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“Unbelievably outstanding”

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Lion Sands - Tinga Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Alicante, Spain
Level Contributor
159 reviews
91 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 279 helpful votes
“Unbelievably outstanding”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2008

Short and sweet - stay there.
The lodge is absolutely breathtaking. It's smack bank on the Sabie River. The 9 lodges are all sensational. The main lodge is so well laid out and planned. Sunsets are spectacular with a drink on the deck watching baboons bed down for the night.
The food and service are excellent. Meg, our game ranger really knows her stuff.
The superlatives do not stop for Tinga.
We'd go back in a heartbeat and boy are we hard to please

  • Liked — Absolutely everything
  • Disliked — Leaving
  • Stayed May 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ray Goldberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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352 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2008

I have been meaning to post a review for some time now. We stayed at Legends Lodge, Tinga for the last 4 nights of our honeymoon in November 2006. The location of the lodge was beautiful, our room was perfect. Wonderful private deck with dipping pool, luxurious bed and bathroom. The perfect honeymoon setting. We were looking forward to our next four days of safari!!

Our ranger Derek was brilliant, we learnt so much about the Kruger Park and its animals from him. We viewed the Big 5, his tracking skills lead us to the best lion watching experiences one could ever hope for. Our ranger understood that we were there to experience the animals of the Kruger, it wasn’t simply about staying at the nice hotel. Derek even took us away from the regular drives we would do and took us further north within the Kruger to see different terrain and obviously different animals. Fortunately on a few of the drives it was just my husband & I along with Derek, therefore he was able to adapt the drive to our interests. He was happy that we wanted to do more then simply tick the Big Five off our list.

There were a few incidents however that we found quite shocking considering this is a luxury resort where top dollar is paid. All the rooms are sold as being completely private, so much so that you don’t have any blinds on the bathroom window. One afternoon after a dip in the pool, I decided to take a shower, a few moments into my shower two Tinga male staff walked passed our bathroom window. Fortunately I don’t believe they actually looked into the window. They were attending to a broken fence and hadn’t bothered to check whether any were guests staying in the room beforehand. Obviously we complained to Manager and they kindly offered as a bottle of Sparkling Wine in addition to their apology. Normally I would consider this generous offer, however this wine was inclusive of the rate we paid. I found this gesture rather insulting. Additionally my confidence that our rooms were private had just been shattered.

Each morning guests would receive a wake up call for the early morning game drive. One morning we never received this, fortunately we had woken to notice that our drive would be leaving in 10 minutes. Again not acceptable service.

I am vegetarian, as this was a small resort I informed Tinga a few weeks before we arrived of my dietary requirements which they had no issue with. Each time we dinned we had to remind the staff that I don’t eat meat. Considering there were only about 10 guests staying at the time this was quite boring having to explain this with each meal. One day before going to lunch we were speaking to one of the waiters and a lady came and introduced herself as the managers daughter and the chef for the afternoon. Again I informed her that I was vegetarian, she made us both a vegetarian pasta dish. It was one of the blandest meals we had ever tasted. Simply not the standard of food one would expect from a 5 star hotel. When I mentioned this to the chef, she didn’t even have the courtesy to cook me another meal. I must add the waiters appeared quite embarrassed by her response. There is nowhere else to go and eat!! Again, bearing in mind the price you pay to stay this is completely unacceptable. Again I politely brought this to the management’s attention, they didn’t seem at all interested that I had no lunch.

This is one of those situations where you feel like you just come across as being whinging guests.

As one other person who reviewed this hotel pointed out the staff uniforms were very dirty To be honest I am not sure if this is the staff issue or an issue that Tinga didn’t provide the staff with enough uniforms or proper facilities to wash their clothes. I have heard that the staff quarters in these luxury resorts are usually very low standard.

We used the SPA each day, the staff were incredibly friendly and the massages were wonderful. I would recommend you take a massage on your “private” veranda with the natural sounds of the bush.

Overall we still had a wonderful time. As to whether I would go back to Tinga, I doubt it. Not because the above happened, I can get over that. The reason I wouldn’t go back is because I felt that Tinga didn’t care that our experience was not had been sold to us.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Service from Management Staff
  • Stayed November 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank Christine037
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 January 2008

My heart ached when we had to leave Tinga. We had such a wonderful stay.

Food: AMAZING. We stayed in the Narina lodge and Derek's cooking was absolutely fantastic. Everything was delicious.

Staff: I absolutely adore everyone I met while staying at Tinga.

Location: I have not stayed in Kruger before this but I can't imagine topping the location. You could potentially see the big five from your private hot tub.

Lodge: How do I describe our room without gushing? It was simply fantastic. Huge double shower inside; large outdoor shower; large, inviting bath tub right next to an enormous picture window over the Sabie River; huge, comfortable bed; warm, cozy sitting area; gorgeous furniture... I could go on and on.

Drives: We had a lot of rain while we were there but our game drives were still excellent.

I will dream about Tinga.

  • Liked — EVERYTHING but especially our lodge
  • Disliked — Leaving
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Karen D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Linlithgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
94 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2007

Location could not be bettered, saw all of the "big five" and many more within first two days, including giraffe and elephant visible as we checked-in.

Twice daily game drives were the highlight, well run by our local guide and tracker, Raymond and Elfassie. Never more than six, usually four guests hosted in the Land Cruiser. Very few other tourists encountered on drives, helping make the sightings feel like a special privilege.

Accommodation superb, with luxury, novelty and privacy unmatched in my experience. Individual private terrace and plunge pool overlooking the river, exotic lounge/bedroom, unparalleled bathroom.

Food seemed basic compared to early part of our holiday in Western Cape, but was probably pretty good when the remote location was taken into account. Game ("venison" in local idiom) dominated, so felt a little like "view it in the morning, eat it that night", at times! Food service a little patchy by luxury hotel standards.

Can't think of any better way to see the Kruger wildlife.

  • Liked — The suite and game viewing......
  • Disliked — Acceptable, but average food offering for the price.
  • Stayed November 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank dhardiegb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin, Ohio
Level Contributor
93 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 October 2007

The accomodations, food and service at Tinga Legends were truly amazing. The staff were intuitive to your every desire and our 4 night stay was one of the most luxurious we have ever experienced! Our game ranger and tracker were incredibly knowledgable and with them we had some great sightings of lion, leopard and buffalo. I was travelling with my husband and his South African family who have been to going to Kruger for 30 to 40 years and these sightings were some of the best they had ever seen. With that said, I must comment on our disappointment in Tinga's policy not to drive on the private roads of the concession after there has been rain. Unfortunately we had rain during part of our stay and therefore were not allowed on these private roads for 50% of our game drives, and instead had to stick to the main roads that everyone in Kruger travels. I think part of what you pay a "very" high price for is to be able to go where the general public cannot. The reason we were told that we could not go on the concession roads is that they could be damaged when driving on them within 24 hours of rain and may need to be repaired. Again, for the price you pay there should be some way to effectively repair any damage that may occur. I would understand if you were not allowed to go "off-road", that is entirely different from the graded dirt roads of the concession. Bottom line is that we had our best sightings on the concession roads, but on the public roads our sightings were minimal.

  • Liked — Privacy of the lodges and the feeling you were out in the bush with nature
  • Disliked — Not all games drives were on concession roads - see review for details
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank WHERESWAUGH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St Albans, UK
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2007

An excellent location and first rate accommodation and guides. Only slight negatives were (1) that I weasn't shown how to operate the air conditioner as a heater so in the morning it was really cold in the room - but got sorted fairly quickly, (2).no broadband access and (3) no fax machine on site (it's at the other part of the lodge and an urgent fax took some hours to get to me). Special diet requests were handled extremely well and the staff was most helpful and friendly. Definitely would go again and recommend to others.

  • Liked — View over Sabi River
  • Disliked — A bit far to walk to the main lodge for older guests? Would need to request nearby suite.
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank St_Albans774
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bedfordshire
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 June 2007

If you are looking for a special celebration or just want to treat yourselves to some luxury on a safari in South Africa, then Tinga should be your choice. It’s one of the most luxurious lodges my partner and I have visited and in a quite stunning location, within the Kruger Park. Tinga has two lodges, Legends and Narina, both accommodating 18 guests each, I believe. We stayed at Narina in an extremely luxurious suite, with private deck and heated plunge pool overlooking the Sabie River. The room facilities were second to none and everything 5 star was available in the main lodge, including the meals and superb South African wines. Why not ask Tinga to send you a brochure – it’s mind blowing quality, even better than their superb website! Now I’m probably in trouble and will have to help with the postage costs.

There’s always a long debate about the best time of the year for game viewing – who really knows, I guess the animals do but we visited in May and within the first 2 days saw the Big 5. The Ranger and Tracker were excellent, very friendly, informative and brilliant at spotting anything from the elusive Black Rhino to a small Scorpion on a tree at night. We have been on many game drives but we still learned something new from these two guys. If previous sightings or tracks were found they were relentless in their effort to find the animals in the bush, in particular the big cats and did on a number of occasions track on foot, close to lions so that we could then drive closer to photograph. We had some fantastic sightings of Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Zebra, Giraffe, Warthog, Hyena and very, very close encounters with Hippo. We also followed a male Leopard in the early evening for several hundred metres, close up and that was very special.

We played golf at the nearby Skukusa Golf Club which was a fantastic experience as it is unfenced to the Kruger Park. We were driven there by our Ranger and Tracker and surprisingly they caddied for us. It was an eye opener for them and a wonderful experience for us.

Visit Tinga, you will thoroughly enjoy the lodge, the location and you will be treated like royalty – we certainly were.

Simon Warner

  • Liked — Fantastic setting and comfort
  • Stayed May 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank SafariSimon
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:
#6 Luxury Hotel in Kruger National Park
#6 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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