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Lion Sands River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 November 2013

We saw the Big Five on our first safari run, thanks to the eagle eyes of Ferdie and Rector, our guide and tracker. They had their hands full when a grumpy, huge elephant decided we were in his way, but they got us out safe and sound. Getting up at 5:00 am would never usually interest us, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see all that Kruger had on offer. We always had a half-way stop for a "Rector" special treat and Ferdie provided the optimum spot for a full moon memory. Lion Sands provided an excellent dinner on a dried-up river bed, complete with white linen and magic candlelight. There was nothing to criticize except that our 3 days were too short. We could sit on our patio and watch elephants and rhinos cross a few feet away.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank dkdkdkdkdk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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462 - 468 of 791 reviews

Reviewed 15 November 2013

We recently stayed at Lion Sands River Lodge in Sabi Sands as part of a tour and this place by far exceeded any other place we stayed at. The food was fantastic, the accommodation first rate and the safaris were amazing. We had a wonderful guide, Landon and tracker Eddy who got us to places and experiences that we will never forget...and yes we saw the "big five". Morning coffee breaks while on safari and the "refreshment" breaks in the late afternoon were awesome.
Three days was not long enough.
Every part of the stay was first rate.

Room Tip: Al rooms were individual cottages and all were good.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank LoftyVictoria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2013

Lion Sands was the best! Luxury, great food, friendly personnel . Enock, our safari guide made our experience the best. We saw the "big five" and much more. Special happy hours and coffee breaks made our early morning and afternoon game drives special. Even the monkey stealing breakfast off the table was special. Wish I could do it all again.

Room Tip: Superior rooms have open baths with no privacy.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank GAsweetpea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2013

This was the last that I stayed in my 2 weeks in South Africa and I had saved the best until last. What pure luxury. What great attentive staff what great food and drinks! And the game viewing OMG! We had spent the previous 3 nights at a neighbouring lodge and we thought that we had seen everything there was to see. However we asked our Ranger Syd (the best and his tracker Patrick unreal) for the rare sightings and boy did he deliver! We were not expecting to see Cheetah here when we asked, as this is leopard and lion country but not only did he give as 3 cheetah, we also saw a kill! (Very rare to see) Then he just popped in a few black rhino for good measure. The off roading was exciting in itself! We loved the Amarula break in the morning game drives and the Bubbles/gin and tonic break in the evening. I highly recommend the walk with your ranger as well. This place was amazing, the rooms were spectacular and the staff awesome. Loved it, loved it, loved it. The only downside was the bugs, but that is nature. I highly recommend you make it on every game drive as you never know what you may see.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Salcorns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2013

We spent four nights at Lion Sands. All it have to say is it was truly a unique experience. Our comfort and satisfaction was their priority. We went out on safari two to three times a day. We saw what is known as the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo), within 3 hours. The guides are very knowledgable of the area as we found during our bush walk. The meals at the resort were very good, but the best were the ones we had in the bush. The rooms were modern, and very comfortable. The housekeepers payed several visits a day, keeping the room clean. I would definitely recommend Lion Sands to anyone visiting the area.

Room Tip: Try to go before the rainy season (November to February). When the trees are leafed out, the animals...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank CaptDave_77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2013

The experience starts when you're driving from the airport to the lodge. When you get off the paved road and the driver tells you you can no longer leave the car unattended, you know you are in the wild. You are greeted at the entrance with a hot towel, taken to the lounge, offered a drink and a bite to eat and introduced to your butler. You are then taken to your room, which in our case was about 800 sq. feet, with an indoor and outdoor shower, a tub, and balcony overlooking the Sabe River. After that you start your afternoon game drive, with your driver and tracker. Its an open air Land Rover that holds maybe six people (stadium style). Expect to see alot. Come back to a gourmet meal in the dining area or by the fire in the Boma. After dinner maybe a after dinner cordial at the bar then off to bed in the biggest bed I've ever seen. Then the next day starts with a 5:00 AM wake up call, 5:30 tea and cookies, then off for the morning drive, followed by a gourmet breakfast served by your butler. Basically the rest of the day is for relaxing. There are two infinity pools overlooking the river where you can relax or nap while antelopes of all types wander around you munching on the vegetation. There is also a message parlor and small gym. Then after afternoon tea it's off on your game drive again. Overall an amazing pampered experience you will never forget.
Finally I want to give a shoutout, to our driver Simon, our tracker Albert (if it's out there they will find them, and our butler Israel (Izzy) who will serve you impeccably while smiling the entire time.

Room Tip: If choosing the Superior Deluxe go with Rooms 20 or 21 as they are closest to the river.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank bschoenb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2013

It has been over a month since I left Lion Sands and I still think about it every day. I am absolutely in love with this lodge and I know I will go back again in my lifetime.

We found this lodge through our travel agent, Tracy Payne with Go2Africa and wow - this recommendation alone made us so thankful we booked with an agent as we would've never found this place otherwise.

Located about 2 hours away from the Nelspruit airport, this private game reserve is located on the Sabi River which makes for prime animal viewing without even having to get into a car. In fact, one afternoon while hanging out at the pool we sat for a bout 2 hours watching a heard of elephant a buffalo pass through the river. Absolutely breathtaking.

The property itself is magical. It is quiet and cozy, yet luxurious and relaxing. The bar always seemed to be open and the food was about 10x better than I expected it to be. The staff did an amazing job of surprising us here and there. One night they set up dinner in the bush for a traditional BBQ, and one morning we had breakfast in the most amazing treehouse perch over looking a different river.

The small amount of guests at this lodge really make it feel intimate and special. The rooms were spacious and kept amazingly clean of bugs. We slept so well every night and during the days we enjoyed hanging out by the pool - which was essentially private to us - getting massages, and I even checked out the gym one day! One thing that I really commend this property for is how sustainable it is. A lot of hotels say this but you could really see the effort Lion Sands its making to reduce it's footprint. Really simple, easy things like refillable glass water jugs in the room, reusable water bottles, etc... make me wonder why all hotels don't do this.

But the real highlight, and what I think makes Lion Sands worth the $, were the game drives. I credit this amazing experience large in part to our wonderful ranger and tracker - Mike Moth and Sam. If you are going to Lion Sands, please request this dynamic duo as your guides. You won't realize this until after your trip, but a great ranger and tracker will make or break your safari. Thanks to Sam's wonderful tracking ability and Mike's amazing knowledge (and pretty spectacular driving skills), we saw all of the big 5 multiple times and in the most amazing situations. Mike is also a very skilled photographer and took my camera a few times and they are by far the best pictures I have from the whole trip. On each game drive we would stop for "bush drinks" (either coffee in the AM or wine in the PM) and I loved chatting with Mike and Sam and hearing their amazing stories. I still think I would've loved Lion Sands had I not been in Mike and Sam's car, but having such respect for them is what really put this place over the top for me.

We spent one night in the Chalkey tree house, which if you have the funds to do so is highly recommended. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I know i wont likely do ever again. To fall asleep to the sound of lions roaring was a pinch me moment for sure.

Leaving Lion Sands was by far one of the hardest goodbyes I have ever had on vacation. I really made a connection with Lion Sands and while I know it will be awhile before I can make a trip back to Africa, I know for sure when I do I will be going back to Lion Sands.

Room Tip: If your room is close enough to the lodge you can get free wifi in your room!
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank juliaM0508
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lion Sands River Lodge

Address: Sabi Sand Game Reserve | (Shaw's Gate Entrance), Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 43 Speciality Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: £1,262 - £2,918 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Lion Sands River Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Family owned since 1933, this international award winning private game reserve spans across the world famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park. Lion Sands has four lodges; Lion Sands Ivory Lodge & Lion Sands River Lodge (Sabi Sand) and Lion Sands Tinga Lodge & Lion Sands Narina Lodge (Kruger Park). Each has a unique style, but is a reflection of Lion Sands' five-star signature of sophisticated interiors, unique experiences and service excellence. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lion Sands River Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Lion Sands River Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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