Discover More

Community Partnership Programme

Sabi Sand - South Africa

Community Partnership Programme

In 1998, Singita Sabi Sand launched its formal community development programme, with the aim of delivering tangible benefits to their corner of the country. Funds contributed by Singita and its guests, as well as those generated by community visits (and the sale of selected items in the Boutique and Gallery), are placed in a trust fund and used to support various programmes.

A committee manages the outreach programme, bringing together local knowledge, management skills and a passion for making a difference, particularly among young children. Singita works in co-operation with other sponsors, government and non-profit agencies to ensure development needs are met in a co-ordinated manner. These programmes focus mostly on education, but also on building environmental awareness among local youth as well as the development of small enterprises.

FUTURE PROJECT: Environmental Education Centre

Following the success of similar projects in our other regions, Singita Sabi Sand aims to establish an Environmental Education Centre on the reserve, with the purpose of inspiring in local children, a love and respect for nature and wildlife.

Once established, groups of grade 6 or 7 learners from the 19 local primary schools will be invited to participate in a full-time 3-day course, while staying at the centre. The course involves spending time in the bush to awaken their passion for wildlife, caring for the environment and create an understanding of sustainability and natural resource management.

This project’s focus on environmental education emphasises the critical role each individual plays in minimising their impact on the earth’s limited resources.

The design of the centre involves sustainable building elements such as the reuse of shipping containers as classrooms and accommodation for the students and teachers. Not only does this have a small footprint and reduce the amount of building materials, but it allows the centre to be moved to a new location at any time.

Help us make this environmental centre a reality. To make a donation or for more information, please contact Susan Horst at


Growing to read, reading to grow

A number of schools in the area, many of which educate the children of Singita’s staff, are inadequately funded. Singita has been involved in a range of projects, including the purchasing of stationery, text books and computers.

A development programme – called Growing to READ – is underway in collaboration with the Education Department at 10 local pre-schools. The objective is to ensure that young children are well prepared for formal schooling. The programme is implemented by the READ Educational Trust, a well-respected non-profit organisation, and involves the training of teachers and parents, as well as the provision of educational resources and stationery.

Children who develop in structured and stimulating environments are better able to form the strong cognitive, social, spiritual and physical foundation they need to succeed in later life.

With this in mind, the Singita Community Development Trust initiated the Growing to Read programme in partnership with the non-profit READ Educational Trust.

Its aim is to improve the quality of early childhood education offered by local pre-schools.

The Growing to Read programme encompasses 4 parts:
teacher training to help educators with skills and awareness development;
providing schools with a holistic consulting service so that they can offer a balanced education programme and a safe, stimulating environment;
providing educational materials and stationery kits for teachers;
and holding workshops with parents to help them gain an insight into the way their children develop and to reinforce their critical role in a child’s education.

Growing to Read thus aims to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to progress from being child carers to early-childhood-development educators.

Central to the programme is the importance of literacy and the need for teachers to nurture reading in their young charges.

Through Growing to Read, Singita hopes to lay a solid foundation that will help these children reach their full potential.

Watch the Growing to READ video here>

Technology Programme

Singita has launched a Teaching & Technology Programme, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Mpumalanga Department of Education. This worthy initiative uses satellite communications to enhance the quality of education in rural areas and has been rolled out at local primary schools.

Web-based solutions are used to train local teachers, who then share this benefit with learners. Singita also provides technical support to ensure the sustainability of such technology-based programmes in remote locations. The initiative is expanding to include the balance of the 19 schools in the education circuit, and to encourage learners to utilise technology to access the ‘virtual library’ of books and information.

Gardening Project

The gardening project is an example of how Singita provides guidance and support for small business enterprises. Previously employed as a field worker at Singita Sabi Sand, and growing vegetables in his spare time, David Shelabi was assisted by the Singita team to expand his operation and to include herb cultivation.

He then converted it into a full-time business. David was nominated by Singita to participate in a one-year entrepreneurship training programme which served to hone his business skills. He has subsequently expanded his gardens into other areas and is now a regular supplier to Singita and other lodges.

Community Visits

Community Visits are flexible excursions to a local village to enable our guests to gain insight into daily community life and the local Tsonga culture. Guests get 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 Zamani Tours, as advised by Singita. Zamani was a Singita employee before leaving to start his small enterprise aimed at sharing, with our guests, aspects of interest in a local village.

Guests make a contribution when participating in a community visit. This money is shared between Zamani Tours partners, 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 Growing to Read (ECD), Teaching & Technology (Primary Schools) and Dreamfields (sports development) programmes.