Singita Lebombo

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 June, 2004, 12:00am

Where? Perched on a sheer cliff, opposite the Lebombo mountain range in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

On safari, then? Of course. Set within 16,000ha of prime Big Five game-viewing land, Singita Lebombo opened in 2003, and has been voted the best hotel in Africa by Conde Nast Traveller and hotel of the year by British Tatler.

Crusty colonial or contemporary classic? Definitely the latter. Conceived by Luke Bailes - a pioneer in the luxury safari revolution - Lebombo is reminiscent of an eco-art installation. The monochrome facade is chic in steel, wood and glass, and the decor is spartan but not scary.

Tell us more: Each of the 15 guest rooms hangs over the cliff and has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Sweni and Nwanetsi rivers, entwined like glittering veins of gold below.

Sounds seductive: Guests in the mood for romance can cuddle up in a star bed (for gazing at the night sky) on the wooden deck outside, or drool over the rooms' interiors, where the mini bar is lime green, the bed heads are made of ropes of shells, and from the desk you can look out on giraffes drinking from the river at dawn.

Who goes there? Charlize Theron is a Singita fan, and Queen Noor of Jordan considers it one of the most remarkable places she's ever visited.

What's the magic ingredient? Flexibility. Game drives are available when you want them - as are treatments at the fabulous Bush Spa, including hot stone therapy, African head massage and acupuncture.

Presumably, the tucker's also top-notch? Western cuisine with an African twist is accompanied by award-winning wines. Again, guests can eat what, when and where they want.

Anything else we should know? This place is heavenly and humorous. The cool sunhats by the pool are made from recycled binliners, and the staff are called Goodness, Gracious, July and August.

Suite 6,800 rand (HK$8,050) per night. Singita Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa, tel: [27] 21 683 3424,