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“I could go on for hours”

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Lion Sands River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“I could go on for hours”
Reviewed 13 March 2014

Having religiously checked Tripadvisor for reviews prior to going to Lion Sands, I thought I would do my bit for all those lucky enough to be heading to Lion Sands soon. I now know that I wasn't alone in checking every single day (howdy Paddy!) and was always disappointed when there wasn't a new review for me to read! So to all you excited travellers, here you go.

We travelled to Lion Sands for the last 3 nights of our honeymoon and what a perfect way to finish. From the moment we entered through the gate in to the Kruger National Park, we were treated to animals all over the place. I had been particularly looking forward to seeing elephants and so imagine my excitement when driving to the Lodge we saw 2 separate herds wandering down the road. And it just kept getting better. We did 6 game drives and saw lions, leopard, hyena, cheetah, wild dogs, white rhino... and the list goes on and on. Our ranger and tracker were excellent, able to tell us what animal was making a particular sound, a bird from far away and knew where to look for certain animals. Each car is in touch throughout each drive and so exciting sightings can quickly be shared and sped towards. The vehicles are allowed to go off road in the private reserves and so you always get nice and close to the action, with most of the animals fairly chilled out as you approach. Oh and let's not forget the sundowners! But aside from the excellent drives, the Lodge was amazing. Walter at the front gate (I won't ruin it for you), the welcome drinks, a personal "butler" to look after you at each meal, amazing food served on a deck overlooking the river (enabling you to see the animals on the other side), a romantic surprise on your first night...I cannot rave enough. The staff were friendly and nothing was too much trouble. A special mention to the wonderful Vusi, who came to the boma with us one night so that we could take pictures of the star-filled night sky after dinner one evening.

All in all, one of the best experiences of our lives and one which I would highly recommend. Have a great time!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank SarahandIan51213
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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London
Level 6 Contributor
227 reviews
96 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 186 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2014 via mobile

We stayed here on the 1st part of our SA trip and what a way to start. Patricia and her team were so lovely, warm and helpful. The accommodation was lovely and where else as u are checking in in your room do you see an elephant. The food and drinks were absolutely perfect! We had Ben as our ranger and Juice our tracker. They were exceptional. Ben was so knowledgable and his driving was great - really thrilling. Juices eyesight was bionic! They were such warm fun guys and taught us a lot about the animals. We saw the big 5 and more - we saw leopards close twice even cubs and 4 lionesses laying having a sleep on the track a few metres away. They set up drinks and snacks on both drives - lovely touch. I also like the way they put you in a group with a ranger, tracker and butler and you stay in that group so your ranger knows what you have and haven't seen and your butler learns very quickly what you like (we had the lovely warm Dereck) only baby gripes the sunny pool looked rather murky, possibly due to rain but I didn't see anyone tending to it. Also we spent the night in the Kingstown treehouse which is stunning, but you arrive at it around 6pm they leave wonderful food and drinks but you have little natural light as the sun goes down around 7, there are solar lights in jars all around but obviously they go out and you are left just with 2 little oil lanterns and a torch so your evening is cut very short as you can't see. Also I'd have appreciated the management taking more note of the weather as we were up there around 45 minutes and the heavens opened. We dragged the dining table etc under cover so we could eat and pulled the plastic sheeting down and went to bed and didn't sleep as there was a heavy storm so we laid in bed dozing on and off with lightening flashing and the wind howling and the rain pouring, not a great night and not when you are paying a lot of money for this privilege. Patricia sent nice wine to our room the next day which was a sweet touch and we didn't let this night ruin our experience or the next night when we were all nearly evacuated as the rain was so heavy that the river rose significantly. We didn't have to be evacuated tho as it went down again. The staff were great at handling this. Given these gripes its still a wonderful place with fabulous staff, delicious food and brilliant game viewing.

  • Stayed March 2014
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Helpful?
2 Thank holidaychicLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level 6 Contributor
120 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2014

Normally our visits to Kruger involve staying at the SanParks camps in the park. So this was a totally different & quite amazing experience. River Lodge is beautiful, the rooms are gorgeous and the service level is extraordinary. A wonderful warm welcome on arrival and then a friendly, low key introduction to your butler & your ranger.
The game drives are well organised with both your ranger & a tracker. The rangers keep in radio contact with one another so you don't miss out on any animal action. Our ranger was extremely knowledgable about even the smallest bird. Really interesting.
The food was very good, and mainly served out on a large verandah overlooking the river.
There are a couple of small pools, one in shade & one in sun. There's a small gym & a spa for filling the afternoon hours before the evening game drive.
Totally recommended for at least 2 days. The main difference between this experience or a DIY in Kruger is that you're pretty likely to see the Big 5....and most likely up close & personal!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Electra88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Horsham sussex
Level 6 Contributor
268 reviews
97 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2014

Absolutely wonderful stay The knowledge of Michael our guide and Joe our tracker was outstanding. It was great to do the extra bush walk and to visit the hippos. We saw the big 5 plus wild dogs and a cheetah. We had our sun downer drinks and snacks in the company of a hyena. The rooms and the food were excellent and our butler Jeffrey was very helpful. I would certainly recommend this lodge to all.

Room Tip: All rooms were super.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank suejm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Danville, Ca.
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2014

We stayed at the Lions Sands River Lodge as part of a Lion World Gourmet trip and it was wonderful. Our room was delightful, service fantastic and food plentiful and great. Perhaps the most exciting and wonderful part were the game drives every morning and evening. Our Ranger Ale and our tracker Noel knew exactly where to go and we managed to see the Big Five on the first day. The sundowners and the morning coffee in the bush are not to be missed and the braai (barbecue) in the bush was wonderful and yummy! We even had a cooking class making traditional South African potjieko over an open fire and then ate what we made for dinner that evening! Service was great including escorts to our rooms every evening on the watch for possible animals in the camp.The rooms are beautiful and luxurious and this was an amazing experience.

Room Tip: All are good--a few larger than others but all are great with a view of the river and animals wander...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Susangal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 6 Contributor
230 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2014

What an experience! The game drives were superlative here. We had stayed in other lodges in private reserves in South Africa but this was the best one by far. It is worth the money even though it was a major splurge for us. The knowledge of the guides and rangers were unmatched. The comfort of the rooms, the jeeps, and the common area was excellent. The food for every meal was great. The service was excellent as well. I honestly can't say anything bad about the lodge even though I did struggle when originally booking it based on the cost. Note: If you are booking on your own ask about air transfers and road transfers as there is an airport nearby and that will save you a lot of car time. Also we had Tristan as our guide and I would highly recommend him.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank CharlesThor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2014

December 2013 we traveled to Zimbabwe and S. Africa, this trip will go down in our travel history as one of the most unforgettable, exciting, exotic and fabulous destinations we have ever visited. The River Lodge at Sabi Sands was just AMAZING! Truly a very unique place in the world. The service, the staff, the food, the location was all around perfect. Everything surpassed our highest expectations. If ever had the chance to go back, I would not hesitate to stay there again. Loved every minute of it.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Klaudia B
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

Property: 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 #12 of 42 Speciality Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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