Located on the banks of the Sabi Sands in South Africa, on a private game reserve connected to Kruger National Park, Singita Ebony is a lodge that combines colonial-era glamour with modern-day 5-star amenities.
Below, we list seven reasons why a stay at the lodge is the most luxurious way possible to see all that African wildlife has to offer.
Many people have safaris on their bucket lists. But only a lucky few will ever go on one at Singita Ebony.
1- At Singita, camping is a 5-star experience
Although the décor of each of the property’s 12 private lodges references tented camps — canvas, polished mahog any and animals prints abound — the experience of staying in one is far from rustic. Fabric walls have been replaced by glass to allow sweeping views of the unfenced preserve, across which wildlife such as elephants, impala, cheetahs, lions and white rhinos roam freely. A canopied four-poster bed is joined by indoor and outdoor showers, a bathtub overlooking the savannah, a dressing room as large as the average New York studio apartment, and best of all, a private heated infinity pool. In an outdoor seating area, a desk is equipped with a watercolor set and paper — courage to use it is provided by the fully stocked mini-bar near the working fireplace.
2- You’ll be fed seven times a day
Even wondered how kings got gout? Singita can give you an idea. Meals are rolled out from the moment you wake up at 5:30am until you fall asleep under the stars after dinner. They begin with coffee and pastries at the central lodge before your early morning game drive, continue with refreshments on the savannah, and are followed by a hot breakfast, lunch, high English tea, a “sundowner,” which are cocktails and snacks at a vista on the preserve, and end with a three-course dinner provided by Singita’s award-winning kitchen. Options are available, and individual needs are easily catered to.
3- You’ll drink better wine than if you were in wine country
Singita, which owns a total of 10 lodges, is one of the most influential buyers of wine produced in South Africa. The wine list at Ebony includes over 180 different bottles of some of the finest varietals — including private reserves and rare vintages — the region has to offer, as well as international blends, all of which have been painstakingly selected by the property’s sommelier, Chantelle Gous. Guests are invited to in-depth tastings in on-site wine cellar, and Gous herself is always on hand for suggestions to help pair wine with courses at meals.
4- It’s all-inclusive
Although the cost of staying at Singita is steep — on average, it costs $1,325 person per night — once there, basically everything but spa treatments and French champagne is included. Along with meals and wine, amenities include twice daily drives out into the bush in an open-air Land Rover led by some of the best professional trackers and guides in the business. Other activities include mountain biking, guided walks, and candle-lit barbeques under the stars on nights when the weather permits them.
5- The staff attends to your every need
While you’re a guest at Singita, you cannot even invent need. Beyond feeding you before you realize you’re hungry, the staff is constantly monitoring your comfort. If the weather is chilly, your tracker stocks your Land Rover with hot water bottles and fleece blankets. If you obliquely mention an interest in birds to another guest, your guide, always attuned, makes sure to point out every interesting avian species. At meals, you always have the same server, who takes pride in learning your preferences. It doesn’t hurt that every single one of them is preternaturally good looking.
6- You’ll see incredible animals, some of which may go extinct within the next century
“This is not at all usual,” shouted our group’s guide, Ian, as we raced over the rain-pocked back roads from the lodge to see a pride of 11 young lions cross the Sands River. There was something in his tone that suggested he was used to such things. Within the course of 48 hour stay, we saw each of Africa’s “Big Five” — lions, elephants, leopards, white rhinoceros and Cape Buffalo — as well as unparalleled wonders such as a baby hippo diving into a lake with its worried mother running close behind, and a pair of mating lions roaring together in the low light of a rising moon.
7- You’ll get un-paralleled photographic opportunities
On our drives, were often close enough to lions that we could have patted their heads— if we had been suicidal. Instead, we contented ourselves with taking photographs that turned out equally well on iPhones as they did on expensive DSLR cameras. “You have to remember, humans are meant to be here,” Ian said when we asked how it was safe to get so close to such dangerous predators. At other lodges, he explained, they feed the wildlife, which leads animals such as lions to equate humans with food — and therefore attack them when they are hungry. But at Singita, they are left undisturbed, creating a perfect equilibrium between the natural world and the humans who pass through it for pleasure. It is a place best compared to the Garden of Eden.