Whilst many would have played a casual game of Sunday tennis and wandered off the court to drink a refreshing post-game G&T, very few would have done it with a pride of lions in attendance, or served for the set with an elephant casually feeding from a nearby marula tree.
Yet both scenarios are a distinct possibility at Singita Castleton, an exclusive-use camp in the heart of South Africa’s Sabi Sand Reserve.
The former home of Luke Bailes’s (Singita’s Founder) Grandfather, Castleton Camp combines the most refined elements of a private safari lodge with the rustic charm of a country farmhouse.
The property sleeps up to 12 people, perfect for larger and extended families, or travelling groups who would like a camp all to themselves. Two Land Rovers would cater for a full camp, covering twice as much ground with double the chances of finding the wildlife for which the area is famed. Of course one doesn’t even have to leave the camp to enjoy spectacular sightings. A large waterhole at the end of the clearing in front of the swimming pool ensures a constant stream of wild visitors, with a resident waterbuck population always in attendance, elephants and rhinos moving through daily to quench their thirst, and the predators often skulking in the shadows nearby. Singita Sabi Sand, of which Castleton Camp is a part, forms part of a greater leopard population that is the densest yet measured in Africa, and sightings of these often elusive cats are common, even from the verandah.
The layout of Castleton is a main homestead area flanked by six double en-suite cottages. The extensive wine cellar, country style kitchen and tennis court, as well as state-of-the-art wellness facilities such as a fitness centre, yoga pavilion and double and single massage treatment rooms ensure that guests lack for nothing that is to be found in the larger camps further north towards the Sand River.
The outdoor boma is partially open to the surrounding bush, so dinner under the stars is alive with the possibility of spotting a nocturnal visitor.
Exclusive-use camps like Singita Castleton are swiftly gaining in popularity throughout the industry, and are redefining what the idea of “luxury” is. It’s not just about thread-count, the exclusive wine list or the wifi speed, but rather it’s the ability to have only you and your closest friends and/or family sharing an intimate wildlife experience second to none.
One of the first exclusive-use camps of its kind, Singita Castleton has had years to refine its offering to a point where it really is the industry leader, and one would be hard-pressed to find an offering of similar quality anywhere in Africa.