Office Trip Reports

Alison Nolting visits Singita in South Africa

Shish Pride lions sighting at Singita Lebombo Lodge

Alison Nolting has just returned from her two-part trip to South Africa. Part 1 entailed exploring several of Singita’s properties in both Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands private reserves. Part 2 encompassed her visit to the Indaba travel conference in Durban, South Africa.

The first Singita property Alison visited was Lebombo Lodge. Lebombo Lodge and its surrounding environs are gorgeous, and the contemporary & African architectural aesthetics blend well together as an elevated Eagle Nest concept. She also underwent a site inspection with General Manager Grant Oliver, to the sister property Sweni and was very impressed with the location on the riverbank.

Singita Lebombo Lodge
Singita Sweni Camp

But Alison’s favorite part of the visit was attending Lebombo’s Culinary School! As many of you know, many of these remotely located lodges and camps maintain very high standards when regarding food quality: what better way to explore the process than participating yourself as the students were taking their final practical exam! A highlight of the food experience was a pairing of Craven Sauvignon Blanc wine, with the tapas-style barbeque in the Boma evening.

The game viewing was also top-notch. Because Singita Lebombo is located within its own private concession, the vehicle traffic that is usually so commonplace in Kruger was nowhere to be seen. She was guided by the team of guide Walter and tracker Howard – excellent excellent at finding us the lion prides and sharing in the new partnership that Singita has launched with the Lionscape Coalition.

As a result, Alison was able to get some incredible wildlife photographs & videos! She spotted two white rhinos, one of which was pregnant. They truly are immense yet beautiful creatures, and to see them up close was truly a memory to treasure.

Not only did she see rhinos again, she also had a fantastic leopard and lion pride sightings. Especially photogenic was a lioness relaxing at sunset.

Schotia female and her sub adult son (photo Singita)

She also witnessed a rather uncommon sighting: two buffaloes fighting each other within a large herd of 300+!

Alison’s next stop was Singita Ebony Lodge. Among the enormous trees along the Sand River, you are left with the impression that you are at a “classic” safari camp, but with some contemporary flourishes deftly interspersed including traditional canvas.

Singita Ebony Lodge

The wildlife sightings at Sabi Sands were also superb. In addition to more sightings of white rhino, Alison also spot a small journey of giraffe and a breeding herd of elephants. And the amazing sighting of the Schotia female leopard and her sub-adult son.

Before departing, Alison also had the opportunity to check out two other Singita properties located within Sabi Sands: Castleton Lodge & Boulders Lodge. A hightlight was joining the General Manager Andrew Rosettenstein at the evening wine tasting in the Boulders cellar – incredible! The favorites were the Nautical Dawn Sauvignon Blanc paired with Kingklip fish, and Klein Constantia vin de Constance with dessert. Kudos to the sommelier Ngoni.

Singita Castleton Lodge
Singita Boulders Lodge

The 2nd part of Alison’s trip was attending the 4-day Indaba Travel Conference. Held annually in Durban, South Africa, Indaba is the biggest gathering of the biggest and best names in the Southern Africa travel industry.

Alison’s favorite destination, Zimbabwe!

Some of the highlights of Alison’s visit include discussing many of the tour operators’ ongoing conservation & community projects, learning of accommodation openings & and reopenings, and bumping into old friends & colleagues.

Notable accommodations openings & reopenings include:

  • Great Plains’ reopening of Selinda Camp (Selinda Reserve, Botswana)
  • Wilderness Safaris’ opening of the new Magashi Camp (Akagera National Park, Rwanda)
  • Singita’s opening of Kwitonda Lodge (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda)
  • &Beyond’s opening of Tengile Lodge (Sabi Sands Reserve, South Africa)
  • Reopening of The Motse (Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa).
  • Puku Ridge opening in South Luangwa, Zambia with Chiawa Safaris
  • Lemala and Nomad both opening new properties in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
  • Governor’s Camp opening a new lodge, Mugie in Laikipia, Kenya
Nick & Des Murray, Bushlife Safaris

Alison also visited with Nick & Des Murray from Bushlife Safaris. Though they had no major announcements of their own, it was good to see the Africa Adventure Company’s long-time business partners promoting their world-class safari experiences at their camps and vital wildlife conservation efforts at Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. Whether you’re eager to go on a traditional game drive, do a walk through the famous Acacia forests, or canoe – the Zambezi is calling!

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