Tag Archives: Singita Grumeti

Singita Serengeti House: Cécile & Boyd’s Interiors

March 27, 2013 - Accommodation,Experience,Lodges and Camps,Singita Grumeti,Singita Serengeti House

Singita Serengeti House lounge

Singita Serengeti House, in the vast Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania, was opened earlier this year as an exclusive-use retreat, and in response to a growing demand from discerning travellers for privacy and flexibility. Its unique position in the heart of the Serengeti, offers breathtaking vistas from the slopes of Sasakwa Hill across the endless, open plains of this untouched wilderness. Top South Africa design team, Cécile & Boyd’s, crafted the exquisite interiors and have been involved in the conceptualisation of every one of our lodges and camps since Singita Ebony Lodge opened in 1993.

Singita Serengeti House details

Singita Serengeti House bedroom

While what lies outside is rather spectacular, the interiors of Singita Serengeti House are also something to behold. Throughout the house, ample indoor and outdoor lounging and dining areas, all with uninterrupted views, provide relaxing spaces for guests to truly immerse themselves in the beauty of the surrounding landscape while enjoying each other’s company. A cool neutral palette of subtle, sun-bleached colours mimics the Serengeti grass plains, bringing the outside in.

Singita Serengeti House details

Singita Serengeti House interiors

Mirror is used throughout the house to maximise light and space. Humble materials in natural fibres, rattan, grass matting, polished cement floors, bleached, raw timbers and local stones bring an honest, earthy feel to the understatedly glamorous, boldly proportioned, light-saturated rooms curated with a modern African art collection by Kurt Pio and Sarah Pratt, artefacts and objects, and anthropologically relevant tribal sculpture. All the decorative pieces were designed and commissioned or sourced by Cécile & Boyd’s, including witty eye-catching papier-mâché hunting trophies and leather thong chandeliers inspired by Masai skirts.

Singita Serengeti House interiors

Singita Serengeti House dining room

All the suites have spacious bathrooms designed as luxurious extensions to the bedroom and living areas, with outdoor showers and private terraces. The private kitchen and resident chef caters exclusively to the needs of the party staying in the house, taking into consideration everything from individual food allergies to favourite cooking styles and flavours. Delicious food and an excellent wine cellar always forms an integral part of the Singita experience, and meals are carefully planned and orchestrated from candle-lit gourmet dinners to informal picnics in the bush.

You can see more photographs of this incredible property in this blog post, or read the online brochure for more. Please contact enquiries@singita.com for further details on booking the house for a group of family and friends.

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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:

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

Enjoy!

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)
water
salt and pepper

Method:

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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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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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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Globally Recognized

October 24, 2011 - Awards

From the desk of Luke Bailes, Singita’s Owner and Chief Executive Officer

The other day I was alerted to just how many awards Singita has won this year. Singita has never flaunted the awards it has received – in fact one of our guiding principles is humility. However it did occur to me that it is entirely due to our supporters and guests that we are being recognized for the incredible job our staff does, and for this reason I would like to thank everyone who has played a role in our success.

We have become globally recognized for the conservation work we are doing across the African continent. This has reached a point where, today, we are invited to participate in many conservation/tourism projects throughout the world.

Our warmest thanks for your support of and contribution to these prestigious accolades this year – some of them to note:

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2011 – No. 1 in Conservation, Singita Pamushana

Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2011 – No. 1 World’s Best Hotel, Singita Grumeti Reserves and No. 2 World’s Best Hotel, Singita Ebony and Boulders Lodges

Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2011 – No.3 Best Hotel in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Ocean, Singita Grumeti Reserves

World Luxury Hotel Awards 2011 – Best Luxury Lodge, Singita Sasakwa Lodge

Andrew Harper – No.5 Top International Hideaways , Singita Boulders Lodge

Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2011 – Singita Ebony and Boulders Lodges

Singita’s primary objective is to secure and protect large and threatened tracts of wilderness thereby ensuring sustainability and long term survival.

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Stripes Galore

October 06, 2011 - Singita Grumeti,Wildlife

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.

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A Modern Conservation Model

August 12, 2011 - Singita Grumeti,Sustainable Conservation,Wildlife

From the desk of Luke Bailes, Singita’s Owner and Chief Executive Officer, about Singita’s modern conservation model.

In 2002, the Grumeti Community and Wildlife Conservation Fund (Grumeti Fund) was granted the right to manage and conserve 350,000 acres of land in the western Serengeti, Tanzania (as a comparison, the entire world famous Masai Mara National Game Reserve in Kenya comprises only 370,000 acres).  The area Grumeti Fund chose to conserve is among the most vital natural habitats left on the planet.  Chief among its wonders is the world renowned wildebeest migration and the multitudes of flora and fauna this strategic buffer zone supports.  By undertaking this project, Grumeti Fund and its supporters hope to conserve one of the world’s true remaining spectacles and thereby embrace former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere’s vision to have “a world in which people and wildlife live together sustainably forever”.


Singita’s involvement with the Grumeti Reserves commenced in 2006 and through the work of Singita’s truly talented management team, the property was transformed and upgraded and now includes 3 expanded lodges and the most exclusive mobile tented camp in the world.   All situated on 350,000 acres of privately managed land.  It is our sincere belief that the only way to protect vast pristine wildlife areas is to practice a model of modern conservation where low impact tourism generates income to assist in funding conservation and community outreach programmes to ensure the long-term sustainability of the reserves.

Without creating this type of virtuous partnership, wildlife will always lose out and the world’s natural wonders will slowly but surely disappear.  If we are successful however, there is no doubt pristine, well-protected wilderness areas like the Serengeti will become truly priceless.

Today, Singita Grumeti Reserves is an unqualified success story.  It has delivered on its most basic promises; to develop the most prolific wildlife populations in East Africa and become the best managed and protected reserve in the Serengeti.  In addition, Singita Grumeti Reserves has been a true leader in the areas of community development and scientific research.

Travel & Leisure, the world’s largest hospitality publication, recently announced the results of its “Top 100 Hotels poll” for 2011 and T+L readers selected Singita Grumeti Reserves as its No1 in the World.  This extraordinary achievement bears testimony to man’s desire to experience authenticity and realness, while we believe at the same time promoting sustainability and a true commitment to conservation.  These qualities together are what we believe makes Singita Grumeti Reserves and the entire Singita portfolio stand out (as an aside, I am also very pleased to let you know that Singita Sabi Sand took second place in this prestigious poll for 2011).

To read more about Singita and ten unique safari experiences in four regions in Africa, spend a few minutes on Singita’s website.

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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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