effectively managed without the occasional intervention. This can be for health reasons, the fitting and removal of GPS tracking technology, or even relocation into areas where numbers are low or a species has disappeared altogether. The course teaches the relevant wild animal capture skills to achieve all these.


Participants obtain a wealth of both theoretical and hands-on practical experience unavailable on equivalent courses. The field aspects are conducted in a wild and free-roaming environment, so safety is paramount.  A key feature is the wide range of local, regional and international lecturers and wildlife managers that assist in teaching both theoretical and field aspects of safe wildlife capture. All are leaders in their individual fields and include veterinarians and pathologists, managers and researchers, game capturers and helicopter pilots.

The course integrates a variety of topics including legislation, theoretical and applied pharmacology, theoretical and applied physiology, stress and capture-related conditions, safety and first aid in the field, use of helicopters, ethical principles, chemical immobilisation and species requirements, drug injecting equipment, dart projectors, ancillary treatments in wildlife capture, transport of wild animals and post-mortem techniques.


The CPRWA course is run by the Zimbabwe Wildlife Veterinary Trust and Wildlife Capture Africa headed by Dr. Chap Masterson in conjunction with the Malilangwe Trust (www.wildlifecaptureafrica.com).

Richard and Sarah Madden are freelance travel writers and filmmakers. Richard has written for the Daily Telegraph (UK) for more then 20 years and met Sarah while presenting documentaries for the Discovery Channel which were produced by Sarah. Prior to working with Singita, the couple spent 18 months in Africa writing and filming the multi-media Bush Telegraph column for the Daily Telegraph. The column includes reports on safaris, wildlife conservation and community stories from all over southern and eastern Africa.

Richard and Sarah Madden resized


This film was mostly shot on a Leica V-Lux (www.leica-camera.com). For invaluable additional footage, huge thanks to Josh Mostert, Wildlife Capture Africa.

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Visual Storytelling: Community Development on Film

November 26, 2014 - Community Development,Did You Know?,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Sustainable Conservation

Singita - Place of Miracles

Singita truly is a “place of miracles”, with incredible wildlife, elegant design, spectacular food and very special people. It isn’t just about the experience at the lodges however; miracles also happen in the communities around them and in the lives of those living in each concession. The upliftment of these local communities is as important to the success of Singita as the wildlife conservation that drives the core vision to preserve and protect large tracts of wilderness in Africa for future generations.

The highlights of these development programmes were brought to life recently in a series of videos produced by Ginkgo Agency, one of our creative partners. These beautiful and captivating narratives (shown below) perfectly captured the spirit of each project while being informative and interesting to watch.




For our final video in the series, we approached conservationist and cinematographer Kim Wolhuter, when he was based in the Malilangwe Reserve. Shot in his signature documentary style, this short film follows the story of a young schoolgirl who benefits from the Child Supplementary Feeding Programme at Singita Pamushana. This initiative, facilitated through Singita’s development and conservation partner in Zimbabwe, The Malilangwe Trust, provides additional food and nourishment to 19 000 children in the local communities.


Our Vimeo channel showcases not only this series but also our #SingitaStories, which highlight some of our exceptional team members, and beautiful snapshots of our lodges. You can find out more about the Malilangwe Child Supplementary Feeding Scheme and other community development projects at Singita on our website.

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Watering Seeds of Success

June 13, 2012 - Community Development,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Sustainable Conservation

Sometimes people’s lives are being transformed and revived in a small corner of the globe and we don’t even know it is happening.  That is why we want to share some updates with you of what is taking place on the southern boundary of Malilangwe Reserve where Singita Pamushana Lodge is located (Zimbabwe).  Hluvuko and Chitengenyi are small scale irrigation schemes a few kilometres from Singita Pamushana.  Hluvuko was established in 2005 and Chitengenyi in 2008 and the schemes have been running successfully over the years, reflecting a story of benefits without boundaries.

Let’s take a few steps back in case you are reading this and don’t know about how these projects started.  Singita Pamushana Lodge was established for the sole purpose of generating income to assist in funding the conservation and community outreach programmes coordinated by the Malilangwe Trust.  The Trust’s Neighbour Outreach Programme (NOP) is the vehicle through which Singita Pamushana Lodge and The Trust achieve their community development purpose.  One of the Trust’s key focus areas is the Feeding Programme which helps ensure that local young children receive a nutritionally balanced meal each day, and so are able to maximise the benefits of their schooling.

The small scale irrigation schemes operate alongside this feeding programme, and aim to enhance food security within the wider community, in a sustainable manner. They were established to enable vulnerable communities to grow their own food, and also to supply drinking water for domestic and livestock consumption.  Hluvuko and Chitengenyi are two of the schemes. It is thrilling to be able to report that the objective of food security and an improvement in the nutrition of rural communities bordering the Malilangwe Reserve is now being achieved, for a large part of each year. Communities are now able to grow and access fresh vegetables from the communal gardens.

Hluvuko is 2.5 hectares and has 26 direct beneficiaries. This year they managed to grow tomatoes, onion, carrots, beetroot and rape, most of which will be ready for market in July.  This year is their first year of growing beetroot and the crop is doing very well and most likely will be purchased by the kitchens at Singita Pamushana Lodge.

Chitengenyi is also 2.5 hectares and has 62 direct beneficiaries.  Due to challenges with their borehole, this year they started planting late.  Thanks to the Malilangwe Trust the borehole was repaired last week and the scheme is back on track.

The success of these schemes is that they have gone beyond subsistence level and are now producing excess crops which community members are able to sell in order to supplement their income.  Now that’s a story we want to share far and wide.

Guests can be inspired by the knowledge that their stay is assisting to sustain the wilderness and to support the local communities in practical and effective ways.

(Update provided by Tendai Nhunzwi, Human Resources Manager, Malilangwe Reserve)

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Funding a life source

January 28, 2011 - Community Development,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Did you know that when guests stay at Singita Pamushana all proceeds are used to fund various projects managed by the reserve’s Malilangwe Trust? A key, joint project that the Malilangwe Trust has embarked upon is to establish irrigation schemes so that nearby villagers and their livestock have a clean supply of water and are able grow their own vegetables. Women and children tend the crops – channeling water into the fields (thanks to a borehole that has been sunk), and keep up with weeding and removing pests.  When you are next at Singita Pamushana, pay them a visit and they’ll proudly show you the crops – onions, cabbage and other leafy greens are in season right now, and you’re bound to be treated to an emotive impromptu choir performance!

Approximately 10,000 people located around the Malilangwe Reserve are now assisted daily through the provision of drinkable, clean borehole water.

For further information on this project please liaise with our Singita Pamushana Lodge Manager or with Singita HR & Community Development Manager, Pam Richardson – please contact us.

By Jenny Hishin

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Empowering communities to be the change

July 06, 2010 - Community Development,Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve,Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana is situated in the 140 000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve operates the Malilangwe Trust, much like the Singita Grumeti Reserves operates the Grumeti Fund. This trust is actively involved in uplifting, among other things, the surrounding communities.

The Malilangwe Trust’s approach to community upliftment is one of community empowerment. In all their initiatives the affected community is responsible for 70% of the project and the Malilangwe Trust is responsible for the remaining 30%.

This forward thinking community ownership approach has been a vital aspect in the long-term success of the Trust community focused programmes. The other vital element, in the long-term success of the various initiatives, has been the involvement of government.

In the school, clinic and irrigation garden projects the Trust has supplied the infrastructure leaving room for government to supply the staff, medication, training, books and other necessary supplies.

This approach – the partnership between the Malilangwe Trust and the communities – and the involvement of government has resulted in effective, sustainable and far-reaching upliftment.

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