January 2023

Balancing the scales – now, and into the next decade

in Community

Balancing the scales – now, and into the next decade

In the year ahead, Singita will be celebrating 30 years of pioneering eco-tourism. We reflect now on the many milestones we've reached in the course of our incredibly rewarding journey thus far, and reaffirm our commitment to conservation – reaching this landmark moment also serves to strengthen our 100-year purpose.

Looking at the progress made and successes achieved through the combined efforts of our conservation non-profit partners and all those so tirelessly preserving our natural heritage, it’s the perfect opportunity to realign our goals with our long-term vision, and step into the next decade with renewed vigour and determination.

In 2023 Singita marks 30 years of pioneering eco-tourism, an apt moment to reflect on how far we've come and step into the next decade with determination

Protecting Africa’s wilderness

Long before Singita’s inception, the intention behind our mindset existed in spirit. Our very first property – the piece of land that would later become home to Singita Sabi Sand – was purchased by our founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather and was transformed from a former hunting concession into a reserve dedicated to conservation.

Today, we have a presence in four countries where the philosophy of the original property remains true: the recovery and restoration of wilderness areas across Africa in partnership with non-profit conservation partners and the communities in each region. In essence, it’s about the reclamation of wilderness through sustainable eco-tourism enterprise for the benefit of future generations.

As we commemorate three decades of sharing these magnificent places with guests – and in so doing, helping to ensure their protection – we now look to what’s next, and what more can be done.

With new regions on the horizon for our brand, our dedication to our goals is stronger than ever, and as always, we will only develop properties that are better or as good as the ones we already have. This is to guarantee that we continue to deliver a consistently excellent guest experience – and to remain steadfast in support of our non-profit partners to ensure that the land and communities always benefit through our presence.

As we look back on progress made, we also look forward to what's next, and what's possible – with new regions and renewed goals on our horizon

A shared vision for the future

Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to form meaningful partnerships with conservation organisations in each region. It's through this spirit of collaboration that the many worthy initiatives that make a lasting impact on the ground are possible.

Guests can also experience this valuable work through opportunities to participate in various projects, and see first-hand what’s being done in communities and on our concessions to work towards sustainable futures – for both people and wildlife.

One such immersive guest experience is the Serengeti Girls Run (SGR) – a five-day event in Singita Grumeti that sees women runners from all over the world come together to fulfil not only their personal athletic goals, but also to contribute to the empowerment of Tanzanian women and girls. During their stay, the runners spend time with members of the Grumeti Fund, our non-profit partner in the region, to learn more about their work, and meet some of the young women their participation supports.

It's only through collaboration – between Singita, its non-profit partners and our guests and supporters – that our conservation programmes can continue to flourish

In 2022, the SGR was met with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic subscription – and was at capacity long before the race was scheduled. This response is everything we hope for, and encountering people whose passion for making a difference through conservation matches our own assures us that progress is not only possible, but well within reach.

“Singita’s guests have a far-reaching impact, as they contribute to numerous conservation initiatives and community empowerment programmes. Modern conservation requires a keen focus on keeping tourism, communities and wildlife in a constructive balance – and the survival of each is crucial to the survival of the whole.” - Luke Bailes, Founder of Singita.

Helping to maintain the delicate balance necessary for communities, wildlife and landscapes to thrive remains our goal

Successes to celebrate

Across our conservation initiatives, we had more than enough reason to consider this a good year. And from rural community programmes to large-scale biodiversity goals, there was cause to celebrate. These moments – seeing real-world results of the often challenging work required to achieve them – strengthens our resolve.

The first students of the inaugural intake for the Singita Community Culinary School (SCCS) in Rwanda graduated in the second half of the year. Run in partnership with Muhabura Integrated Polytechnic College (MIPC), this school offers the same internationally recognised Worldchefs certificate as our SCCS schools in South Africa and Tanzania, which equips students with a strong foundation of theory and intensive practical training.

Among the many reasons to celebrate in 2022 was the graduation of the inaugural class of the Singita Community Culinary School in Rwanda

In South Africa, at Singita Sabi Sand and Kruger National Park, we repositioned our Boutique & Gallery spaces to better align with our long-term conservation goals. It took the form of a strategic shift as well as exciting new spaces at both properties, curated with work by celebrated artists and new talent. This superb showcase of world-class African art heralds the start of a new era, one we hope to continue to grow across regions to benefit art, artists and conservation initiatives at large. Not only does the selection of work communicate the scope of African talent to a wider audience, but a percentage of proceeds from many of the pieces (and occasionally those from specially commissioned works) go directly to support various conservation programmes.

One of 2022's focus areas was realigning our gallery and boutique spaces with our conservation goals

Join us in our next steps

We could not do what we do and forge this path without significant support – from guests, donors and likeminded organisations – and we are grateful for the wide and growing community around us that ensures our vision becomes reality. Learn more about how you can play a role here >

By Julia Freemantle

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