Kruger National Park
Tell me about Singita: Guided by a ‘touch the earth lightly’ philosophy, ecotourism pioneer Singita’s two Kruger National Park lodges, Lebombo and Sweni, offer sun-baked luxury backed up by deeply held social and environmental principles. The South African game lodge operator, which opened its first property Singita Ebony Lodge in 1993, is run by Luke Bailes. Purchased by Bailes’ grandfather almost a century ago, the remote Lowveld land on which Ebony sits was transformed from a hunting ground into the vast Sabi Sands Game Reserve, its wildlife protected. In 2023, Singita Lodges – Kruger National Park is also the winner of the Flor de Caña Eco Hotel Award for its principles of sustainability and responsibility to the environment.
Describe Singita Lebombo: Cantilevered out over rocks far above the Sweni River, seamlessly blending into the rugged topography of a 15,000-hectare private concession in the Kruger, this modern, design-forward lodge offers 15 suites and one exclusive-hire villa. After ticking off the Big Five, guests have at their disposal a gym, the Village Spa, wine cellar, swimming pool and a traditional boma. A culinary tradition started by tribesmen in the 18th century, the boma dinner entails fresh, African menus being served al fresco, under the branches of a candelabra tree. There’s WiFi throughout, should you be able to tear your eyes away from the lion cub scampering into view. Don’t expect to see many other vehicles around: this land is exclusively crossed by guests of Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni.
And Sweni? This restorative sanctuary, Singita’s smallest lodge, houses six indoor-outdoor suites, one with a pool, and one exclusive-hire villa. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls frame fantastically comfortable rooms: think high-end beds, indoor and outdoor showers, a huge living area and a private wooden deck with a daybed from which to gaze through your binoculars at the river and forest beyond. Meals run from pastry-rich breakfasts to tapas-style poolside lunches and boma dinners crafted by a talented team. As at Lebombo, food and drink is included in your stay, along with twice daily Land Rover safaris, guide-led walks (with hugely knowledgeable local guides) and a laundry service.
When should I go? While Kruger Park is a year-round destination, the best time for game viewing is during the dry winter months, from April to October, with Singita renowned for providing encounters that guests won’t find anywhere else. Don’t mind getting wet? The summer season makes for lush bushveld, the arrival of migrating birds and baby animals galore.