We look forward to returning to Singita Lebombo and its sister properties.

Overall Impression Our second visit to Singita Lebombo was almost four years to the week from the date of our first visit to the safari property deep in the eastern boundaries of the Kruger National Park near the border with Mozambique. We were pleasantly surprised to discover many subtle changes and improvements that enhanced our stay and made us fans all over again.

Our spacious suite accommodations near the top of the hill were well appointed with modern comforts and offered an uninterrupted view of the N’wanetsi River. The meals and meal settings were even better than we remembered and the staff members were warm and welcoming. I still remember Helen from the management staff. Her friendly demeanor and attention to our comfort made us feel especially welcome. Abee Malmule, our dedicated banakeli or server, always greeted us warmly and looked after us well. Noticing my weak attempts at Shangaan he also made time to share a few words with me before our departure.

During the day, when we weren’t game viewing, we visited the “Village,” an area within walking distance from the Singita Lebombo reception that housed an art gallery and curio shop, work-out and steam rooms, and small spa. We spent time in the computer and television room where we could access the Internet using one of the property’s two guest computers. I enjoyed a wonderful in suite massage which a smiling therapist delivered on the open deck of our suite to the gentle sounds of nearby hippos and fish eagles. Overall it was a most pleasant stay. We look forward to returning to Singita Lebombo and its sister properties.

Class Of Accommodation Five stars (awarded by South African government)

General Manager Jason Trollip

Handicapped Access Yes, one room at Lebombo has wheelchair access as well as hand rails in the shower and the toilet.

Internet Connectivity A computer for guest use with a high speed Internet connection was available in a corner of the Long Bar. There was a second computer in a separate room near the restrooms in the reception area.

Length Of Stay Three nights

Location Inside the Kruger National Park on the eastern edge (east of Satara) of the park nearest the Orpen gate.

Managed The Singita Group Cape Town

Owned Singita Group

Size There were 15 suites at Singita Lebombo. The property was situated with a concession of 15,000 hectares shared by two properties, Singita Lebombo and a smaller sister property, Sweni Lodge. The concession, spa, work out facilities, wine and curio shop were shared with the six-room Sweni Lodge. There were 160 staff members at Singita Lebombo including 11 trackers and 12 rangers with access to nine game viewing vehicles.

Year Opened-Renovated 2003

Lobby And Common Areas The property had contemporary décor with beaded curtains, large glass lamps, and rustic wood elements in light bleached wood, clear, beige and other neutral colors. South African designer Boyd Ferguson was responsible for the distinctive interiors and Architect Andrew Makin designed the lodge within the concession building restrictions meant to impact the surrounding environment as little as possible.

Bathroom Adjacent to the bedroom and divided by two gossamer curtains was a pretty bathroom area including an open wood closet and electronic safe. In case we needed extra privacy there were sliding shades that closed the bathroom area off from the rest of the suite. There was a glass sink and mirror, a round backless seat in the center, a second glass sink and, next to the glass window, there was a deep bath tub with a lovely view. There was a view of the river from every corner of the bathroom and bathtub. On the other side of the bathtub were indoor and outdoor showers. The outdoor shower was my favorite spot for a daytime shower. The W.C. (water closet) was next to the indoor shower; the two areas were divided by a shower curtain.

Suite Our temperature controlled (effective A/C and heating) suite, Suite 3, was enclosed in glass and had wood floors. The most striking feature was the magnificent view of the nearby river gorge. Our bed, surrounded by a quaint beaded curtain, consisted of two double mattress joined together to form a king bed with a night table and individual lamps on each side of it. A simple small white table and two chairs were at the foot of the bed and adjacent to the sliding glass doors leading to the porch, where it was possible to spend the night under the stars. Although it was too cold and windy during our winter visit to sleep on the deck, which included a large mattress and two canvas chairs, during the early morning and later afternoon it was an ideal place to observe the bush, listen to the hippos in the river and other bush sounds.

Inside the room, there was a countertop and mini bar with courtesy snack food such as dried guava rolls, sesame and yogurt bars, macadamia nuts and coffee and tea service next to a beige sofa. Adjacent to the sofa was a coffee table with board games and large African picture books. Although there was no cell phone signal and we were unable to download emails or surf the net with our computer, there was a cordless phone with international dialing capability. The heavy wood entrance door locked electronically, allowing us to remain unconcerned in case an aggressive baboon paid us a visit.

Meals It was evident the Singita staff emphasized gourmet meals made from fresh products and local ingredients. Many of these, we found out during our stay, were made on the premises or nearby.

We enjoyed our meals either in the dining area facing the swimming pool or in a lovely riverside bush area especially set up for that purpose. When we had meals at the lodge we were seated at a private table. When we dined in the bush we shared a table with our guide and the guests from our shared game viewing vehicle.

Breakfast was served in a mixed buffet and a la carte style. For breakfast, for example, we had a choice of three yogurt flavors, several cereals, several cheeses and a half a dozen fruit from a buffet section. We could also request eggs any style from a hot food section of the buffet or place our order with our waiter. Each morning there were specials like eggs benedict and banana and mascarpone cheese covered crumpets. One morning Reckson drove us to a wonderful shady bush area next to the confluence of the two rivers that ran on the property. There we enjoyed a most delicious breakfast with a view.

Lunch was a la carte. Offerings included light appetizers, salads, sandwiches and a couple of hot dishes. We sampled the sirloin (a favorite), garden salad and club sandwich. One day we had lunch in the outdoor dining area and the second day we requested lunch in our suite.

Dinner in the lodge was a plated and more formal affair where some of the guests dressed up. On our first evening we had a choice of well prepared game meats including blesbok, guinea fowl, and springbok and we sampled them all; as well as barracuda (a favorite), curry prawns, avocado and crab and scallops. The night before our departure, the staff surprised us. During our evening game drive, instead of the usual bush happy hour shared with the other four guests in our vehicle, we found ourselves soaking up our last Singita sunset at a hill top bush area filled with lanterns and a dwarfing African view. The staff had set up a full bar as well as warm hors d’ovre for all the lodge guests. From there we headed back toward the lodge where once again we were surprised. Dinner was served riverside by the light of lanterns and to the sounds of the bush. It was a delightful evening filled with tasty dishes and interesting company.

Here’s the menu from the bush dinner: on the table there was Olive Tapenade, Red pepper pesto, Grissini sticks and crudités. The appetizers were served at a buffet table: Roasted sweet potato and sweet ginger soup; Cous cous salad with apricots, almonds, pumpkin seeds ala Nico; Beef carpaccio with a herb mayonnaise and rocker; Beetroot, goats cheese and balsamic with watercress; and Garden salad, peppadew, olive and feta French beans, red onion and homemade pancetta salad. Options for main courses were Mushroom tortellini with asparagus and wild mushroom foam; or Mozambican grilled barracuda with vegetables “vinaigrette,” herbed tagliatelle and origanum; or Grilled fillet of wildebeest with braised red cabbage, macerated figs and parsley potatoes. For dessert: Rooibos crème brulee, Koeksisters, Lamingtons, Profiteroles and fresh fruit.

Amenities Singita branded shampoo, body lotion, body foam and rose water facial spray in refillable large bottles. There were also loose bath salts, a shower cap, two bathrobes and two sets of slippers in the room. There was also sun block and Dermalogica body lotion. By the pool, there was a basket with slippers (the ground was too hot for even the hardiest souls to walk barefoot), linen robes, and sun block for guest use. There was an iPod, preloaded with music, mounted on the wall of the suite.

Facilities There was a swimming pool, reception area lounge, temperature controlled wine cellar near the reception area, Long Bar, boma , computer room with television and dining area. At the Singita owned “Village” shared by Lebombo and Sweni lodges, there was an exercise room, spa, steam room, and an African Art Gallery and souvenir shop.

Pool Just past the dining area, there was a long infinity swimming pool with plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas as well as a shady area with lounge space and built in settees. Next to the pool there was an outdoor shower and changing area. The morning we visited the pool, following breakfast, we were the only guests in the entire pool deck. As soon as we settled in Abee came over to offer us refreshments. The water, though bracingly cold, looked clean (there were a few of the ubiquitous insects) and refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed my swims and lounge time and wished I had had more quiet time to relax by the pool. Soon it was time for lunch. Abee brought the menu and when our food was ready we settled at an outdoor table close to the dining area.

Spa Instead of visiting the spa at the “Village” I requested a massage in our suite. That was a wonderful idea!

Game Viewing We spent the better part of our waking ours game viewing. Thankfully, game was plentiful. Reckson and Clement, our Shangaan guide and tracker, were knowledgeable and affable.

Boasting one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Park, Singita offered early morning and afternoon bush drives. In the early dawn hours, a staff member woke us with a phone call and we made our way to the reception area where we had hot beverages before setting out in search of animals. We had breakfast when we returned to the lodge. Evening drives set off in the early afternoon after refreshments and snacks. Dinner was served on our return.

During the drives, our ranger and tracker team drove around in the winter chill in open Land Rovers, which offered unimpeded views of the fauna and flora. Although our tracker rode in a jump seat the front of the vehicle whenever we approached predators, he would move to one of the seats inside. As is common in South Africa, Clement had a riffle in case of emergency. There was usually a break during the drives when we could enjoy a warm drink in the mornings or a cocktail in the afternoons.

Although our guides were excellent company, some of our fellow guests were less than enthusiastic about game viewing, spending lots of time chatting, refusing to go on bush walks and complaining loudly if our guides tried to approach big cats or primates. Private Land Rovers were available with advance notice for guests who requested it. I would seriously consider that option in the future, especially if we encounter bush unfriendly types again.

Notable sightings included lions and rhinos at the same time (the lions ran away as soon as the rhinos approached). Animals we also saw: buffalo, bushbuck, civet, chacma baboons, elephant, giraffe, hippo, hyenna (spotted), impala, klipspringers, kudu, leopard, lion, monkey, rhino (white), scrub hare, Sharpe’s grysbok, steenbok, tree squirrel, waterbuck, wild cat, wildebeest, and zebra. As well as flapnecked chameleon, water monitor lizard, Mozambique spitting cobra and Southern African python.

Birds we saw: Arrow-marked babbler, bateleur, llittle bee-eater, grey-headed bush shrike, rattling cisticola, Burchell’s coucal, black crake, African mourning dove, fork tailed drongo, square tailed drongo, cattle egret, red-billed firefinch, grey go-away bird, Egyptian goose, helmeted guineafowl, African hawk-eagle, green-backed heron, African jacana, brown hooded kingfisher, red-billed oxpecker, doubled-banded sandgrouse, magpie shrike, cape glossy starling, cape turtle dove, hooded vulture, white-backed vulture, and blue waxbill.

Activities There were plenty of activity options. For game viewing enthusiasts there were dawn and dusk game viewing drives. It was also possible to pass the time playing board games or cards; enjoying a book from the small library (lots of Africa books); watching satellite TV in the computer room; working out at the gym; visiting the steam room; having a spa treatment; and shopping for art and curious at the African Art Gallery.

Art Gallery And Curio Shop The Art Gallery stocked museum quality African artifacts including sculptures by award winning artist Dylan Lewis and paintings by Kevin Joubert. There was an attractive line of Safari oriented Singita brand clothing, furniture, souvenirs, batteries, sunscreen, leather goods, and glassware.

Other As an added benefit of Singita’s location, we enjoyed outstanding game viewing during our drive through the Kruger National Park to and from Singita Lebombo, a member of the Relais & Chateaux. The exercise and steam rooms, wine cellar, art gallery/souvenir shop and spa were all located in an area named “The Village.” While still within the Singita area, it was necessary for guests to be driven there. This meant we had to request a vehicle and driver to work out, have a steam bath, receive a spa treatment at the spa (many of the treatments were offered in guest rooms) or purchase a souvenir. Although parts of the property showed slight signs of wear, overall the property looked good and everything worked well.

According to the information in our suite, laundry was limited to 10 items per guest. Excess laundry had to be transported to an outside facility and required a 72-hour turn around time.

The property recycled glass, paper and tin products. They used recycled paper and sold used cooking oil back to the community to be used for bio fuel. The also used environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Visit May 2008 / May 2004

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photographs by Gary Cox

Service Singita staff were welcoming and helpful though never obtrusive. We departed by car and had an all day drive on our way to Botswana. It was only when we reviewed driving directions with one of the management staff the morning of our departure that I realized we wouldn’t have time to stop for lunch. Realizing it might be inconvenient, I gently asked if they could prepare a to go box with snacks for us to munch on during our extended drive.

When they brought our car our lunch boxes had been packed along with our luggage. Helen and Abee had made sure we were well supplied until we arrived at our next destination, which as luck with have it wasn’t until dinner time.

Would You Stay Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Singita Lebombo Lodge
    • Singita Head Office in
    • South Africa
    • The Oval, Oakdale House,
    • 1 Oakdale Road, Newlands
    • Cape Town 7700
    • South Africa
  • Phone:
    • +27 21 683 3424
  • Fax:
    • +27 21 683 3502
  • Website:
  • Email: