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LIFESTYLE: Travel: Place of miracles

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A visit to Singita Lebombo Lodge in the Kruger National Park will leave you at a loss for words

Singita is the Shangaan word for “place of miracles”. And that is just what it is. Never has a visit to any place left such a great impression on me. The sense of style, the effortlessness, the service – the feeling you experience when you are standing on the deck of the lodge surrounded by African bush and wildlife on all sides is something you’ll never forget. This lodge cannot be rated by any rating system – it offers far more than merely five stars.

Imagine a luxury glass lodge in the middle of the bush underneath the African sky. Wood, steel and organic interiors create a stylish and contemporary feel and you have astonishing views over the river.

The lodge offers two all-inclusive game drives per day and a range of bush activities to keep you busy – should you ever want to leave your suite. All food and drinks, alcoholic beverages (excluding French champagne), mini-bar, room service and transfers to and from the Singita air strip are included.

An exceptional wine cellar

Singita is recognised as one of Africa’s most influential collectors of wine with and extensive cellar showcasing a premium selection of wines, including some of the most sought-after private reserves such as Exclusive Release, Limited Single Vineyard, and Rare Auction Wines. They only serve South African wines and some you’ll only find at Singita – they inspire winemakers to make some cultivars just for them. If you’re a wine lover you will never want to leave the cellar (a masterpiece in its own right).

Their experienced sommeliers guide you through a variety of wine styles, years and cultivars to find the wines most suited to your taste.

A feast for your tastebuds

There’s an amazing menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But my favourite is that you can request anything you want that’s not on the menu and the chef will create a masterpiece for you.

Check-in time is at 14:00 – so try to get there on time so that you can have your fist taste of the amazing cuisine. And soon after lunch you’ll go on your first game drive (this usually starts at 15:00, depending on the time of year).

Rooms with a wow factor

The lodge has been build to create the ultimate “wow factor”. It is raised high above the river and light tones and open spaces are used to maximum effect. The 15 luxurious suites are constructed almost entirely of glass, with a dramatic result.

Aside from being all inclusive, all rooms are fitted with an air conditioner, fireplace, an outside deck with a bed to sleep under the stars, outside and indoor showers, board games, a selection of books, and an iPod docking station. There’s also plenty of choice in the complimentary mini-bar, a Nespresso machine, lavish Dermalogica bath products, electric blankets – and many more to discover as you explore the beautiful rooms.

Game drives to remember

Our game ranger, Nick du Plessis, and his tracker, Christof, took us on an adventure through the 15 000 hectare private wilderness concession. Nick just won the 2014 Safari Guide of the Year competition and after seeing him in action I can understand why – he is a walking encyclopaedia. Not only did they tell us all kinds of facts I’ve never heard (even though I do visit game farms quite often), but they also share interesting information about the fauna and flora. And even a few funny “did-you-knows”. For example – the collective noun for a group of rhinos is … a crash! And it’s a kaleidoscope of giraffes. When the sun goes down they point out the stars and tell you more about the solar system.

If you feel you need to work off some of the endless treats, there’s a gym and you can even opt for a relaxing massage at the spa. There is also a boutique built in the style of an African market where you can buy gifts, accessories and even clothes.

Sustainablility

It is Singita’s mission to create and maintain a balance between conservation, community development, and ecotourism, and the lodges Lebombo and Sweni were build with this in mind.

As the world’s population continues its exponential growth, the lost of pristine wilderness is taking place at an ever-accelerating rate. To counteract this Singita has developed an interdependent relationship between the surrounding communities, wildlife and tourism to ensure true sustainability – and they have achieved that on a scale that is seldom seen anywhere else on the continent.

Their long-term community development objective is to assist communities to thrive,  both economically and socially. For example, the Singita School of Cooking at the Lebombo Lodge was established to encourage the development of culinary skills and employment opportunities among local youth. Their 18-month programme enables selected students to gain a nationally recognised professional cookery qualification (Level 4) and thereafter commence work at a Singita Lodge kitchen or at other lodges in the Kruger Park.

You’ll never want to leave Singita, but when the time comes you’ll drive away with padkos (specially prepared for you) and you’ll feel proud to know that whoever visits Singita (particularly international tourists) will get to know this part of our country and experience the true hospitality only Africa can offer. And then you’ll understand why visitors will find any excuse to return again and again … ❐

For more information visit www.singita.com or contact them at +27 21 683 3424 or enquiries@singita.com

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