a Lifetime with Singita
ur travels in Africa began with a mystical adventure that is hard to put into words. Going on safari had long been on Glenn and mine’s bucket list, so when a girlfriend suggested we celebrate New Year’s on the Serengeti plains, we thought, what better way to kick off 2017 than by connecting with nature on a whole new level?
We heard that when it comes to wildlife experiences in Africa, we should look no further than Singita. The custodian of over half a million acres of pristine African wilderness, Singita operates more than a dozen luxury lodges and private villas, with a mission to protect these precious lands and empower local communities to thrive.
We chose to stay at the Sasakwa Lodge in Grumeti, Tanzania, an elegant European-style manor plus private cottages overlooking the wide open Serengeti. We fell in love as soon as we arrived. Everywhere we looked was exquisitely beautiful, from the British old-world decor to the breathtaking views of the endless green plains. In fact, in all my travels I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a more glamorous resort.
Beyond the look of it all, the lodge was a complete sanctuary. The staff are exceptionally warm and welcoming, so we all felt right at home. We were so excited to be there that believe it or not, waking up at 6am for the game ride while on vacation felt effortless. Every morning we rose with the sun, walked over to the main lodge for coffee and breakfast, and then grabbed our blankets, greeted our driver and climbed into our Land Rover.
At first I was a bit skeptical, thinking, “Really? I have to sit in an off-roading vehicle for three and a half hours?” But my concern quickly floated away as we drifted further into the wild. We soon found ourselves up close and personal with the Serengeti’s most majestic creatures. We were in awe as we saw giraffes, zebras, lions, baboons, grand gazelles, cheetahs, leopards, and more, almost close enough to reach out and pet (seriously—like within ten feet of these wild animals!). It was such a magical experience that when we arrived back at the lodge, it was as if we had been gone for ten minutes or maybe a lifetime.
After our morning ride, we would spend the afternoon relaxing. I’d have brunch and then check in to the spa, read a book in the gorgeous common areas or out on the veranda, and perhaps take a dip in our private plunge pool. At four o’clock, we’d have the option to take a second ride, which was all the more amazing as the sun began to set over the plains.
At night, we’d settle in and enjoy an absolutely delicious dinner under the stars, followed by the most blissful night’s sleep. Singita is so mindful of every detail and we loved that our room provided complete darkness with nothing blinking, beeping or interrupting the peaceful silence of the wild. I would put on a DVD of Out of Africa and drift off into dreams of the open plains, waking up refreshed and ready to see it all again.
This experience of being immersed in nature was so transformative and along the way, I was pleased to learn more about Singita’s successes in preserving these captivating ecosystems. Every stay at Sasakwa contributes to the Singita Grumeti Fund, supporting their ongoing conservation work. With a holistic approach to managing these lands, efforts include preventing poaching, educating and empowering local communities, removing invasive plant life and reintroducing endangered species.
Since taking charge of their Grumeti parcel in 2003, Singita has seen huge success in restoring life to the area. The elephant population has quadrupled, giraffe have almost tripled and there are ten times more buffalo than there were just eleven years ago.
Meanwhile Singita is equally invested in local peoples, who are key players in preserving the integrity of the wilderness. Their initiatives provide clean drinking water, empower local enterprises and educate both children and adults with their long-term interests in mind. At Singita Pamushana, they even have a program that feeds nineteen thousand young school children every day.
The Tanzanian Serengeti is one of five diverse ecosystems you can explore with Singita and no matter which you choose, you can feel confident that you’re contributing to a positive local impact. It’s an incredible opportunity to connect with an increasingly rare part of our world and help preserve its magic. If you have the chance to go, take it.