Set in the pristine wilderness of Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in remote southeast Zimbabwe, Singita Pamushana is one of Africa’s most exclusive safari lodges. Perched high on a sandstone ridge overlooking the Malilangwe Dam, the ultra-luxe property offers sweeping views of the shimmering waters and the wildlife that drinks, bathes, and plays in it. Inside, stone, thatch, and rough-hewn architecture are complemented by a design aesthetic influenced by local Shangan culture. Counting just eight suites and a private villa, it’s a secluded and reclusive wilderness escape where guests are embraced by the warmth of Zimbabwean hospitality.
What we love about Singita Pamushana
The remote beauty of Singita Pamushana Lodge and its surroundings is undeniably special. We love that not one ounce of luxury has been sacrificed despite its secluded location. Game viewing is excellent year-round, even during secret season, and the guides are top-notch. You might spy white and black rhino, Lichtenstein hartebeest, sable, nyala, klipspringer, cheetah, wild dog, lion, and leopard.
We like to recommend Singita Pamushana for at least a few nights, but guests can easily spend a week here thanks to a broad mix of activities beyond the game-drive vehicle—notably, the water-based experiences afforded by Malilangwe Dam.
Singita Pamushana’s unique conservation and community model
In 1994, the not-for-profit Malilangwe Trust was established as a result of the largest single-donor investment in Zimbabwe to purchase, protect, and manage the extraordinary wilderness area next to the Gonarezhou National Park. Singita Pamushana is the ecotourism arm of this 130,000-acre reserve, and its role is to help conserve wildlife and broader ecological diversity while enabling guests to share in the magic. Singita manages the lodge on behalf of the Trust, and all proceeds benefit the numerous conservation efforts, community outreach, and development programs underway. The initiatives have met great success, and each guest who visits Singita Pamushana positively impacts this incredibly beautiful land and dynamic community.
Getting to Singita Pamushana
Flights from Johannesburg to Buffalo Range International Airport take approximately an hour and 45 minutes, and are only scheduled on specific days of the week.
After landing and clearing customs and immigration at Buffalo Range, guests take a short, eight-minute flight to Singita’s private landing strip, where they are met by the Singita team and transferred to the lodge. Private charters can also be arranged.
The drive from Harare to Singita Pamushana takes approximately six hours, but we don’t recommend it.
Singita Pamushana accommodations
Singita Pamushana offers eight suites and one private villa, each overlooking 1,500-acre Malilangwe Dam and the enveloping acacia woodlands—a view that’s best enjoyed from your private plunge pool.
Among the room types are four one-bedroom suites, three two-bedroom suites, one three-bedroom suite, and a five-bedroom villa. Suites are organically shaped with rounded walls (this is no cookie-cutter property!), and are tastefully decorated in neutral tones, natural stonework, and regionally-inspired decor.
Singita Pamushana’s shared spaces include an infinity pool replete with loungers, terraces, a Conservation Room, a spa, two tennis courts (a short drive away), a boutique and gallery, a fitness center, and a dining boma. A clifftop bar and deli is a great place for al fresco dining, and the firepit crackles at night while guests stargaze or trade stories about the day’s adventures.
Singita Pamushana amenities
At Singita Pamushuana, gorgeous meals are first eaten with the eyes. Dinner is a parade of beautifully plated courses, elevated by the incredible wilderness setting. The dining philosophy epitomizes contemporary African “bush gourmet,” and represents a marriage of outstanding cuisie and environmental sustainability. Every fork-full is a nod to community, from influential regional flavors to locally-grown and procured ingredients.
In-suite amenities inclue an electric converter, hairdryer, and yoga mat. Laundry service is included, and babysitting is available. A television is available to watch in the main lodge.
Singita Pamushana offers amenities befitting a luxury experience, but reliability may ebb thanks to the remote location. For example, Wi-Fi is included but it can be slow and intermittent. There is cell phone coverage, but the quality of a connection is dependent on your carrier.
Is Singita Pamushana family-friendly?
Singita Pamushana welcomes children of all ages, though some activities—like bush walks and walking safaris—may have a minimum age requirement. (Your Field Guide will use their discretion.) As parents ourselves, we’re big fans of bringing kids on safari.
Otherwise, the littles will be preoccupied with board games, arts and crafts, movies, swimming, and stargazing. They’ll also busy themselves with a fun-but-educational “Mini Game Rangers’ Course” where they’ll learn outdoor survival and animal tracking skills—and so much more.
When it comes to rest and retreat, a two-bedroom or a three-bedroom family suite allows for everyone to be together while still enjoying some privacy. The five-bedroom Malilangwe House is an exclusive option for a private stay, and is especially well suited to multigenerational families.
Singita Pamushana activities
Game drives: Twice daily game drives take you to the heart of this vast wilderness. Dedicated field guides and trackers travel with you, spotting wildlife and sharing their knowledge of plants, and trees. Their insight will provide you with a deeper understanding of the biodiversity and animal behavior in the region. Vehicles are open-sided, state-of-the-art, and comfortably accommodate six guests.
Walking safaris: Absent the hum of an engine, walking safaris provide a very different experience from game drives. While you’ll cover a much smaller area, you’ll gain an intimate understanding of the landscape, noticing smaller things like bugs and flower buds. Your guide will decipher hidden symbols of the bush, from spoor to tracks. If you’d like to move a bit faster, you can enjoy a guided mountain bike ride through the reserve.
Hwata photographic hide: Singita Pamushana is an Extraordinary Journeys favorite for an Africa photo safari. Take a seat and wait for unsuspecting game to wander into the camera frame from the unique vantage point afforded by the Hwata photographic hide.
Day trips: Venture to nearby Gonarezhou National Park, called “The Place of Elephants,” or to the ruins of Great Zimbabwe National Monument, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rock art: The Malilangwe Reserve boasts more than 100 recorded rock art sites, created by the San people. Set out on foot with a professional field guide to learn the origin story behind the etchings.
Wine tasting: Singita’s award-winning wine collection is presented by the lodge’s sommeliers, inviting you to try varietals you’ve likely never experienced.
Fishing: Though you may have to share the waters with hippo, crocodile, monitor lizards, and elephant, fishing in Lake Malilangwe is a unique experience that will get you out of the game vehicle. Floating through the stunning scenery, you’ll have the chance to catch tigerfish, bass, bream, and catfish. Once you’re done for the day, the chefs at Singita Lodge Zimbabwe will prepare your fish with local ingredients for you to enjoy for dinner.
Sundowner cruises: Board a pontoon boat to enjoy sundowners while reflecting on the day’s events. As golden hour descends, wait for wildlife to cogretate at the water’s edge while listening to a chorus of birdsong. It’s a splendid way to close out another day on safari.
Community visits: Learn more about the people who call this region home. Visit Kambako, a Shangaan community, to learn about their customs and culture. On this interactive outing, you’ll learn how to weave, fashion a bow and arrow, firemaking, and try your hand at some traditional cooking methods. Alternatively, venture out with The Malilangwe Trust for a community excursion to see how Singita supports local schools, clinics, and horticultural projects.