Singita Grumeti, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, is an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem. The reserve was proclaimed by the Tanzanian government in 1994 in order to protect the path of the Wildebeest Migration, and the indigenous biodiversity of this vast and important part of the Ecosystem. In 2002, the Singita Grumeti Fund, a not-for-profit organisation, was granted the right to manage and conserve these 350,000 acres for the benefit of Tanzania, Africa and the world.
Prior to 2002, illegal hunting was unfortunately an everyday occurrence in this area, placing the annual wildebeest migration under severe pressure and rapidly diminishing resident game populations. The poaching undermined the tourist potential of the reserves and, in doing so, the ability of neighbouring communities to garner sustainable benefits from these natural resources. Since then, Singita Grumeti has implemented, in close collaboration with the Tanzanian Wildlife Division, wildlife management policies and practices which have had unprecedented success in restoring the biodiversity and ecological balance in the area. Integral to this programme is the team of 120 game scouts, most of them ex-poachers, who form the Anti-Poaching Unit. Working together with the Wildlife Division, the Anti-Poaching Unit has virtually eradicated illegal hunting within the concession. The game scouts in the unit are also responsible for documenting wildlife presence and movement, as well as any other data of biological importance. On-going data collection, coordinated and analysed by the organisation’s Research Biologist, has revealed a rapid and steady increase in resident game as a direct result of increased security and improved habitats.
Wildlife Monitoring and Research Programme
All of the data that is collected by the Anti-Poaching Unit is carefully collated and analysed by a dedicated team, helping to gain an understanding on a variety of ecological factors. These efforts are critical in determining conservation strategies for wildlife management. The team conducts as annual aerial wildlife census which provides valuable insights into the impact the responsible habitat management programme has had on the game populations of Singita Grumeti.
Reintroduction of Native Species
In the 1960s the Serengeti National Park had in excess of 800 Black Rhino. By 1980, due to severe poaching, that number had been reduced to less than 30. Since then the Tanzanian government has taken steps to improve security within the Serengeti National Park, with a resultant increase in their numbers. Singita Grumeti is fully supportive of their efforts and the improved security situation allowed for the re-introduction of more rhino.
One challenging project being undertaken in collaboration with the Tanzanian government is the re-introduction of the East African sub-species of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) to the Western Corridor of the Serengeti Ecosystem. The program involves the introduction of two captive-bred rhino. One female and one male were re-introduced to Singita Grumeti, into a sanctuary as a part of the “Save the Rhino” repatriation programme, in the hope of stimulating population growth and increasing genetic viability and diversity of the existing population within the ecosystem.
Singita Grumeti Environmental Education Centre
In August of 2009 the first group of students entered Singita Grumeti’s Environmental Education Centre (EEC), a facility established to develop, among young people from local communities, an awareness of the importance of preserving the bio-diversity of their communal lands and of their neighboring reserves. Allied to this was the imperative to share with them effective and practical ways to adopt a lifestyle that would result in a harmonious environmental balance.
Invasive Alien Plant Program
The threat of invasive alien plants to ecosystems and more specifically to the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one which threatens the biological diversity of the region concerned, as well as the livelihoods of communities, as crops and livestock grazing areas become increasingly more affected by this issue.
Singita Grumeti initiated a control program in 2009 to combat the further spread of invasive alien plants within the concession after it was noted that 17,050 acres of protected area was infected.
To date 7000 acres of infected area have been treated and cleared. The goal of this initiative is to create increased awareness with government and various other stakeholders so that plans may be put in place to combat this threat at a national level. Singita Grumeti has conducted positive workshops with the various parties concerned and we are hopeful that steps will be implemented to further address this ever increasing problem.
Sensitive area management is crucial to ensure that woody plants thrive, which is vital for black rhino habitat, thus areas within Singita Grumeti are manged and burned under carefully controlled conditions. A fire management programme has been incorporated into management plans and are implemented according to field research and herbivores grazing in the area.
Road and Camp Construction
Roads and the construction of camps can have a significant impact on the environment and that is why the current road network is being assessed and accommodation at the anti-poaching camps is being upgraded. Roads that were aligned poorly in the past are being closed and re-habilitated and any new roads are being responsibly aligned, using the latest technology to take into account watersheds to align roads and reduce their environmental impact. Furthermore the construction of new anti-poaching unit camps are adopting more environmentally-friendly measures with all camps being installed with a 40,000 litre storage tank to harvest rainwater and high quality solar systems to power essential equipment.
Sustainable tourism is what allows Singita to be able to carry out this important work. Each guest represents a valuable contribution towards conservation measures in the reserve. Not only does the revenue from tourism support conservation initiatives, but just by coming to see this place, putting value on it and sharing the beauty with others, it inherently makes a world of difference.
For guests seeking to make a larger contribution, donations are accepted and welcome. Please speak to any of our lodge or camp managers at Singita Serengeti if you would like more information or contact Singita's Group HR and Community Development Manager Pam Richardson at 27 21 683 3424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.