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“You won't regret it”

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Singita Sweni Lodge
Reviewed March 2, 2011

My partner and I spent 2 nights at Sweni and 3 nights at Singita Ebony in December. You can see my Ebony review under its listing. Although I preferred the look of Ebony lodge (it's like a high end version of an old school hunting lodge), I can see how others might prefer Sweni's more modern look. For instance, the floor to ceiling windows really made it easier to constantly be looking out your window for birds and wildlife. (I saw hippos from my balcony at both places and at that point Singita had me forever). The pool is also nicer at Sweni, I thought, though you really shouldnt be going to Singita for the pools. Sweni is also more intimate- because we went in early December both places only had a few other guests, but at Xmastime or other busy periods it might be preferable to be at Sweni.
The important thing to know about Sweni is that this is a private concession at Kruger and they do in fact drive off road. Our guide, Reckson, was such a great guy-- soulful, I would say. We saw the Big 5 and lots of other great animals.
We actually did the optional walking safari-- which in truth freaked us out a bit at the time in truth, but which we will now never forget. We actually saw all the Big 5 at Sweni, but never saw buffalo at Ebony. You will have great animal sightings at both locations.
The food and the staff are absolutely wonderful. You should not stress out too much about your decision to go to any Singita property, you simply will not regret the experience- you will treasure it.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank stintino55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 25, 2011

My 3 nights at Sweni were perhaps I have ever spent at a hotel. Writing and indepth review would spoil the delight in seeing what surprises the staff have concocted for you - this is a place where the hotel staff actively go out of their way to anticipate what you would like.

It is very expensive, but their all inclusive policy means you won't get writer's cramp from signing off on everything from your laundry to your wine with dinner. The food was excellent as well - though we had fancier food elsewhere in South Africa, Sweni's cuisine was honest and not overwrough and resultingly the best of our trip.

One piece of advice if you should travel here: though you can opt to relax by the pool, you would be doing so at the expense of the game viewing. Kruger is not a good place to go and chill out and you should be prepared for long and intensely structured days at Singita. Again, you don't have to participate if you don't want to, but given that you are essentially going to Africa for the animals, why would you want to sleep in? Another note: the surrounding terrain is wilder at Sweni/Lebombo than at Singita Boulders and Ebony. If you choose to go to both camps, I would suggest going to Boulders/Ebony first, where you are more likely to see all the big five and then you might feel less pressure to do so at Sweni and Lebombo. We did end up seeing all 5 at Sweni, but it took about twice the time.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank EtherealKotuku
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2011

what an amazing journey! the lodge and appointments were very inviting and warm..the staff
were spot on, pleasant, accommodating, caring and paid their utmost attention to their/my
clients needs..the food was simply out of this world 5* + ! very safe and secure.. the game drives were exciting and educational..my guide, collen and tracker, themba were the best..this may go down as my best experience ever.don't miss this!!

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled solo
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Thank mkg005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2009

My wife and I recently returned from our honeymoon, a week in Mauritius (see Four Seasons review) followed by 3 days at Sweni then 3 in Cape Town. Sweni was what we were most excited for. It had a lot to live up to after an ideal week in Mauritius, it more than did that.

Singita has been granted exclusive safari rights to a huge swath of Kruger park. It's not a tiny reserve with animals shipped in and carefully culled, it is wild. We saw all of the big 5, hippos, crocodiles, baboons, etc. Even expecting this can't explain the feeling of being ten feet from a lion. Incredible. But what you want to know about are the accommodations. Prepare to be stunned. We stayed at Sweni, the smaller of the two lodges. Lembombo is a bit bigger and the rooms have a better vantage point over the river, but at Sweni we felt like we were the only ones there. In fact, we had a guide and tracker all to ourselves for all but two drives. David (our ranger) and Glass (our tracker) were first rate. They knew everything about the park and were good at explaining. Their respect for the environment and the animals well being was borderline reverent, which appealed to us. if they had to they could pick up the entire camp tomorrow and leave very little trace. That makes you feel good as an eco tourist.

The entire lodge nailed the concept of rustic luxory to a T. The rooms were large, air conditioned, with a beautiful deck over the river, an outdoor shower and the most romantic bathtub I've ever seen. But it felt like it blended right into the hillside, from the muted colors to futon style bed (but more comfortable). There is a bed under the stars as well, replete with mosquito netting, we opted for this one night.

One night coming sums up our trip. We had just come in from an incredible game drive, having seen a stunning sunset over the bush for which our guide prepared cocktails, laid out snacks and cooked up some springbok skewers. Upon returning, the most knowledgeable sommelier I have had the pleasure of meeting, led us through our own private wine tasting in their wine cellar. The wines were incredible (and informed us for our next stop, Cape Town), our sommelier wonderful. From this we were whisked off to the pool area, which they had completely transformed for us with lights in the trees and a private table. We had a sumptuous tasting menu served to us by Beauty, our waitress who we got to know quite well over our stay (the lodge is so intimate and the staff all so genuinely excited to be working there that even in three days we got to know them well). I had some delicious crocodile carpaccio (who knew it would be so good?), more great wine and a perfect night with my wife. For our last night they had a giant barbecue and the staff performed local songs and dances. In situations like this, as a good liberal I always have my "am I being an Imperialist" guard up. And the short answer, is yes, I was. But the staff was so clearly in to their jobs, everyone so excited and proud of the first class experience they were presenting, that it transcended any of those tugs and then some.

It is only a lack of time stopping me from writing further. I can say without a doubt this was the best trip of my life. A truly privileged experience. If you're even thinking about it, which you must be if you're reading this, just go. You will not regret it. Money and time well spent. You will remember it the rest of your days.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LATravelz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2009

Sometimes a place is so famous, and so expensive, that the expections are huge.
Sometimes this lead to disappointments as I experienced a few years ago visiting Singita Boulders.... but this time. Wow, it was good!
Encouraged by the extraordinary design of the lodge, and being addicted safari lovers we deciced that we would love to visit the Singita's in the Krugerpark.
A choice we don't regret.
Singita Swena is in the Lebombo concession at the eastern border of the Krugerpark and it really is a beautiful and different concession. We travelled to Singita by car, as it seems as only 1 % of the guests do, and we also recommend that trip. The route from Skukuza to Singita, and from Singita via Satara and Orphen gate out, was beautiful, a game drive in itself. But take your time. On leisure speed it will take you a few hours.
As said we love safari and have visited, over the past 15 years, a lot of lodges. When I saw Singita Sweni and Lebombo in a magazine I was allways wondering if such design suits in the bush. Well the design in reality is much better then in the magazines. The rooms in the camps Lebombo and Sweni are exactly the same with only the Lebombo ones using lighter woodcolour than in Sweni. The other difference is the camp size, Sweni has 6 rooms and Lebombo has 15. This make in my opinion Sweni also a much more cozyer and more intimate camp. The rooms are huge and have everything you could want or need. The service is great, you will a personal butler who will take care for you, we had a extreme friendly and competent guy. The food is if you are dining in a star restaurant. One night we also had a winetasting in the cellar with the sommelier, followed by a 6-course tasting dinner with the same wines, how special. They have a nice spa with all desired treatments and for ladies who want to shop; some lodges have a curio cupboard, some lodges have a curio shop, Singita has a curio shopping center! Apart from the hospitality, the reason of being there is the safari. The game drives were also great, we did see all of big 5 and much more, the scenery is beautiful, and we had a very entertaining ranger and tracker which were good company.
Is Singita the best safari place in Southern Africa? From many perspectives I would say yes, accomodation, design, food, safaris all score 10 out of 10. Personally I think their operation is a little bit to "smooth", in my opinion being on safari also needs some bush-roughness, with things like big stories from rangers and fellow guest around a campfire. But that is personal; I can imagine a lot of other guests who prefer this extreme personalized service. But one thing is sure, it is expensive but absolute value for money.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank amigo42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2009

We stayed at Sweni Lodge (the smaller group of rooms on Lebombo's property). We tried to book Lebombo but it was full so our travel agent booked us here. I was worried that it wouldnt be as nice as Lebombo, because there are no reviews on Sweni, but we saw both properties and really like Sweni's location better. They are both beautiful and almost exactly the same but Lebombo has a beachy, blue and white color scheme, is larger and has more rooms, and sits high up on the hill over looking the park. Sweni has a green, white and brown color scheme and forest feel to it. You sit really low, right in the trees. You feel like you are (luxury) camping in a tree house here. There are only 6 rooms in Sweni so it is much more intimate than Lebombo. Right below our room was the river with 40 or so hippos in it. Every morning we would wake to the calls of the hippos, it was so exciting to be that close to them. We also stayed at Londolozi Tree Camp (I will review this next) while in South Africa and have to say that Singita (no matter what lodge you pick) is far superior to any thing else in South Africa. If you are used to five star, stay at Singita. The staff, service, facilities, and food are all outstanding and you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank cockatoo23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2006

Can't say enough about our experience at Singita. We stayed 3 nights at Sweni Lodge in the Lebombo concession of Kruger National Park. Lebombo Lodge was nearby, but we loved Sweni for its intimacy, with only 6 "rooms" along the Sweni River. Our accommodations were gorgeous, although we didn't use the third shower; there are two indoor showers, one outdoor, and one bathtub (a bit much for one couple)! The lodge is contemporary African style, yet comfortable. The service was wonderful, with great attention, yet casual (as a safari should be). Lots of retirees and newlyweds, some over-the-top (pearls on a game drive...really?) But the staff were warm and friendly. Would definitely return...tomorrow if we had the time & $$. The game drives were amazing & exciting. Overall, an absolutely unforgettable experience!

6  Thank loves2holiday
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: Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #108 of 175 Specialty Lodging in Kruger National Park
Price Range: $3,604 - $3,698 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Singita Sweni Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Resting lightly upon the ground within a 33,000 acre, private concession in the Kruger National Park, Singita Sweni Lodge is nestled beautifully amongst hundreds of trees at the edge of the Sweni River. In this tranquil, intimate hideaway, the decks of the lodge seem to hover in the branches, while inside, rich calming colours and textures echo the hues of the natural surroundings. With its proximity to the river, guests at Singita Sweni Lodge are treated to up-close sightings of the incredible number of animals and birds that wander down to drink or wallow in the river. ... more   less 

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