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Singita Boulders Lodge
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All reviewswine tastingafrican winesthe rivergame drivesplunge poolsauvignon blancroyal malewanesquare feetliving roomfour seasonsour honeymoonguide rosspersonalized servicerooms are beautifulonce in a lifetimeeach guestsouth africa
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Reviewed March 18, 2007

Having never been on a safari before I was really looking forward to the experience and can honestly say it was the most fantastic thing I have ever done. The tiny plane flight to the hotel was an experience in itself and from arriving at the landing strip and being picked up by our ranger the Singita treatment was amazing.

The lodge itself is unbelievable and the staff very helpful and attentive. The food was great and i had my first taste of crocodile and various other game from the surrounding area!

The game drives were absolutely great and I particularly liked the night drives. We saw the big five on our first drive as well as numerous other animals and a kill taking place.

The luxurious lodge, great food and staff - in particular our personal waitress and guide were fantastic and made the whole experience even more rewarding.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank RobM74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2006

This is one place where you don’t just get a room, you get a whole house, great food, and a real sense of being one with the land and the creatures that inhabit it. When at Singita, forget the image of roughing it on safari, and think “The Ritz” with animals.

Singita has been rated by several polls as the best hotel/resort in the world. I can’t verify that, because there are many places I haven’t stayed, but I can say that my wife and I agree that this was the crowning jewel of our best holiday ever.

We travelled individually, and coming from Sun City, flew SA Airways from Johannesburg to Skukuza Aiport at Kruger National Park. We were greeted and escorted to the resort’s own shuttle aircraft that made the last leg of the trip to the resort in ten minutes. It is also possible to arrive by road.

Singita has two linked resorts in the Sabi Sand Private Reserve, which is just west of Kruger. We were staying at the Boulders Resort, which is limited to just 18 guests. The nearby Singita Ebony Resort was similar in size, but with a different theme. We visited the Ebony lodge, but didn’t see any of the sleeping accommodations there.

Upon arrival, one’s first view of Boulders is the thatched-roof main lodge, with its cascading pools. The lodge is the center of meals and activities, but the sleeping accommodations are nine individual rondovals (circular houses built around a central supporting pole). Each rondoval has a small foyer, leading into a comfortably-furnished living room with huge glass windows that overlooked the veldt. On the other side of the room was a huge stone fireplace.

Walking past the fireplace, we entered the bedroom, with its comfortable canopy bed. Again, there were floor-to-ceiling windows, really a glass wall. We never closed the shades, as it was wonderful to awake in the dim light before sunrise, watching the animals forage. Each of our four mornings, the same giraffe would be munching on acacia trees just 120 metres from our window; on the last day, we had our Land Rover driver take us out to see him up close.

Beyond the bedroom was a huge bathroom with modern fixtures. We had a tub, a walk-in shower, a gleaming double-basin sink, and toilet closet. The bathroom opened onto the large terrace, which had an outdoor shower (although it was secluded from the path and main lodge, it took us a couple of days to get up the nerve to use it) and our own private plunge pool. The terrace overlooked the Sand River. About 15 feet down was some large animal, maybe a hippo, that we could only hear splashing and grunting at night.

Our rondoval was the closest to the lodge. Each morning we would get a wake-up call on the doorbell, about 5:30 a.m. 45 minutes later, an guide with rifle would come and escort us up the path to the lodge, about 30 metres away. The guides stressed that we should not venture outside alone after dark, because the area isn’t fenced. One evening, we saw a pride of lions walking down the path to the lodge. Another day, we arrived back at our rondoval to find that an elephant had pulled down part of a tree just outside of our window.

After some coffee and pastries, just as the sun was coming up, we would be on a Land Rover, starting the morning game drive. The wildlife began to venture out for water at first light, but sought out shade and inactivity as the morning became warmer. There are windows of viewing opportunity in the early morning, and again just before sundown, and the two scheduled game drives take advantage.

The Land Rovers at Singita are both open-sided and without roofs – great for photography. At first, it was quite chilly, but we would layer up and shed as the sun rose. We also had pants and vests with zip-off legs and sleeves. Although we had stocked up with safari wear, it really wasn’t necessary, as most guests just wore casual clothing. However, a hat to protect from the sun is a must.

Over four days, we had eight game drives. For the first three days, we went out with the same two couples. On the last day, the others had gone, so we had the game drives to ourselves. The Land Rovers have three tiered rows of seats behind the driver, the back tier being the highest, but also the bumpiest. Each couple had one row, which we rotated, so everyone always had a good view. By the end of the first day, we had seen the “big five” species. An advantage to the more exclusive private reserves is that there would be no crowds of vehicles around the interesting sights.

As my screen name implies, I am interested in photography. On the drives, I mostly used a full-frame SLR with a 100-400mm f4.5 zoom lens. It really helps to have a longer lense for tighter shots, as it isn’t always possible to get right up to the action. Because larger aperture is helpful in the dimmer light at sunup and sundown, and in creating bokah, I now have a 400mm f2.8 that I’d like to try, but traveling on small planes with a 13-pound lense may be problematic. But, if you do go, try to buy or borrow a camera with good telephoto capabilities. A P&S camera is fine for around camp.

After 2-3 hours of morning game drive, we would return to breakfast on the lodge terrace. It was buffet style, with entrée cooked to order, and was delicious, especially the fresh fruits. Even breakfast was served on china with silverware. After breakfast, we would have 3-4 hours of free time for swimming, optional game walks, a nap, a late lunch, mid-afternoon tea, or as I did, sending e-mail and digital photos back home. The lodge did have a telephone in each room, and I was able to access dial-up Internet.

Each evening game drive started about 3:30 p.m. After a few hours, it would be dark, and we would stop somewhere in the bush for “sundowners”, cocktails and hors d’oeuvers served on the bonnet (hood) of the Land Rover. Back at the lodge, we would freshen up for more cocktails and dinner, or, one evening, for an optional night game drive, a spotlight revealing clusters of prey huddled together nervously. Sometimes the silence would be broken by a distant animal scream.

Dinner was served formally, but dress was smart casual. Each of the first three nights, the dinner was rotated to a different location: the lodge terrace, the indoor dining room, and the boma. A boma is an outdoor area encircled by a fence of tree stocks. This permitted a fire and roasting of meat. Afterwards, there was singing and dancing by the staff and locals.

The meals were all delicious. The lodge maintains its own wine cellar. The self-serve lodge bar was open all day, and cocktails and house wines were free, but cellar vintages were extra cost. Beverages from the minibar in the room were included in the daily rate. There was a free tasting party in the cellar the first evening.

Words aren’t sufficient to describe the Singita experience. The facilities are spectacular, the staff is dedicated, the food is delicious, and the game drives are at once both exciting and relaxing. We highly recommend all aspects of Singita. At almost $2000 a night, it is expensive, but you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: November 2006
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
10  Thank PhotoTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2006

We spent the first half of our honeymoon at two Singita Properties: Boulders in Sabi Sands and Lebombo is Kruger. Expensive but worth every penny.

The accommodations were impeccable, the service was perfect and the safri experience was breathtaking.

Some highlights:

the game viewing: we saw the big five and so much more
the guides & trackers: incredibly knowledgable, interesting, engaging
the rooms at Boulders: 1800 square feet of pure luxury
the itinerary: morning rides with coffee break in the bush, hot made to order breakfast, relaxing days in your room, getting a massage, enjoying the view, evening rides with "sundowners", gourmet dinners and excellent wines.
the staff: warm, hospitable, attentive, unintrusive, flexible and all about you and your experience.

Book now, you won't regret it!

5  Thank SFtravelingcouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2006

When we arrived at the landing strip, we were met by rangers who drove us to our respective lodges. One half of our group went to Singita Ebony and one half to Singita Bolders.

We walked down a wood plank path to find a lovely pond and waterfall on either side. The lodge facing us was large and open, overlooking the lovely savannah. We were greated with peach iced tea or lemonade with passion fruit seeds...both delicious. A guide was then assigned to take us to our villa.

We had villa 6 ...on the left hand side. I think this is the largest (by a small amount) of all the villas, having a slightly larger living room and larger deck than some of the other villas. We entered a foyer with a half bath to the right. The foyer had a chest with a refrigerator, filled with soft beverages and juices. On the table in front were liquers, liquor, wine, snacks...all included. The wall facing the entry was a long, full wall of continuous glass. The living/dining room must have been 1000 sq feet capped off by a 16-20 foot cathedral ceiling.

A large living room was to the right, separated by a two-sided fireplace from a large bedroom to left. The living roon was decorated with a zebra skin rug, a comfortable chair, a built in leather couch and a round dining table and chairs. A coffee table in front of the couch had books on birds, mammals and magazines as well as a large hurricane candle. There were 10 votives on the dining table. The decor was modern and elegant, with lovely artifacts scattered throughout the room.

The bedroom was a four poster bed with ebony end tables on either side. A large table was against the window wall. On it were some artifacts and a watercolor set and paper.

Separated by a door, the bathroom/dressing area was about 25 by 20 feet. It was huge. There was a large dressing area, dressing table, claw foot tub, two sinks and a large shower.

Outside, there was a plunge pool, two lounge chairs and an outside shower.

Amenities included slippers, robes, bug spray, flashlight, hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, bath foam, bath salts. You need to bring nothing. Even binoculars can be supplied. All amenities are great. Sheets and mattress are very comfortable.

You cannot walk during darkness and must be accompanied by a ranger. Room service is available. I heard wonderful things about the spa. Food was wonderful.

A typical day...5:30 wake up, you are picked up at 6am for your am drive. There are breakfast bars, muffins, juice, coffee and tea available. Water is always supplied to bring with you. You usually stay out for 3 hours, with a short break for a brief breakfast in the bush. When you return at 9:30, a full buffet or menu breakfast is available on the porch. At 1:30, lunch is available, afternoon tea is available at 3 and you leave for your pm drive at 3:30 and return 6:30-7pm. You stop for a lovely sunrise nightcap and hors d'hoevres. Dinner is served at 8pm. Food is plentiful, fresh and wonderful. It is always elegantly served and prepared.

Service from staff and rangers. Superb. Attentive, without being stuffy. We had 4 jeeps and 4 rangers. Each of us felt we had the best. We hugged all of the staff goodbye. At the end of our 5 night visit, we were seen off at the landstrip by our rangers who all waved goodbye to us. I felt like I had just visited fantasy island and was being seen off by Mr. Rourk.

Animals..we saw the big five over and over again...An elephant came right up to our villa.

The other villas are all somewhat different from one another. Compared to #6, #1 had smaller rooms, no cathedral ceiling in the living room, but a beautiful view of the river and a large two level deck;#2 was similar to #1, but had a smaller deck. #3 was similar to #1, but slightly larger and its view was not quite as nice; #5 was identical to #3; #7 was identical to number #6, but was the most private. Its views were nice, but no water view. #8 and #9 overlooked the watering hole and were similar to #6. Number #8 was the only villa with no steps. #9's fireplace rotated.

Ebony was slightly different. There was more variance in the rooms here. I only saw two rooms here. One room I did not like. It had a small living room, a good size bedroom and a step down bathroom. I didn't see the deck. The other villa I saw was the same size as my villa at Bolders, and had a large living room with cathedral ceiling, a large bedroom and a large bathroom. The balcony was fully covered with rattan and had both chairs and lounge chairs as well as a plunge pool. The common area pool was lovely, with a waterfall and lounge chairs. Bolders pool was small and there were no lounge chairs. The library and lodge lounge were lovely at Ebony. All the homes at Ebony have the feel of being in the trees. Those of us at Bolders preferred Bolders to Ebony, while those at Ebony preferred Ebony to Bolders. The service and facilities were so superb, you just had no complaints and were happy.

It was VERY expensive, but an incredibly over the top experience. I will recommend it to anyone and will do it again as soon as I can afford it.

10  Thank berniss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Chicago, Illinois
448
Reviewed January 30, 2005

We loved the room at Boulders. We stayed in room 6 and it was massive. We paid over $2200 USD for each night. We expected over the top service and we were let down. The nature shower was not working the first night, the air conditioner needed a fan to supplement. The hotel didn't get our last name right on any correspondence. No mention was made of our honeymoon and there were no honeymoon amenities or treats as they did for us at Sweni. When we didn't report for tea timely one afternoon, the land rover left without us. We were disappointed that lunch was a buffet with flies hovering on our food and monkeys stealing fruit off it. Haven't they heard of nets to cover? On the plus side, the room was beautiful. We saw amazing animals up close. The wine tasting was a nice touch and Francois was very knowledgable. The wines and dinners were very good. I don't know what they can tell you justifies the price point. I'm sure there are other fabulous places for half the price in Sabi Sands.

20  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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