Singita, the world's finest wildlife lodge, just got better through the addition of Castleton Camp, a six-room, single-story house (the veranda). The former residence of Singita's owner, Luke Bailes, the house was heavily damaged by fire in May 1998. It has been rebuilt and lavishly refurnished in a traditional "colonial" style—in the living room, a beamed ceiling and substantial stone fireplace—while the walls are decorated with 19th-centuryprints and old hunting trophies. Double doors open directly onto a wide veranda, from which lawns slope down to a large, new swimming pool. Beyond, at the far side of a clearing, a natural water hole proves an irresistible magnet for game (though local lions have been known to prefer the pool itself for an evening drink).
There is a resident management couple, Alan (the chef) and Kim Fitt, a full household and garden staff, and a ranger and Land Rover for private game viewing on Singita's 47,000 acres. The house is also air-conditioned and equipped with direct-dial telephones. $2,790 per day, all inclusive, for up to eight people. Children under 12 are welcome. The original Singita lodge, now known as Ebony Lodge, has been improved, too, with the addition of an air-conditioned dining room, a library, and private plunge pools for all of the nine sumptuous suites. These changes brought it up to the same standard as its sister property, Boulders Lodge, which opened in December 1996. Both lodges now provide unparalleled accommodations, imaginative cuisine, virtually unimprovable service, and some of the most reliably spectacular game viewing in Africa. $605 per person per night sharing. (For more information, see Departures July/August 1998.) Singita Private Game Reserve, Box 650881, Benmore 2010, Republic of South Africa. 27-11-234-099; fax 27-11-234-0535; www.singita.co.za.