Tag Archives: Serengeti

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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The Joy of Riding

February 23, 2012 - Singita Grumeti

If anyone knows the adventure of riding in the true wilderness of Africa, it is Alison Mundy the Equestrian Manager at Singita Grumeti Reserves, who has spent her life riding horses across the landscapes of Kenya, South Africa, Botswana and now Tanzania.

We asked Alison to share some of the equestrian highlights of the year that has just passed.

We kicked off the safari season last year in June with our first mobile safaris where we used the newly launched, mobile camp, Singita Explore and then rode on to Faru Faru Lodge. These riding safaris have been a huge success with large numbers of game across the concession and perfect ground conditions lending to faster paced riding.  There is nothing like the thrill of cantering with herds of wildebeest, zebra, topi, thomsons gazelle, eland, giraffe, kongoni and even interacting with elephant, buffalo and lion.

Some of the other incredible sights from horseback were serval, bat eared fox, roan, python, mamba, jackal, hyena, and the list just goes on.

The riding safaris made use of Sasakwa Lodge, Faru Faru Lodge and the new Explore mobile camp.   The different sites of Singita Explore enable us to use unique locations in conjunction with Singita Faru Faru Lodge allowing for up to an eight night safari; riding in different areas each day.

The joy is that we are flexible to be able to create a riding-safari itinerary that suits individual needs not forgetting that we can also cater to non-riders and riders who only wish to ride part of each day.

Guests are falling in love with the new Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp because it offers a new level of camping luxury while out on the grass plains of East Africa.  Believe it or not, but the horses also enjoy the adventure of sleeping under the stars while at the camp.  Guides and grooms are vigilant through the night to ensure that the horses are not disturbed by passing predators.

The last ride of our final safaris last year was truly memorable as we were watching giraffe walking from the bushes into an open area. They kept appearing and soon grew to a journey of 50 strong. They then let us approach and canter alongside them for a long distance over short grass and between trees. Cantering close to these elegant creatures is one of the most memorable things that can be done and is always a possibility here at Singita Grumeti Reserves.

For further information about horseriding safaris offered at Singita Grumeti Reserves, read more on our website- or contact Singita Reservations or your trusted Travel Agent or Tour Operator.

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Up and Away

November 11, 2011 - Experience,Singita Grumeti

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 reservations@singita.com

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A Night Under the Stars

November 07, 2011 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp

Just back from Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp, Mark Witney, Chief Operating Officer at Singita, shares his musings about a night under canvas and the vast African sky.

If you have never spent a night in the African bush with nothing between you and the vast African night sky but a canvas tent, you have to put it on your ‘bucket list’!

Anthropologists are pretty certain that man originated in Africa and I have to believe that this accounts for the spiritual experience often described by first-time visitors to this continent. Africa is etched deeply in the DNA of all of mankind. The best way to experience this is to immerse yourself in the sights, smells, sounds and feel of the night, and what better way to do this than to lie in a comfy bed in a beautiful tent with a gentle breeze blowing.

An evening at Singita Explore starts with a gathering around the fire. Cocktails and campfire talk as you watch the fire throw sparks up into the dark sky, and above you a view of the Milky Way as you have never seen it before. Because there is no surrounding light pollution, each star in this huge galaxy is clearly visible. Satellites drift across the evening sky, distant reminders of the technological world that seems so irrelevant when you contemplate the universe. Nearly 14 billion years old and expanding at hundreds of kilometres per second, around a billion galaxies in the universe and approximately a billion stars per galaxy – the numbers are beyond comprehension. Our sun is just one of those billion x billion stars and our earth is just a tiny speck revolving around that tiny sun. How irrelevant we are and how full we are of our own self-importance!

Nearby a fiery necked nightjar calls its plaintive prayer ‘good Lord – deliver us’.  Far away a hyena whoops to announce that her night patrol has begun.

“Dinner’s ready” shakes you out of your reverie and to the table set just beyond the campfire. Hurricane lamps create a warm glow as you sit down to a simple but beautifully prepared meal. Potato and leek soup with bread freshly baked on the fire, grilled game meat with locally grown, organic vegetables and a good old fashioned malva pudding with cream for dessert.

Coffee is served around the fire and as the embers fade so too does the conversation.

Back to your tent and, in the silence of the camp as you snuggle between the sheets, you become aware of the fact that many of the nocturnal creatures are just beginning their ‘day’.  A spotted eagle owl hoots while the nightjars continue their repetitive call to the Lord. A lone hyena, closer now, whoops gently and sadly and in the distance you can just make out the roar of a territorial male lion announcing his dominance.

As you drift off to sleep you briefly contemplate how strangely familiar it all feels and yet how far away you are from the life you lead. You are hooked – and you’ll be back!

Take a minute to dream about a tented experience at Singita – watch our new video…. Singita Explore Mobile Tented Camp…Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

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The Astonishing Trek

August 01, 2011 - Events,Sustainable Conservation,Wildlife

The annual wildebeest migration is one of the world’s most breathtaking spectacles but it also plays a vital ecological role.  Head Guide at Singita Grumeti Reserves shares some insights into the progression of the migration across the plains of Singita Grumeti Reserves this year.

The Wildebeest Migration was declared the 7th new Wonder of the Natural World in June 2006 and it is well justified.  This annual mass movement of over a million wildebeest has to be one of the most awe inspiring sights on earth.  It is very possible that these animals have been making this astonishing trek for millions of years and if that is so then man must have been marveling over this for millennia.

There have been literally rank after rank of wildebeest filing onto the plains on a daily basis.  From the 25th May we watched as the numbers swelled until it seemed there would be room for no more.  Yet they continued to arrive.  The herds of topi and zebra gave way before encroaching hordes; elephant left the low lying areas and headed for the hills.

They passed by Singita Sabora and spent a few days on the plains in and around the tented camp, consuming the new grass that had sprung up after the fire a few months ago.

From there they headed east, grazing and honking as they went.  Thousands of them staked out areas around the Sasakwa airstrip and we spent many hours on the strip keeping it clear for arriving and departing aircraft.

With them came the scavengers, hyena walked unperturbed between them, and the wildebeest hardly gave them a glance.

Vultures soared overhead or dropped down onto carcasses and the wildebeest didn’t seem to care; it seemed that everything benefitted from their arrival.

There was literally nowhere on the property you could go without driving through thousands of wildebeest.  It is an amazing experience that is impossible to describe:  the constant movement of all the animals, the noise of their continual honking, the clash of horns as the bulls charged into one another, and calves and mothers that have become separated call to one another in an attempt to reunite.

The migration faces all challenges head on.  Sometimes there is a bit of trepidation or hesitation by each animal when faced with a tricky river crossing or a wooded area but in order to survive they have to keep moving.  Food and water are the main motivation and as much as wildebeest are responsible for consuming vast quantities of grass on a daily basis they are also a key component in the regeneration of the same grasses, and other grasses they don’t eat.

(Outstanding view of the wildebeest right in front of Singita Faru Faru Lodge.)

Herbivores can and do play a large role in grass successions.  When the rains come through after the migration has moved on there will be a marked regeneration.  The millions of hooves crush and trample the moribund material into the earth and their dung helps to fertilize it.

To read the full report of the annual wildebeest migration through Singita Grumeti Reserves this year, take a look at June Guides’ Diary on the Singita website.  For daily and weekly updates of the location of the migration, follow Singita on Facebook.

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The Wild Side of Singita Explore

May 25, 2011 - Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

Singita Explore (mobile tented camp set up on the plains of the Singita Grumeti Reserves), through the eyes of James Suter and Marlon du Toit (Safari Brothers), professional guides at Singita Kruger National Park.  A life-changing adventure!

(Photography by James and Marlon)

Game drives in the Grumeti concession differ from those in South Africa, and Marlon and I took some time before we realised this. Every time we head out onto the plains and our guide stops, we immediately grab our binoculars and start scanning the landscape. As we start spotting animals, which one always does every time one looks around, we start calling out the names of the different species.

This is really exciting as not only are a lot of these species new to us but the abundance of life is astounding. We managed to tick off many new species of birds, Aardwolf, and saw lions climbing trees, which we are told is a very common habit of the Butamtam pride.

Once again the wealth of game including massive herds of eland, topi, zebra, giraffe and elephants blew us away. One of the most enjoyable moments for me was getting out of the vehicle and watching the sun set over the Serengeti amongst hundreds of animals.

Keep up with stunning photography on the Singita Facebook page…more to come.

To book Singita Explore, please take a look at our introductory offer available through 15 December 2011.

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Safari Brothers Explore the Unexplored

May 23, 2011 - Accommodation,Experience,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

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.


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Festivities on the plains

December 22, 2010 - Events,Experience,Singita Faru Faru Lodge,Singita Grumeti

Bjorn Annegarn – Singita Faru Faru Lodge Manager – talks about the experience of creating Christmas on the plains of the Serengeti.

As you can imagine sourcing all the traditional readymade decorations or even materials to make your own Christmas decorations out in the Serengeti can be a challenge. Singita believes in touching the earth lightly and holds this as a core value. We at Faru Faru wanted to remain true to this philosophy and create an environmentally friendly Christmas tree.

We tried to work with some readily available materials that we have within the camp and also use items that have been recycled.   After much deliberation and some serious brainstorming sessions we decided on the best ideas and got to work in creating our 2010 recycled Christmas tree.

Beautifully recycled ornaments, created with care.

A Christmas cake snow man, a Christmas tree ginger biscuit, chocolate truffles and biscuit candy canes – our surprises this week for our guests…  Father Christmas will just have to share.

Read more about our lodges at Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania.

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Canter across the plains of the Serengeti …

September 14, 2010 - Experience,Singita

Looking for a different safari experience? If the idea of cantering across the plains of the Serengeti alongside herds of game, appeals to you then a Singita Grumeti Reserves riding safari is definitely just right for you.  Enjoy the thrill and adventure of a three day riding safari, led by experienced guides, operating between the grand Singita Sasakwa Lodge and breathtaking Singita Faru Faru Lodge.

Choose from an exceptional herd of 18 well-schooled horses – consisting of South African Boerperds, Thoroughbreds and a variety of cross- breeds – ranging from 15hh to 17hh.

Tack made from top quality leather is included and English, Western or South African trail saddles are available. Riding equipment including breeches, Jodhpur boots, gloves, full and half-length chaps, riding hats and back supports are available for use.

The Singita Equestrian Centre offers a bush adventure with a difference and we’ve even designed this experience to ensure that non-riding partners can join in the adventure. Your partner may not ride but they can still experience the magic of the Serengeti through game drives and exceptional lodge facilities while you’re out on horseback.

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A must for any bucket list

September 10, 2010 - Experience,Singita,Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

The Great Migration, which makes its way through the Singita Grumeti Reserves, has to be one of the top 10 awe-inspiring natural phenomenons. The fact that two million wildebeest and zebra make this same journey on an annual basis is mind-blowing. It is definitely something that should be experienced at least once in a person’s lifetime.

This year from the 1st of September until the 30th of November, guests at Singita will be able to fly into the northern Serengeti, where the migration is at its densest during these months, and be guaranteed exceptional viewings. Accompanied by one of our knowledgeable Singita Grumeti Reserve Guides and a delectable Singita lunch, the day-excursion is conducted in true Singita style.

For more information please visit our website.

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