Singita Game Reserves have an unrivalled reputation for service excellence and exquisite accommodation. Seasoned travellers immediately recognise the exceptional levels of service at all Singita lodges. In the hospitality and game lodge industry the anticipatory service levels of Singita sets an international benchmark that is almost impossible to beat. We visited Boulders and Ebony Lodges, both of which are situated in breathtaking locations next to the Sand River in the Sabi Sand Reserve which is renowned for high concentrations of big game and rugged natural beauty.
by ALAN SAMONS and RUBIN VAN NIEKERK
Singita means “place of miracles” and the Singita group initiates and innovates luxury and design in world-class ecological environments. The eco-drive concept allows guests to interact with their natural surroundings and learn how to “tread lightly on the planet”. The concept of fewer beds in greater areas reduces environmental impact and allows close and intimate experiences for guests. Local communities benefit financially and socially, ensuring environmentally sustainable tourism.
Boulders Lodge has an open, airy feel. Sandy colours and interesting textures combine in a modern take on safari décor. Ebony Lodge could not be more different. Warm, traditional colours and furnishing gives the lodge a distinctly colonial feel. Both are simply stunning and suites are fully air conditioned and all have private viewing decks with plunge pools. All the suites are equipped with a sketch pad, watercolour paints and brushes and guests make full use of this facility, often pasting their works in the guest books of the lodges. What a great idea! We spent a very memorable afternoon on our deck at Ebony Lodge watching a family of elephants feeding on reeds in the riverbed. The most adorable baby – no more than a few weeks old – played with other youngsters and when it became too tired, simply plopped down for a nap. The sense of all-pervading peace is indescribable and it’s quite incredible to think that these animals can be both incredibly gentle and very, very dangerous.
The leopards of the Sabi Sands are famous and we often joke that it’s easier to see a leopard in the Sabi Sands than a Zebra. We were blessed with some sightings that could have been straight from Animal Planet – one being of a male leopard fighting a hyena. The leopard had a previous kill stashed up a nearby tree, so eventually he let the hyena have the impala carcass. Our ranger and tracker were two of the very best and they were so incredibly in tune with their surroundings, that they found a leopard just by following the warning calls of a herd of kudu.
Superior dining is a trademark of all Singita lodges and South African cuisine merges with cosmopolitan trends and flavours, producing superb food that is delicious and wholesome. Accomplished chefs that are frequently well travelled and trained internationally, are inspired by mostly organic locally grown ingredients that would be presented in a fresh, exciting new way. Lunches are usually light and healthy and dinners are presented in the most romantic ways imaginable. We had a very special dinner set up for us at Ebony Lodge. A table for two was set in a small poolside thatched gazebo. Lamps and candles flickered romantically and a million frogs sang a serenade with voices ranging in sound from that of clear silvery bells to the deep boom of a bullfrog. Our private butler’s attentive service made the evening one to remember.
Singita is considered one of South Africa’s most influential wine buyers and offers guests a mind-blowing selection of rare wines and some of the most sought-after private reserves and vintage wines in South Africa. Our brilliant sommelier, Francois Rautenbach, delighted us with interesting stories regarding the wines we tasted during a wine tasting in the candle lit cellar. He was by far the most entertaining and informative sommelier we have yet encountered. Guests may buy any of the wines to take home or have delivered door-to-door. Many of the wines in Singita’s cellars are not available in the general liquor trade.
Meeting people from all over the world, hearing their impressions of South Africa and sharing in their excitement for our beautiful country is a very rare privilege and we always leave feeling rejuvenated and excited. Our Singita memories are among our most precious.
Singita Game Reserves: + 27 (0) 21 683-3424