Castleton is owned and operated by Singita, a company that specialises in providing deluxe accommodation across many great destinations within Safari Africa – Grumeti and Lamai in Tanzania, Pamushana National Park in Zimbabwe, and South Africa’s mighty Kruger N.P. Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Castleton is steeped in history – and despite its high-end facilities, it has plenty of rustic charm. The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, game drives, safari walks, tennis, archery, private guide and lodge staff, transfers between the lodge and Singita’s airstrip, and a laundry service. The property is open all year round.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The property is accessed via road transfer from Singita’s own airstrip. It’s situated amidst gorgeous gardens within the company’s private reserve.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
There are six suites, each occupying a characterful cottage within the grounds. All are exquisitely furnished and designed to accommodate a maximum of two guests. In the bedroom, you’ll find a double bed or twin beds, a bedside table with lighting, a writing desk and chair with mirror over, an easy chair, a bench, and a hat-and-umbrella stand. In most of the cottages, the décor features botanical prints or wallpaper, additional wildlife artwork, and numerous artefacts for a little local flavour. Further botanical prints are displayed in the en-suite washroom, which provides separate flush toilet, twin washbasins, walk-in shower, and freestanding bathtub with shower attachment. Two cottages link together, creating an excellent option for a family with young children. And all offer a wealth of amenities – air conditioning, fan, tea-and-coffee station, mini-bar, safe, Wi-Fi, hairdryer, and dressing gowns.
The communal lodge at Castleton is also very attractive, comprising a timber, stone, and thatch structure just a short stroll from the cottages. In the lounge area, leather sofas and armchairs surround a central coffee table. There’s plenty of reading material, and a few occasional tables strewn with knick-knacks lend a really homely feel. Adjacent to this space is the dining area, with one long table where everyone eats together. This area also has wildlife artwork and even a grandfather clock in the corner! Guests can relax and tuck in to delicious meals on the lodge’s veranda too, while enjoying beautiful views across the grounds. Additionally, the lodge has a cosy kitchen, as well as a wine cellar, a boutique and gallery, and a courtyard that provides an alternative social space. There’s also a boma, a gym, a few spa treatment rooms, and tennis courts. And our favourite part of the property is the lovely swimming pool, with its deck laden with sunloungers and a little thatched pavilion alongside offering some welcome shade.
Activities from Castleton focus on wildlife viewing within Singita’s private reserve in the Sabi Sands. The reserve covers some 18,000 hectares of savanna, woodland, forest, and water sources, and it’s home to an amazing range of species. All Big Five are in residence – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. Among the smaller mammals you can expect to see here are cheetah, hyenas, jackals, serval, wild cat, wild dog, hippo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and an impressive assortment of antelopes! There are also almost 400 types of bird, so if you’re a fan of feathery friends it’s well worth bringing the binocs. Expertly guided game drives take place during early morning and late afternoon into evening, while safari walks usually start out just after breakfast. The walks are fantastic for anyone interested in taking a really close look at the plants and insects of the reserve, and animal tracking is often enjoyed too. Please note, there’s a minimum age requirement for this activity – 16 years. However, younger safarists can get involved with Singita’s Mini Rangers Course, which offers its own mini-version of animal tracking as well as bush survival techniques, nature walks, and frogging! Back at the lodge, archery is available, and you can have fun stargazing too.