April 2021

Celebrating Africa’s artisanal heritage

in Community

Celebrating Africa’s artisanal heritage

One of the core elements of our commitment to an unforgettable guest experience is a dedication to detail. This is something we weave into every element of a stay at any of Singita’s 15 lodges and camps. Combined with uncompromising service, one-of-a-kind settings and singular immersions into nature, the design - of our lodges and the experience as a whole - is one of the ways we aim to make an indelible imprint on the memories of our guests and create life-changing moments.  

With spaces that are created to connect people to nature, as well as showcase the context and vibrant culture of the locations of our lodges, it’s a source of pride for the Singita design and creative teams to celebrate authentic local design, art and craft throughout our spaces. With a large percentage of the items in the lodges custom made, many by local artisans, the experience of a stay at Singita is a rich sensory and aesthetic journey that brings guests into contact with not only the wilderness, but the depth of the craft heritage of Africa. 

The Singita Boutique & Gallery sources and custom designs unique pieces so that guests can take artisanal African design home with them

Take home a piece of Africa

As a way to extend this experience – and allow guests to take something home with them that will forever represent the time they’ve spent with us, and add to their home space or wardrobe – the Singita Boutique & Gallery, in our lodges, offers a range of clothing, art, and decorative items sourced or designed by Singita in collaboration with some of the continent’s undiscovered talent.  

The driving principles behind the inventory and variety available at the Boutiques & Galleries across our lodges are excellence, uniqueness and authenticity. In order to be able to offer our guests a selection that fulfils these criteria, Singita works with craftspeople and artisans to create sought-after bespoke items that echo Africa’s diverse natural landscapes, reflect the beauty of the continent’s rich cultures, and celebrate local traditions. Many of the items are also handmade using traditional crafting techniques. 

Singita works with artisans from around Africa to create bespoke design. Here, weavers Thembisa Sam and Nomtheliso Ngxomi work on textiles

Craft & community

This strategy is not only designed with guests in mind, but also, very importantly, to support the craft communities in the regions in which Singita operates. By purchasing goods from local artisans (whether in the exact location of the lodge, or the broader town, region or country), Singita helps provide an income to local artists – often women - and in turn contributes to the upliftment and empowerment of local communities.

‘We want guests visiting the Boutique & Gallery to have the most authentic African experience and to know that the items that they are buying play a role in giving back to local artisans,’ Kim Rorich-Peter, General Manager and buyer of the Boutique & Gallery

With approximately 80 percent of the Boutique & Gallery’s inventory sourced locally in South Africa and throughout different parts of Africa such as Tanzania, the focus is largely on local. Singita works with the artists to create bespoke items wherever possible. Working with craftspeople that are experts in their particular field to bring a vision to life is a rewarding experience for both parties. ‘Given the locations of the lodges, it is not always easy, or possible given the product needs and specification, but it is something we love to do and do wherever possible. It’s a form of art – imagining something, agonising over drawings and samples, to finally see it come alive at the very end,’ says Georgina Pennington, Group Creative Direction Manager for Singita. 

Each lodge's unique identity is reflected in the beautiful crafted items incorporated into their design, and on sale at the Boutique & Gallery

The exchange of skills

The procurement process involves a multifold approach – from sourcing trips to the countries where Singita has lodges (many of the suppliers there don’t have an online presence and are small enterprise businesses) to custom designing pieces exclusive to Singita. ‘We will spend a week in Dar es Salam, for example, looking for suppliers or potential creators who may not have the exact product we would like to stock, but do have the skills to develop it with us,’ says Pennington. Word of mouth and social media too, as well as referrals from staff, are crucial tools in discovering new talent and suppliers. This process is also about skill sharing – the transfer of skills – whereby all parties involved come away richer for the experience, and with greater insight and knowledge. By working with small business owners, it allows them to compete in a growing industry and advancing and perfecting their skills, presentation and customer service on a more commercial level. And in exchange, the Singita design team gains access and insight into valuable and authentic traditional skills.  

This mutually beneficial approach is indicative of Singita’s ethos across the board – to work in collaboration and with a community minded approach to create a sustainable future for all. 

Working with entrepreneurs, Singita aims to support their growth in the industry while sharing valuable traditional skills with guests by way of collectable design

Browse our online catalogue

Our online store brings this exclusive retail experience into the comfort and convenience of your home. Browse and order the collection online here >


By Julia Freemantle

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