August 2022

Inspired by the warmth & wisdom of the women of Singita

in People of Singita

Inspired by the warmth & wisdom of the women of Singita

The warmth and personalised approach at the heart of Singita’s guest experiences emanates directly from the people who make up the brand. In celebration of Women’s Month which spans August in South Africa, and Women’s Day today, we honour the many women across our teams and regions who embody our values and vision.

Continuously balancing strength, empathy, determination and humility, their groundedness and grace contributes to our hospitality and raises the bar on impeccable service.

Across all aspects of our organisation, the women in our fold encapsulate the spirit of Africa and further our 100-year purpose – to preserve large parts of African wilderness for future generations – in various ways. Whether it’s through welcoming guests to the continent for the very first time, the thoughtful preparation of beautiful meals full of flavour and inspired by the cultures and context of our settings, or a passion for protecting the continent’s natural legacy – their spirit of generosity shines through in everything they do.

At Singita Kwitonda in Rwanda, Donah Kabaganwa and Claudine Tuyishime run the Akarabo Nursery and reforestation efforts – a crucial part of our conservation work here

Protecting our natural heritage

On the front lines of landscape and wildlife protection, our conservation teams (from Field Guides to conservation officers and plant specialists) are fundamental to our progress. Their commitment contributes to the ongoing success of the partnerships we hold with non-profit conservation partners doing crucial work to safeguard threatened species – both fauna and flora.

Based at Singita Kwitonda Lodge in Rwanda, a space that exudes a calming feminine energy itself, Donah Kabaganwa heads up the on-site Akarabo Nursery. This special project not only sustainably grows food for the lodge and private villa, but propagates plants and trees to support our reforestation efforts in this region, a project ably run by another exemplary woman on our team in this region – conservation officer Claudine Tuyishime.

Here, the women of Kwitonda create a nurturing environment – benefitting the environment and the guests who come to experience this life-changing place.

Lodge Manager at Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe, Valerie Makunungunu leads with strength and grace, and epitomises the warmth of the Singita guest experience

Women leading by example

While it’s often the behind the scenes work that allows everything to run smoothly and operate as it should, it’s our front of house teams who guests will encounter most during their stay. Their warmth and grace sets the tone and serves as a gentle and welcoming entry for guests into our world.

Lodge Manager at Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe, Valerie Makunungunu, encapsulates all of these qualities, and more. She joined Singita in 2013 as a front-of-house anchor, and over the past eight years, her hard work and joyful approach to her work, colleagues and guests has seen her progress first to Assistant Lodge Manager, before finally being promoted to Lodge Manager in 2019. Her gentle but decisive leadership filters into the energy of the team as a whole, and plays a role in this property’s popularity as a home away from home.

“My team has become my family, and working closely with them and knowing I impact their lives in a positive way gives me purpose. I have learnt that for respect to be earned, it must first be given, so a listening ear and objective mind is always the best approach when engaging with people.”

At Singita Kruger National Park, Chef de Partie Joanna Ndlovu embodies our culinary philosophy by creating food imbued with authenticity

Nurturing both body & soul

Our culinary offering has also always been underpinned by authenticity and heart. The unique cultures and traditions at our lodges and camps are infused with a sense of place, and our chefs draw on their own personal stories, family histories and heritage to create unforgettable dining experiences for our guests.

Joanna Ndlovu, Chef de Partie at Singita Kruger National Park, personifies this through her intuitive work ethic, dedication and drive. Multifaceted, talented and capable, Joanna is a former student of the Singita Community Culinary School, and is as comfortable in the hot section as she is in the pastry division of the kitchen. Finding more than just her calling, but also a sense of belonging among the team at Singita, she continues to impress peers and mentors alike with her passion and creativity.

Phumzile Mgiba, manager of the Boutique & Gallery at Singita Sabi Sand loves introducing guests – some for the first time – to contemporary African art

Elevating the art of Africa

Similarly to our culinary journey, our relationship with the contemporary art world has evolved significantly over the years, to increasingly align how we showcase work by the continent’s talent with our desire to continuously celebrate Africa’s cultural heritage in a way that sustainably furthers the careers of its artists.

Two new gallery spaces at our lodges in South Africa have recently opened, signalling the start of a new era for this aspect of our guest experience. Phumzile Mgiba, Manager of the Singita Boutique & Gallery guides visitors to the Sabi Sand lodges through the dynamic and exciting world of contemporary African art. As the custodian of this space, she takes great pride in introducing guests to the breadth and depth of Africa’s artistic talent, in a space that showcases both skill and setting.

“The new boutique and gallery space is a reflection of where we are going. It’s a celebration of African culture and heritage, through art and craft. It makes me happy to share this with guests – because part of being at Singita is being able to take the experience away with you.”

By Julia Freemantle

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