At SINGITA a Safari is a Journey of a Different Kind, One of Touching the Earth Very, Very Lightly.
All Image Credit www.singita.com
Some years ago I overheard a fellow traveller who stood behind me in a slow-moving queue at Heathrow Airport musing about Africa, saying, ‘The only people who don’t love Africa are the ones who haven’t been there yet.’ Wiser words have never been spoken.
It was one of those dreich (Scots slang for grey, miserably wet, with rain pelting down horizontally) winters days in London, the temperature hovering around zero outside. I was waiting for a flight heading due south, to the sun, to the open savannas of Africa, my (fashion-focussed) luggage carefully consisting of the quintessential gear for an epic African safari and photo shoot: multi-pocketed waistcoat for all my photographic paraphernalia, straw sunhat, neatly folded crisp linen shirts, pashminas in sunset colours (for those campfire evenings) sturdy shoes and a selection of airy, floaty skirts. Oh, and jodhpurs – beige, a la Meryl Streep in Out of Africa.
(Flashbulb moment: who could ever forget the impossibly romantic scene where Robert Redford puts down his book, gets up from his camp chair and proceeds to wash Meryl Streep’s hair, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Kenyan savannah? Watch the clip here:
Because, you see, a safari (‘journey’ in Swahili) isn’t just any old journey, it’s the stuff that memories are made of, for many it’s at the top of their bucket list of the ultimate things to do in one’s lifetime. It’s not a trip to Bali or Ibiza or The Hamptons, it’s reserved for a far more discerning visitor, one who seeks an adventure of a spiritual kind, who is keen to experience, firsthand the extraordinary charm and unbeatable warm-hearted hospitality of Mother Africa.
World famous conservation and ecotourism brand Singita has been synonymous with safari in Africa over the past decades. Literally translating from Shangaan as ‘Place Of Miracles’, Singita is the real macoy when it comes to rapturous, life-changing, unforgettable wilderness experiences. With fifteen dreamy award-winning, picture-perfect lodges and camps dotted across four incredible African countries – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Rwanda – your biggest dilemma would be picking your nirvana of choice.
Savanna, riverside or bordering a volcano? Romantic tented camp, wholesome farmhouse or exclusive private-use villa? The hardest part (wink, wink) of the journey, before you’ve set foot on a plane, would be to decide which of the incredible Singita experiences are most ‘you’. I suspect you’ll marvel and drool over the incredible images on Singita’s website and dither and dream … simply because the all the options are so indulgently moreish.
You’ll no doubt picture yourself sitting at the edge of an infinity pool, cocktail in hand, overlooking the tranquil bush (but for the visit of a stray giraffe in your field of vision). Or perhaps you can already feel the balmy early evening temperature on your skin and smell the distinctive aroma of camel thorn wood on the campfire at night under the vast expanse of the Milky Way…
And it’s not just about stunning lodges, pristine wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes at Singita. The ethos of conservation, community and sustainable living is at the forefront of absolutely everything they do – from the ethical farm-to-table food journey and the creation of community partnership projects, to custodianship of the vast swathes of unspoilt wilderness. The interconnectedness of fragile ecosystems and the crucial role that ecotourism plays are paramount to the spirit of Singita.
According to Luke Bailes, Founder and Executive Chairman at Singita, “Singita 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.”
As for culinary choices – that’s a tasty safari in its own right! You’ll be pleased to know that the wondrous food offerings you’ll be treated to at all the different lodges and camps are a celebration of fresh, local, seasonal produce. Good to know, too, is that food at Singita is part of the bigger story of a sustainable farm-to-table journey, and one in which the communities involved in producing your edibles are part and parcel of the greater conscious-living scheme of things.
With the focus squarely on a three-pronged approach to conservation – sustainability, community and biodiversity, Singita has over the past few decades proactively moved towards less a meat, more (60%) vegetable-led menu, to local sourcing from community suppliers and to a lighter carbon footprint. How progressive to think that guests can mix their own smoothies should they wish to, and that after-dinner drinks are replaced with chamomile tea instead of coffee! More African flavours have also steadily been introduced to the menus so that guests can fully experience traditional African influences. Furthermore, guests can contribute to the local communities’ culinary schools (that train local students to be world-class chefs) by partaking in lessons (just imagine the enormous amount of fun you’ll be having!) and/or purchasing a cookery book.
The Singita story is indeed, as per their motto, one of ‘discovery, of shifting one’s perspective and of touching the earth lightly.’
Find your inner sanctuary in one of these last, true wildernesses on the planet, having the satisfaction that you’ve made a difference, that you’ve played your part in Singita’s incredible journey of considered, gentle conservation. And – inevitably – in the process you will gain more than you could ever give – a win-win if ever there was one!
Pack those Ralph Lauren canvas bags and Louis Vuitton trunks, head for the African savannah and create those indelible memories, pronto! The Serengeti and its counterparts await your arrival with unfettered big-smiles and open-arms-hospitality as only Africa knows how to offer.
A huge thank you to Singita for the images and information.