Ahh Singita Lebombo…when can we go back. What an incredible experience in hospitality… now we know the way it should be done.
Our experience started immediately as we deplaned. We were greeted by 2 very happy Singita staff members, who were genuinely very excited for our arrival. We were handed 2 cold towels infused with eucalyptus to wash our hands and face from the airplane ride. After that they had an entire spread laid out with fresh fruits, nuts, local beer, water, juice and soft drinks.
After we finished our snacks and drinks, we hopped in the Land Rover and headed to the lodge. The ride was just about 10 minutes and we arrived.
Once we arrived we were greeted by our safari guide Nick who quickly took our bags off our hands. Our butler, Danial, then greeted us with a welcome drink and had us come sit down in the lounge area to quickly review our plans for our stay.
Being foodies & pescatarian, this was an important topic for us to review and we didn’t even have to bring it up as they already had it noted and the chef was prepared for our arrival. Since this was our first safari we told Danial that we were interested in attending every safari outing, both morning and evening. He quickly noted that the afternoon safari was set to depart in an hour and that if we wanted to get settled in our room he could have some lunch sent to our room for us so that we could have time to unpack and take a quick shower before our safari. Danial also noticed that I was eyeing the craft beer they had and wanted to know what our preferred drinks were so that he could stock our room with everything we enjoy most.
Danial gave us a quick tour of the grounds, which are even more incredible in person than what we have seen in pictures on our website.
Every lounge area, every dinning experience is littered with jaw dropping views of the beautiful landscape and animals roaming.
The environmentally friendly lodge has taken special consideration to every aspect of the construction of the lodge to ensure that all resources are sustainable and that the environment and animals receive as a little impact from the lodge as possible. I have seen many eco-friendly venues and this is one of the most stunning.
The lodge is nicknamed the "eagle’s nest" because it is perched up high on the mountain and treetops and the resources used for construction are very similar to that of which an eagle would use to build their nest. Being up so high lends itself to spectacular views no matter where we were (i.e. dinning area, pool, bar, lounge areas, etc.).
After we unpacked, showered and had our delicious lunch setup out on our beautiful private patio overlooking the river which was a perfect salmon salad, we headed over to the main bar area to set out on our first safari.
Nick (our guide) was there to greet us and sat us down quickly to review if we had any specific animals, scenery, etc. that we wanted to make sure we saw while we were there so that they could make every attempt to make it happen for us. This was great attention to detail and being our first safari we of course wanted to see the big 5 (i.e. Buffalo, Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Rhino).
So off we went with Nick and our tracker Solly into the bush. We were told we had the best team and I would have to agree, Nick and Solly were amazing. It was so much fun watching them work together tracking down the animals based on the tracks Solly was so attentively observing, or the noises they heard and other guides relaying info back to them. The journey to each animal was just as exciting as seeing the animals themselves.
As I mentioned earlier, there are two safaris each day, the first being the morning safari which starts with a morning bite to eat at 5:45am (i.e. fresh fruit, muesli, cereal, yogurt, pasteries, etc.) as well as coffee, tea and juice. After your morning bite to eat, you set out on your safari and then about 1-2 hours into it you stop for coffee, tea and snacks in a location with amazing views of the bush.
After the pit-stop we would continue our bush adventure for another hour and then head back to the lodge for breakfast. Yep, you will not go hungry here, they feed you at every stop.
After breakfast which is typically at 10-10:30am you have all afternoon to lounge, get a spa treatment, go to the gym, swim, rest in your room, or go out on an activity like rifle shooting, archery, a safari walk with a guide, and much more.
You can then get lunch anytime either to your room or anywhere at the lodge that you would like.
For the evening safari we would meet in the main lounge area around 4pm for, yep, you guessed it, more snacks and drinks of your choice (i.e. wine, beer, cocktails, soft drinks, whatever you want).
After drinks and food we head out to the bush. As it gets close to the sunset (a.k.a. sundowner), your guide will pick the perfect spot to stop for a sundowner, which includes each person’s special drink requests and a fantastic food display while watching the incredible sunset.
After drinks/food we head back to the lodge around 7-730pm where you can head straight to dinner or you can go back to your room to freshen up and come back down for dinner whenever you are ready. Or if you prefer, you can have dinner delivered to your room and enjoy in complete privacy, it's up to you.
Now lets talk about the food for each meal. When you arrive for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they have a special menu for each guest with your name on it and everything on the menu is customized around your needs. For us being pescatarian, we had all seafood and vegetarian options which was incredible. We had so many choices, it was like nothing we had ever seen. Usually, when we see a menu, there are only a few options on the menu for us and we still need to tweak them slightly. On this menu, everything was perfect and they even let us try many different selections as we wanted it all, however, our stomachs could only allow so much.
As far as the extracurricular activities, we opted for the spa treatment which is a beautiful space and such a relaxing setting for a treatment surrounding glass walls looking directly into the beautiful bush. The gym is also located at this location which we frequented several times.
The other days we did our insanity workout right on our outdoor patio overlooking the river and bush, not a bad spot to exercise. We didn’t opt-in for any other activities other than the 2 safari’s each day, however, that doesn’t mean we didn’t receive any. For our last day at Singita we were in for a real treat. The day started with a private safari walk where we saw so many animals up close including the notoriously dangerous hippos.
On our evening safari we were taken to the most spectacular location on top of the entire bush overlooking the river and entire landscape for a special honeymoon toast with our very own private table setup with champagne, fruit, and specialty cheeses.
We were blown away as the views up there were absolutely incredible.
When we returned to our room to freshen up for dinner, we were presented with rose petals leading to our bed, an amazing drawn bath with bubbles, champagne, and candles lit everywhere, it was just perfect ending to our last night.
I must say, this experience at Singita was a display of hospitality at its best. The attention to detail was off the charts. We felt like they were constantly listening and trying to get a feel for what we wanted and then they would alter our experience accordingly which is really how it should be done. If you notice that someone is enjoying craft beer, then that probably means they would prefer craft to light beer options, so it would make sense to remove the light beer and exchange it for the craft beer options.
Other things that they noticed was that we were not only seafood and vegetarian eaters, however, we were also extremely health conscious eaters. Meaning, we didn’t opt for the bread, butter, pastas, cheese, deep fried or cream sauces, but rather the fruits, grilled veggies and salads and lots of fresh seafood (grilled not deep fried or battered) They listened, observed and delivered in so many ways that exceeded our expectations.
Singita Lebombo is a must visit for anyone wanting to see a ton of animals (note: we saw more animals in Singita than anywhere else on our trip by a long shot), beautiful scenery, fantastic guides, and a staff that will knock your socks off in terms of customer service and attention to detail. Yes, it is on the pricier side when comparing other lodges, but worth every penny, as the value you are receiving is definitely there. After visiting many other lodges on our journey which touted to be on the same playing field as Singita, we can say with confidence that Singita is in a league of their own as the others did not come close. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for, and this venue did not disappoint. As I mentioned at the beginning…when can we go back? I can’t wait to visit their other properties as well as make a trip back to Lebombo sometime soon!