Singita: A Conservation Brand

Singita is a brand synonymous with luxury; however, not everyone knows about Singita’s 100 Year Purpose: To preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. Luxury and conservation… What’s not to love?

Singita literally translates to “Place of Miracles”, which might seem like an awful lot to live up to but for 20+ years, Singita has been doing just that. Concurrently (and with fewer bells and whistles), Singita has led the charge in sustainable ecotourism, or “conscious hospitality”, as Singita refers to it. Their efforts and, more importantly, their results, are nothing short of miraculous. But they’re not stopping there.

With 12 top-of-the-line luxury camps and lodges that span South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe (with more to come), Singita oversees 1,000,000+ acres of precious wilderness. Through anti-poaching efforts, reintroduction programs, and education and community empowerment initiatives, Singita has seen immense success across diverse regions. That’s not all: Singita is committed to reducing their environmental footprint based on the “One Planet” initiative. Since adopting the plan, Singita has reduced plastic water bottle usage by 64%, slashed generator reliance by 75% in their Kruger and Serengeti properties, and continues to enforce other strict regulations to ensure all operations are carbon neutral.

Here at Extraordinary Journeys, we are committed to working with camps and lodges built around an ethos of conservation and sustainability. In short, we seek out the Singita’s of the world. And, like Singita, we consider it part of our job to promote best practices in ecotourism. Most exciting for us, we get to share our dedication to conscientious travel with our clients – and if they don’t necessarily “get it” before they travel, they certainly understand when they return.

The bottom line: Yes, the price tag is high but you’re not only receiving exceptional service, you are directly supporting conservation efforts in critical wilderness areas. Saving the planet doesn’t come cheap, and ensuring future generations can still see elephants in the wild is no easy feat, but Singita is more than up to the challenge. Join us in supporting their efforts.

Sabi Sand Private Reserve and Kruger National Park, South Africa

In this diverse region of lush Lowveld vegetation, winding rivers and rocky outcroppings, Singita manages to maintain its trademark exclusivity despite the areas being two of the most popular safari destinations on the continent. With regard to conservation: Singita has significantly decreased poaching thanks, in large part, to 24/7 on-the-ground teams and trained K-9 units. In addition, species like reedbuck and blue wildebeest were reintroduced, and erosion control and alien plant removal restored main water courses.

On the community side: Singita’s education initiatives are remarkable. The Teaching and Technology program (sponsored by the European Space Agency) equips 19 local schools with state-of-the-art e-learning tools such as tablets and laptops, including areas heretofore without Internet. Additionally, Singita offers “teacher skills training” across 20 regional schools through the Growing to READ initiative. This provides support to educators and parents alike in understanding how crucial literacy skills are and how best to nurture these skills in children. Let’s not forget the Singita School of Cooking either, which has produced 50 professional chefs from the local community in 7 years of operation.

Grumeti Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park Tanzania

Grumeti Game Reserve is Singita’s private playground. And by playground, we mean 350,000 acres. Singita has reinvigorated this area of the Serengeti ecosystem to make it more appealing to wildlife, which has encouraged over 1,500 elephants to call the private reserve home. This means 25% of the Serengeti's elephants live on 7% of the land area. That’s just the start; buffalo populations have increased tenfold, and giraffe and topi respectively have almost tripled. It’s not only big game that’s returned though. Singita successfully reintroduced wild dogs, with two packs running at 17 strong.

With a full-time staff of 180 dedicated to anti-poaching and conservation, Singita has arrested more than 5,000 poachers in 16 years. Singita has even reeducated and converted over 100 former poachers into environmentally-minded gamekeepers. Since the establishment of the Environmental Educational Centre, Singita also provides environmental sustainability education to approximately 1,400 students and 240 teachers. The education initiative focuses on both theoretical and practical aspects of environmentalism from tree planting, to soil and water management, to humans’ role within the greater context of whole ecosystems. This programming is meant to provide knowledge and training as well as a passion and appreciation for nature to produce the environmental stewards of the future.

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe

Signita’s conservation efforts in Zimbabwe center on the reintroduction of white and black rhino. In order to do so, anti-poaching and security teams work round-the-clock to protect these magnificent creatures. It’s been a real success. In the last decade, they haven’t lost a single rhino to poaching. The takeaway: Both species are thriving, so much so that some rhino have been relocated to additional reserves!

The surrounding communities are no less important though. Each day, 19,000 local school children receive a morning meal through the Community Partnership Program. This meal provides them with nourishment to make the most of their day in the classroom. Other community efforts include: beekeeping and poultry enterprises that help to support the community financially, as well as supply eggs in the Pamushana kitchen.

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John Moody