Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Singita, South Africa's best
Opulent décor decor and excellent service accompanied by some of the best game viewing in South Africa make Singita arguably the most exquisite game lodge in the country. Located both in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve as well as in a private concession within Kruger National Park, Singita offers five distinctive accommodation choices, each with a common lodge and an outcropping of guest suites. What sets Singita apart from scores of other safari lodges is not just dramatic décordecor, but an attention to detail that’s painstakingly maintained in the game experience itself. Rangers who oversee your game drives possess an astounding mental history of migrations and herds within the region, and will entertain you with firsthand tales from the bush as you make your way through the savannah.
Singita is composed of five unique lodges, each an entity unto itself, with a common area and 10- to 12 suites each. While each they all offers a similar experience and the same high quality of food and service, they differ by décor decor and mood. Ebony offers perhaps the most traditional, “Out of Africa–”-like experience; heavy four-poster beds, double-sided fireplaces, and massive teak decks with private plunge pools echo ancient Africa and a wildlife-rich bush experience. The white leather and linen of Boulders is not far off, offering a more starkly modern accommodation with a similar bush experience. Sweni— -- on the banks of a river— -- and the very contemporary Lebombo (with dramatic lofts set into a cliff of falling water) are for those seeking a more secluded setting with less active game drives, while Castleton is ideal for small gatherings like wedding parties or family reunions.
Rangers walk you around the property to ensure that stray wildlife doesn’t get too close; and staff here is happy to wait on you, but they don’t fawn over you. Rangers are top-notch; they’re well-versed in the habits of local wildlife and show real enthusiasm tracking animals.
Dine on in the privacy of your private deck, or join other guests on the common deck as you choose from a buffet of South African and international fare such as fresh fruit, green salad, ostrich fillets and bobotie (a sort of South African Shepherd’s shepherd’s Piepie). And you’ll never go thirsty: Singita claims the best bush cellar in Africa, with over more than 12,000 bottles buried in a rock beneath the lodge. Still, you come here to see game, and here you’re unlikely to see clusters of Land Rovers roaming the wilderness looking for animals. Drives are often very exciting, as you can drive off-road and at night, and it’s not uncommon to spot a black rhino or a large pride of lion. Better still, take a one-on-one guided bush walk and return for cocktails on the verandah, drinking a glass of chilled Cabernet as the sky’s glowing fireball slowly sinks below the green horizon.
I had simply three of my greatest days at Singita!