Bush heaven on the Sand River
Singita Boulders & Ebony Lodges, Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
The Singita Boulders Lodge in the Sabi Sand.
Singita Boulders Lodge is famed for its spacious luxury and privacy, as is the equally sumptuous Singita Ebony Lodge. Both are situated along the wildlife-rich Sand River in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, bordering Kruger National Park. Here you’ll find the Big 5, tranquillity and exquisite cuisine. You will not want to leave.
Did you know?
Singita means ‘place of miracles’ in the local Shangaan language.
Named for the enormous rock that stood just where the wine cellar was planned, the Singita Boulders Lodge in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve must rank as 1 of the most romantic bush destinations in Africa.
Space, peace and reflected pools bring a feeling of great tranquillity.
Each of the 12 utterly private suites has its own heated swimming pool, a double-sided fireplace, a sumptuous lounge with mini-bar, and an inside and an outside shower.
You also have your very own viewing deck where you can keep an eye on the comings and goings of wild animals as they wander down to the perennial Sand River.
In the unlikely event that you want to be connected with the outside world, there are computers with internet connections in the well-stocked library.
At the main lodge, you’ll also find the spa and the gym.
Incidentally, the boulder that gave the lodge its name is still there. The designers simply created the wine cellar around it.
Singita Ebony Lodge, also with 12 suites, has precisely the same facilities, luxuries and indulgences, but the décor is strikingly different. It feels as if you are in someone’s inviting, luxury home. There are African fabric throws, bright accents, and an eclectic collection of antiques.
Of course, the game viewing at both is superb. The Sabi Sand Reserve shares an unfenced border with Kruger National Park, and the Big 5 and others cross back and forth all the time, oblivious to the fact that there was once a boundary.
It is renowned for its leopard sightings. These elusive, nocturnal predators are remarkably relaxed around people – doubtless the result of generations that have had nothing but benign encounters with humans.
And between game drives, there is little to beat lying beside your own pool on your own deck, gazing at elephants, giraffes and zebras going to drink from the pretty Sand River.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
There are daily flights from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Federal Air, which land at Singita. You could also fly from Johannesburg to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport near Nelspruit and either catch an air shuttle or drive to Singita, a journey that will take just under 2 hours.
If you’re driving from Johannesburg, take the N12, which becomes the N4 to Nelspruit. From there, turn north on the R40 to Hazyview, where you’ll take the R536 towards Kruger National Park’s Paul Kruger gate. After 36km, you’ll pass the Lisbon Store. Turn left onto the gravel road, which leads into the Sabi Sand Reserve. Follow Singita’s signs to the lodge, which is about 28km on.
Tours to do
Ask about the community tours you can do. After waiter Zamani Mathebule expressed interest in showing the local villages of Lilydale and Justicia to guests, Singita helped him set up tours. You can peek inside some homes, visit a pre-school, watch gumboot dancing and listen to local music and choirs.
What will it cost
Singita offers superb luxury, service and game viewing, and is therefore not inexpensive. Rates are between approx. R9 250 and R12 250 per person per night. This includes accommodation, all meals, all drinks including wine, beer and spirits (but excluding champagne), 2 game drives a day, game walks, laundry and valet service, mountain biking and archery.
Length of stay
3 or 4 nights would be ideal, if your time and budget can stretch to it.
What to pack
In the winter months (May to August), take warm clothing for the chilly night and morning drives.
Where to stay
Apart from Ebony and Boulders lodges, there is Castleton Camp, a beautifully decorated old farmhouse that can be hired as an exclusive villa for up to 12 guests.
What to eat
While the cuisine at Singita is world class, so is the wine. There are well-travelled sommeliers on hand to introduce you to new vineyards, vintages and cultivars.
There are some exquisite items in the boutique shop. But in addition, if any wines take your fancy, you can purchase wines (that are difficult to find anywhere else) from Singita’s famed wine cellar. You can either take them home or have them delivered.