Its nature-focused, cutting edge design and philosophy of "touching the earth lightly" benchmarked what future safaris would look like. Now, newly polished, refined and pared down, Singita Lebombo has come into its own. The guest experience extends to a new open terrace and wine boutique including a library, multi-media room, interactive kitchen and rooftop dining area, long bar and deli, and a 25-meter lap pool. Two completely new family suites with private pools can be linked together to form a self-contained, four-bedroom villa.
From the common areas to the private suites - loft-style nests suspended above the N'Wanetsi River - Singita Lebombo epitomes a less-is-more approach to luxury, defined by elegant yet playful, meditative spaces immersed in a dramatic landscape of giant euphorbia trees. Bold and contemporary, sculptural and organic, the light-filled, low-slung, glass-walled, linear silhouettes of the lodge have an impermanence about them, as if they are floating between the river and sky. Dropped into the harsh, untamed terrain of Singita's privately leased, 33,000-acre concession, Lebombo is a celebration of cutting-edge design in an African context where everything defers to nature. Architecturally in tune with the surrounding landscape and prevailing climate, the lodge's new solar energy installation supports everything from energy efficient air-conditioning to solar pumps for water.
The Lebombo project was creatively directed by Boyd Ferguson, with architecture directed by Sally Tsiliyiannis of GAPP Architects & Urban Designers and interiors by Cécile & Boyd. The creative process was informed by Singita's increasingly holistic approach to food, wine, wellness and relaxation. Even on game drives, guests are encouraged to step down from the vehicle and become actively involved in the wilderness, tracking animals, walking or simply tuning into the sights, sounds and smells of the bush. Enhancements to the original design of the lodge include substantial expansions to the guest areas. A new temperature-controlled, multi-level space, where guests can retreat to between outdoor activities, offers respite from the Kruger National Park's climate of cold, dry winter nights and hot, humid summer days.
Constructed from rammed earth, steel, glass and textured, natural timber, the boulder-like structure houses an open terrace and wine boutique, library, a TV or multimedia lounge, roof-top dining area, all linked by a broad, curved staircase. Nature-inspired sculptural shapes and patterns in an unfussy palette of calming greys, blondes, and charcoal browns characterize the minimalist interiors. Texture is used throughout the lodge to great effect, including watercolor and smudged inky toned artworks, glazed earthenware, stone-washed linens, and soft, gauzy drapes. Even the wood has been textured, before being bleached blonde or ebonized to a bitter chocolate hue.
A new lap pool - ideal for vigorous exercising or leisurely swimming - is tucked away below the lodge's existing swimming pool. Furnished with pool loungers and day beds, separated by bamboo screens, the new pool deck is discreet and completely private.
Set apart from the main lodge are two new family suites, built low down on the river bank beneath mature trees. The suites, each with a small, private pool, have been designed in such a way that they can be linked together to create a generous four-bedroom villa. The exclusive-use villa is fully staffed, has a full-sized swimming pool, interactive kitchen and boma.
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