Out of AfricaSingita Lebombo
Why we like it: Every now and then, we come across a hotel that sets a standard we never knew existed. Singita Lebombo is a rare place that lives up to its hype. Of the 700+ luxury hotels we’ve visited, it’s absolutely in our top three. Located in a private concession in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Singita is a mecca for anyone who considers themselves hotel aficionados. What makes it so special? So many reasons. First, its standalone villas are perched on a cliff overlooking the N'wanetsi River and rolling savannahs; if you’re brave, the hotel can set up a mosquito net tent for you to sleep on your deck. The rooms are off the charts – windowed with natural wood and steel accents, lofty yet deeply comfortable. The massive soaking tub and that mosquito tent we mentioned make you feel warm and safe, like you’re cocooned in the wilderness.
The food is exceptional. We would describe it as modern South African with dishes on par with those of Michelin-starred restaurants. We love that the hotel brings in chefs with serious experience and skills; it also hosts a cooking school that cultivates local talent. And we enjoy the fancy presentation so much we’ll often order two entrées atlunch, and have never skipped a meal.
You’re on safari; the location in Kruger might have the largest variety of mammels on Earth. In other words, the game views are some of the best, with everything from lions, leopards, and, for lucky and sharp-eyed sightseers, pangolins. You’re in one of the most beautiful places in South Africa, so be sure to catch a legendary sunset on the border of Mozambique. It’s so beautiful even the most hardened and jaded will come to terms with life’s priorities – and is what visiting is all about.
What to know: Of course the most exceptional experiences come with a price. If you want to visit Singita, save your dollars for a very long time. The cost includes food and lodging along with shared game drives. Those of you who enjoy your privacy should bear in mind the hotel hosts a rarefied group that can handle the nightly nut, so being social is worth your while.
Also, keep a lookout for baboons; you should expect to see them wandering the campsite. They mainly seek food, so always keep your door firmly shut. After all, you’re on safari. It’s all about the adventure.