Tag Archives: Kruger National Park

The Last Day

July 04, 2012 - Community Development,Cuisine,Kruger National Park

Today was Lucien Green’s last day in the kitchen at the Singita School of Cooking.  He managed to squeeze in one more demo before he left:  confit duck gizzards, duck hearts, and orange segments all drizzled with a Dijon mustard dressing.  I was worried I might not sample the duck delicacy as there was a sea of students in front of me destroying the delicious salad by the fork-full.  As a thank-you to Lucien he was given a cooking school jacket with his name embroidered on it, a Singita book and an invitation for him and his wife to return to Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges.  His remark?  “I’ll certainly return but not in summer.  I hear there are a lot of snakes around at that time!”

This has been a remarkable week.  The students have gained mountains of knowledge and also a new friend.  Everyone is looking forward to the return of Lucien Green.

The End…for now.

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The Mating Game

June 12, 2012 - Conservation,Kruger National Park,Wildlife

It’s peculiar, for the amount of times that lions mate, it is quite a rare sight to actually catch them in the act. However lions do not mate at any specific time of the year and are not always that easy to find.  Singita Kruger National Park is lion country and during my guiding career I have been fortunate to have some fantastic opportunities to see these guys in action. A pair of mating lions is an interesting affair, which involves a fair deal of aggression, acrobatics, persistence and astonishing vocals all thrown into one performance.

On this particular day we found one of the young males from the Southern pride showing keen interest in a young female. It’s often quite easy to observe sexual behavior in lions and if one is patient, the reward is well worth the wait. Mating is initiated by both male and female, but seemingly more often by the female who is full of energy during her oestrus.  We sat with the animals for some time before the female gestured to the male and presented herself to him.

Most lionesses will have reproduced by the time they are four years of age.  This was still a young female and possibly her first intermit experience with the opposite sex. As with other cats, the male lion’s penis has fine barbs, which point backwards. Upon withdrawal, the barbs rake the walls of the female’s vagina, which may cause ovulation but obvious pain. After he mounted her we watched in awe as she clearly voiced her discomfort, lashing out at the male with snarls of displeasure.

This aggressive response from the female is all part of the act and a mating bout, which could last several days. They will copulate twenty to forty times a day each lasting about 20 seconds at a time. They may even go without eating during their time together.

We located the couple over the next few days, with the male keeping a close eye on his four brothers, making sure they knew this young female belonged to him and that it was going to be his genes that were passed on successfully. If mating failed, the lioness will come into oestrus again in 16 days and possibly another lion will be successful, however I feel in this case this male managed to seal the deal as he gave quite a performance.

We hope you’ll follow James Suter as he blogs from Singita’s private game reserves across Africa – tracking the natural rhythms of the wild.

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Graduation Almost Here!

February 16, 2012 - Community Development,Cuisine,Events,Kruger National Park

The long-awaited graduation day at the Singita School of Cooking is now just around the corner.  After an arduous 18-month-long-programme, 6 students are currently completing assignments and going through the assessment process in order to qualify.  Excitement for graduation at the end of March, is mounting.

The team at Singita Kruger National Park is already starting to prepare for the next programme – in the next 2 weeks Oriel Mbowane (Singita Kruger National Park Chef Skills Developer) will be finalising details with the educational assessors.  April is the planned start date for the new intake and we are delighted that this will be the 5th intake of students at the cooking school since its inception in 2007.

Scroll through the photos and some of the memories from the year – well done to students, Oriel Mbowane, and visiting chefs.  It has been a great year.

For more information about the programme at the Singita School of Cooking, take a look at Singita’s website or feel free to contact us for a brochure or further details – SLReceptionmanager@singita.com (General Manager at Singita Kruger National Park).

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Kicking off 2012

January 09, 2012 - Community Development

All the effort made by the team at Singita Kruger National Park on Mandela Day last year to raise funds to purchase soccer balls for schools in our local community, was made worthwhile at the end of 2011 when a group of 11 Singita staff went into Hluvukani, one of the local communities situated just outside the Kruger National Park’s Orpen Gate, to deliver the balls to the schools.

The soccer balls were handed out at 7 different schools.  At each school a soccer game took place between the staff and the school pupils.  The games and the new balls caused much excitement for both players and spectators.

A great day was had by all and the Singita Kruger National Park staff are looking forward to when we will be taking a similar trip to Welverdiend, another one of the local communities, to complete the delivery of the remainder of the balls.

Singita Kruger National Park would like to thank Adidas SA for assisting us in achieving this special relationship with the community schools, by providing the balls at a specially discounted rate.

(Article contribution by Christen Bennett – Singita Kruger National Park.)

If you missed the story last year about celebrating Mandela Day at Singita Kruger National Park, enjoy the blog post here.

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The MO-Town Boys

November 21, 2011 - Events

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

On November 1st, men register at Movember.com with a clean-shave face and then for the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery.

Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne Australia, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate, with formal campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Czech Republic. (Information courtesy of www.za.Movember.com.)

Read up on all the latest Moustache Season news and highlights on the official Movember South Africa website.

This November some of the chaps at Singita Kruger National Park have taken up the challenge to support this noble cause, supporting men’s health.  Already sporting some worthy whiskers, take a look at their progress so far.  We’ll keep you updated on the development of some fine moustaches.

Herewith introducing…

Brett  “Cheese Viscous” Appelgryn

Matt  “Scatterbrain” Naude

Dan  “The Dungeon Crawler” Mongwe

Gavin  “The Punisher” Rosenbaum

Hermann  “Snaggletooth” Naude

Ian  “Arsenic” Weerepas

Louis “Loose Balls” Niels

Tharwat  “Slapnuts” Londt

Mac  “Hammer Smash” Maclachln

Nicolaas  “Squash Bowels” Louw

Marlon  “Riot Rattler” du Toit

and last but not least…Wayne  “The Butcher” Leeson

a.k.a the MO-town Boys….taking this challenge seriously.

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Family Reunion

October 18, 2011 - Kruger National Park,Wildlife

If you’ve been following news from Singita Field Guides, then you’ll remember the Xinkelengane female leopard at Singita Kruger National Park.  She has provided a multitude of gorgeous photo opportunities in the past.  But now it seems her maturing offspring are taking over the reins in the territory.

This beautiful young leopard (above) has taken over the reins from her mother it seems. Sadly, her mother, the much loved and well known Xinkelengane female has been missing for almost three months now. We are not sure where she is and we continue looking for any signs of her. In the meantime the leopard pictured, has been leaving her scent along all of the prominent landmarks within her mother’s old territory. This is vital for establishing a territory. She is still a young cat, barely 18 months of age and her territorial behavior is very early. It is perhaps brought on by the absence of a dominant female (her missing mother) and as leopards are very opportunistic she may be using the chance to make her presence known before another female claims this abundant piece of real estate.

The two cubs are still seen together from time to time. Independently they are doing very well. Both are hunting successfully and kill prey up to the size of adult male impala and young waterbuck. A recent get-together resulted in them spending the night together feeding on a carcass, and they separated again by mid-morning. The young male, pictured below to the right feels more pressure in terms of territory. His father, the Shingwenyana male, is still very active in this region. Fortunately for the young male his father has not reacted aggressively towards him allowing him to stay in this space. We even witnessed recently as this young boy watched his father mate with another female. There was no aggressive behavior from his father suggesting a strong bond between the two.

Only time will tell where these young leopards will finally set up their own territories. We hope we don’t lose track of them into the massive Kruger National Park as they have become much loved by the guides.

Singita Kruger leopard update provided by Marlon du Toit, Guide, Singita Kruger National Park.  To follow what happens to these young leopards, stay in touch with our monthly Guides’ Diaries on Singita’s website.

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Celebrating Madiba’s 93 years!

July 19, 2011 - Community Development,Events,Kruger National Park

All over South Africa yesterday there was a buzz in the air – all because of an extremely special occasion:  Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday.

In case you didn’t know this, but as a result of the success of the birthday celebrations in London, June 2008, to commemorate Nelson Mandela and his life work, it was set in motion thereafter to acknowledge Mr. Mandela’s birthday each year as “Mandela Day“.  What a perfect way to ensure that his legacy endures for a very long time.

The Mandela Day campaign message is simple:  “Mr Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity.  All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community”.

In a tucked away corner of the Kruger National Park, a group of people decided to take this challenge very seriously – our amazing Singita staff at Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges.  They came up with some innovative and creative ways for everyone to particpate in order to raise funds to make a difference.  Some signed up to shuffle for 6.7 minutes; delicious cupcakes were auctioned off; some chose to cycle 67 kilometres while others opted for running 6.7 kilometres – and even one staff member signed up to hug or kiss 67 girls!  All proceeds are planned to support local primary schools in the area.  What a day and a great amount of fun had by all – all for an oustanding cause.

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Seeing Spots…More Cheetah Sightings

June 13, 2011 - Wildlife

As the sun was setting this image was captured in the more central parts of Singita’s private concession in the Kruger National Park.  In the past, Singita Kruger National Park has not been regarded as a concession that produces abundant cheetah sightings.  Well that’s all changed!  This month alone we have had over 10 different sightings – all of them unbelievable in their own way.  This female and her three cubs have realized the benefits of the abundance of general game in the concession and both her and the cubs are in a very healthy condition.  We will watch with interest as they continue to grace us with their presence.

By James Suter, Guide at Singita Kruger National Park.  Follow our monthly Guides’ Diaries for more enthralling updates about the diverse wildlife at each of the Singita game reserves.

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Bush Cooking with a Difference

March 30, 2011 - Community Development,Cuisine,Kruger National Park

If you have been following the updates on the Singita School of Cooking, located at our Staff Village in Singita Kruger National Park, then you will definitely enjoy watching our newest video clip.  The clip details the background of the school; some of the success stories; and dreams of what we hope will be coming next.  Listen to Oriel Mbowane, previous Sous Chef from Singita Sweni and now Skills Chef Trainer at the School of Cooking, talk about his own inspiring history and dreams for his students in the future.

For more information about Singita School of Cooking, take a look at our website and furthermore a previous blog article about this life-changing community project that has touched our hearts.

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Sweni – Spirit of the River

March 24, 2011 - Accommodation,Kruger National Park,Lodges and Camps

Singita’s private concession in the Kruger National Park is one of the most pristine wildnerness areas in Africa and where a unique wildlife population thrive within an astounding diversity of flora and landscapes.

Sitting low on the Sweni River, Singita Sweni Lodge is a tranquil sanctuary built on stilts with decks of dark timber, giving it a grounded and earthy feel.  The six secluded suites offer solitude in a wild setting that stimulates all the senses.  The idea of ‘letting nature indoors’ is one of the main design elements at Sweni.  The look and feel, with tactile furnishings, has been carefully created to bring in the textures and shades of the bush.

Imagine taking time to lie back in an enormous bath of bubbles or salt crystals, watching the hippos wallowing around in the river beneath open windows.  Part of being a natural extension of the surrounding bush is enjoying the outdoor shower overlooking the river and ‘camping out’ under the stars on balcony beds.

The ‘touching the earth lightly’ concept plays a major role and every effort has been made to respect and protect the environment so that it will be conserved for future generations.

For more information about our exclusive lodges in Singita Kruger National Park read more on our website - and look out for our helpful ‘what to pack’ list and weather information.

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