Hotel Reviews, Travel Tips
SABI SAND RESERVE, SOUTH AFRICA
I must admit I had considerable expectations for my visit to the famed Singita Lodge. I was quite familiar with the lodges, having read countless reviews and listened enviously to friend’s tempting travel tales and from what I had ascertained, Singita was the bar that other lodges measured themselves against. Needless to say, I was pretty pumped to have two nights of my trip be there. After landing at the Kruger airport and driving two hours through small farming towns and surprisingly European-like landscape, we arrived at the gates of the private game reserve, the Sabi Sands. I must note here that this was my second South African safari experience and it was difficult not to compare the two. On my first trip, I flew directly into the reserve on a small charter plane while here I arrived via van from the quite commercialized Kruger airport. Clearly, one extends the fantasy and otherworldly character of safari far better than the other. Luckily, Singita has its own airstrip and charter flights can be easily arranged from Johannesburg or Cape Town. Singita has three lodges in the reserve (Boulders, Ebony and Castleton (a full-property rental) and perhaps, I’m partial, but I believe where I stayed, the Boulders, is the best.
Overlooking a narrow river, which, saw plenty of animal appreciation, the Boulders presents its guests with a stunning view of the bush from every angle. Within the first five minutes while sipping a delicious homemade iced-tea/lemonade combo I saw two elephants and the backside of a buffalo along the river. Some may find this element a tad superficial, but in the flesh, it’s truly stupefying. The natural style of the décor has a level of refinement that never overwhelms the incredible scenery and instead lends a casual elegance with its neutral colors, stone floors and wood furnishings. The nine guestrooms, which, are actually individual cottages are connected by an elevated deck pathway leading out spiderlike from the main lodge, each with their own infinity pool, private deck and sitting room, not to mention stunningly oversized bathroom with roll-top tubs and choice of indoor or outdoor shower. Beyond the accommodations, the lodge was exceptionally well-maintained. The small spa and gym plus outdoor dining deck and subterranean wine cellar were all top-notch and led by a gracious and cheerful staff.
Our guide, Nikki, was adorable. A female guide, nonetheless, she was spunky and knowledgable and came with an expert tracker, to boot. (See her in the photo below). Under her guidance, we tracked leopards, got comfy with a herd of elephants and spied lions lounging from a frighteningly intimate distance. The food at the lodge was also impressive with a phenomenal BOMA set up right along the private airstrip and massive buffet breakfasts that can leave you often skipping lunch which, though, is not advisable given the delicious salads, homemade breads and fresh pasta menu at lunchtime. Be sure to check out the telescope on site at the Boma for some serious stargazing.
Overall, I highly recommend this spot for its service, room style and gorgeous scenery and let’s be honest…I’m simply agreeing with what’s already been said.
FAVORITE DETAIL: The complimentary watercolor paints, pencils and artists sketchbook in the rooms.
FAVORITE SERVICE: The awaiting bubble bath and flickering candles in my bathroom after returning from the delicious outdoor barbecue, otherwise known as a BOMA.