Dramatically carved into a cliff edging the N’wanetsi River, Singita Lebombo is a true Bond villain-esque hideout. Known for delivering some of the most exclusive wilderness experiences in Africa, the Singita brand is a luxury safari veteran, and this lodge – one of two Singita camps in the Kruger National Park – is no exception. But while its arresting design might capture your initial attention, Singita Lebombo’s wellness philosophy and sustainability enterprises are what really make this lodge a cut above the rest.
Safari Review: Singita Lebombo, South Africa
If you’ve ever wanted to know how it feels to be an eagle, now’s your chance. Singita Lebombo’s 13 staggeringly attractive suites hover between the river and the sky, with floor-to-ceiling glass throughout. Raw materials and a pared-back colour scheme let nature take centre stage – as well it should in this magnetic landscape pocked with towering euphorbia trees.
Natural linens, tactile fabrics and natural wood add organic touches to an otherwise modernist setting. The open-plan bathrooms are set with huge tubs, perfect for a welcome soak after a hot dusty day on the road. Minibars are stocked with all sorts, including homemade cordials, freshly baked cookies and biltong. There are also two two-bedroom suites designed for families.
If you’re so inclined, the staff will string up a mosquito net over your terrace daybed, so you can sleep under the stars with hippos wallowing in the river below, and the sound of lions calling from the darkness.
Elsewhere on the property, there’s a library where you can take some time to yourself with a good book, a help-yourself deli, a rooftop terrace and two glorious lap pools – one of which is heated for cooler months.
Singita Lebombo sits at the heart of the largest private concession within Kruger National Park – with 33,000 acres of exclusive-use landscape. The concession is known for its large lion prides, but you’ll also be in for a chance to spot leopards, white and black rhino, cheetah, sable, hippo and elephant.
Game drives are held morning and afternoon, and Singita’s souped-up vehicles make them very comfortable. Walking safaris are encouraged, and there’s stargazing, wine tasting and community culinary school visits on the cards – not to mention sleep out experiences for those brave enough to spend the night under canvas.
In your down-time – if you can tear yourself away from the pleasures of your suite, that is – hop over to sister lodge Singita Sweni for a long lunch under the shade of ebony trees. Enroute, pause at the art gallery and boutique (pick up a pair of elegant Amanu sandals designed by South Africa raised celebrity stylist Anita Patrickson while you’re there). This spot is also home to the shared wellness zone, with its swish gym and large spa. Treatments use local ingredients to complement the healing properties of being out in the bush, and blend inspiration from local traditions and holistic practices from further afield.
One of Singita’s most impressive attributes is an ability to deliver consistently amazing food in a remote setting. Service is highly personal and the staff seem to miraculously know what you need before you’ve had time to contemplate.
The a la carte menu changes daily and dishes are creative and delicious, whether you’re dining at the restaurant, around the bonfire in the boma, or picnicking beside the river. Singita Lebombo commits to energy-saving technology in the kitchen, a strict waste management policy and ethical sourcing of ingredients (local where possible), which ties in nicely with the lodge’s commitment to sustainable practices.
Wine is also a big focus at Singita Lebombo, with an extensive cellar home to sought-after private reserves, exclusive releases, limited single vineyards and rare auction wines. There’s a dedicated sommelier to keep guests well-watered, who even managed to temporarily convert this Sauvignon Blanc devotee to Chardonnay.
THE FINAL WORD
Singita Lebombo harnesses the power of nature to solicit a more mindful approach to safari, encouraging guests to enrich their time out with holistic spa treatments and subtly weaving sustainability into every aspect of the experience. You might feel like the king of the castle ensconced in this swoon-worthy lair, but it’s the attention to detail that makes this lodge leave its indelible mark – a reminder of the benefits of prioritising well-being and embracing the beauty of the natural world.
Rates at Singita Lebombo start from £2,067 per adult per night, including all meals and beverages, twice daily game drives, walking safaris and return road transfers between the airstrip and lodge. singita.com