Sabi Sand Update


Two of my favorite safari lodges have recently received major upgrades. Both are located in the Sabi Sand Reserve, a 250-square-mile private enclave adjoining Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Singita Ebony

Singita Ebony Lodge opened in 1994, and over the past 21 years, it has become an established favorite of Hideaway Report readers. In many ways, this first Singita property invented the luxury safari. True, there had been comfortable places before, but none with gourmet food, an air-conditioned wine cellar, individual plunge pools and spa facilities. Its runaway success spawned dozens of imitations, but very few even came close to the same levels of style and sophistication. Over time, however, tastes have changed, and the reinvented Singita Ebony, which debuted in June, now eschews colonial designs and motifs in favor of more contemporary and indigenous styles. Walls have been replaced by glass and canvas in both the public areas and the 12 suites to promote the feeling of proximity to nature. Animal skins have been superseded by animal print fabrics. And walls now display ethnic murals and dramatic outsize wildlife photography. The nearby Singita Boulders Lodge and Singita Castleton both underwent major upgrades in 2014, so on my next visit to Southern Africa, a return will be long overdue.

Bedroom at Singita Ebony Lodge
Bedroom at Singita Ebony Lodge - Courtesy of Singita

Singita Ebony Lodge    98Andrew Harper Bird


The luxurious accommodations; the exceptional cuisine; superlative wildlife-viewing for the so-called “Big Five.”


The property can seem more like a luxury resort than a wildlife lodge. In consequence, some guests go on a single game drive, then spend the rest of their stays poolside.

Good to Know

When the rains end in February/March, the bush is very thick and the animals are much harder to see. The best months for game-viewing are July through September.

Rates: Suite for two, $2,490
Address: Sabi Sand Reserve
Telephone: (27) 13-735-9800

View Singita Ebony Lodge Hotel Listing


Singita’s own 45,000-acre section of Sabi Sand is contiguous with that of Londolozi. There, the original Varty Camp, which began as a family hunting retreat in 1926, remains the primary focus of the property, with its massage facilities, library and boutique. However, the most luxurious of the five camps are Private Granite Suites and Pioneer Camp, each with just three sumptuous lodgings, and the newly refurbished Tree Camp, with six suites. The latter now has expansive living and dining areas with chic contemporary furniture, plus lavish accommodations with private pools, tubs overlooking the Sand River, and adjacent salas for reading, bird-watching and quiet contemplation.

Newly refurbished Tree Camp lounge at Londolozi
Newly refurbished Tree Camp lounge at Londolozi - © Elsa Young

Londolozi    98Andrew Harper Bird


The privacy and exclusivity of the small camps; the sense of continuity and family tradition.


The five camps have a total capacity of 70 people, which is arguably more than would be ideal.

Good to Know

There is no better place in the world to see leopard.

Rates: Private Granite Suite for two, $2,945; Tree Camp Suite for two, $2,585
Address: Sparta Farm, Sabi Sand Wildtuin, Mpumalanga
Telephone: (27) 13-735-5653

View Londolozi Hotel Listing

Both Singita and Londolozi are as much wilderness resorts as wildlife lodges. But the game-viewing is also routinely sensational. And there is nowhere else in Africa where you will have a better chance of close encounters with leopard. In fact, they are virtually guaranteed.

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.

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