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While searching for big game in the East African wilderness on our recent safari holiday, our stay at the wonderful Singita Group’s Faru Faru Lodge added a more unconventional, contemporary layer to the variety of camps we tried.

Situated in the Serengeti’s Singita Grumeti Reserves and built on a gently sloping hill overlooking the Grumeti River, the lodge is in the prime, lush territory where the annual Great Migration originates. But the natural setting that drew us here is not the only visual feast…

Sheira and I are huge fans of great design and architecture: we love the way the luxurious suites seamlessly blend canvas, stone and modern elements, while maximising access to the wonderland outside. Faru Faru captures the essence of a great safari lodge, taking it to a more luxurious place…
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Over the past 15 yrs, after sampling the safari camps of South Africa, Sheira and I were already veterans of the SINGITA GROUP’s imaginative and cutting edge  design style. They always integrate a new luxury design element with the classic safari ideal: big game drives in a chic-comes-to-the-wild context.

One example of this is the wonderful “dry stone” and glass aesthetic of a property that really stood out for us: SINGITA BOULDERS. Ever since we visited ten years ago, it has been our architectural benchmark for very directional organic design. We were inspired to use many of the same features when we built our home from scratch in Sydney: exposed dry stone, doublesided fireplaces, exposed timber and frameless glass. We even named the boat we kept for the past decade on Sydney Harbour after this property!  Sheira had suggested naming it Singita, after going through the usual Amalfi, Posintano, Capri …predictable names so many people use when christening a boat. 

The company has kept the hands on approach required at this level of luxury by staying small at under 10 properties, mainly in South Africa. The company could have expanded up to three times by now, but they know their strength is in staying intimate.

I remembered every cog in the wheel being brilliant, from the staff and spectacular food to the standout design. So when I started researching new territory in East Africa and saw that there were 3 Singita properties in the Gremeti Reserve I knew one would make the cut. You could stay at any three and be happy - which one to pick? 

The SASAKWA LODGE is beautiful and built in the style of a grand English Manor - which is too removed from the outdoors for my liking on safari.  I don’t want to connect with nature and then lock myself away in a really closed environment; even though I knew they would do that homestead concept extremely well. The other property, SABORA is a superb tented camp, which we already had taken care of in Kenya (see BATELEUR CAMP). FARU FARU grabbed me straight away because it reminded me just a little of Singita Boulders, adding an architectural point of difference being unconventional, contemporary but still capturing the essence of a great safari lodge.

Like most people flying into East Africa, we were coming to Tanzania from NAIROBI, the capital of neighbouring country, Kenya. 

The first major port of entry to clear customs in Tanzania is the mythic and famous KILIMANJARO (and yes, you do see the mountain!) At this point I was so glad that we had pre-organised the visas before we left Australia. A couple we had recently met, were held up over ˝ an hour gettting their visas processed at the airport.

Why get caught up in a bureaucratic tangle at the airport in the heat of Africa when you could be just gliding onto your next plane, try organize your visa before you leave home! 

To get to Faru Faru we took a small plane 2 and ˝ hrs to the inland rural hub, ARUCHA, then a 10 min flight onto MANYARA, then finally another 40 minutes onto SASAKWA.

We met a lovely couple from Houston, Texas, on the small plane. (They have just recently spent a few days with us here in Sydney…our luck of meeting wonderful people continues as we travel the globe).  A bonus of being a globetrotter is connecting with new friends and hosting them back in my beautiful hometown of Sydney. 

After our 4 -5 hr journey getting to the Serengeti - the vast eco-system with diverse habitats ranging from forests, swamps, and grassy plains to woodlands - we were thrilled to finally arrive here at The Grumeti Reserve in the Serengeti. We were met at the small airport, by our guide and driver Aloyce Moshi. 

On our 45-minute drive to the camp the terrain changed continuously. One minute we were in rugged countryside with lots of boulders and stones and then as we reached the GRUMETI RESERVE, on the western edge of SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK, changing to flat, green plains. It’s the kind of rich greenery that draws millions of animals to this part of Northwest Tanzania every year on the GREAT MIGRATION: this spectacular annual quest ends up in Kenya’s Masaai Mara.

Aloyce was constantly stopping and raising his binoculars to scan the horizon for game. It was not long before we hit the jackpot, with sightings of both the elusive leopard, and hyena. 

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