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“Superb” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Singita Sweni Lodge

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Singita Sweni Lodge
Private Concession | eastern south central, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa   |  
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
London
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Superb”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

We have spent two nights at Sweni and loved every minute. The lodge is small (6 rooms) so it is very quiet and intimate - perfect for honeymooners and couples wanting a romantic setting, but perhaps less suited for party animals who would probably prefer next door Lebombo Lodge, which is quite a bit bigger! The staff were fantastic - nothing was too much trouble - and the rooms are spectacular. The design is contemporary rather than traditional, but it worked for us and we loved the outdoor shower. You can sleep outside on the deck if you want, but we didn't try that ourselves. The Singita concession in the Kruger Park has quite a varied topography, and we saw plenty of game: two big prides of lions, huge numbers of elephants, plenty of rhino (ten in one game drive!) and lots more besides. Alex (my wife) visited the spa for a massage and swears that it was the best she has ever had (thank you Kate). We didn't have any trouble with mosquitos (neither of us were bitten) and I can't really point to any downsides. Thank you, Nigel, Nico and Glass, for a superb stay - we hope to be back again soon!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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74 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Philadelphia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

Singita is Spectacular…

Spent 6 days total in Singita over Thanksgiving- 2 nights in Ebony, 2 in Boulders and 2 in Sweni. All I can say is- WOW! I think we were prepared for the level of surrealism by tracking tripadvisor and other reviews, but nothing prepares you for the sight when you actually get to each of the resorts. Overall the theme is consistent- over the top personalized service, amazing game viewing and breathtaking vistas and interiors. From the East coast, the SA direct flight from JFK is perfect- puts you in around 8 am and then the best course of action was the Federal air charters, if anything just the experience of flying in a 4 seater plane! We were in Ebony in time for lunch. Singita Sabi Sands (Boulders and Ebony) was 1 hr 10 mins from Joberg; from Sabi Sands, Singita Kruger (Sweni and Lebombo) was a 20 minute hop. We booked via travel agent I found online (go2africa) but honestly you can just book thru Singita directly. I tried price shopping thru different agents including AMEX, but it's the same as booking thru Singita. The weather was perfect- 60 degrees for am safari and 70-80+ for pm. It's all about layers as the open land rovers expose you to the wind even if the temp is hot. I have reviews for each of the resorts, but some common threads-

-Food and wine: All the lodges have their own wine cellars with the same selection for the most part (several thousand bottles). Boulders was the most extensive and my favorite cellar. We started at Ebony so the sommelier Welma, did a tasting with us nearly every day and helped us pick bottles for dinners and lunches. It’s fun being able to try any wine- we were not experts on South African wines, so if you are interested would recommend doing some research on the small producers which Singita specializes in so you have something in mind already when you get there. The brandy selection is fantastic being a SA specialty, so don’t forget to try some. The food was outstanding! I would describe it as world cuisine- everything from the best club sandwich ever, to filet mignon, ostrich, crocodile, Indian inspired curries, truffle soup, 4 kinds of eggs benedict…I can go on and on. We discovered the chef at Boulders and Sweni had a knack for combining Indian and South African flavors for the most amazing curries and bread so we requested one every day and they did not disappoint. Basically, if you really want something, the chef will make it for you.

-Gift Shops: Ebony and Boulders share one and Sweni and Lebombo share one too. Do take the advice of saving room for the flight back very seriously. The store is not like any gift shop- one of a kind pieces for yourself. Although for small souvenirs for folks back home, the airport has some really good places too and cheaper.

Now a little bit about Sweni:
-Makes Ebony/Boulders/Lebombo look like mega resorts! The resort is just 6 rooms, but still a full blown staff and facilities like the others. During our stay there were only 2 other people there, so you can imagine the sense of privacy. It is just perfect! Our room- #2, was a quick minute walk to the lobby but still very secluded. The rooms really do give the sense of being in a 5 star tree house with all the thoughtful touches other Singita resorts offer. The outdoor shower was my favorite out of the other 2 since I had a crows eye view of the hippos in the river taking their own bath!
-Activities- this was the Singita where we got a lot more personal surprises and attention. I don’t want to ruin the surprises, but imagine sipping mimosas in the middle of the bush at 10 am! Also, the food at Sweni was the best of the trip. The chef just zeroed in on our tastes and voila, every meal was custom prepared for us.
-Service- was incredible. Again, given how intimate the resort is, you see the same front desk folks and they were wonderful. It’s also a much more laid back group and you can see they are very close as they joke around with each other. Thabille, Hermann (who did our wine tasting for us and picked some incredible wines) and the rest of the gang were a joy. We did have lunch at Lebombo one afternoon and it is a completely different feel. It is much higher in elevation so the views are more panoramic- breathtaking. The rooms are the same design, just different color schemes but again much higher on the mountains as opposed to Sweni’s tree top river side locale. Lebombo looked quite busy compared to Sweni (3 other people at the pool and 6 at lunch- know sounds spoilt!!!) so we are glad we picked Sweni (no one at the pool and lunch). Lebombo’s pool is spectacular though and would probably pick that resort if was with a larger group.
-Game drives- when you land in Singita, your Ranger and Tracker are there to pick you up. They basically are the ones you will spend 6-7 hrs a day with if you do both game drives. We had heard from guests at Ebony who had just returned from Sweni to request Chris Bello. We made the request and also let the resort know beforehand we really wanted to see the lion prides that Kruger is so famous for so they could begin tracking them. And boy- did he live up to his name! Chris was an amazing ranger- from the minute he picked us up, shared with us interesting facts about everything we saw. Daniel was a good tracker- quiet compared to Chris but they made a good team. With Chris’s knowledge and determination we had the most incredible game viewing- lions eating a wilder beast, leopard walking straight to the jeep, pride of 24 lions with 3 baby cubs!!! It was all so surreal, I am still surprised we saw it from the proximity we did. We also really lucked out and had the land rover to ourselves the whole time.

Highlight of the trip- to watch a 2 month old lion cub yawn 5 feet from you as he snuggled up with his immensely powerful mother and 23 other lions.

Overall, Sweni was my favorite experience. It really doesn’t matter how you sequence the resorts, they are all so different. Sweni is like a little planet in its own galaxy and you really feel like one of the few lucky inhabitants- priceless!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2012

We started our safari here, and then went to Singita Lebombo and Ebony. If you are exploring the Singita lodges, I would start with Sweni / Lebombo before going to Ebony and Boulders, we were glad we did. Sweni / Lebombo have a very modern and clean feel. We loved the rooms and lodges. But then going to the more grande and opulent Ebony was exciting. I think going from Ebony to Sweni wouldn't seem as exciting. But having said that, we loved Sweni / Lebombo as much as Ebony and were glad we went to both areas since they are so different both in the lodge architecture but also in the game drives.

Sweni and Lebambo are incredibly similar and right next door to each other. We stayed at both but just pick one. Sweni is smaller with 6 rooms and sits down by a river. Lebombo has 12 or 15 rooms (can't quite remember) and has a broader view of the landscape. The color schemes are slightly different but not much.

The staff at Sweni was incredibly friendly and we enjoyed the fact that the lodge was so small. One night it was just and another couple at the hotel and they set up a private area for us to dine without even asking.

What makes singita stand out as a brand is that they are incredibly proactive and set things up for you before you even realize that something was possible. On our last game drive, they had set up champagne and snacks on a hill with an incredible view for my new husband and myself.

Room Tip: All of the rooms here are similar. Since its down on a river, all had good river views.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

We just returned from our honeymoon trip to South Africa! Our experience with Singita far surpassed my wildest dreams. We spent two nights at Singita Ebony and two nights at Singita Sweni. From the moment we chose to stay here the experience was full service. Their properties were 5 star, but the best part about it was the entire experience was comfortable and not snooty or stuffy. The staff at both lodges have thought of every comfort you could imagine. They are always a few steps ahead of your needs or what you don't even know you need yet! The personalized service is incredible.

You don't go hungry here either! The food is delicious....snacks and drinks were around every corner. We really enjoyed trying the South African wine and trying some of the more local food.

Our safari guides and trackers were so knowledgable and patient. We saw the big 5, plus many more animals in both parks! Their skills, knowledge, and passion of the area is inspiring and contageous.

Both lodges treated us to romantic and special surprises. I won't spoil the surprises here for those that want to go, but it was truly unique and special.

I honestly could go on forever about this experience. I cried when I left both lodges. It was life changing. Thank you Singita for a very memorable experience.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

We went to Singita Sweni on our honeymoon and of the many places we've seen in the world this was the perfect place to spend it. The service can not be beaten and the location and facilities are outstanding. Every last detail has been attended to with thought and care and we were really made to feel exceedingly special. We can't describe just how fantastic our experience was - the food, the game, the ranger, the service. We honestly feel we will never again enjoy a place as much as we did Singita Sweni. To the crew, or as they put it, our "Singita Family" - a million thank you's. And to you the reader - just go. It's so fantastically worth it.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

Spent several nights at Singita Sweni after an incredible stay at Singita Boulders. The Singita product in both venues is an excellent one. Sweni is small, 6 rooms total, only 3 occupied during our stay. In certain ways its the riverside extension of Lebombo - just a 3 minute land rover ride up the hill. We visited Lebombo - a slightly more open and expansive view and sense of space from the public areas (bar, pool, dining) than that offered at Sweni (in the trees, riverside)- so the choice between the two is a matter of personal preferences. Food and service at Sweni was terrific - simpler than Boulders, but just as good. Our guide and tracker were great - informed, friendly, enthuiastic about their work. Game viewing was exciting and varied. We also enjoyed the change in topography that Sweni offers from Boulders - making the two in combination with each other a fantastic safari experience. Singita offers a terrific experience. We recommend it highly.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012 via mobile

I want to preface this review by saying that we came to Sweni from Ebony, which I think has ruined me on all other hotels/resorts/safaris because it was so amazing. My suggestion would be to go to Sweni first so this does not happen because I think we would've been absolutely blown away by Sweni had this been the case. Instead, we were only partially blown away, but blown away nonetheless :)

Rooms and lodge decor is considered "euro Afro chic", which I didn't mind like some other reviewers. It had a treehouse feel, which was made even more realistic by the vervet monkeys that would start climbing on your roof and patio deck at sunrise every morning - so awesome! Nonetheless, the rooms did not have the same luxurious feel as Ebony. There was the option of sleeping outside on a bed on the patio, but our mosquito net had holes in it... So needless to say we didn't take the risk to enjoy that.

What's so special about this place is that it's one of only like a couple of resorts actually inside Kruger National Park. Sweni is built on stilts and runs on generators because whether the resort can continue to operate depends on whether the resort continues to get a concession from SANparks (they just resigned a contract they told us!). That just shows how truly remote this place is.

Our guide, Brian, had so much knowledge about the bush. He was always eager to arrange other non-drive activities (we moutain biked one afternoon and it was fantastic!).

I thought the food here was fantastic. We also did the famous tasting menu at Lebombo, which was fabulous. During that meal, we had to keep reminding ourselves that we were in the middle of the African bush instead of in Soho in NYC.

The one major lapse in service at Sweni has since been timely and properly rectified by Singita ownership, so while I don't think the incident should ever have happened at a resort of the price and overall quality of Sweni, it still left me with a slightly less favorable impression of Sweni.

Overall, what a great experience. And I saw 2 honey badgers!



  • Stayed August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Singita Sweni Lodge

Address: Private Concession | eastern south central, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #50 of 144 Specialty Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
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