Singita Boulders vs Ebony etc.

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Nov 2nd, 2004, 05:26 PM
  #1
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Singita Boulders vs Ebony etc.

We are in the process of planning a safari trip for 2005. Since it's likely to be a once a lifetime experience, we would like to stay at the very best game lodge (in terms of food,accomodation,game drives, quality of rangers etc).For all those who have stayed at Singita, I would be most grateful if you could give me your honest opinion as to the difference between ebony and boulders. For the dates we have in mind, boulders is fully booked and we have provisionally booked ebony. Everyone seems to think boulders is superior.... Other lodges we are looking at include: Royal Melawane, Lebombo, Lions Sands Ivory Lodge. Your views on those would be greatly appreciated too.

We have a pretty tight schedule and have put aside just 4 nights for safari. Would you advise us to stay in the same game lodge for all 4 nights or would it be wise to split into 2 and 2?
bonbon11 is offline  
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Nov 3rd, 2004, 08:50 AM
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We are also scheduled to be at Singita in 2005 (September). We opted for Ebony because it has more traditional and colonial decor which better suits our taste. Boulders seems to be more modern.

From my understanding, the game viewing is the same at both of these lodges.

The game viewing would be different at Sweni/Lebombo which is in a more remote part of the Sabi Sands reserve.

I will leave a more detailed reply to those with actual experience.
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Nov 4th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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We stayed at Singita Ebony Chalet #1 for 3 days and nights in April 2004. It was a colonial style thatched house with bedroom, dressing room, bath, with tub, and both indoor and outdorr showers, a small living room with fireplace and large deck and pool overlooking the Sand River about 150 feet below. The view across the river is hypnotic...we watched the zebras, giraffes and other animals from the deck during rest time between the two daily game drives.

We also visited Boulders, which is basically the same except for the modern decor. We ate at both places, and the food is exceptional at both, but not different.

I like the feeling of old Colonial days and the rich colors and decor of Ebony. Boulders is cool and modern and summer-like.

Both places drive over the same properties and have similarly professional rangers and trackers. We had a Dutch woman ranger, Carmen Van Der Berg who is an amazing driver and has trained as a ranger for over 10 years. She was extremely knowlegeable about both animals and birds and was very concerned about our health, safety and enjoyment of the game drives.

Singita was just this month rated #1 hotel in the world and I agree with the analysis. It is not really a hotel because it is so small, but the service and professionalism of the staff is equal to the best in the world.

Would I return? Of course. It is worth every penny it costs.
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Nov 5th, 2004, 04:23 AM
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We too stayed at Ebony, though had been waitlisted for Boulders. Kind of glad that Boulders didn't open up, because Ebony was just outstanding. Like the other posters, we preferred the Colonial decor which was warm and seemed to fit the environment more then "modern."

Gameviewing is done on the same acreage for both Ebony and Boulders, our ranger and tracker were outstanding, service at the lodge just perfect and the food - well, what can I say? Just the best.

We too visted at Boulders to "see the place" as this is the property used in many of the South African Tourism brochures, and other print media. Some of the guests we met, split their time between both camps - 1-nt. at each or 2-nts each, depending on their total length of stay - and all of these guests said they preferred Ebony for the "feeling of warmth" though the services,staff, food and activities at both were equal. You won't go wrong with either lodge.
 
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Dec 1st, 2004, 03:09 PM
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We just returned from 2 days Singita Ebony and 2 days Singita Lebombo. I definately would say 4 days in one lodge would not be as interesting as 2+2. Even in 2 days (4 drives) you traverse some of the same teritory 2 or 3 times. We were very happy to have planned to visit 2 lodges and even thought we loved both I think 3 days in one would be the maximum. Although the decor and style of the Singita's is very different the service and food is equal so I do not think you can go wrong.
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Dec 2nd, 2004, 02:30 AM
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(Rocco here, too lazy to log out Scaredtodeath)

Only because you say this is "likely to be a once in a lifetime experience" and because you are seemingly willing to spend $9,000+ on 4 nights at Singita, I would advise you to consider looking beyond Singita.

Singita is a wonderful experience, but if you had the time, I, personally, think you would be so much better off, if you are going anytime from about mid-July to mid-September, spending a couple weeks in Zambia for around the same price you will spend for four nights worth of Singita.

This itinerary would just, in my opinion, be so much superior, and not cost a penny more:

Victoria Falls, Stanley Safari Lodge or Royal Livingstone Hotel, 2-3 nights. If you are the more adventurous sort, I would definitely advise a 3rd night as this would allow you ample time to engage in activities such as white water rafting, microlighting (a sort of motorized hangglider), or who knows, maybe even bungee jumping!

Chiawa Camp, Lower Zambezi National Park (don't let the word "camp" dissuade you, as this is a beautiful place) in the Suite, 3 nights

Tena Tena, South Luangwa National Park (Northern part of park which features an awesome biodiversity, with the best birding I have ever seen, as well as the most hippos and crocodiles I have ever seen, along with the usual suspects of elephants, antelope of various variety, zebra, giraffe, lions, leopards, hyenas, etc.)

Chichele Presidential Lodge, 3 nights (in central part of the park, yet south of the busier Mfuwe area). I found this lodge to be every bit as enjoyable as nearly as luxurious as Singita, at less than 40% of the price.
This would be an excellent grand finale.

These are incredible lodges and the memory of 11 nights in so many different areas would be superior to only 4 nights spent within a very close area. The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is about 1/15th the size of the South Luangwa National Park, for example.

With the dollar down to about 5.85 Rand per 1 USD, potential visitors would be well served at looking at Zambian lodges, since Zambia's tariffs are in U.S. Dollars rather than in South African Rand.

I stayed at Singita in 2002 when the USD was worth DOUBLE what it is today, yet rates have stayed solidly the same, making it twice as expensive to visit Singita today, as it was only 2.5 years ago.

Largely as a result of the declining dollar, I was led to Zambia, and I am glad I was led there, because it is an incredible place with not only amazing gameviewing and a plentitude of activities, but also for having amazingly friendly and hospitable people, with children often running to the roadside, just to gleefully wave and smile at the passing vehicles (on your way from the airport to South Luangwa, for example), never expecting anything in return but a smile and a wave.

For anybody even remotely interested in Zambia, here is an excellent link:

http://www.zambiatourism.com/welcome.htm

This will link you to all of the lodges I mentioned above and many more.

4 nights in the Sabi Sand or 11-12 nights in Victoria Falls, Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa??? An incredibly simple decision for anybody that has visited each place.



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Dec 2nd, 2004, 05:30 AM
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Bonbon -
I've stayed at three of the lodges you mentioned (Singita Boulders, Lion Sands Ivory, and Royal Malewane).
Of all three, game viewing was best at Singita, followed by Lion Sands Ivory, then the Malewane.
The food was superb at all three of the lodges.
What type of hotel do you enjoy staying in when you travel elsewhere? Do you opt for top-of-the-line posh places, or more intimate B&B's? I ask because each lodge has its own distinct feel. I imagine that the Royal Malewane is more like Singita Ebony in that it has a more "colonial" feel; old-world decor...a true safari feel. Lion Sands Ivory and Singita Boulders are both alike in that they're over-the-top modern.

I personally don't go for the super-modern decor, yet both Singita Boulders and Lion Sands were by far my favorite. I cannot stop raving about Lion Sands Ivory - I just posted a trip report that gives more details on this lodge if you're interested. Good luck!
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