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“Luxurious with great game viewing”

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Lion Sands - Tinga Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Dublin, Ireland
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Luxurious with great game viewing”
Reviewed 18 June 2012

We stayed at Legends for 4 nights and having booked Narina were initially disappointed we would not be staying there, however this turned out to be unfounded as Legends was fantastic. The lodges are absolutely stunning and immaculately maintained. The staff really pulled out all stops to enure we had a wonderful and memorable stay. We celebrated a birthday during our visit and returned to our room that evening which had been beautifully decorated with birthday wishes in rose petals followed by delivery of a chocolate cake by 5 of the staff singing happy birthday! The food was fantastic and the BBQ on one of the evenings was a truly memorable experience. While the game viewing got off to a slow start, this was more than made up for in the last couple of days where we were blown away with the viewing. Our ranger (Alfred) and tracker ( Isaac) were fantastic and made our drives truly memorable.

Room Tip: We stayed at lodge 1, and while this was a bit of a trek from the main lodge it was very private wit...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Mb1902
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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382 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (93)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2012

We stayed in Tinga Legends Lodge for 4 nights at the start of our honeymoon to South Africa. Legends is a beautiful lodge breathtakingly set on the banks of the river. Our room was spacious with it's own deck and private plunge pool, huge bathroom with bath, seperate shower and two sinks. The bed was very comfortable and the up keep of the whole Tinga property was beyond excellent.

We ate till our hearts content at TInga. We were offered pastries, muffins and hot drinks before setting off on our morning game drive, 'sun-risers' in the bush with more of the same and then a huge breakfast with hot and cold items when we returned. Lunch was at 12.30 followed by afternoon tea at 3. Sundowners were around 7.30ish in the bush and then home by 9 for an exquisite dinner in any number of settings. Each evening meal was in a surprise location so I won't spoil the fun by describing them but it was just fantastic. The quality of food and the level of service provided was excellent.

But let's be honest, you're mainly at Tinga for the game! We had great luck on most of our game drives. Within 3 drives we had seen all the big 5. A previous review mentions no leopard sightings, we actually saw 4 during our stay. These were brief sightings but so exciting! I guess it's just the luck of the draw and that's what makes a safari so addictive. Tinga has access to a private concession as well as the greater Kruger park. I much preferred our time spent in the private concession. We never came across another vehicle whilst on their land and it just felt more authentic to be viewing animals in the bush, rather than on a tarmac road as is the case in Kruger.

The real bonus of Tinga is it's location on the banks of the Sabie river. Our room (7) had a great view of the river, and from here we spotted buffalo, vervet monkeys, impala, and hippo. Our best sighting was a herd of 25-30 elephants who had come along the river to cool down. They were in front of the lodge for most of the morning and we were able to continue watching them throughout lunch. Simply breath taking. Another lunch was spent watching 2 buffalo cool off whilst a crocodile waited in the shadows for them. The croc made a lunge once but the buffalo was quick enough to get out of the water. It was fascinating to see the crocodile bide his time until the buffalo got brave enough to try the water again.

Lastly, but by no means least, we need to give special mention to Raymond our guide and Amone our tracker. They were simply fabulous. Not only did they do all they could to find us the best game sightings (including a 20 minute mad dash to see a pride of lions at the banks of a river) but they were so knowledgable and friendly that they absolutely made the whole experience. By the time of our last game drive I was simply gutted to be leaving.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Tinga to anyone. It combines luxury accomodation, fabulous food and drink and quality game drives. Who could ask for more?

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank 2penniesworth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai
Level 6 Contributor
123 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 382 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2012

Accommodation: As good as it gets with private heated plunge pool. The views over the river are stupendous and from your suite you will see more game than on the drives. An armchair safari from your deck will reveal elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocs and a multitude of birds. Well maintained and beautifully presented.

Service: Poppy and her team are fabulous.

Food: Good and hearty.

Guide: Alfred and Isaac were top notch and had to fall on their expansive knowledge of the bush to keep us enthralled as the area they traverse is a tad underwhelming. The river drives are picturesque and yield many different bird species.

BE WARNED: You will compete for sightings in the Skukuza area with private vehicles and OSV's. You will have to go into Kruger if you want to see cats because in 6 drives we only saw cats three times. Lions near Skukuza (poor view competing with many other people), Caracal near Skukuza (very quick sighting) and lions on the Narina concession (excellent sighting). NO LEOPARD sightings!!!

BE WARNED: There is a lot of noise pollution around the lodge (Airport and road).

BE WARNED: The signs of civilisation are ever present (we saw smoke pouring from the Skukuza laundry every morning). The SANPARKS managed areas are full of litter and poorly maintained.

Do not go to Tinga if you want to see cats (rather go and spend time at a budget lodge in the Sabi Sands).

Do not go to Tinga if you want a quiet bushveld experience and spend time traversing the concession because if you want to have sightings you will have to go into Kruger and compete with the masses.

Go to Tinga if your wish is to be pampered and you are not interested in seeing cats. I highly recommend a spa treatment!

Other reviewers have commented on the poor game viewing and most have raved about it. Perhaps we were just unlucky at Tinga. We spend a lot of time in the bush and unfortunately the game viewing let us down.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
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7 Thank mlondozi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durban, South Africa
1 review
Reviewed 15 April 2012

Wonderful friendly staff, great food and excellent accomodaton. We had an Australian family on our game drives who were desperate to see Leopard and our game ranger Ismael and tracker Reckson went out of their way to locate one. Thank you Narina for a 5 star experience, all our expectations and more were met. Can't wait to be back

Room Tip: Room 9 is a corner unit and offers unobstructed views up the river.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Yvette710
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2012 via mobile

My Wife and I Treated ourselves to this luxury game lodge after finding it online and we weren't disappointed. It was our first safari experience and we were looking for privacy and luxury without large groups crammed into uncomfortable vehicles. Tinga ticked all the boxes. The rooms are fantastic with private little plunge pools overlooking the bush. The food is truly 5 star and matches any top restaurant in cities around the World. The staff are extremely attentive and friendly and really made us feel welcome from the moment we arrived. We would definitely stay here again and I would not be interested in looking at other accommodations in case they didn't live up to the experience we had at Tinga. 5* for every aspect of our stay!

Stayed September 2011
Helpful?
Thank Darren V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
96 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2012

I had one of the most fabulous luncheon with clients here of my trip to S Africa. Service exceptional overlooking the river. Great wine selection. While I did not STAY there, I was treated to visits to all rooms categories. Definitely on my list for a return visit.

Room Tip: All rooms are beautiful with stunning views.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled on business
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1 Thank Laura60878
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paris, France
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2012

Stayed only one night at Legends during an industry famil of several lodges in the area. Legends immediately feels like the iconic safari experience you think of. This is a small lodge with a big experience and all the trappings of a luxury property in the bush. The nine "suites" are really stand-alone cottages with thatched roofs - all very large and extremely well appointed with four poster beds, large seating areas and gorgeous bathrooms with showers and bathtub set before a panel of windows overlooking the river and beyond. Each cottage has its own deck and plunge pool, and is separated by a good expanse of foliage. The decks sort of drop off - no rails - so you feel as though you are on a platform in the bush.

The night we were there, dinner was served in front of the lodge, with luminaria lining the area and fairy lights woven into the trees. Could not have been more beautiful. Food absolutely delish. Wines even better.

Even though we stayed at Legends, we visited Narina. The key difference to me was the location and view. The great viewing deck and main area of Narina is set upon stilts with excellent and frequent game viewing. You feel more in a tree house. I would say its probably a notch above Legends. The rooms - little cottages similar to Legends, are so well done - just good taste and all the creature comforts. I would definitely see if I could do dinner in their wine cellar. In all, Narina felt a little bit smaller a property than Legends, but was to me, felt more dramatic. Could be fun to split the stay to sample both.

Room Tip: I stayed in room #5 - loved the layout and view from the deck. A little further (steps) from the ma...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Battered Orange S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lion Sands - Tinga Lodge

Property: Lion Sands - Tinga Lodge
Address: Paul Kruger Gate, Kruger National Park 1350, South Africa (Formerly Tinga Private Game Lodge)
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kruger National Park
#2 Spa Hotel in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Lion Sands - Tinga Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lion Sands Tinga Lodge - along the Sabie River within the Kruger National Park - is subtle, sophisticated and serene with grand open spaces. The main areas are double volume, opening onto a wooden deck. With just 9 luxurious suites, each located in an utterly private spot overlooking the river, you are treated to the ultimate African luxury experience. Each of Tinga's suites has a bathroom with in-door and outdoor shower, separate lounge area with minibar, private plunge pool and deck, 24 hour air-conditioning and a range of luxury amenities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tinga Private Game Hotel Skukuza
Tinga Private Game Skukuza

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