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.
A wonderful sighting this morning (Singita Pamushana, Zimbabwe) of a relaxed mother leopard and her two tiny cubs. Hours were spent watching their intimate rituals of nursing, bathing and playing – Jenny Hishin.
For more photographs of this remarkable sighting, take a look at Singita’s Facebook page.
Now in their seventh year, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (www.tourismfortomorrow.com), under the stewardship of the WTTC recognizes best practices in sustainable tourism within the Travel & Tourism industry worldwide. Chosen from 12 finalists and over 180 Award entries from more than 60 countries, the four winners who best exemplified successful work in advancing sustainable tourism were Singita Pamushana – Conservation Award, Guludo Beach Lodge – Community Benefit Award, Alpine Pearls – Destination Stewardship Award and Intrepid Travel – Global Tourism Business Award.
“Winning the Tourism for Tomorrow Award in the Conservation category is a momentous endorsement of 17 years of conservation efforts at our Zimbabwe property, Singita Pamushana, since it gives enormous encouragement to our team of research ecologists, anti-poaching scouts and all involved in the management and protection of this beautiful part of Zimbabwe”, said Mark Witney, Chief Operating Officer of Singita Game Reserves. “We hope that as a result of winning the award, visitors will be encouraged to experience for themselves this success story in terms of both the preservation of habitat and wildlife and the significant community projects we support.”
The winners underwent a rigorous judging process by an international team of 22 independent judges, led by Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, and a leading expert on sustainable tourism. Mr. Christ is also an award-winning travel writer and eco-traveller who has explored more than 125 countries.
Costas Christ commented: “We are entering a new era where sustainable tourism principles and practices are no longer represented by a handful of well-meaning companies. Instead, sustainability itself has emerged as an important global initiative for protecting natural environments and assisting the well being of local communities.”
Article submitted by The Travel Corporation, sponsors of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2011.
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, home to Singita Pamushana Lodge, presents a unique sanctuary for wildlife conservation in Africa. The reserve’s core objective is to provide a naturally functioning ecosystem, where the full spectrum of wild species native to the area are protected, and where these species can live as they have for thousands of years.
Located adjacent to the Gonarezhou National Park in the south-eastern corner of Zimbabwe, Malilangwe occupies an area of 400 km2 of geologically and floristically diverse habitats. In all, 38 distinct plant communities are identified and early government prospectors described the area as ‘very wild broken country.
The rugged but breathtakingly beautiful sandstone hills, with their deep secret ravines and plateaus, likely earned the area this reputation. Weathered grey, sometimes cracked and sometimes smooth, they are adorned with lime, grey and orange lichen. White fig tree roots strangle then split the rock to reveal a myriad of sunset colours. These bewitching hills straddle the property and provide a refuge for mountain acacia and iron wood trees. Under their shade klipspringer and hyraxes hide themselves; wild dogs den and Black Eagles soar. The hills are studded with fairytale springs and seeps which are favoured watering holes for black rhino, swimming pools for elephants and mud wallows for ‘dagga boys’ – the ill-tempered old buffalo bulls who have left the herd. Numerous San rock art paintings, dating back to the Late Stone Age (more than 2000 years ago), bear witness to the historic diversity of animals that occupied this area, and whose descendents still roam free.
In the heart of the hills lies the Malilangwe lake, reputed in Zimbabwe for the excellent fishing opportunities it affords. The lake is also home to hippos and crocodiles, and an array of water birds. Few sites could offer a more spectacular fishing spot or sun-downer cruise.
To the south of the hills the soils are dark and rich – derived from basalt rock of the Jurassic period. In this semi-arid savanna, herds of plains species such as impala, zebra and wildebeest graze, and giraffe can be seen browsing Acacia trees. Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and sable also favour this area, but are more elusive. Woven through the mopane and Acacia trees are stream-like depressions that function as ‘vleis’ (open moist grasslands). These provide food for bulk grazers like white rhino and the herds of more than 500 buffalo.
North of the hills is black rhino and wild dog country. This densely wooded area makes game viewing difficult but extremely rewarding. Amongst the Grewia scrub grow giant baobab trees. Hollows in their gnarled branches trap water and their silvery limbs are home to Buffalo Weavers and honey bees. By-gone hunters used climbing pegs to scale the massive stems in search of honey and water. In some trees these climbing pegs are still evident while in others only swirling scars remain.
The Chiredzi River, a perennial source of water, forms the western boundary of Malilangwe. On it’s sandy banks grow tall ebony and sausage trees. They camouflage the rare and mysterious Pel’s Fishing Owl, and in the tangled ‘wait-a-bit’ undergrowth shy nyala feed, bushbuck bark and francolin call. Lions, leopards and hyenas traverse the entire property, and are often heard calling at night.
As a result of a healthy, functioning ecosystem, game has thrived at Malilangwe. Population growth has soared to such an extent that Malilangwe has been able to restock other wildlife areas in Zimbabwe. Of particular pride are the black and white rhino populations which have grown so well over the past 10 years that Malilangwe is now able to restock other parts of Africa with these remarkable, endangered species.
Article contribution by Sarah Clegg, BSc, MSc – Consulting Ecologist at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve for the past 15 years.
To view the Malilangwe wildlife in their natural habitat, follow Kim Wolhuter’s extraordinary video footage published regularly on Singita’s Facebook page. Kim is an internationally acclaimed, documentary film-maker residing on the Malilangwe Reserve recording footage for upcoming documentary projects.
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.
Recently on a scouting trip around Nduna searching for lions for our guest, as we headed off road something caught my eye on one of the rock faces. I decided to go and investigate and found a small rock painting. Due to time restraints I was not able to scout the area for more paintings, nevertheless, I had a quick look around and found a second site about 300 metres from the initial site. In order to ascertain if these were unique sites I made certain to GPS both of them, made a recording and checked the data. They were not recorded in our data so I contacted Ben Smith at University of Witwatersrand and they did not have them recorded either.
This was amazing news meaning that we have increased the database of rock paintings now to 80 sites. These figures refer to painting sites only. So from the beginning of last year we had a record 56 rock painting sites; the guiding department has increased this record to date to 78 and now these 2 new ones total the sites to 80. There is no doubt that we will keep adding to this number – we’ll keep you updated.
The Fever tree is completely harmless but they have the early pioneers to blame for their ominous sounding name.
The pioneers believed that Fever trees were the cause of malaria outbreaks. It was eventually proved that Fever trees had absolutely nothing to do with malaria. The only thing the wrongfully accused Fever trees share with the real malaria culprits, the female Anopheles mosquitoes, is a love of swampy areas.
Nevertheless the story goes that locals would lie down in the shade of the tree to escape the burning sun. Invariably, they would fall asleep and would wake up covered in mosquito bites which would often lead to the onset of malaria.
Singita Pamushana is located in the 140 000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve situated in south-east Zimbabwe. These 140 000 acres are home to four separate eco-systems, an abundance of wildlife – including the Big 5 – and a collection of over 400 different species of birds.
In true Singita style Pamushana Lodge offers its guests a personal and unique African safari experience.
Everything from its unrivalled setting – overlooking the expansive Malilangwe Lake – to its local Shangaan inspired décor and the trademark Singita service, all helps to create an adventure that is exciting, warm and incredibly romantic.
Food is as much a part of Singita Pamushana Lodge as the décor, setting and service. Early morning pre-game drive snacks followed by brunch, a late lunch, decadent afternoon tea, sundowners and refreshments in the bush and then dinner. All so delectable and so beautifully presented, that any attempt at resistance is ultimately futile!
Photographs, no matter how talented the photographer, simply cannot capture the magic and charm that flow through every aspect of Singita Pamushana Lodge. It is simply a place you have to experience in person in order to understand how such beauty has the ability to make any heart sing.
Singita Pamushana Lodge is an easy and relatively short flight from Johannesburg.
The Monday and Thursday weekly flights are scheduled to depart at 13h40 from OR Tambo International Airport to Buffalo Range International Airport, Zimbabwe, where you’re met by a Singita representative. From Buffalo Range Ridge Airport you are transported by road to Singita Pamushana Lodge.
The best part of the trip, (obviously we’re talking about the best part of the trip before you arrive at Singita Pamushana Lodge), has to be standing on the runway waiting to board the flight to Zimbabwe. As you wait you’ll have the opportunity watch a series of international flights prepare for takeoff, just 100 metres from where you’re standing, while you nonchalantly sip on your ice-cold beverage and pretend this is all completely normal.
It’s the most informal and charming airport experience you’re ever likely to experience; and it all takes place on the runway of South Africa’s largest International Airport … incredible!
When flying with a smaller airline, checking in can be quite confusing. To help make sure you’re 100% in the-know we’ve included the following tips: