Tuesday
Sep182012

A Private Retreat, by Singita Game Reserves.

If a secret had a secret it would be suite 7, the private villa at Singita Pamushana Lodge, Zimbabwe. A handful of the world’s most celebrated (be it in business, royalty or on the silver screen) have chosen this as their holiday destination, and it’s not hard to see why from the second you open the front door.

You step into a sumptuous lounge decorated in a forest of greens – from the beaded chandelier to the designer bamboo chair, but before you can absorb the details the room opens up onto the pool deck and the view seduces you. You’re gazing upon a vast wilderness for as far as the eye can see, and beyond. This is Africa at her wildest, most pristine and naturally beautiful – and it’s the reason this property achieved Global Winner in the Conservation category of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2011. It’s a true conservationist’s paradise.

On this elevated wrap-around deck daybeds beckon, a private pool sparkles turquoise and a Swarovski spotting scope awaits should you want to zoom in on any movement below and observe the wildlife.

The west wing is given over to the master bedroom in a monochromatic theme. The original artworks and design demand attention, yet you are handed a remote control.  Press the button on it and the surround glass panels slide down vertically and disappear into a recess, taking your breath along with them. The open-air bedroom leads to an en-suite bathroom and his and hers’ dressing rooms.

Past a double-sided fireplace is what has to be one of the most extraordinary studies ever built. It too has glass surround panels that drop away, air-conditioning, high-speed wireless internet and US telephones. Elsewhere in the suite you’ll find, discreetly placed, a satellite TV and home entertainment system.

In the central area is a private dining room and a fully equipped kitchen. Personal attention is guaranteed with your own banakeli (waiter) offering discreet service and making sure your every requirement is met.  Whether for a family or intimate group of friends travelling together, meals are prepared to be savoured in the villa at any time throughout the day or night – or dining can take place in the main lodge areas.

The east wing has four double bedrooms with king size beds and en-suite bathrooms. Each one is a feast for the eyes – jewel colours dominate yet impart an atmosphere of sumptuousness and reflection. You’ll also find a guest toilet leading to an outdoor shower which has unsurpassed views.

Everything about a stay in the private villa is governed by exclusivity and tranquillity. Guests can fly in and out on private charter flights and, for the duration of their stay, they’ll have the benefit of a private game viewing vehicle and dedicated guide. With hundreds of kilometres of the most pristine wilderness to explore the only other life you’ll see is wildlife. You could choose to explore this on foot with your guide, or in a more relaxed manner, sundowner in hand, aboard the luxury watercraft on the Malilangwe Dam.

The main lodge itself is also designed with privacy in mind, with many quiet reading nooks and relaxing lounges, dining areas and outdoor decks. There is a separate yoga studio and a fully equipped gym. The spa is tucked away and offers a host of relaxing treatments and massages – and guests are welcome to request these in the villa or out on their private decks.

The private villa is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown that is Singita Pamushana – a most rare and precious jewel – and you’ll be forgiven for falling in love…

 

 

 

Saturday
Aug182012

Dispatches from Singita Pamushana

 

This entry is written by Anthony, safari guide, on day 3 of his most recent tour through Pamushana. 

Pamushana is ok I suppose...

We had a fairly ‘average’ morning which started off with spending over an hour with a leopard and cub followed by three white rhino and then a pangolin!! (a first for them), some Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest (also new for them) and an hour with three cheetah before deciding to come back in to the lodge...

To top off the afternoon we had two large crocs fighting with 7 lions over a buffalo kill about 200m from any up on top of the Chiredzi River. Three elephant bulls then came in and chased the lions off and had crocs hissing at elephants resulting in an awkward standoff which the crocs won. Quite incredible. We tried to get in as close as we could on foot to photograph the crocs but a large lioness wasn't too keen on sharing her dinner with anyone else at that point and gave us a rev.

Then two male lions on the way home and a herd of over 100 buffalo.

Hope tomorrow isn’t so boring

Cheers,

 Ant

P.S. Guests got some amazing pics with his EOSD1 and 400mm lens but here are a couple from my camera...

Anthony Kaschula (BSc.) (MSc. TRE)

Professional Guide 

Thursday
Jul192012

June in The Serengeti

 

This was our own take on a wonderful experience we had in the Serengeti. 

Wow, is the only way to describe my experiences with the great wildebeest migration in t

he Western Serengeti this last June. I arrived in Tanzania a few days ahead of my first group of guests and spent my first night at Legendary Lodge in Arusha, which must be the most welcome and calm experience after a day and a half traveling half way around the world. Russel and Michelle Hastings are great hosts and friends who run a first rate operation.

 

The following day Russel packed me off across Tanzania to the west of the Serengeti via Lake Manyara and The Ngorongoro Crater. This is a drive that climbs up over The Ngorongoro Highlands and down into the plains of the Serengeti below. On the way we drove through a herd of a few hundred thousand wildebeest heading straight for Singita Grumeti. I slept that night in Kerr and Downey Tanzania's mobile-tented camp, which is fantastic and very private looking out onto the short grass plains of the Serengeti.

 

A few days later I met my guests at the Sasakwa airfield and we set off hoping to give our guests the chance to witness the world's greatest wildlife experience, the migration of over a million animals. As always the savannas were filled with herds of animals but the highlight was a cheetah with two cubs. Day two we saw a large pride of lion lying up in the grass. They seemed to be waiting for the bounty of wildebeest that would soon flood the reserve. That afternoon we found a herd of about 5000 topi and had the privilege of spending the afternoon with the world foremost expert on wildebeest, Dr Richard Estes who actually wrote the book on African mammals. Dr Estes commented that there was a distinct change to the resident herds of wildebeest as the migration "scouts" were among them. Sure enough the following morning we managed to find a herd of about 50 thousand wildebeest moving fast down to the Grumeti River. By that afternoon they had crossed the Grumeti and thousands and thousands of animals surrounded us. Each day their numbers seemed to build and build and the wildebeest's energy and level of activity seemed to grow by each hour as they started their rut. Male wildebeest become so territorial that they sometimes even charge at the landrovers.

 

Maria flew in a few days later. She had come over to work with a group of guests who had taken over Sasakwa for a 50th birthday party. This was a great success and went off with out a hitch thanks to lodge managers, Mandy & Chris and to the entires staff's tireless work.

 

After about 10 days and a million animals, the grass on the plains at Sasakwa had been turned from waist high grass that could hide a whole pride of lions to ankle height! One afternoon we drove from Sabora Camp to the Grumeti River in the national park, a distance of about 20 miles. As we drove the horizon was filled with wildebeest and zebra as far as the eye could see.

 

I do believe that the one ingredient that makes any safari great are the people that you meet along the way. Both Maria and I cannot say enough about the amazing group of people that are involved at different ways with Singita Grumeti, these are the people that have made this Travel and Leisure's best over all hotel in the world two years in a row!

 

 

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