by Matthew Sterne on June 23, 2011
5 min read

[Have you read Part I? Do it!]

From Sabi Sand we were flown out on another light flight to the Satara Airstrip that is a mere 40 minute road transfer away from Singita Lebombo. How wonderful to have arrived at the airstrip after a slightly bumpy flight and be greeted with a cold towel, beverages and snack before our connecting road transfer to the lodge.

We thought it would be hard to match the Ebony experience, but we had been wrong. Nothing can quite explain what we felt when walking into the impressive “common area” of Singita Lebombo. Stefan, the lodge manager had been briefed on our penchant for a little G&T and we were welcomed with one freshly mixed and ready for our arrival. The first thing I said was that the pictures used on their website and for marketing did not quite capture the impressiveness of the whole lodge, reception and bar area of Lebombo… and the pictures are great!

The pool area that overlooks the ridge before you and the suites below is probably the best I have seen in all my years on safari. Remarkable and breathtaking.

Even though we did not want to leave the long bar lounge area, we had to make our way to the suites. And sweet they are! Amazing views of the river below, indoor and outdoor showers, modern and very contemporary features and objet d’art in the shades of pale blue and white and the Pièce de résistance is the bed that is set up on the outside deck area for romantic sleeping under the stars for the brave or for afternoon naps in the winter sun. Again the rooms are well appointed and provide all that one needs to be more than comfortable. It even offers an iPod with an array of musical choices if the sounds of the African Eagles and hippos calling are to serene for one’s taste.

Our ranger and tracker team here were Deidre and Simon. They were wonderful. Deidre is the head ranger on the concession and her personality, knowledge of all things fauna and flora and ability to track with Simon all showed why she is the top dog in the gaming department. I learnt things for the first time on many occasions and it can be a real test for a ranger to teach a guest something about the bush if the guest has been lucky enough to have enjoyed countless safaris. We saw all we wanted to see and then some.

The standout sighting by far was leopard with kill in a tree being bothered by a hyena… once in a lifetime sighting. Not to mention those smaller members of the animal kingdom who do not receive as much press as the Big 5, such as the likes of Civet, African Wild Cat, Jenet and even a Porcupine. All seen here in just two nights.

I made sure I got a chance to see their Sweni lodge which is the smaller sister to Lebombo. It’s as impressive as Lebombo, but with a completely different and more comfortable feel. Still contemporary like Lebombo, but with warm tonal browns and greens being its decor theme, it seems more down to earth. The suites are still as luxurious, yet with the differing colour palette they embody a varying personality. With only six suites here, you are more private and the lodge is perfect for small groups or families travelling together and the opportunity to have this lodge exclusively for travellers of up to 12 would be hard to beat.

The cherry on the top during our stay was our spa treatment at the Singita Spa. This was reserved for our last stay-over day and we were treated like royalty and pampered like never before by the amazing hands of Lourette and Lise. We both opted for a Head, Neck and Shoulders massage and I was in such a state of relaxation that I instantly fell into a deep snooze-like trance and had to tear myself off the massage table when Lourette whispered in my ear that we were done. After a shower and using the spa facilities, we entertained ourselves by walking around the beautiful Singita Kruger shop whilst awaiting our lift back to the lodge before our final evening game drive.

OUR VERDICT

Dane and I inevitably did comparisons throughout our stay between the four lodges. And “which was the best lodge?” you might ask… It is impossible to answer definitively. Each has its own special uniqueness and will cater to everyone’s needs depending on their preferences in style and feel, but each is wonderful, 5 star and more. None stands out as better as or worse than the other…

My best advice to you is to make your decision between the four and get yourselves there no matter what it takes. You will not be disappointed and may just, like we did, have the most memorable experience in your life……


FACTS:
Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni is a Kruger Concession lodge. The Kruger Park Concessions are large sections of land within the Kruger National Park that are leased to private operators that have created a few exclusive, luxury lodges that are managed in a similar way to the private reserves on the western boundary of the park such as Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

The advantage of the private lodges in the Kruger Park is that you can enjoy bush walks, night game drives and off road driving without the crowds and self-drive traffic of the public areas of the park. Guests at the lodges within the private concessions have free access to the main areas of the park although many of the concessions are situated in areas replete with wildlife and it will most probably prove unnecessary to venture into the crowded public areas of the Park.

Singita Lebombo is set in the Lebombo Mountains with many ridges, that main game drive routes run past and up and down. There are thus many great high points to look down over the bush from. There are different plant species, such as the unique Lebombo Euphorbia and Fever Trees.

LOOK OUT: More photos from Sam coming soon on our blog and Flickr.

QUERIES: For more information, contact us.

WATCH: Our Kruger National Park video and watch the Singita Game Reserves video below for a look at these ultimate safari destinations.