Singita Ebony Lodge reopens after a total redesign – following the 2014 renovation of Singita Boulders and Singita Castleton.
This June, Singita will unveiled a complete re-design of its original lodge, Singita Ebony, in South Africa. Singita Ebony is where the story began twenty-two years ago on land owned by Singita founder, Luke Bailes. The re-launch completes Singita’s reinvention of its private 45,000 acre game reserve that is set within the Sabi Sand. The result is the most innovative collection of safari lodges in Southern Africa.
Situated over the Sand River, Singita Ebony Lodge is already considered one of Africa’s most iconic lodges and was revolutionary in its pioneering approach to the modern luxury safari experience. The new Ebony, however, takes safari design and style to a new level altogether as it is transformed by Sally Tsiliyiannis of GAPP Architects and design team Cecile & Boyd. Their unique vision has created a fresh and contemporary interpretation of the classic safari lodge, combining tented camp and bush lodge style. Guests will be immersed in nature with huge open spaces and interiors inspired by a combination of local tribal culture and the animal kingdom.
The new Singita Ebony Lodge comprises 12 suites, each with its own private plunge pool. Dramatic changes include internal and external walls being almost completely removed from the existing lodge and replaced by canvas and glass to create new safari tent-style suites to maximise views and space. The entire front wall of each suite between the bedroom and the veranda has been removed, allowing light to flood in. Outdoor pavilion decks – ideal for dining and relaxing – are suspended off the river banks as if hanging in the trees.
The interiors feature curated still-life collections of aristocratic finery in antiques and artifacts, as well as vintage campaign furniture from the Bailes family collection – made from wood, iron, steel and aged bronze that harks back to the 19th century. There’s also oversized sepia photography, art and objects, as well as glamorous leopard and zebra animal print upholstery fabric, complementing bold graphic tribal patterned murals. Replacing animal skins, Singita Ebony Lodge features printed animal patterns on textured fabric to help attune guests to their surroundings and ensure the message is about conservation rather than man conquering animals or subduing nature.
The name ‘Ebony’ refers to the beautiful, mature ebony trees that surround the site. The lodge incorporates big and bold sculptural elements with a strong new colour palette of black and white. The black can be found in the rich, polished ebony wood, while the white is represented by the linens, cottons and natural fibres.
Ebony’s central sociable hub is the very heart of the lodge – a place to meet, relax, socialise and take in the view. The sitting room has been moved to the very front of the lodge, closer to nature, to create a contemplative space. The style is reflective of what Singita calls the ‘New Nomad’, the traveller that wants to get back to nature but stay connected. A beautiful marble and cast iron table is the furniture centerpiece for this concept – it is a traveller’s desk with smart tools, a private dining room table for entertaining or a bar to enjoy an evening gin & tonic in one.
Singita operates two other properties in the Sabi Sand – Singita Boulders Lodge and Singita Castleton. Singita Boulders Lodge which reopened after a major refashion in June 2014, took inspiration for its new primal interiors from the four elements of earth, water, air and fire. Singita Castleton, re-launched in late 2013, is a 12-person private villa combining the best elements of a private safari lodge with the rustic charms of a country farmhouse. The property is available for exclusive use only as is ideal for families and groups of friends.
Singita’s evolution from a single-lodge company to one that is now responsible for a million acres of land, operating 12 lodges and camps in five wilderness regions across three African countries, has always been characterised by a pioneering spirit and a sincere desire to preserve wilderness areas for future generations. Its low-impact, high-value tourism model – fewer guests paying a premium for the privilege of experiencing vast open spaces – exists to sustain these wilderness areas and their resident wildlife, while providing an exclusive safari experience.