Singita, Kings Pool, Mombo

Apr 22nd, 2004, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
And while I am on the subject of the Sabi Sand, Inyati is the only reasonably priced Sabi Sand lodge that I found with plenty of river frontage:

It is only 1,900 ZAR per person per night sharing (about $280 pppns).

May not be a bad idea to combine a couple nights here with a couple nights at Singita, so you don't kill yourself financially.
Roccco is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 09:24 PM
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I adore Botswana, but from what I understand, it is Hot, hot, hot in December. Not much fun for a honeymoon. Same in Namibia.

I thought I'd never say this...but to honeymoon in December, I'd definitely go with South Africa.
tashak is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 08:14 AM
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We've been back from Little Mombo Camp for 3 weeks and we still haven't gotten over what a great time we had. When we were there, Angela and Justin were our hosts. They were replacing the 'permanent hosts' who were on vacation.

The camp is such an incredibly special place. The rooms are awesome, the staff was great and the game viewing was amazing.

The staff seems to be professionally considerate and thoughtful. A few examples: one night we had a Bomba party outside instead of in the dining room. I commented that the chocolate pecan pie was the best I'd ever tasted. The one day at lunch I had a spring room with spicy meat that was out of this world. I casually said I would like the recipe.

On our last day there, we commented that there was a table and chair set on our deck that we didn't have a chance to enjoy. After that afternoon's game drive, we get back to our room and there was a menu on our door. We open the door and the whole deck was lit by lanterns and candles. So romantic. We were stunned. There on our bed was the recipes for the dishes I commented on, typed on letterhead for me.

Our room was at least a five minute walk from the kitchen. They bought all of our courses all the way to our room that night.

Another night, we missed "sundown drinks" in the bush because we had a rain storm for a few hours. Justin, the host, walked all the way from the main room to our room, soaked to the skin, to bring us a bottle of wine because we missed our drinks. Can you imagine??

The game was awesome, we saw everything including three rhinos on our last day.

Go to Mombo. Tell them Chris and Christine from New York sent you.

christine24 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Good to hear that LM is back to form - we had a marvellous experience there in 2001 and are booked to return there this June.
Can't wait!
Kavey is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 09:26 AM
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Wow, thanks for the excellent report on Little Mombo. I think I will just have to rob a bank and upgrade from Chief's Camp to Little Mombo for next year!

How did you find the weather to be in late March. Were you able to get Green Season pricing for your visit? Also which other lodges did you visit? I am sure that there are others on here besides me dying for a full trip report!
Roccco is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I'm glad you enjoyed my review. I read it to my husband and he got choked up.

We started at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge which was a great way to start. So elegant yet funky, everything was excellent, food was great. Exceptional viewing in the crater. At the Lodge, we had our own butler, Peter, who took great care of us as well.

On our first night at the lodge, we hadn't even showered from our trip from NY and our 6 mile hike (??) at Gibbs Farm that followed. Our butler, Peter, asked me if I wanted him to "draw me a bath" (clawfooted bathrub). I just wanted to shower quickly but said, "maybe tomorrow".

The next day we did a 12 hour game drive (didn't want to miss anything). We get back to the Lodge at about 5:00 p.m.and there is my hot bath, with rose water and rose petals in the water, with rose petals on the floor.

From there we did a mobile tented camp in the Serengeti. Just the two of us, our guide Omari and four staff to set up the tents . . . just for us.

We were surprised when we arrived at the campsite that we were the only guests. We spent all day in the Serengeti only to come back to our tent for a hot shower, drinks and appetizers by the fire then dinner with our guide in the dining tent. Five people to take care of two of us, incredible.

When we flew over the Serengeti on our way to Botswana, we were both teary-eyed on the plane.

We felt so privileged that we were able to have those experiences, few of us do.

Then on to fabulous Little Mombo Camp.

christine24 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 10:54 AM
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Oops, sorry. The weather was great, cool at night, perfect during the day.

I think the rate was a little lower for March at Mombo, but I doubt there was a substantial difference.

go anyway : )
christine24 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 10:58 AM
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I didn't mention that we went to Zambia and Victoria Falls where my husband did the bungee jump because it wasn't "camp/lodge" related. Let me know if you would like to hear about it.

christine24 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 11:11 AM
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Well, aren't you a tease?!

Of course we all want to hear every detail of this amazing sounding trip.

Was it easy to transfer from Arusha to Botswana? I never really considered mixing the two, but it seems like you didn't have any problems doing so.
Roccco is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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SINGITA was totally, absolutely and utterly the best destination/accommodation I've ever been to. Went there for my honeymoon in Sept 2002. Loved every minute of just laying low and doing the whole safari thing. WORTH EVERY PENNY and would go back in a heart beat. Make your honeymoon even more memorable and BOOK SINGITA AT ONCE ! You will definitely go back again. The service is unmatched,very proactive and they think of everything before you do. AFTER SINGITA, we headed Seychelles for the gorgeous beach. Repeating the itinerary on our 10th anniversary is a MUST !
dita is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 01:33 PM
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PS....Singita and Maldives combination is also fantastic !
dita is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 07:59 PM
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We had exactly the same dilemma as you last year! We ended up going to 3 lodges for 2 days each in Botswana including Mombo, Duma Tau and Jao. I personaly found 2 days sufficient for each.We added Singita also due to all the hype and because we had a wonderful experience another year at Sabi Sabi. If I could do it again I would forsake Singita; not because we didn't like it (I can't imagine anyone not liking it) but because it is not significantly better than the aforementioned and I feel you can make better use of your time and money with something else. I would definitly recommend a water based camp such as Jao.It was excellent. So much of your experience depends on the quality of the management and guides and your rapport with them. In this respect Jao and Duma Tao were our favourites. Jao has wonderful rooms,better than Mombo.

You will see game at all of these places. Singita had good game viewing but certainly not the best. I would say with your time include a visit elsewhere such as Vic Falls (River Club Lodge Zambia),or Capetown, or perhaps Seychelles or Mauritius -hey it's your honeymoon!

The main difference with Singita was the wine cellar and a somewhat more genteel menu. Yes the cabins are more bug proof but we never saw any bugs at the camps in Botswana - there were some at the River Club.

It's a funny thing is'nt it? If you don't go to Singita you will always wonder what you missed but if you do you will miss something else. We should all be so lucky.
Bon Voyage and please say hello to Nicko at Mombo. Tell him I loved the Kanonkop!

christo is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 09:53 PM
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Christine24, the service you got at Little Mombo by the temporary managers was superb. You only say about the game that you saw "everything" and three rhinos. Please, in how many days, what did you see? Leopards, African Wild Cat, cheetah, Wild Dogs?
Clematis is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2004, 10:51 PM
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I really wonder how many people rave about Singita either because they think they are supposed to do so, or because they haven't really been anywhere else to compare?

I am one of those people that HAD to visit, at any cost, after seeing that it had earned a perfect score of 100 in Conde Nast Traveller, the only property to ever score perfectly. While I enjoyed my time very much, it was mostly a fantasy, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

However, it wasn't until after I visited South Luangwa that I realized that all the bells and whistles were not necessary to really enjoy Africa. I really loved Kafunta Island Bush Lodge, and going back through my trip report from last year, I see that there were eight staff just to care for scaredtodeath and I. The setting was, in my eyes, more beautiful than the setting at Singita, although really we were staying in thatched huts with no electricity or running water. Even without such conveniences, everything just "worked."

I really think that as fabulous as Singita is, that someone spending two weeks in Zambia instead of three nights at Singita will have so many more lifelong memories. While it is nice to have the thermostat on each of the two a/c units set exactly at 72 degrees farenheit, and to be escorted to your room by an armed guard, it really is no substitute for sleeping side by side with the hippos, with the roar of a lion in the distance or the trumpet of an elephant.

Really, I am so over Singita, as I know that there is so much more out there. I am glad that I experienced Singita first, before falling in love with the bush, otherwise I am sure that I may have disappointed with being so SEPARATED from the bush, once I was inside my room. Half the fun can be your sleeping arrangements and the slight anxiety and excitement that you feel when you know that there are animals all around, especially if it happens to be a hippo, literally within 10' from you, separated only by a thin thatched wall!

Been there, done that, but now I am happy to explore new places that are much more reasonably priced, yet still completely top-notch accomodations.
Roccco is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 11:48 AM
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Rocco says: I really wonder how many people rave about Singita either because they think they are supposed to do so, or because they haven't really been anywhere else to compare?

Now Rocco I know you know there is a third possibility -- that they really truly had a great safari there. My only comparisons are three Botswana camps and some day trips in Zambia from the Royal Livingstone. Others here have been at Singita and many more camps. My experience was that the game viewing was better at Singita than any of the other camps I went to. That doesn't mean that all the other camps weren't special in their own way, but in terms of game only, Singita was the tops for me. In terms of luxury in an uniquely African setting, Singita also was the best. Do I think it's too expensive, especially now, yes. I went because my spouse picked it and I thought it would be a disappointment but it wasn't. I suspect from what safarinut has said about Mala Mala that it will top the Singita experience. And yes, there is a lot to be said for more humble accommodations that allow you the experience of sleeping in the bush. But for some people, the only way you can get them to try Africa is to promise them luxury and comfort. And then hopefully they'll get it in their blood and return to try it other ways.
Clematis is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Well said, Clem.
Kavey is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 07:03 PM
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My last post was mostly directed at Dita's post a few posts above mine.
"YOU WILL DEFINITELY GO BACK AGAIN", is what Dita raved, yet I have yet to meet anyone on this board that has done so. Meanwhile, for example, Safarinut has been to Mala Mala numerous times, Kavey is returning to Little Mombo (for not much less than Singita prices), and Liz F returned to at least one of the same game lodges she visited on her prior visit to Botswana.

All I am saying is that Singita is quite an experience, but that most of the people that have been there seem to be saying that while they enjoyed their experience at Singita (as I did, as well) they are not planning on a return.

If Singita was priced the same as Mala Mala or even just 1/3 more than Mala Mala, I may have a different viewpoint, but I really think people are allowing themselves to be exploited by the promise of Singita.

Dita, judging from the month and year you visited, and the conversion rate at the time, I wouldn't be surprised at all if it only cost you about $500 per person. Now, are you rushing back to book Singita at $1,100 per person per night, the rates advertised on their website using current conversion rates?

As great of an experience as it may be, in my opinion it will never compare to being able to spend 11 nights on a Zambian safari at top lodges such as Puku Ridge, Chichele Presidential Lodge and quality places like Kaingo and Mwamba for the same price as two nights at Singita.

A person can even spend about nine nights at Robin Pope's lodges and possibly a beautiful place like Chiawa for the same price as two nights at Singita. Somebody please dare tell me that Singita's surroundings can even compare to those of Chiawa.

Although not voted "the best in the world", Chiawa was voted one of the top 10 lodges in Africa, and is only about 35% the price of Singita.

I may never convince some that Singita is a tremendous waste of money, and others may never convince me that it is, in fact, worth every penny. I say that if a person can still afford to see a couple other lodges, then that is great...go ahead and splurge. However, if you have to make sacrifices to the rest of your holiday in order to visit Singita, and it is the only lodge that you are able to afford due to its price without having the funds left over to see more than Singita, then I say that a tremendous disservice is being done.
Roccco is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 07:17 PM
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And just for the record, the only reason that I am not staying at Chiawa this year is because Star Of Africa has been an amazing operator to deal with, helping me meet all my goals for my 2004 Zambian safari. I will be staying at three different Star Of Africa lodges...Kulefu Tented Camp in the Lower Zambezi (same park as Chiawa), Puku Ridge and Chichele Presidential Lodge. The only time I am straying from Star Of Africa is to stay four nights at Kaingo's camps, since Kaingo was also tremendously helpful.

As Tashak said in an earlier post, Zambian tourism is not yet so institutionalized as it is in South Africa and Botswana, allowing flexibility for individuals that wish to do without a travel agent, allowing these same individuals to realize some amazing prices.

South Africa is beautiful and I really have nothing bad to say about it or Kruger/Sabi Sand other than the prices right now are outrageous. Rather than visit every other year, or sacrifice quality to stay at less than desirable places, I, for one, would much rather tap into the yet unrealized commodity of Zambia. I say that in a couple years that Zambian tourism will go up by 50%, as well as its prices.
Roccco is offline  
Apr 24th, 2004, 08:41 PM
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I fully agree with you,I also enjoyed Singita,who won't? but will never return.

The only person on this board I know that has made a return trip is girlpolo and I think she got a free night or something.

The Sabi Sands lodges will have to lower their costs as they have become outrageously over priced.

I still remember the days you could buy a game lodge of 5 000 hectares in the Sabi Sands for +- 10 million rand,but after Sir Richard Branson paid 50 million rand for the 2 000 hectare Ulusaba in 1997 things changed forever.You will now pay 50 million Rand for 1000 hectares!

After this Singita won every award possible and now every lodge owner thinks he can charge Singita prices!
New lodges have not lowered prices... Ivory Lodge in Lion Sands will start at 7 000 Randpp/night,Tinga Lodge at 6800Randpp/night!

I truly hope that Zambia will provide tough competition in order to drive costs down because the SSGR has a special place in my heart.

My safari in December there cost more than 20 000 dollars for 18 days even though I made use of special rates at Londolozi Safari Lodge.

Singita 3 nights $6 500 [exchange rate 6.2 in dec]

Londolozi tree 3 nights $5 800

Londolozi Safari 3 nights for 4 people $2 500[mtbeds]

Mala Mala Main Camp 3 nights $3000

Mala Mala Harry's 6 nights $3 300

Total=$21 100!

Zambia here I come![After a brief visit to Mala Mala again of course!!]

safarinut is offline  
Apr 25th, 2004, 04:35 AM
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After the Kenya and Tanzania and guide from hell fiasco, my husband was not too keen of ever returning to Africa. However, I had a special birthday year coming up this year and wanted to go back to Africa to celebrate.

My husband wanted to go to the Caribbean. Since I dive there dive 2-3 times a year, my job was to convince him to give Africa another shot. Not an easy task.

He read about Londolozi and CC Africa in Travel & Leisure and remembered how nice the Crater Lodge was after coming off luxury (not!) mobile camping with no fuel for four days. We only had about ten days including the travel days, and I knew luxury and comfort were of the utmost importance.

I am probably the most frugal of the two of us and hated spending that much money for a safari. And it was the rainy season in S.A. too. That could ruin Africa for him for a second time.

But I knew I had to get him back to Africa. After much convincing he gave in (it was of course, my birthday) and we decided to go. We divided the week between the two CC Africa properties of Londolozi and Phinda.

He thoroughly loved it! The accommodations, staff, foods and guides couldn't have been better at either lodge. He is now hooked. Whew! He still does not love Africa as much as I do, but I know he will return without putting up such a fight.

Point is that as Clematis stated earlier, sometimes you have to go the way of luxury and comfort and big dollars to get some people to go or to get back on the horse that threw them off.

Zambia and Botswana had too much in the way of travel time for only a weeks' worth of safari. And the only excuse I had to get him back to Africa was that it was MY birthday present.

I agree that pricing at the S.A. lodges are out of control. We met two S.A. couples at Phinda who could not believe how much CC Africa was charging us. They get deals for half or even a third of what Americans pay. They even went so far as to invite us to go through them the next time we want to visit so we don't have to pay through the nose.

Although my husband wouldn't ever say no to returning to S.A., there are other places I'd like to go in Africa.

It is a shame that we have to pay so much to enjoy the game reserves in S.A. but if they or anyone from another country comes to visit America we don't raise prices for them to stay here like they do to us.
divewop is offline  

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