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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Written by Singita Guide, Marlon du Toit – Singita Kruger National Park/ Lebombo and Sweni Lodges
So, as you have all heard, there are some new additions to the Mountain Pride. A few months ago Glass (Singita Tracker) and I saw a lioness carrying a tiny, week old cub. Ever since then we have been waiting in anticipation for her to introduce the little cubs to the rest of the pride. The day finally came three days ago when to our surprise we were introduced to, not only two little ones, but to another three cubs! This now brings the number of the Mountain Pride up to twenty-three lions – incredible!
I spent the evening with the pride last night, and what an amazing experience. The cubs quickly got used to the presence of my vehicle, and I managed to capture some beautiful moments. The night ended on a high when the lionesses managed to kill two zebras. It happened too quickly to capture on camera, but the experience was unforgettable.
For more photos of these special small additions to the Mountain Pride, take a look at our Facebook page.
(Photography by James Suter)
Singita Guide, James Suter, knows the terrain of Singita’s 15 000 hectare, private concession in the Kruger National Park, like the back of his hand. Not only does James specialise in uncovering the world of the African wild for our Singita guests but he regularly contributes to monthly issues of our Guides’ Diary.
Below is an excerpt from the upcoming December Diary from Singita Kruger National Park – the entire journal is co-written by Marlon du Toit and James Suter.
Battle of the Beasts (by James Suter)
The competition among different species is huge; in this case a lioness with a zebra kill attracted the ever-opportunistic hyena as well as scavengers from above, all three species competing for the same food source. The lioness was accompanied by three young cubs and defended her kill with valour.
I always enjoy the interaction between different species, especially predators. It is a humbling sight watching these beasts fight for survival on a daily basis.
To follow our Guides’ Diaries, they are published monthly on our website – read more.
At Singita we are always honoured when our lodges are included in the best of the best awards worldwide – and immensely grateful for the support and applause from our trusted travel trade, media and guests. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for singing our praises in your spheres of influence this past year – as a result we are listed in some of the top international hot lists and we are thrilled.
~ Conde Nast Traveller – The Gold List 2011 – Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
~ Conde Nast Traveler – Readers’ Choice Awards 2010, Top 100 – Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa
~ Tatler Travel Guide 2011 – 101 Best Hotels in the World – Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe
It is our endeavour to continue to provide the most excellent guest experiences in some of the world’s most pristine locations for many years to come.
Hope you will plan your journey for 2011, so we may welcome you.
The Singita School of Cooking is located on site at the Staff Village that serves Singita Kruger National Park (Lebombo and Sweni Lodges). It was established with the aim of encouraging the development of culinary skills amongst local youth from our neighbouring communities. Each year, 8 to10 students are selected – based upon clear criteria including showing a real interest in cooking – to participate in an 18 month long training programme.
It was an incredible undertaking initiated by Kurt Abrahams a Senior Sous Chef at Singita Sweni and Jason Trollip the former General Manager of Singita Kruger National Park. Jason and Kurt took up the challenge of taking on young members of the local community who had little or no understanding of what being a chef is all about and training them to the level where they could find employment as skilled trainee chefs at the end of the year long course. Kurt embraced the project wholeheartedly and became the Head of the school sharing his knowledge, exceptional culinary skills and passion for training people. The programme was practical, with the perfect facilities already in existence at the staff village. The first group of students graduated successfully from The Singita School of Cooking (SSC) at the end of 2007.
Year to date the graduating students have all been employed either at a Singita property or by other organisations.
Since opening the SSC has continued to produce well educated, employable trainee chefs and with its reputation now well established we took a decision in 2010 to extend the course to 18 months. The objective now being to take the students to the next level and equip them with Comis Chef level skills, thereby giving them greater earning capability post graduation.
Oriel Mbowane was promoted from Sous Chef Sweni in September to Skills Chef Trainer for the school of cooking. The new course started on 15th September 2010
If you would like more information about sponsoring a Singita School of Cooking student please refer to our Giving Back section on our website.
From Singita Guide, Marlon du Toit – Singita Kruger National Park
Featured in this article are a variety of photographs from elephants to lions and leopards. In general the Singita Kruger concession is still blowing everyone away, including guides that have been here for a long time. Viewings of wildlife have been spectacular over the past weeks.
As far as lions go, the Mountain Pride has been staying within the Kori Clearing vicinity for the last two weeks now. That is good news for us as we don’t have to drive too the far north in order to find them.
Young elephants having fun.
Another highlight from the last few days were two slender mongooses battling it out for territory. They went about it as if their lives depended on it, and it was the first time I witnessed something like that. Also, we have been seeing black rhino at least twice a week; amazing considering there are fewer that 500 in the whole entire park.
To keep up with monthly wildlife happenings at all of our Singita reserves, follow our Guide’s Diaries for updates.