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Community Partnership Programme

Kruger National Park - South Africa

Community Partnership Programme

Singita Kruger National Park is very committed to stimulating the local economy. The aim is to support the viability and growth of small businesses on the outskirts of the park.

Monthly spend on local suppliers and contractors has doubled in recent years. Daily transport for staff is sourced locally, as are services such as waste removal, uniform alterations, fruit and vegetables supplies and the supply of wood.

Singita is involved in assisting local schools in myriad ways, such as conducting an Environmental Education Programme in collaboration with a selected local primary school, painting classrooms and planting indigenous trees in school grounds.

The Singita-organised and funded Growing to READ programme ensures that 10 local pre-schools provide their young learners with an ever-improving quality of early childhood development aimed at enhancing their cognitive, social and physical skills.

Cooking for the future

The Singita School of Cooking (SSC) opened its doors in 2007 and today offers a rigorous, 12-month course that sees ten students drawn from local communities untying their brand-new knife-rolls in March each year.

The programme combines theory components, completed in the classroom and online, with intensive practical training in the SSC and lodge kitchens. If the course is testing, making it through the selection process is even tougher. In 2017 the school had 150 applicants for just nine positions.

‘Communities and conservation can’t function independently; they have to co-exist,’ explains Paul Antolik, chef skills developer at the Singita School of Cooking. ‘The idea behind this school was two-fold: to increase the skills levels in our lodge kitchens, but also to provide opportunities for the surrounding communities.’

Some graduates are offered places in Singita’s kitchens; others are snapped up by lodges in the region as their levels of expertise after this course are widely recognised. Approximately 60 chefs have been placed since the start of the programme.

Early childhood education

Based on the positive impact of the Growing to READ programme on the pre-schools in communities supported by Singita Sabi Sand, Singita Kruger Park decided to extend the programme to include a further cluster of 10 pre-schools among the communities they supported.

This development programme is conducted in collaboration with the Education Department and the non-profit organisation, READ Educational Trust. Singita’s vision is to assist with teacher training and educational materials to ensure that these pre-schools provide excellent tuition to prepare the young children for formal schooling.

Community Visits

Community Visits are flexible excursions to a local village to enable guests to gain insight into daily community life and the local Tsonga culture.

Guests have a chance to meet and interact with local people and to better understand this special part of Africa, which they have chosen to visit.

The Visits are organised by Mutlhwarheni Co–operative Ltd, as advised by Singita.

Guests make a contribution when participating in a Community Visit. This money is shared between members of the Co-operative who conduct the Visit (65%) and the Singita Community Development Trust (35%). As such, the Visits provide support to local enterprises and is a way of funding the community projects Singita supports. These include the Singita School of Cooking and the Growing to Read early childhood development programme.