wishlist: singita

Consistently awarded top local and international honors, Singita Game Reserves has introduced an added value promotion that will move Africa to the top of your wish list: free nights at four of their low-impact, luxury African lodges in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The Singita Ebony and Sweni combo package offers a complimentary flight between the two lodges as well as one free night when booking two nights at each lodge. Located in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, Ebony Lodge features superlative views plus suites with private swimming pools along the Sabi River. Just a short flight away, seductive Sweni Lodge is nestled within a riverine forest on a private concession in the game-rich Kruger National Park. Intimate and romantic, Sweni has dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass walls and private viewing decks.  Alternatively for anyone who wants to unpack and stay put for a few days, a free night offer is available at either the stylish Singita Lemombo, overlooking the N’wanetsi River, Singita Pamushana, perched high atop sandstone cliffs overlooking the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in Zimbabwe, or Singita Grumeti Reserves, located in the vast landscape of Tanzania’s Serengeti plains. All of the lodges boast unmatched game viewing, haute cuisine, and high style – along with an uncompromising dedication to conservation and sustainability above all else. It’s enough to make me wish I had waited to book next week’s trip to Kenya. Yes, that’s right, dear readers: I’m off to Ireland next week, followed by Africa the week after. From a tent in the Masai Mara I’ll be watching the great migration of wildebeest across the plains. My postings, needless to say, might be a bit intermittent.

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don’t worry, be danish

According to the World Database of Happiness – a highly subjective research project based out of Rotterdam’s Erasmus University – the world’s happiest country is Denmark, closely followed by Switzerland and Austria.  Denmark borders Sweden and Germany and is home to 5.5 million people as well as the world’s best butter cookies. According to the National Institute of Public Health, the average life expectancy is 75.9 years for males and 80.5 years for women.

The continuous register of scientific research on subjective appreciation of life – as the Database is subtitled -  lists Zimbabwe at the bottom, along with Armenia, Ukraine, Moldova and Tanzania rounding out the five most miserable countries on the planet.  Zimbabwe borders South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana. It is home to roughly 12 million people who’ve been subjected to rampant human rights abuses, public health epidemics, and crazy hyperinflation under the dictatorial presidency of Robert Mugabe. According to the U.N. World Health Organization, the life expectancy is 37 years for males and 34 years for women.

Not to get all metaphysical, but what is happiness anyway?

Technically it’s defined as the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his or her life-as-a-whole favorably.  In other words: how much he/she likes the life he leads.

And more importantly, is all happiness just relative?

An expat friend of mine was able to put it into perfect perspective for me, while also crystallizing the differences between our two countries:  “In Russia,” she said, “we don’t expect to be happy.  So when happiness does from time to time visit it is a cause for celebration.  Because who knows how long it will last or if it will ever come again.  In America, however, everyone expects to be happy and acts as though it were an entitlement.”

I suddenly get why so many of us snarf a Danish with our morning coffee.

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