Exclusive, intimate and located in Sabi Sands, in the greater Kruger, Singita Castleton is a reasonably new addition to an internationally recognised stable.
Situated to the south of Sand River, on the edge of its flood plain, in a setting that is unmistakably tropical savvanah, Singita Castleton is a stone and thatch build, luxury farmhouse consisting of a lounge, an enormous and typically colonial verandah, a pool, dining area, kitchen, library area and 6 bedrooms.
Characterised by a cavernous ceiling, exposed beams and a polished floor, the lounge is a wonderful mix of old and new: framed photographs, one or two stuffed animal heads and the odd artefact mark otherwise plain beige walls; lightweight and slumber seating sit arranged about a large studded coffee table; a selection of dark wood side tables, variously sized cushions and rugs. The verandah is equally fine, and looks out onto the lawn, the beautiful (small) pool and the river beyond.
Singita Castleton comes with its own staff. All diets and food requirements are handled by a full time chef, whose menu is advertised as gourmet, whilst a house manager and ancillary staff take care of all other needs. A private vehicle and ranger are provided for game drives. The service is exceptional.
In contrast to the filled up look of the shared areas, Singita Castleton’s sleeping rooms – 4 are twin, the remaining 2 doubles – are much plainer in design. Similarly marked by disappearing ceilings, polished floors and a tawny-beige colour scheme, each room possesses a stressed desk and chair, assorted lamp lighting, space enough to change in, storage and an en-suite bathroom – roll top standalone bath, toilet and sink.
Activities at Singita Castleton include game drives, guided walks and community tours. Archery, tennis and the chance to shop at the African Trading Store are available at some of the other Singita properties.
Singita is committed to making a sustainable difference to local communities and to protecting the environment and wildlife. To date, a number of successful projects have come to fruition, including the building of schools, micro-financing of small businesses, supporting agricultural initiatives as well as training people in the conservation and hospitality sectors. Many of our guests express an interest in contributing towards such initiatives and we gratefully facilitate this.
Singita has a strong bond with our local communities. Many of our staff live locally and are transported to and from their homes on a daily basis, and most of our staff are ex-pupils of the local schools which we support. We have therefore pledged to undertake projects that empower the local people, using resources at our disposal. This includes providing funds, access to the reserves, expertise and getting involved in social outreach projects. We also deliberately manage our lodges in a way that maximises the benefits to local communities so that they can experience the positive effects of eco-tourism.
At each of our lodges we have dedicated teams whose sole focus is to preserve the land and to protect and increase the wildlife to match its natural carrying capacity. This includes environmental care and anti-poaching units.
Our Guiding teams are selected on the basis of their passion and knowledge of the bush and then deliberately up-skilled by our Head of Guide Training and Development to ensure our guests have rich, educational and enjoyable experiences during their time with us.
Singita Kruger National Park has adopted an approach that is dedicated to stimulating the local economy on the outskirts of the park. Monthly spend on local suppliers and contractors has double over the past two years. Daily transport services for staff are sourced locally, as are services such as waste removal, linen repair beverage supplies and arts and crafts to supplement lodge décor and for special gifts. The Singita Business Linkages Committee oversees this process and ensures that the work that is done is conducted in co-operation with the efforts of the Kruger National Park Community Development Division.
Singita School of Cooking
The school is located on site at the staff village that serves Lebombo and Sweni. It was established with the aim of encouraging the development of culinary skills amongst local
youth. Each year, eight to ten students are selected – based upon clear criteria including a real interest in cooking to participate in a 1-year development programme.
General Community Support
The lodges are involved in supporting schools in the local communities in various ways; providing practical and educational support to pre-schools and assisting communities with access to fresh water. Support for the pre-schools ranges from assisting with maintenance challenges; to the planting of indigenous trees in the school grounds; to the much larger challenge of assisting with the improvement of the quality of education provided.