First Glimpses of Kruger National Park and Singita Lebombo
After spending three nights in Johannesburg it was time for us to get a move on. There is still so much more of South Africa that we have yet to see on this two week trip of a lifetime.
On Monday morning, our guide, Sonny, drove us to the O.R. Tambo International Airport so we could catch our 9:00AM flight to Kruger National Park. If there was one thing that I was most excited about when it comes to this trip to South Africa, it would be Kruger National Park.
Through out the years, I had heard so many great things about Kruger, whether it was through friends of friends that visited or through watching a South African safari type show on National Geographic.
Just get me to Kruger already!
Absolutely everything fell into place perfectly once Sonny dropped us at the airport. It was as if it was segway to the best of dreams. I knew that our experience at Singita Lebombo and Kruger National Park would be outlandish but what I didn’t know was that the next few days spent at Kruger National Park would be some of the best times of my entire life.
When we arrived at the Federal Air terminal, we quickly passed our bags over to the staff and before we knew it we were boarding a small, sixteen seat chartered plane to our first of two stops on our way to Singita Lebombo.
About an hour after takeoff we made a quick stop at Skukuza, a private airstrip for the sabi sans area inside of Kruger National Park. It was there that we switched planes and met our friendly bush pilot named Mark. Mark loaded our baggage on this tiny little 10 seater plane and once again we were up in the air flying high over Kruger.
Side Note: Big thanks goes out to Federal Air, our flight provider from Johannesburg to Kruger NP. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this extra little perk of flying directly into Singita’s private airstrip. If we hadn’t flown with Federal Air we would have flown to Kruger National Park airport and then had a 2-3 hour van shuttle transfer to the lodge. In other words, Federal Air made us feel like absolute super stars.
Singita at Kruger National Park
We all were so excited to finally getting to Kruger that we spent the entire flight staring out the window in curiousity. As we made our final descent I scanned the landscape in hopes to get a glimpse of our private landing strip in the distance. It wasn’t until we touched down that I realized I has just experienced my first landing in the bush.
That’s right folks, Singita’s private runway is simply a dirt airstrip smack dab in the middle of Kruger National Park!
As the five of us disembark the plane we’re instantly greeted by Morris, Singita’s airstrip conceirge specialist. He’s got a silver platter in one hand and a pair of tongs in the other. One by one he hands us freshly rolled hand towels to wipe our hands and faces.
Morris leads us to a table covered in white linen and topped with fresh fruit, drinks (alcoholic and non alcoholic) finger food, macadamia nuts and dried mango.
“Welcome to Singita”, says Morris. “Feel free to help yourself, and please be sure to let me know if you need anything.” In the meantime im thinking okay, I can see how I could easily fall into this lifestyle if I had the money to do so.
Next thing we know, our shuttle van pulls up and out pops Brian, a ranger who will be taking us to the lodge as well as accompanying us on all four of the game drives over the course of the next three days.
On the way to Singita Lebombo we witness a dazzle of zebra, some impala and a few other animals. Our adrenaline was already running high and we hadn’t even arrived at our lodge yet.
As we pull up to Singita Lebombo we are greeted by a few members of the staff including Lucky, and the manager, Laurenz. Again we were handed ice cold towels to cool ourselves down as we got all checked in. Check in was a breeze and while we waited for our rooms to be ready, we enjoyed some freshly squeezed lemonade by the pool.
Once the rooms were ready, Laurenz walked me down a long wooden boardwalk and informed me of all the incredible amenities available at Singita Lebombo. Just about everything is inclusive at Singita Lebombo. All food, drinks, activities and even game drives are included in the stay packages.
My room, number 5, was located at the very end of the Singita property. It happened to be considered the honeymoon room and was situated on the edge of a cliff face which looked out over the Sweni River.
As we stepped out on to the balcony I immediately heard some loud, deep sounds from the river below. All of a sudden I see a hippopotamus and a few of his friends pop their heads out of the water in the distance.
It was then that I realized that I was truly in the wild.