Donna Patterson, Singita Chef, spends a few days at one of the Singita Explore tented camps, helping out the team. We asked her to share her” insider” insights into the experience…and her favourite time of the day.
When the sun sets, the cool of the evening starts to rest over the comfortable tents of the Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp. The fires crackle, the lanterns flicker and the evening sounds become loud, musical choirs against the pitch-black silence. The stars are scattered like twinkling Tanzanite and appear brighter than diamonds. There is a certain clarity among the guests’ voices that eagerly share stories about their adventures from the day.
For many, evenings at Explore are perfection beyond words. You cannot fathom the quiet that acts as a backdrop to the sounds of the wild – the hyena calling in the distance. . . “whoo-hoop” – and the muffled roars of lion far, far away. As your chef prepares a culinary treat – baked, grilled, steamed or fried over the open flames – you sip on the drink of your choice and are entertained with bush stories from your guide.
As the local Swahili staff will say “lala salama” ~ sleep well”. And indeed you will!
For something utterly special and completely unique, plan a beautiful balloon flight – the ultimate safari experience.
At 5:30 in the morning you’re collected from your lodge or camp and transfered to the launch site at Singita Grumeti Reserves. Here you meet your pilot, receive a briefing and watch in eager anticipation as the balloon is inflated. At dawn, the balloon takes off, rising as the sun is coming up and floating in whichever direction the winds of the morning are moving.
The pilot can precisely control the altitude of the balloon – sometimes at treetop height, sometimes lower, offering a unique perspective and great photographic opportunities of the wildlife below. At other times the pilot will ascend to 1000 feet or more in order to view the enormity and wonderful panorama of Singita Grumeti Reserves. From time to time he may put more heat into the balloon with the powerful whisper burners. In between these burns there is absolute silence…apart from the natural sounds of the Serengeti landscape.
Plan for the flight lasting about an hour, depending on the conditions of the day. You’re back at camp by 8:30, famished and ready for a lavish breakfast spread…and the start of the day’s activities. (That might include a nice, long morning nap.)
(Photos by Frank Louw, chef at Singita Sasakwa Lodge.)
Minimum of 4 passengers; the on-site balloon can carry a maximum of 8 passengers. Balloons carrying 12 and 16 passengers are available with prior notice.
For more information about balloon safaris at Singita Grumeti Reserves, please contact our Reservations department at firstname.lastname@example.org
The dam on the plains in front of Singita Sasakwa Lodge was a hive of activity before the rains started in earnest. Animals trek for miles to reach the waterhole, which is one of the few that offers a good field of view. In particular there have been huge herds of zebra coming in to drink, often wading deep into the water. From around 09h00 through to 17h00 it is always busy. Sometimes there are smaller herds of impala joining the zebra and often the Butamtam lion pride is found positioned close to the waterhole in the hopes of making a kill.
This striking black and white photography was taken by Lee Bennett, Head Guide at Singita Grumeti Reserves. To follow wildlife updates from Grumeti Reserves, refer to the monthly Guides’ Diaries posted on Singita’s website.
The last of the entries in the ‘Safari Brothers at Explore’ series. Now James and Marlon are back at their postings at Singita’s private concession within South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park.
Ending the day under the stars at Singita Explore and tucking up under canvas was memorable in so many respects. Written by James Suter.
Each evening at around 07h30 pm Ed, our guide, started heading back to the Explore camp. As we drew closer we could see tiny lights in the middle of the endless darkness. We were welcomed with a refreshing towel and cocktail and headed toward the campfire to share all the stories of the day. The warmth and attention of the staff each night made us feel as if we were amongst friends sharing adventures and laughing at some of the days’ events.
Watching the moon rise in the vast expanse of sky above us was a sight to behold. Nights out on the Serengeti plains in Tanzania were alive with fascinating sounds and the smell of the camp barbeque tempted our appetites.
Tanzania is one incredible place! The vast spaces and dramatic settings absolutely blew our minds. The excitement levels grew as we flew over the Serengeti; we looked out of the small aeroplane and we could see the herds starting to make their way slowly NW towards the Singita Grumeti concession.
Our Singita Explore tented camp was set up in one of the more remote parts of the concession, giving one a feeling of freedom and genesis. On our arrival we were greeted by the notoriously friendly Swahili staff and greeting “Jambo!”. We tried to get our heads around the fact that we were in the middle of the Serengeti, with endless grasslands dotted with the familiar acacia species. Not only were we in this surreal place but also our accommodation was a tent fit for a king.
Although back-to-basics and in true camping-style, the tents are equipped with anything and everything one’s heart could desire; luxurious camp cots, hot showers and comfortable lounging wear and furniture. All is prepared within seconds upon request. The experience is hard to put into words; embraced by absolute luxury, yet at the same time feeling what it might have felt like to be the first people to set foot in Africa – exploring the unexplored.
I will never forget this experience – to feel so close to nature amongst herds of zebra, impala and giraffe; going to sleep with them and waking up with them. This is an experience that is truly life-changing – not just an opportunity to explore this amazing part of Africa but an opportunity to explore one’s self.
Written by James Suter, Guide from Singita Kruger National Park
James Suter and Marlon du Toit (AKA the Safari Brothers) are both professional guides and work in the heart of the Kruger National Park at Singita’s Lebombo and Sweni Lodges. This week they went up to experience Singita Explore in Tanzania and are now documenting the adventure through their eyes; the eyes of the Safari Brothers. Follow the entire adventure on Singita’s Facebook page.
You’ll be in awe of their astounding photography.
If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit Tanzania or, maybe like us, Geography wasn’t your strongest subject at school we’ve included a map of the area.
The Serengeti Conservation Area
Singita Grumeti Reserves is situated South-East of Lake Victoria in the northern part of Tanzania. We operate over an extensive area (about 1500 km’s2) and form a vital part of the greater Serengeti / Mara ecosystem.
Singita Grumeti Reserves is not only an important part of the ecosystem but also a vital buffer between the villagers, who reside around the Serengeti and, the Serengeti National Park.
To create, maintain and improve the nature of this buffer Singita Grumeti Reserves works tirelessly to improve the relationship between man and the Serengeti / Mara ecosystem. With the overall goal being the creation of a sustainable and conservation friendly relationship between the two.