Guest Writer: Michelle Ospino reminds us of The Power of Presence
Singita guest, Michelle Ospino first caught our attention on Instagram during her stay at Singita Kruger National Park in South Africa earlier this year. We were instantly captivated by her beautiful travel and wildlife photography, which gave a rich and emotional account of a safari experience. Michelle then returned to Singita only a few months later, where she was one of the first guests to experience the new Singita Sabora Tented Camp and we were privileged to follow her once more, this time at Singita Grumeti in Tanzania.
Michelle shares her beautiful, life-changing safari experience with us…
The Power of Presence by Michelle Ospino
Living in a big city for the majority of my life I yearn more and more to be surrounded by nature and to slow down in order to be intimate with the present experience. It heals the soul and was something that I swore to do more of over the past few years. So off my husband and I went to the bush of South Africa to indulge in our first Singita experience. It was so incredible that less than three months later I found myself on a plane to Tanzania to experience the newly renovated Singita Sabora Tented Camp, the ultimate luxury safari experience.
Flying over the Serengeti is an experience in and of itself - watching the landscape change and the animals moving about below is exhilarating. It heightens your anticipation for what is to come. From the moment I stepped off the plane and onto the airstrip in the private Singita Grumeti reserve I did not wipe the smile off of my face until of course it was time to say goodbye a few days later when I found myself holding back tears knowing that I had to leave this otherworldly place.
Driving up to the camp you’re greeted by joyous faces and a welcome as if I were a friend coming back to visit after a long time away. And traveling halfway across the world by myself this was a huge gesture, one that I cherish. I never once felt alone. I owe a lot of this to my guide, Peterlis who went above and beyond to make my experience extraordinary.
I didn’t even mind the 5:30am wake up calls at all. Walking past the beautifully placed tents and dimly lit lamps along the path to the lobby to meet Peterlis and watching the sunrise as we left the camp was a dream. Peterlis’ passion for the bush showed and it made my experience even more special. His knowledge of the bush and fondness of wildlife brought a whole new level to our days - listening to his encyclopedia-like animal facts and the camaraderie that we built, someone who shares the same excitement about the natural world as I do was something very special. The migration was just beginning and I will never forget the moment we sat in our game vehicle just watching while hundreds of wildebeests flew by us, one by one.
One of the magical things about the camp is how immersed in nature you are - eating lunch and watching zebras and wildebeests at the watering hole while giraffes roamed in the background, the resident buffalo grazed on the grass and a lonely ostrich looked for a mate. Before my afternoon drive, I toyed with cooling down in the pool but instead opted for an outdoor shower with endless views of trees and brush amongst the wide open plains.
Being present is hard to do these days but Singita does it so well that you indulge in every minute spent there - enjoying a glass of wine while watching the animals dance around the watering hole, reading a book out back of your tent, watching the sunset with a dazzle of zebras grazing adjacent to your bathtub, a massage amongst nature and just simply being, soaking up the intentionally designed, no detail left out, stunning tents, post sundowners drinks around the fire, chatting with other safari-goers about their sightings while taking in the night sky and sounds coming from the bush will be stuck in my mind forever. And I can’t forget the cool night air blowing effortlessly through the tent as hyenas chuckle and lions roar in the distance.
I now long for the next opportunity where my days are filled with nature, good company and power of presence that somehow only Singita can perfect.
About the author, Michelle Ospino:
Michelle is a travel and wildlife photographer from New York. Over the years, she has become more and more in tune with the natural world, which serves as a wonderful and restorative respite from life in a bustling urban metropolis. Her recent trips to Africa and the Amazon have jump-started a deep reconnection with nature as it is in nature where she feels most alive, mindful, and at peace.