Tag Archives: Kruger National Park

Get to Know Us: Singita’s Female Field Guides

September 25, 2015 - Did You Know?,People of Singita,Wildlife

Singita’s success is built on the collective strength and vision of deeply committed people, all passionate about Africa and linked by a common purpose to protect and preserve the world’s last remaining wilderness areas through conservation, community development and hospitality. The highly-trained field guides at each of our 12 lodges are a critical part of the guest experience, and we are proud to employ a large number of women in this traditionally male-dominated role.

Female field guides at Singita Kruger National Park

Three of these dynamic and passionate women can be found leading twice-daily game drives for guests at Singita Kruger National Park in South Africa. Chantelle Venter, Jani Lourens and Deirdre Opie are part of the team responsible for conducting unique guided safari experiences, whether on foot, by bike or in state-of-the-art Land Rovers.

Female field guides at Singita Kruger National Park

Head Guide Deirdre loves to wow guests with “those once in a lifetime situations where you as a guide know that what you have just experienced is a unique and special moment, your excitement becomes infectious and the guests feel like they have really seen something extraordinary.” Growing up on a farm instilled a fierce love of animals in Deirdre, who volunteered at the Johannesburg Zoo during her school years, looking after the farmyard animals, birds and primates. She studied Nature Conservation at university and later completed a guiding course which allowed her to share her love and knowledge of the outdoors with others.

Singita Lebombo Lodge

Chantelle also fondly remembers growing up outdoors: “My childhood was spent running around, climbing and falling out of trees, riding horses, falling off skateboards and getting bloody noses in the karate class. I realised after two years in the corporate world that I was not cut out to sit behind a desk.” All three guides share a common distaste for traditional office jobs, preferring instead to be in the bush and far away from “high heels and pantyhose”! As Jani astutely remarks; “There is always something new to discover. Not only within nature but also within myself, one can learn so much by just observing what goes on around you. And that is what keeps the continuous inspiration burning.”

Female field guides at Singita Kruger National Park

Singita’s guiding experience is designed to be delivered with humility, professionalism and flexibility, with the end result being an educational experience for all. This attitude, along with an uncompromising sensitivity towards the environment, is embodied in all our field guides and trackers. Guests are often impressed by their ability to read the signs of nature, track animals and wield an enormous game vehicle across unforgiving terrain. Jani tends to make a big impression in this regard, as her diminutive size can be misleading. “I am not one of the tallest people out there and I sometimes have to elevate myself from the seat to check where I’m driving when off-road. I always get positive comments from guests after they experienced my mad 4×4 skills though!”

Singita_Mar 05 2015_0236

When asked about the most memorable moments in their time at Singita, all three guides have an interesting wildlife story to tell. For Deirdre it was a rare encounter with a pangolin, Jani got between a lioness and her cubs while on foot one day, and Chantelle was chased around the staff laundry building by a honey-badger! “This is the simple life where one does not need to own a lot of things because the environment around us is what makes us rich,” says Jani.

Female field guides at Singita Kruger National Park

They also have good advice for aspiring female field guides or any women following an unconventional career path. Chantelle believes that “you create your own opportunities. Aim to be the best so that nobody can question your ability. Never complain and always remain humble and compassionate. Start doing push-ups.” Deirdre says that focus is also important: “You have to decide where you want to go, how you are going to get there, and then stick to it. In careers that are unusual for women, you will have to work far harder and prove to be far more competent in order to be treated as an equal. I would like to think that by being one of a few female Head Guides it shows other women that with hard work and determination you can be a leader in any industry of your choice.”

Female field guides at Singita Kruger National Park

Please visit our website to find out about career opportunities at Singita, and learn more about the experience of working in a “place of miracles”.

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Dear Diary: A Day at Singita Lebombo Lodge

September 22, 2015 - Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Singita Lebombo Lodge

“Today I woke up in a glass room, on the banks of the N’wanetsi River. I breathed in the smell of a fresh new day in Africa, feeling inspired that places like this exist.”


So begins our latest short film, which follows a day in the life of a guest at Singita Kruger National Park. Inspired by a real journal entry, it is an emotive memoir that chronicles the unique Singita experience from sunrise to sunset. Marvel at sweeping views of the 33,000-acre concession, stunning wildlife and the rich details in every corner of Singita Lebombo Lodge.

Singita Kruger National Park’s mission is to create and maintain a balance between conservation, community development, and hospitality. Singita Lebombo Lodge and Singita Sweni Lodge have been built with this ideal in mind and both integrate the ‘touch the earth lightly’ philosophy into every aspect of their daily operations. You can see the lodges come to life on our Vimeo channel and on our website.

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A Winter Weekend at Singita Sweni Lodge Part 3

August 07, 2015 - Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Sweni Lodge

Singita Kruger National Park

One of the highlights of any trip to Singita’s lodges and camps are the game drives that allow guests the opportunity to get up close to Africa’s incredible wildlife. These hours-long adventures into the bush in state-of-the-art Land Rovers, traverse scrubland, grassy savannahs and dry riverbeds, and in the case of Singita Sweni Lodge, 33,000 acres of private concession in the famed Kruger National Park. Each vehicle is assigned a dedicated guide and tracker; a professional team who share their knowledge of the local flora and fauna with Singita’s guests for the duration of their stay.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

The climate in South Africa is such that winter mornings and evenings are usually crisp and clear; a combination that provides perfect game viewing conditions! The colder temperatures tend to make wildlife more active and therefore easier to spot, while cloudless skies make for good visibility and wonderful photo opportunities. Days tend to be bright and sunny; perfect for unwinding on the outside deck, enjoying one of the many outdoor activities available, or simply reading a book on your bed.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park
Guests are encouraged to pack warm layers for game drives in case of a cold spell, and are further protected from the chill with a warm drink at the snack stop along the way. Early risers are treated to fresh homemade pastries and hot coffee during morning drives, with an optional splash of Amarula liqueur for extra warmth! Game spotting during spot-lit nighttime drives is made cosy with the help of piles of soft blankets, allowing you to absorb the elusive magic of nocturnal Africa in absolute comfort. What better way to spend a winter weekend?

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

Singita Sweni Lodge is the ultimate safari escape, offering guests the thrill and tranquility of the wild, a relaxing and pampering spa experience and some of the best wine and food that South Africa has to offer. It is also the perfect family destination, with exhilarating activities for the entire family to enjoy, memories made together that will last a lifetime. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2 in this series, “A Winter Weekend at Singita Sweni Lodge”, to find out more about the lodge.

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A Winter Weekend at Singita Sweni Lodge Part 2

July 17, 2015 - Experience,Lodges and Camps,Singita Sweni Lodge

An important part of the magic of going on safari is the experience of intimacy with nature. Nothing can prepare you for the innate sense of peace that arises after only a few hours spent in the wild, in the company of some of the most beautiful and exotic creatures on earth, and in a spectacular, untamed landscape. This feeling of closeness with the natural world is never more apparent than during an evening spent under the stars, listening to the wind rustling in the trees and the distant call of a cackling hyena.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

Each one of Singita Sweni Lodge‘s six private suites features a large wooden deck suspended over the river below, and surrounded by knobthorn and marula woodland. Nestled in the corner of each deck is a luxurious outdoor bed, draped in a delicate layer of mosquito netting and a cosy goose-down duvet. At this time of year, which is cooler in South Africa, soft blankets and hot water bottles are slipped between the sheets for extra comfort. It is a wonderful spot to spend a quiet afternoon with a good book, and also provides an opportunity for guests to enjoy an entire night outside. The beds receive a special turndown after dark and are equipped with a handy kit of overnight essentials, including a flashlight and insect repellant.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

Sleeping on the deck in the cool night air is an almost indescribable sensation; there is an element of vulnerability certainly, but more than that, it brings a humbling awareness of one’s place in the world and harmony with the Earth. The smells and sounds of the bush soon become a rhythmic lullaby that sends guests into a long and restful slumber.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

The twittering of birds is usually the first thing one hears upon waking – rollers, drongos, kingfishers and even the haunting cry of the fish eagle echoing across the stillness. Come morning, it’s easy to catch a flash of feathers as they dart along the river bank looking for breakfast. The chill of dawn is thawed by a steaming cup of freshly-brewed coffee, best enjoyed from the comfort and warmth of the bed. A grunting hippo in the rockpool nearby is the only other sound one is likely to hear as the sun rises on another glorious winter’s day in the African bush.

Singita Sweni Lodge, Kruger National Park

Read part one of this blog mini-series from Singita Sweni Lodge which is a real hit with the foodies – a recipe for homemade pasta puttanesca, the perfect winter lunch! You can also find out more about the lodge in this short film on our Vimeo channel

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Game Drive G&T

June 26, 2015 - Cuisine,Experience,Kruger National Park

For a gin and tonic lover, there is nothing quite as wonderful as that first sip from a freshly-made cocktail; that initial hit of bitterness, the dance of bubbles across the tongue and the clink of ice blocks against the glass. And those who have experienced it on the edge of a waterhole in the gathering dusk will tell you that the most delicious gin and tonic is one served off the back of a game vehicle.

Game drive in Singita Kruger National Park

These days, gin is gaining in popularity as a “trendy” spirit, spawning a variety of artisanal producers who distill the liquor using traditional methods and creating interesting new flavour profiles. The bars at Singita are stocked with a variety of well-known brands as well as a few bottles of handcrafted gin, like the Amber variety from Inverroche, a small batch distiller in Still Bay, South Africa. The well balanced and full bodied flavour combines the fresh floral botanicals of Africa with spices and berries from India and Europe.

Game drive in Singita Kruger National Park

A classic gin and tonic can be spiced up with all sorts of interesting ingredients, like lavender flowers, grapefruit zest, slices of cucumber, a twist of black pepper or a sprig of rosemary. Purists would no doubt prefer the simplicity of the original, so here is the recipe for a traditional gin and tonic, best enjoyed with a view and preferably a Big 5 sighting!

Game drive in Singita Kruger National Park

How to make the perfect gin and tonic:

Ingredients – what you’ll need:
2 oz. (60ml) of gin
3 oz. (90ml) tonic water
A handful of ice cubes
2 lime wedges

Method – what to do:
1. Squeeze one of the lime wedges into the bottom of a highball glass then drop in the wedge
2. Pour in the gin
3. Fill the glass most of the way with ice then stir for a few seconds
4. Top with tonic water and the second lime wedge (not squeezed)

Game drive in Singita Kruger National Park

These photographs were taken on a recent game drive in Singita Kruger National Park, a 33,000-acre concession on the South African border with Mozambique. The lodges in this reserve, Singita Lebombo Lodge and Singita Sweni Lodge, were built to “touch the earth lightly”, as part of Singita’s mission is to create and maintain a balance between conservation, community development and ecotourism. You can find out more about this philosophy on our website.

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Highlights from our Guides’ Diaries

March 13, 2013 - Africa,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lamai,Safari,Singita Grumeti,Singita Pamushana Lodge,Wildlife


Did you know that our team of expert field guides write a monthly wildlife journal that chronicles the fauna and flora surrounding each lodge? High summer in Africa is a particularly fascinating time to document the local wildlife. Here are a few photographs from the most recent Guides’ Diaries from Singita Kruger National Park, Singita Lamai, Singita Grumeti and Singita Pamushana Lodge.

Carmine bee-eater

The southern carmine bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) occurs across sub-equatorial Africa, ranging from KwaZulu-Natal and Namibia to Gabon, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. This species is a richly coloured, striking bird, predominantly carmine in colouration (hence the name). They are highly sociable, gathering in large flocks, in or out of breeding season. Unperturbed by the light rain, they continue to move in a large flock as they hunt small insects within the lower areas of the floodplain. This was a sight that we followed for a few hours, mesmerised by their acrobatic displays.

by Ross Couper (Singita Kruger National Park). Read the full Guides’ Diary.


I’ve never seen as many giraffe about as there are at the moment. It’s possible that with all the rain and resulting thick vegetation they’ve moved to the few open areas where they can see, from their high vantage, any approaching danger. Giraffe are hunted by lions so it’s best that they avoid any ambush attacks.

By Jenny Hishin (Singita Pamushana Lodge). Read the full Guides’ Diary.


It is interesting to note that despite all the theories as to why zebra are striped, there is one that seems to be most valid; it’s as a defence mechanism against flies, especially the stinging types, like tsetse and horseflies. Flies are attracted to horizontally polarized light. Zebra stripes are predominantly vertical and, when they lower their heads to feed or drink, this effect is reinforced. It appears that this assists them in avoiding the bites and diseases associated with tsetse and horseflies, in that the flies do not see vertically polarized light.

By Lee Bennett (Singita Lamai). Read the full Guides’ Diary.


Our cheetah sightings have been climbing recently and January was the best so far – sixty different cheetah sightings, and most of them consisting of more than one animal! The usual suspects on the property have become more and more comfortable with the vehicles and are less afraid to be seen. Then there are multiple newcomers who continue to sporadically show up. They include two additional brothers and a few single females. All of the newcomers are still quite skittish.

By Ryan Schmitt and Lizzie Hamrick (Singita Grumeti). Read the full Guides’ Diary.

Our Guide’s Diaries are published on a monthly basis from our lodges in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. You can read all of them here.

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The Singita School of Cooking

February 20, 2013 - Community Development,Cuisine,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps

Joyful and her classmates at the Singita School of Cooking Joyful and her classmates at the Singita School of Cooking

Life at Singita is a constant exercise in gratitude for the environment and the people that make the lodges so incredibly unique. Singita is the custodian of over half a million acres of natural bush in Africa and works actively to protect and maintain this land and its wildlife in their original state.  We partner with the people who live on the outskirts of the reserves to understand the intrinsic value of these pristine areas and experience the benefit of preserving the land for future generations.  Singita and the people from local communities are working symbiotically to provide a better experience for the eco-traveler, whilst ensuring a better future for the land, the wildlife and communities within each region.


This story is the first in a series which will offer some insight into the genuine upliftment, improvements, restoration, heart-warming successes and joy brought about by caring and the daily miracles that keep unfolding to transform lives, largely thanks to the people who visit our lodges and are committed to making a difference.

Joyful Nghala, like all intelligent and aspirant young girls, matriculated from high school with dreams of a golden future. The realities of living in a part of South Africa with rampant unemployment soon hit home however, and she was forced to find work that didn’t promise much prospect. Despite her having to work in less than inspiring jobs, Joyful never lost the wonderful spirit for which she is so appropriately named.

A chance stroll to the local post office gave Joyful the lucky break she had been longing for. It was there that she spotted the advertisement encouraging interested parties to apply for places at the Singita School of Cooking (SSC). Joyful duly applied and successfully navigated two tough interviews and a cook-off to receive an invitation to attend the school, where she began classes in May last year.

Joyful at work in the SSC kitchen

There has been no looking back for Joyful since she was given the opportunity to learn all the relevant cooking skills under the expert tutelage of the Singita School of Cooking staff. All areas of professional cooking are explored in the school and students learn by doing. The aspirant chefs prepare food for the staff at Singita in a dedicated kitchen and are given opportunities to learn from the highly trained and skilled chefs who produce the Relais & Châteaux-standard food on a daily basis.

Joyful at work in the Singita kitchen

Joyful continues her education at the SSC where she receives many compliments both from her enthusiastic teachers and those with whom she works in the school kitchen. She is reported to have a healthy competitive attitude and a particular flair for culinary language, with her newly-acquired French vocabulary featuring regularly in her menus. She is already an asset to the Singita family and is on track to become a great chef, probably working in our very own kitchens one day. The Singita School of Cooking would not exist were it not for the generous support of our guests, some of whom have given abundantly to ensure that the futures of Joyful, and many others like her, are indeed golden.

Haute cuisine at Singita Kruger National Park

The Singita School of Cooking is located on site at the staff village that serves Singita Kruger National Park, the home of Singita Lebombo Lodge and Singita Sweni Lodge.  It was established with the aim of encouraging the development of culinary skills amongst local youth from neighbouring communities.  Each year, 8 to 10 students are selected – based upon clear criteria including showing a real interest in cooking – to participate in an 18 month long training programme. You can also find out more about the Singita School of Cooking here.

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Safari Stories: A Fantastic Family Adventure

February 06, 2013 - Accommodation,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Safari,Singita Lebombo Lodge

It is a universal truth that joy is doubled when shared, and the same is true of the experience of visiting Singita with your loved ones. A previous guest who traveled to Singita Kruger National Park last year with his wife and two teenage daughters describes the feeling of sharing this unforgettable destination with his family.

Family safari at Singita Kruger National Park

Our lives are full of countless distractions which interfere with opportunities for good family time. It is challenging to find meaningful, trans-generational experiences that bring a family together and create wonderful memories.

We spent three nights with our two daughters at Singita Lebombo Lodge, and in this beautiful environment we shared the most perfect times together. We did special things apart from the more obvious routine of game drives in open vehicles. Most memorable was a walk at dawn that started along the top of a ridge that extends from the edges of the Lebombo mountain range, from there a clamber down the rocks to the N’wanetsi River bank and then under the canopy of the riverine forest beside the river. With the early morning sun rising over the trees and under the expert direction of our accompanying guide and tracker, we saw signs of the nocturnal activities of the night before. The track of a civet, the hop marks of a grey tree frog, fresh elephant dung and the distinctive shuffle tracks of hippo.

The rocky outcrops near Singita Lemombo Lodge

Mark's daughter surveying the scene

We had the excitement of seeing two uncommon species of bird and listened to many different bird calls in the fresh morning air. Our walk took us past caves in the cliffs along the river where white-rumped swifts were returning from their annual intra-African migration and we watched them swoop in and out the caves as they check out and lay claim to last year’s nests. While we were watching the swifts we realised that there was a constant humming noise in the background and further investigation revealed no less than three wild bee hives in cracks in the cliff face. There was a natural spring nearby where fresh water bubbles directly from the earth and flows down to create a life sustaining pool in the otherwise dry river bed.

The view from Singita Lebombo Lodge

Numerous stone age artefacts litter the area and one can imagine how, with the caves for protection and the spring for a reliable water supply, stone age man must have inhabited this gorge in harmony with nature for thousands of years. The girls held the pieces of worked flint in their hands and speculated that the last person to hold that piece of rock may have done so more than ten thousand years ago! We paused and took it all in, nothing had changed except that ancient man was no longer there. Mankind has largely given up this beautiful, simple existence, living with and from nature, in exchange for cities with their noise and stress. Progress? Not so sure.

The game drives were wonderful (we saw herds of elephant, a pride of 28 lion, male lion on a waterbuck kill, lots of rhino and many more) but walking opened up a whole world of interesting things that you miss from the vehicle. We went mountain biking and came across fresh lion tracks (which caused some consternation), we ate dinner under the stars, we breathed the fresh air, we saw sunsets and sunrises and we talked, laughed and loved our time together. It could not have been better.

A walkway at Singita Lebombo Lodge

Singita is extremely family-friendly, with a number of dedicated lodges and camps particularly suited to those travelling in groups and/or with children, including the spectacular new Singita Serengeti House. To find out more about planning a family trip to Singita, please contact enquiries@singita.com or visit our website for lodge availability.

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Looking Back: Great Guest Photos from 2012

December 28, 2012 - Accommodation,Africa,Environment,Experience,Kruger National Park,Safari,Wildlife

We are always delighted to hear from past guests who have visited Singita, especially when they share their memories of their trip with us by way of some spectacular holiday snaps. It is so special to see the lodges and their surroundings through the eyes of our visitors and some of them have been generous enough to allow us to share these photographs with you.

Stephen Saugestad traveled to Singita Lebombo Lodge and Singita Ebony Lodge from Vancouver, Canada and was particularly taken with the variety of wildlife they spotted on their daily game drives. We hope you enjoy these lovely pictures and we encourage you to share your own photographs of Singita with us by visiting our Facebook page or getting in touch on the website.

Singita Boulders Lodge

Mandla, our Singita Sabi Sand Community Development Officer

Early morning game drive

Early morning game drive




Sunset in the Kruger National Park

© All photographs copyright Stephen Saugestad 2012

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Diary of an African Christmas: Decking the Halls

December 25, 2012 - Events,Experience,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps,Singita Lebombo Lodge

Our very own Christmas elf, Ludwig van Tonder, has been carefully documenting the festive preparations and celebrations at Singita Lebombo Lodge in the Kruger National Park over the past few weeks. Today he shares some photos of the last few decorations going up at the lodge, as well as a wonderful afternoon of cupcake decorating for the whole family. We hope that you enjoy these and we wish you and yours the very best for the festive season.

Christmas wreath at Singita Lebombo Lodge

One of the Christmas trees at Singita Lebombo Lodge

Christmas tree with our gifts to the guests from the kitchen An afternoon of cupcake decorating for the children

Gingerbread cookies made by the kitchen staff

Ludwig will be back next week with some photos of the activities from Christmas Day.

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