Singita Ebony Lodge
What We Love
- Private plunge pools in each of the 12 suites.
- The lodge can organize visits to nearby villages for guests to interact and connect with members of the local Tsonga community
- The onsite boutique that's anything but your typical hotel gift shop, stocking museum-quality prints and stylish safari wears from all corners of Africa
- Even the fitness center comes with dazzling bush views
What To Know
- Insect repellant is provided in suites and on game drives, but it’s strongly advised you speak to your doctor about malaria prevention before arrival
- Visit between April and October for the best game viewing
- Pack plenty of cotton clothing in neutral hues—and skip the formalwear
- Though the lodge promises complimentary WiFi access, its remote location means intermittent service
When this aging property emerged from a top-to-toe redesign (led by the Cape Town-based designer Boyd Ferguson) in 2015, it traded in an outdated and cloistered brick-and-mortar feel for the sensibility of a tented camp. Dining areas and suspended pavilion decks now edge the Sand River—a popular watering hole for the area’s elephants—and the lodge’s sitting room has been relocated to the property’s forefront for dramatic natural panoramas. Its family-friendly soul, however, hasn’t changed: in-room minibars contain shortbread and jellybeans while a painting kit encourages pint-size explorers to soak in the shrubby surroundings. For adults, treats include a sizable wine cellar crammed with premium South African labels.
Gone are the external walls in each of the 12 suites, which have replaced by a combination of khaki canvas and glass, allowing for copious amounts of natural light to shine through the mahogany interiors. Animal skins were swapped for patterned fabrics and sepia-toned photos—both of which compliment the antique campaign-style furniture.
The lodge’s food scene lends a nutritious spin to its traditionally French-heavy lineup. Wheatgrass and kombucha are served alongside the usual buffet at breakfast, while local ingredients, like goat cheese and candy-stripe beetroot, make frequent appearances on the always evolving dinner menu.
Whether you take a private or commercial flight (just a over an hour from Johannesburg), you’ll be landing at Singita’s own airstrip, about 10 minutes from the lodge. If you’d rather drive, Ebony is a 6.5-hour ride from Johannesburg.
How to Get There
This was the first Singita property we visited this year. We headed to Pamushana a few days later. Singita’s execution is perfect, which is what you would expect at the price point, but wouldn’t always get. The staff here are great. Our guide (Kristen) and Tracker (Rebel) were terrific and Kristen was very good about positioning for photography. Ebony is reached pretty conveniently from Joberg airport and I think it’s a great option for someone that wants to go on safari in South Africa. My main knock on it would be that their area is somewhat small (it seems to be about the same size as londolozi and they have rights to send 2 trucks at a time onto each others’ properties. It’s a much better place than the other private reserves to the west which seem to have much smaller reserves. However, there are numerous times when you’re driving around that you’re seeing the surrounding villages, cars along the main road, power lines, etc. It doesn’t ruin the experience, but I prefer to be more remote. Among other things, in three days we saw a leopard, lions, cheetah, and a secretary bird. Ngomi, the sommelier spent a lot of time with us, including a terrific private tasting where I learned a lot of about some of the wine regions in the country that I haven’t visited. The manager, Kenny, was very helpful and a lot of fun. Short version, if you want to go on safari in South Africa, I think Singita Ebony is absolutely worth the cost and will be an excellent experience and I can see us returning at some point as we safari hop in the future, though I think getting a little further out to Botswana (or Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe which was incredible!) is worth the extra effort.
We were fortunate to stay 3 nights in May at Ebony Lodge. The General Manager, Chantelle as instrumental in helping me craft a perfect itinerary.
We enjoyed Nick as our guide along with Peter, our tracker. We learned about the habits of the different animals as well as experienced 3 days of seamless adventure. Seeing the Rhino at sunset will be something I always remember and the pictures help with that.
Tiffany, Ryan, Kenny, Pat and Guy were all so kind and welcoming. We loved the antics of the Vervet monkeys who could just see the slingshot and head off. That isn't to say the monkeys didn't sneak a snack or two, they are crafty little devils. The plunge pool in our suite overlooking the Sand River was a welcome spot mid-day to review photos by and watch the resident Vervets as they came around to play. Monkey around takes on a whole new meaning at Ebony.
One special stop while we stayed at Ebony was lunch at the neighbor Boulders Lodge. These two lodges, while close in proximity and both Singita are very different. Ebony is the classic lodge feel with rock walls and high peaked thatched roof lines. Boulders is a more contemporary design with the Wine Cellar built around the boulders. Very spectacular. I had the best steak fillet for lunch that I've had in a very long time. I highly recommend it.
I didn't have the opportunity to have a massage but I did peek in to the spa. One of our fellow travelers reported it was possibly her best massage ever. The spa itself had a great exercise facility and very relaxing looking treatment rooms.
Afternoon cocktails with dinner was a very relaxing end to an always exciting day. Singita Ebony Lodge absolutely deserves all of its accolades.
My daughter and I truly enjoyed our stay and our time with The Ebony Family. We felt as part of a family from the first moment we arrived.
Perfection in the Bush !
The smiles , the views , the experience. Is beyond a five star rating. ! If there was a 6 star - We would give our new friends and family a 6+++ star rating.