Perched on the banks of the Sweni River, Singita Sweni is composed of a main lodge and just 6 superb cottages facing east out of a small riverine forest. Set on the same concession as Lebombo, Sweni is the latest addition to the Singita stable, and the most intimate. Whereas Lebombo, which is just up the hill, revels in its views, Sweni appreciates the quieter pace of this riverine valley. It works very well.
In 2001 the National Parks Board opened up a handful of sections of the park to private tender. Based on the Singita successes in the Sabi Sands (Ebony and Boulders), the company acquired a 20 year lease at the eastern boundary of the park, a kilometre short of the Mozambican border. The successfully acquired N’wantetsi Concession (now also known as Singita Lebombo) covers 15,000 hectares of varied acacia bush and scrub bordered to the east by the Lebombo Mountains.
Due to the strict nature of the concession and terms of the lease, the design of both Sweni and Lembombo has had to heavily utilise natural materials. Forward thinking, design conscious, the lodges have purposefully gone out of their way to break the traditional thatch and rock lodge style, and the finish at Sweni is world class: large glass fronted cottages maximise the light; silver wrought iron balustrades combine with cutting edge chrome bathrooms; light reflected throughout in large mirrors; dark leather deck chairs and armchairs mix well with the light greens and pastels of the leafy riverine forest.
Each room has an indoor and outdoor shower and toilet, a balcony with optional small outdoor bed, a large open-plan living pod, which can be sectioned off with curtains, and which includes a large double bed, a sidetable and seating. The walls and roofs are tightly lined eucalyptus poles which lend the rooms a superb dappled light effect.
Activities at Singita Sweni include tracking, guided walks, mountain biking, archery, massage and spa facilities.
Singita is committed to making a sustainable difference to local communities and to protecting the environment and wildlife. To date, a number of successful projects have come to fruition, including the building of schools, micro-financing of small businesses, supporting agricultural initiatives as well as training people in the conservation and hospitality sectors. Many of our guests express an interest in contributing towards such initiatives and we gratefully facilitate this.
Singita has a strong bond with our local communities. Many of our staff live locally and are transported to and from their homes on a daily basis, and most of our staff are ex-pupils of the local schools which we support. We have therefore pledged to undertake projects that empower the local people, using resources at our disposal. This includes providing funds, access to the reserves, expertise and getting involved in social outreach projects. We also deliberately manage our lodges in a way that maximises the benefits to local communities so that they can experience the positive effects of eco-tourism.
At each of our lodges we have dedicated teams whose sole focus is to preserve the land and to protect and increase the wildlife to match its natural carrying capacity. This includes environmental care and anti-poaching units.
Our Guiding teams are selected on the basis of their passion and knowledge of the bush and then deliberately up-skilled by our Head of Guide Training and Development to ensure our guests have rich, educational and enjoyable experiences during their time with us.
Singita Kruger National Park has adopted an approach that is dedicated to stimulating the local economy on the outskirts of the park. Monthly spend on local suppliers and contractors has double over the past two years. Daily transport services for staff are sourced locally, as are services such as waste removal, linen repair beverage supplies and arts and crafts to supplement lodge décor and for special gifts. The singita Business linkages Committee oversees this process and ensures that the work that is done
is conducted in co-operation with the efforts of the Kruger National Park Community Development Division.
Singita School of Cooking
The school is located on site at the staff village that serves Lebombo and Sweni. It was established with the aim of encouraging the development of culinary skills amongst local
youth. Each year, eight to ten students are selected – based upon clear criteria including a real interest in cooking to participate in a 1-year development programme.
General Community Support
The lodges are involved in supporting schools in the local communities in various ways; providing practical and educational support to pre-schools and assisting communities with access to fresh water. Support for the pre-schools ranges from assisting with maintenance challenges; to the planting of indigenous trees in the school grounds; to the much larger challenge of assisting with the improvement of the quality of education provided.