Singita Lebombo Lodge
Is Singita Lebombo the sexiest lodge in the world?
Singita Lebombo’s soul-restoring beauty
The luxury lodge experience always follows a formula- game drives, good food and a stunning room. So why is Singita Lebombo Lodge the top choice for celebrities and A-listers? Whilst they do follow the game drive/food/decor formula, Lebombo is so much more.
Singita was founded on family-owned property in the Sabi Sand area 26 years ago. Since then they have created a benchmark for ecotourism, opening 15 luxury lodges all over Africa.
From the onset, the group had an expansive conservation vision- to be environmentally sensitive to surroundings, and to be the benchmark in eco-friendly tourism.
Lebombo is set in a private concession in the Kruger close to neighbouring Mozambique on a 33 000 acre property. The 17 contemporary rooms are suspended over the N’wanetsi river- elephants and other game are known to wander past while guests stand on the balconies to watch in awe.
The lodge offers many activities for guests, ahhhh-inspiring massage treatments, a full gym, two lap pools, private wine tasting in a cellar with a vast rare vintage collection, nature walks, and the Singita Community Culinary School where ten students obtain an internationally acclaimed qualification. A highly tempting Boutique & Gallery, probably the most beautifully curated and chic African-inspired store in South Africa. I heard whispers of world-famous actors spending a good sum of dollars in that space.
Yes, the suites are super sexy! Whilst there is so much to do, the room begs you to stay. It is sacrilege not to spend lazy afternoons lounging both in and out of the open-plan glass clad suite. You can even sleep outside on the daybed under the stars, if you so wish, in complete privacy and luxury.
The design team of Cécile & Boyd is well known for its incredible detailing. Everything works together in harmony- whilst maintaining utmost comfort. It is no small feat to create super stylish decor, still make it sexy but completely “I am-never-going-to-get-up-from-this-couch” comfortable.
As a consultant to Singita, acclaimed chef Liam Tomlin’s cuisine is sophisticated, clean and contemporary. And it is here where Lebombo starts differentiating from the rest- the lodge has its own community culinary school right next to the dining room, where guest can join for a cooking class, but the main aim is giving back by training local talent to become top class chefs. Approximately 70 chefs have been trained through the programme since it opened in 2018, all of them employed. Impressive for an area that has a high youth unemployment rate. A similar culinary school is based in Singita Grumeti, where Singita operates five lodges.
Singita has a 100 year purpose to protect and preserve large areas of African wilderness for future generations, investing a huge amount of funds and energy in conserving the continent’s biodiversity, together with its non- profit partner funds and trusts. This is the group’s raison d’être.
The list of projects on the go right now, will astound you. The anti-poaching technology installed by the Grumeti Fund in Tanzania works with GSM- enabled camera traps and night vision equipment which feeds to a 24- hour control room. From there the information is sent to the closest anti- poaching teams. The same camera trap technology is used to monitor the Black Rhino activity. With a surge in Rhino poaching, scientists in the Kruger have come to explore Rhino movements, collected information on individual Rhino data to build a monitoring database which helped in finding poaching hot spots - helping with veterinary and security interventions.
There is also a canine anti-poaching unit, as part of the strategy. These highly trained dogs can do multiple tasks from sniffing out rhino horn and ammunition, to pursuing intruders. This initiative has seen a significant drop in incidents. There are also plans for reintroducing rhino into the area - black and white rhino were purchased from Kwa-Zulu Natal and released in the reserve.
Data collected by scientists from Panthera, the world’s leading wild cat conservation organisation, suggest that between 1,500 and 2,500 leopards are killed each year to fuel the demand for skins. To put this in perspective, South Africa’s wild leopard population is estimated at only 4,000-5,000 animals. Singita supports the Furs For Life initiative, to curb the poaching of leopards for their skins by creating a high-quality, affordable faux skin for ceremonial use. Sabi Sands, home of Singita’s founding lodges, has one of the world’s best-protected leopard populations.
As another pillar of the brand, Singita is involved in various community projects- from holistic early childhood education, digital learning to bolster literacy and numeracy in school children, scholarships for high school and college-aged youngsters, and professional certification programmes to prepare young adults to enter the workplace. English learning camps, conservation education, feeding programs - the list of community initiatives that are supported by Singita is extensive.
Their goal is to operate sustainably (and ultimately to be carbon neutral) to have zero impact on global warming. To do so they shifted 50% of their lodges to renewable energy with impressive solar power technology , and reduced 90% single use plastic from the lodges. Additionally, the design and construction of new lodges, such as Singita Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, also focuses on low impact materials, making the lodges more energy and water efficient.
Zero waste is also a principle that is maintained, making sure that everything can be circulated back into the ecosystem, by carefully considering what they procure and, secondly, by appropriate recycling. Much of their recycling, such as glass, plastic, metals, paper and organic waste, goes to community-run businesses, which in turn generates income for communities surrounding the reserves, significantly reducing waste to landfill.
Of course, sourcing local and sustainable foods makes a huge impact on the area too, by supporting local suppliers and seasonable produce. Apart from carefully tended kitchen gardens, most of the fresh produce is sourced from local farmers for incredible vegetable-based menus.
A staff of 20 highly educated individuals are employed just to keep track of all these projects.
After almost three decades of passionate commitment to conservation, Singita attracts many like-minded guests, donors and investors who share this dream and become sponsors in the conservation projects. .
So, is Singita Lebombo the sexiest lodge in Africa? If you love beauty with brains, soul and spirit - then yes, Lebombo has most definitely all that.
We flew Federal Airlines from Johanesburg, which is like a adventure from the airstrip - watching the beauty and mystique of the African continent unfold beneath you. Rolling landscapes, endless views and galloping herds can be seen before you even set foot in the bush. www.fedair.com
For the ultimate combination of two of Africa’s best game viewing regions, book Singita’s “Best of Both” – combining a stay at either Singita Ebony or Boulders Lodge (Sabi Sand) with Lebombo Lodge (Kruger National Park) and receive one complimnetary Federal Air flight, per person between the lodges.