For those who ask us to plan a trulylife-changing experience, with the highest possible standards of luxury and service, it’s impossible for us not to think about our friends at Singita.
The 15 beautiful camps and lodges; lightly resting on the land to romantic suspended James Bond lairs – dotted between Zimbabwe, South Africa, Rwanda, and Tanzania are each their own restorative sanctuary. You are guaranteed epic, private wildlife encounters in the bush that you won’t find anywhere else. Sought-after locations, intuitive attention to detail, and the utmost privacy underpin every stay.
“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and I was not happy” wrote Ernest Hemingway… and it’s true! From the very first ride in a Singita Land cruiser with binoculars and camera jingling around my neck, to those spent peacefully reclined, sipping coffee and exchanging meaningful yet peculiar glances with a family of baboons tracking a herd of wildebeest as it moves across the yellow-green plains in the distance.
The lodges, the architecture, the beds; the private infinity pool! Everything is exquisite. Picture yourself in the most refreshing and inviting infinity pool you’ve ever slipped into. Then picture that pool situated in front of a canopy of trees which leads down to a river where a herd of elephants emerge from the bush to drink and bathe at the river’s edge.
Of all the luxuries Singita provides, though, the greatest is the exclusive experience of viewing game on its private reserves. You won’t get this anywhere else. Here, it is not unusual to drive for an hour or more and not encounter any other vehicle or human, just wildlife. It’s like you would imagine a safari to be. Having been on other safaris, I have seen crowds compared to those at a Disney theme park, where it is not uncommon for a swarm of 20 vehicles to descend on a lion kill or cub sighting.
On one of my first early-morning game drives in Zimbabwe, my guide, Tenge Siabwanda, manoeuvred us close to two lions and a lioness lounging under a tree. We watched for 15 minutes as they groomed each other, then stood up and sauntered past, one so close I could have leaned out of the vehicle and run my hand through its mane. Surprisingly nonchalant and unfazed by our presence — even if you do advertise your snack-ability in a black or red t-shirt (don’t do that) — they casually glanced at our land cruiser and decided it wasn’t worth the effort.
Not enough can be said about the excellent guides; all the kindest souls and most intuitive animal whisperers, vigilantly watchful for any animal sounds or obscure birdsong. We are firm believers that it is always the people that make an experience special. Many of them are wildlife photographers and passionate conservationists from all walks of life that are able to entertain a gaggle of city children wanting to learn how to make fire, whilst magicking up the perfect picnic breakfast with freshly baked croissants and homemade granola.
Singita also champions a plethora of noble conservation initiatives and community empowerment programmes. They call this their 100-year purpose, which aims to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. Guests can head out and train with the anti-poaching teams and gain insight into the important work they do in Singita’s reserves.
Keeping tourism, communities and wildlife in a constructive balance is crucial to each of their continuing success as a whole. Impressive for a company that provides some of the most luxurious hospitality I have ever experienced.