Hotel Singita Ebony Lodge Hotel 0 star
Easyexperts
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Amy Adejokun Section editor

The Ebony lodge is one of the warmest we visited: for its colour, its construction favouring intimacy and for the welcome and hospitality shown by its staff. Very different in style to its sister properties, Ebony is a more cosy property than Boulders but not as countrified as Castleton. It boasts spacious, well-appointed accommodations, a hugely comfortable library, a wonderful wellness centre and is big on wines with both a cellar and shop. Being relatively high too, the lodge enjoys some great views over the Sand River. Perfect for both families and couples looking for a thoroughly relaxing safari experience, Ebony is one of the most appealing lodges around.

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    • Hotel Singita Ebony Lodge

      Singita Ebony Lodge   -   © BRIAG COURTEAUX

    • Hotel Singita Ebony Lodge

      Singita Ebony Lodge   -   © BRIAG COURTEAUX

       
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    Location 7.67 /10

    The lodge is situated in the southwestern corner of the Sabi Sands Private game reserve which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park. Together with Singita Boulders and Castleton Lodges, Ebony has a traversing area of 45,000 acres, a relatively large piece of land, meaning excellent game viewing possibilities. There is a daily direct flight from Johannesburg's O. R. Tambo International Airport to the Singita airstrip as well as direct flights from Jo'burg, Cape Town and Durban to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport from where you can either take a charter plane or finish the journey by road. The drive from Jo'burg is around five and a half hours while you should leave an hour if you are coming from Hazyview and just under two hours if your starting point is Nelspruit. You should enter the reserve via Shaw's Gate where you will need to pay a modest entrance fee per ca rand per person.

    Accommodation 9.90 /10

    The 12 suites that make up Ebony's accommodation are spacious, inviting and charmingly decorated. Although 10 of the rooms sleep two people only, two of the rooms have an extra twin room meaning four people can sleep in the suite. The living space, which has large picture windows on two sides, has a seating area with armchairs and sofas and plenty of cushions while to one side is a large country-style buffet which contains books, tea and coffee facilities and a drinks tray. Next to this is an occasional table with birds of paradise and above are some paintings with various themes: the bush, naval and English/French hunting images. The space also features a double-sided fireplace and other amenities include a painting kit, an iPod docking station, a minibar and air conditioning. The bedroom features one of the most appealing four-poster beds we saw with a mosquito net surrounding it and quality red and white linen with matching floral cushions with adjustable reading lights attached to the headboard. The elegant bedside tables have a cordless phone and pot pourri under the lamps while a bureau stands up against the one wall of the room which is in bare stone. The generously proportioned bathrooms have their main features distributed into its four corners: two are taken up by the his and hers wash basins while the other two are occupied by a claw foot bath and glass walled walk-in monsoon shower. The sinks, which are each sunken into sleek dark wood vanities, have large square mirrors above them as well as a make-up mirror, Dermalogica toiletries and candles. The tub has sea salts and oils by its side while at the centre of the room is an upholstered bench. Outside the bathroom is an outdoor shower which is situated at the end of the long terrace which zigzags its way along the side of the suite. You'll find a table and chairs from which animals can be admired as well as two armchairs and sun loungers around your private, heated pool. The room contains all the amenities you'd expect such as safe, bathrobes and anti-mosquito products.

    Overview 9.90 /10

    You could be forgiven for thinking that the main lodge at Ebony is an exhibit, so perfectly it is formed and so numerous and diverse the objects and furniture that are contained therein. There are several clusters of seating each with beautifully upholstered armchairs or sofas, complete with colourful cushions and sleek wooden coffee tables with carvings or games or decorative objects. Lamps and candles give a soft light while the drapes hanging from the wooden beams above also lend a homely edge to the space. There are cabinets full of African art and handicraft as well as vases, copper pots, tapestries, books and a collection of hunting trophies surveying the ensemble. A large fireplace is to be found on one side while an intriguing saddle holder is on display opposite. It would be impossible to list everything on show here, but if you do choose Ebony, then take the time to look around, the collection fascinating. Further out from under the covered lounge area is the decked terrace boasting more comfy furniture which faces outwards towards the bush. Guests have a great view from this point and there is a telescope for their use to get even closer to the animals roaming around in the distance.

    Even cosier yet is the lodge's library with its warm tartan covered armchairs and sofas and book lined wooden walls. Here again is a cacophony of trophies, paintings, trumpets, swords and old family photos. There is a fireplace here too above which is an inspiring photo of a leopard staring back down as well as a flatscreen television and PC for those craving communication with the outside world. Those wishing to take it easy at the swimming pool will find a charmingly tranquil space with a rocky surrounding and a deck with sun loungers. Heavily shaded by the trees on its edge, the pool also has a great little stone cabana-type structure with towels and seating.

    The wellness centre here at Ebony is one of the finest of any lodge. Housed within the complex, which has dark wood floors, stone columns and more examples of African art, ever several treatment rooms whose doors can be opened when the weather allows offering skin care (facials, eye rescue) signature treatments (massage using monkey oranges, the big five with exfoliation, wrap, head massage, reflexology and Inkaba full body massage), polishes and wraps, a range of massages and of course grooming treatments. The facility also has a steam room, a relaxation area with refreshments and a couple's room. The staff at the spa is absolutely charming (as are all the members of staff at the lodge) and both passionate and knowledgeable about the products and treatments. A well-equipped 24 hour gym with water, towels and changing rooms makes up part of the spa.

    As well as a large, well-stocked curio shop, the lodge also has a wine shop where guests can purchase many of the wines featured in the cellar (wee 'Food and Drink').

    Food and drink 9.70 /10

    The standard of the food at Ebony Lodge is very much in line with the quality of the rest of the services here, in other words, it is to be praised. Talented chefs will produce inventive and tasty cuisine for all three of your meals which can be enjoyed in various locations around the camp, and beyond. Two of the stand out locations at this lodge are the dining room and the wine cellar. This former is remarkable for the mural which runs part of the way around the room's wall (the rest being made up of lengths of bamboo) depicting a calm and somewhat arid bush scene. Above the fireplace is a collection of spear and tools that tribesmen would have used in times gone by while a piano also sits against the wall for anyone wishing to tinkle the ivories during an evening's entertainment. A sidetable to one side has a gramophone on its top and there are a score of watercolours arranged higgledy-piggledy on the bamboo wall. The tables are all dressed with bright orange tablecloths and each has a candelabra at its centre. The wine cellar a rather small affair packed with mainly South African wines, can host four people for dinner or around eight for a wine tasting. Private dinners for two are also available on request, although (so long as the weather plays ball) it would be nicer to reserve this kind of experience for your bedroom terrace or even the bush (another possible venue for breakfast and dinner). The lodge's terrace is where guests will usually take breakfast and/or lunch while dinner can also be served in the traditional boma. As well as the three main meals of the day, guests will enjoy a pre-morning game drive snack as well as hot drinks and bites during both the morning and afternoon drives.

    To know

    The Singita group has several game reserves throughout South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. It has two others in the Sabi Sands as well as two in the Kruger National Park. Singita takes its responsibilities to the local communities very seriously and has projects up and running in each area in which it operates. Ebony, along with its sister properties Boulders and Castleton not only employ and train up local people with potential, but they also financially support several schools and the Tshemba Hosi Care Centre for physically and/or mentally challenged children through their own funds, guest donations and the proceeds from community tours. These latter were started up by a one time employee of the group and who now operates his own tour company with support from Singita. Guests are encouraged to participate in these tours as without these services the whole concept of nature paying for development would fall down.

    Equipment

    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      spa

    advantage

    • Design/décor
    • Staff/service
    • Fitness/wellness facilities
    • Wine shop/cellar
    • View/river

    disadvantages

    • Wellness facilities shared with Castleton guests

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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