Singita, Kings Pool, Mombo

Reply

Apr 14th, 2004, 10:07 AM
  #1
hdr
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5
Singita, Kings Pool, Mombo

Firstly, thanks to all of you that contribute so frequently to this dialogue. It has been incredibley helpful for me, as a first time traveler to Africa.
We are planning our Honeymoon in Africa in December. We had originally planned to go to Singita for 4 days, but our travel agent said Botswana is a must. So we are currently booked 3 days at Mombo and 4 days at King's Pool.


Two Questions...and I realize this is a somewhat divise topics.

One- Are King's pool and Mombo very similar...do we need to go to both? I've been told that if we are going to spend all seven days in Botswana, we should think of adding a "water-camp." Also, any insight on
Kings Pool would be great. I haven't heard much about it.

Two- Are we really missing something by not visiting Singita. I realize it is subjective, but for those who have been, I'd love your opionion. It is afterall, our honeymoon. If you are going to pay a ridiculous amount of money for something, this is as good a time as ever, right?
hdr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2004, 10:31 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Singita is for those that would rather pay $200 for a designer shirt, rather than $100 for an identical shirt from a different designer. Kind of like paying $50 for a cotton t-shirt just because it says Armani Exchange on it.

There are so many other lodges out there that will offer the same game experience, and accomodations that are very nice for half the price as Singita. Find me a person on here (myself included) that has been to Singita and cannot wait to return, and I will change my mind about this one, but every person that I know of on this board that his been to Singita, has also said that while it is very nice, they would not return.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2004, 11:08 AM
  #3
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Roccco - I believe most wouldn't return based on the current exchange rate. I don't ever recall reading a post from anyone saying they hated it. Like others, I believe that those who have visited (myself and you and STD) were interested in "finding out what is this all about, even if it was costing $500-$650/nt. person" and we went and all have raved about the accommodations, game viewing, food, service, attentive staff, great rangers - just about as perfect at perfect could be.

Whether any who has been would return at the current rates of $1000+/nt. person is another matter - most probably wouldn't. Though there are still plenty of people booking here even at the current rates. It is the kind of thing that most of us felt we would only do once, which we did and were not disappointed. But most of us, I assume, feel "been there, done that" and now it's time to find some place else. Africa is a very big continent, so why not explore other areas.

You Roccco, are now looking for a different safari experience, and letting us all know just how wonderful Zambia is and what great prices you're getting - and that is great. Then there are those who've been lucky enough to find great deals for Botswana (Liz) for the current Green Season - and she did get a great deal - thinking about you Liz!

It's a honeymoon that hdr is speaking of, and though Singita and many of the other hi-end lodges are running at the same ridiculous prices - and during December there aren't going to be many bargains regardless the accommodation.

hdr I can't comment on the camps in Botswana (my trip for this year was unfortunately postponed) - but Mombo can run almost as much as Singita, so if spending a few days at Singita is something you would like to experience - then go for it! And after our experience, we're only sorry not to have stayed 3-days rather than 2-days; the 3rd day to be used to just pamper yourselves in the wonderful surroundings of your "villa" as someone recently called their house at Singita. But you know your budget, so decide with that in mind.

Since you'll be flying in/out of JNB - after your time in Botswana, why not spend the last few days at Singita - I always believe one should "save the best for last."

Best wishes on your upcoming wedding.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2004, 01:25 PM
  #4
hdr
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5
Sandi- thanks very much for the well wishes an opinions. If we swap Singita for Mombo, We will be starting our trip in Botswana, heading down to Capetown and the winelands for a week and then finishing up with three days at Singita. I think this is the direction we are leaning in, as it would make the trip home feel a bit shorter. The only decsion now is do we do 2 nights Mombo/2 nights Kings Pool or pick one to go to for four nights.
hdr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2004, 01:48 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 346
hdr, Kings Pool and Mombo are in very different eco systems. if you were going between june-oct i would say go to the both of them and you would have a great time. in december though kings pool may not be that great as vegetation will be denser and game more sparse. mombo has great game all year round so if i were you i would try and split the time between singita and mombo.
bigcountry is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2004, 02:18 PM
  #6
DJE
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
hdr,

I have been to both Mombo and Kings Pool in July "03. The game viewing was good overall at both camps but if I had to choose between the two I would pick Mombo first for the overall experience. It's setting is more spectacular than at KPool and the wildlife a little more prolific IMHO altho both are unique places and I enjoyed my stays in each camp very much.

The accommodations are very nice at both and I would say that KPool actually outdoes Mombo now, after their remodel, regarding the indivudual rooms but I liked the overall layout of the camp area at Mombo, more.

If you are interested in night drives or the opportunity to do a bushwalk on foot, this can be done at K Pool but was not offered at Mombo. This may be an important consideration for you.

However you decide to divide up your time, I wish you a wonderful honeymoon and I hope you enjoy the adventure. It is a spectacular place to visit.



DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2004, 07:42 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 252
If money is not an issue, consider a stay at Singita. I've been the past two years and would return in a heartbeat if the exchange rate improved. More than any other South African lodge, I felt that the staff at Singita actually anticipated my needs before I did. It was uncanny. Upon returning from evening game drive, there was a fire roaring in the fireplace. The food was absolutely spectacular. The accomodations sublime...overlooking the spot where elephants crossed the Sand River daily. Game drives were good, but not spectacular. Certainly, the animals were used to the vehicles, which is fine for a first safari. Now I'm seeking a more remote safari. I have no point of comparison with Botswana, as that trip is upcoming. In retrospect, my Singita stay was a good value at $640/night...but, it might be hard to justify at $1,000/night. I'm sure which ever camp you pick will be magical.
girlpolo33 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2004, 07:49 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
hdr, you cannot go wrong with an African honeymoon, it will be memorable anywhere. But if it were my honeymoon, I'd go to Singita over Mombo. The main reason is that Mombo is situated over a swamp which is wonderful for watching animals but deadly in terms of bugs. Even with the poison spray they give you to use in your room (and the housekeepers will also use) and the netting, there are bugs. The beautiful tent has a lot of windows that can be zipped up at night but it's usually too late to keep the bugs out. Singita has private huts/cottages that have no bugs and are just stunning and they will do something very romantic for you there involving a bathtub, flowers, etc. Between the two, it's more of a honeymoon setting. It is a ridiculous amount of money but as you said, it's a special time.
Clematis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 14th, 2004, 11:51 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
And note that Mombo doesn't have tubs at ALL - just showers. Don't get me wrong those showers are great - two side by side inside and a third one outside looking onto the view. But as a bather I do love to have a tub!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 15th, 2004, 02:58 AM
  #10
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
And the bathrooms at Singita (either Ebony or Boulders) are out of this world, bigger than most peoples homes. The tub practically in the middle of the room surrounded by glass windows giving you a view out to the wild (and I just love my baths and those here were outstanding), a large glass enclosed shower - also an outdoor shower. And, of course, your own plunge pool. December is a perfect time for the pool (whereas Jun-Jul best game viewing time, is too cold for the pool). A full wrap-around deck that is completely private with a view of the river. Your only company, maybe some monkeys flying thru the trees - and monkeys are so funny!

You can request to have one of your dinners be served on the deck surrounding the "villa" (I like that "villa") - set with linens, china, silver and candles surrounding the entire area - and the food and wine is excellent.

Even though it is summer, you can ask for them to light a fire, even though the interior is air conditioned and can be controlled to your liking. All very romantic.

We slept one evening with the windows open (they were screened) so we could hear the night sounds, and the lions provided a great serenade. And as honeymooners they give you as much privacy as you wish.

There's no doubt this is probably one of the most romantic places to spend a few days during your African experience.
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 15th, 2004, 03:45 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
My most romantic place is Wolwedans in Namibia. Again it's not as luxurious as Singita but it is so remote and beautiful and peaceful.

They do have a honeymoon suite too now.

And the food is good - better than WS camps though probably not as gourmet as Singita.

We're renewing our wedding vows there in a couple of months.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2004, 06:30 AM
  #12
hdr
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5
Thanks to everyone for your input. Wouldn't you know, that after grappling with the decision and finally having our heart set on Singita, it is fully booked- all four lodges- from the 12th of December through New Years. So, back to the drawing board. KAVEY- I looked at the pics from Wolwedans and they are amazing. Total departure from what we will be seeing in Botswana, so we may give that a shot. What is the game like there?
hdr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2004, 07:50 AM
  #13
dlm
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 67
Re: Singita. I was just there. Booked the room 11 months in advance and it was the last room they had. So you have to plan ridiculously early.

If luxury is something you really want on your honeymoon, you may want to consider other luxury lodges in the Sabi Sands area. I'm not speaking from lots of experience here, but in terms of luxury and pampering, Botswana/Namibia don't provide it on the level that the SA lodges do. They have plenty of other things (better things in the minds of many) to offer, but my sense is that the Singita-type experience is not one of them. Depends on what you want from your honeymoon.
Personally, I'd do the luxury thing in Cape Town. Do it to the nines. Get it out of your system. And then focus on safari (not luxury) in Namibia/Botswana.
dlm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2004, 09:30 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
hdr,

I encourage you to try to get Singita for your dates with a few different tour operators. When I was booking Singita for my March, 2002, visit, the first operator said it was sold out, but then I contacted another operator and they were able to book it for me.

Sometimes operators may be holding a provisional booking for another client, so perhaps the rooms are just tied up but not really 100% booked.

Good luck and congratulations.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2004, 09:37 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
hdr,

By the way, it should be noted that I booked less than two months in advance and Singita had just scored a perfect 100 in Conde Nast Traveller, the first place to ever earn such a score, so it is not like it was an unknown commodity at the time.

Have you also tried Singita Lebombo?

Another attractive alternative may be the Royal Malewane.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2004, 10:33 AM
  #16
hdr
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5
Roccco- thanks for the well wishes. We are on a waiting list for Lebombo and Boulders. Our travel agent is pretty tight with them and spoke with the owner, they are going to call the clients that are currently holding reservations to see if they are still in fact booking. DLM: I agree, our first priority is the overall experience, the reason we initially wanted to change our Kings Pool/Mombo itinerary was that we didnt thing it was giving us enough diversity (given the time of year...thank you Big Country for pointing that out) to justify the cost. We will do 4 nights at Mombo and play the rest by ear. I am very interested in Namibia, however, our agent feels that Namibia is really merits its own trip, and that to go for three days would not make great sense. More to come. And I promise to deliver a detail trip report from wherever we land.
hdr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2004, 01:01 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
I haven't stayed at Wolwedans, but I did visit Namib-Naukluft park in Namibia (which is where Wolwedans is located), and while its a great place to visit, wildlife viewing will not be the focus of that visit -- rather the dunes are known for beautiful vistas, climbing the world's tallest dunes, seclusion, amazing starscapes, and occasional wildlife (we saw springbok and a few oryx). Its not the place to visit if your interest is in wildlife.

However, we also visited Ongava near Etosha, which is great for wildlife viewing, but I agree with your agent, Namibia is a difficult and rushed trip for 3 days and merits a trip of its own.









































thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2004, 01:13 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
Game viewing minimal though lots of Oryx and springbok and birding is good.

Mostly it's the views, the flora and the little things like chameleons, lizards etc.

Believe me, it's still magical without any big game viewing.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2004, 03:07 PM
  #19
DJE
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 424
hdr,
I have to agree with Kavey that Namibia's desert region is a very magical place with stunning vistas. We began our African trip there before heading to Botswana and S.A. but we only had a week in the Sossusvlei region with 4 days at the Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp and it was a mesmerizing experience for us. Now we have to plan a future trip to explore the rest of the country, which from what we have been told sounds wonderful as well.

I do hope you enjoy your time at Mombo as we certainly were fortunate to have had a very positive experience there. You will do well with 4 days as this will give you lots of time for game drives and also down time just to relax and enjoy your camp surroundings.
DJE is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 22nd, 2004, 06:02 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Okay, first off, I do not condone anyone going to Singita, but if you are determined, here is some info that may be of extreme benefit.

Possibly this is dated material, but maybe it is still valid. Here is the link to a website that is only charging 5,100 ZAR per person per night to stay at Singita, working out to only (ONLY!) $753 per person per night sharing. That is about $250 - $300 per night less than I have seen it elsewhere. Here it is:

http://www.places.co.za/cgib/crs/boo...6&faction=book

If anybody tries to book this, please let me know if the rate was valid, so I can make it a point of using this website for future visits to Southern Africa.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:35 PM.