Condé Nast Traveller - The Gold List 2016
February 2016

Singita Ebony Lodge, Sabi Sand, South Africa

For 23 years it has been one of the best in the bush. And now, finally, joyfully, Singita’s original safari lodge has had a well-deserved makeover by the South African design powerhouse of Cecile & Boyd. Walls have been removed to let in the sunlight and anything stuffy or colonial, the tartan and the heavy drapes, has been binned, replaced by graphic wall murals and oversized sculptures. The 12 suites have gone open-plan using glass and pale canvas to lighten up the spaces; drop-down tiered decks with plunge pools overlook the Sand River where lion laze on the banks, eyeballed by crocs. The epicentre of the lodge has been transformed with split-level balconies, and a handsome fire-lit dining room where the food is phenomenal and the wine list luminous (Singita stocks some of South Africa’s most coveted private reserves and limited-release wines, often bought with repeat guests in mind). The alcohol-fuelled evenings do pose a problem given the early wake-up calls and unmissable game drives at dawn. Especially as this is, of course, where Singita outperforms the competition: 45,000 acres of private game reserve in the heart of the Sabi Sand; guides who quietly know their stuff; and crucial conservation programmes. Singita Ebony always was, but is even more so now, South Africa’s safari superstar.