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emerged from a top-to-toe redesign (led by the Cape Town-based designer Boyd Ferguson) in 2015, it traded in an outdated and cloistered brick-and-mortar feel for the sensibility of a tented camp.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
One of the most exquisite stays I have experienced. The tents are impeccably designed. The service is flawless from the moment to step in to the moment you catch your return flight from the private airstrip. My guide Marc was always bubbling with energy and he took my on many short game drives than was on the official program! I saw all of big five within the first two game drives, but the highlight was being super close to a cheetah and being able to spend about half an hour studying him! The unforgettable experience that topped everything was the interruption of our a fresco lunch by a leopard and her cub, who took over the entire lunch pavilion for about twenty minutes, while we slowly moved into the safety of the lounge and observed them play!
My family and I stayed at Ebony and then Lebombo just a week ago. My husband and I enjoyed our honeymoon there over a decade ago and returned with our two kids, ages 8 and 10. We all had the most spectacular time. The staff, the service, the food, the accommodations and overall attention to every detail is unparalleled to any other place we’ve been to and we could swear it was better than our honeymoon so if anything, I think Singita has upped it’s game. We loved our guide Kirsten and tracker Rebel. There’s a bond that forms spending 7-8 hrs in a Jeep together for 3 days and sharing dinner together one evening as well. My whole family simply loved them both.
We cannot wait to visit other Singita lodges. Singita has captured something very special and while it is pricey, I think it was worth every penny spent. If you’re looking for a luxury safari experience, do not hesitate one moment to book Singita.
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.