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“Tinga Legends - part of the South African "Ubuntu"” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lion Sands Kruger National Park

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Lion Sands Kruger National Park
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Paul Kruger Gate, Kruger National Park, South Africa (Formerly Tinga Private Game Lodge)   |  
Hotel amenities
Risskov
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Tinga Legends - part of the South African "Ubuntu"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

First time we tried the South African "Ubuntu" was in late December 2010. Our new South African family gave us Tinga as a part of "Ubuntu".
The adventure started in Johannesburg Airport. A small airplane was waiting for us just to bring us to an airstrip near Skukuza, where a Tinga ranger was waiting for us. After a short ride to Tinga, 3 days adventure was waiting ahead.

Tinga has got more to tell than the fascinating nature and game drives - the place can tell stories of South African leaders making decisions of the country after apartheid. Read about that and get the spirit of South African history.

Super friendly staff was waiting for us in the reception. We had the houses - and short after we were ready fir the first game drive. The scout and the driver made a pro team - giving us the best service and great views when we passed the river. Both Elephant and Rhino were seen.

We experienced that rangers and scouts are "hunted" by Tinga because they are supposed to be the best in business.
They gave us the feeling that we were chosen guests. Special interests were respected and the time was given - not only to the "Big Five", but also to the Birding interested in the group.

We appreciate that we had the space for alternative interests!

We had the same feeling in the Tinga Legends with the friendly and sweet staff all around the building - ready to give you a unique experiences with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

The surroundings are outstanding, the peace unbelievable, the stars just waiting to be seen in the nighttime.

We loved our house - though the male Baboon gave us some early morning dramatic noise at the roof.

Maybe Tinga can be described with few words as a place with a unique history, unique nature, super friendly and pro staff, who with joined efforts gives you the feeling of being someone special.

And to be honest, who don´t like the the feeling of being someone special.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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143 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
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English first
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012 via mobile

From Poppy on reception, to Emmanuel to my life long friend who was my tour guide it was the most magical experience of my life! Since being at Tinga Chris has been to visit me in Scotland and I am back to SA next year, also staying at Tinga again.


The big five tick! The people tick! The food tick! The accommodation tick! The lifetime friendships with my boet Chris De Villier tick! Thank you and see you all soon.

I was here in August 08

Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2012

We booked Tinga as part of a special package offer with Cybele Forest Lodge and Spa at Whiteriver. Tinga Legends was the third game lodge that we had visited on this trip. As part of our package, the Park entrance fee was included in our tariff. On leaving Cybele we had the staff check with Tinga to ensure we could enter through Phabeni Gate and we were assured that this was in fact preferable. When we arrived at that gate we were not allowed admittance as they had no record of our entrance fee having been paid, nor the correct date of our check-in. After a couple of stressful calls, we were then gained admittance on payment of the Park fee. When we arrived at Tinga Legends, staff insisted that all was in order but nothing was offered as compensation nor any apology for the confusion. This property is well appointed and the location on it's own concession in Kruger National Park, is excellent. The rooms are large, well decorated with little touches like under floor heating around the bed, a big bath tub, deck and a plunge pool overlooking the Sabie River. The rooms are in need of a little maintenance e.g. doors difficult to slide, paint work needs refreshing. The game drives were good, only six to a vehicle. Our guide was Ismael and the tracker Reckson. Both of these gentlemen were very passionate about their job. Ismael has so much knowledge to share on the bush and wildlife. The animals from Kruger can traverse this property freely and on our game drives, we saw the Big Five including a late afternoon glimpse of the rare Black Rhino. The food at Tinga Legends was excellent and we thought their Boma was by far the best buffet food we had experienced on our trip. This was further enhanced by the trumpeting of a herd of elephants playing nearby whilst we were eating our dinner. Tinga is located close to the local Airport. We had read previously that it can be noisy at night time. We did hear planes during the night on one occasion but we were told the following day that these planes are patrolling for poachers in the Park. On that basis we would not complain about noise, as they are doing a much needed job to save the animals from destruction. The one area that we believed detracted from our stay at this property was customer service. For example, during induction we were told we could walk from our room to dinner without an escort. The first night we did this, the waiting staff were horrified that we had walked to dinner by ourselves and insisted this should not be repeated. Our package included non premium wines and laundry. Again, at the briefing, we were told alcohol and laundry had to be paid for. After clarification with management,we found our laundry and one variety of red or white house wine was indeed included.The wine offered was of a reasonable standard. However, in other lodges we had stayed we were entitled to any variety of local wines. Admin staff generally were quick to respond to any request but were not pro active in anticipating guests needs. The property is a good commercial lodge but it lacks some intimacy that we had experienced at other lodges.
Overall, a very good location to experience Kruger Park and the African wildlife, especially if it's your first visit.

Room Tip: We were allocated to Room number five which was very convenient to the main lodge. We also noted tha...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2012

Tinga Narina Lodge, on the banks of the Sabie River, is a little bit of heaven. The accommodation is not quite as luxurious as Tinga Legends, but the little touches make this lodge special - cold towels when you return from a dusty game drive, sparkling wine on the evening drive, marshmallows for the kids (and adults!) around the boma fire, and hot water bottles on your seats for those chilly morning drives. Chef Cecelia's food was superb (especially the sumptuus breakfasts), with special care taken to provide a meal for our vegetarian daughter. And there's nothing quite like an outdoor shower while watching a herd of elephants. And yes, we saw the big 5 in just three drives!

Room Tip: Room 4 has sun on the verandah all day, and a great view of the river.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2012

My husband and I scheduled a last minute safari trip to Lion Sands River Lodge (continue reading for information about TINGA LODGE) without knowing what to expect except from reading the reviews and looking at pictures on their website. There is no way to describe how wonderful the trip turned out to be! From the minute we arrived at Skukuza Airport until the minute we left, we received first class treatment from Lion Sands. We saw 3 of the big 5 on our drive from the airport to the lodge! Then on every drive, 2 times a day, we experienced the big 5 over and over again! We were told that leopard sightings could be rare but we saw at least 8 different leopards while we were there. The staff at Lion Sands are exceptional, the accommodations beautiful and our Ranger and Tracker were intent on showing us animals constantly. The meals were prepared beautifully and were delicious; almost like eating at a 5 star restaurant for every meal. We were only able to spend 4 days/3 nights at Lion Sands River Lodge then transferred to TINGA LODGE for our last night and 2 safari drives. Again we were treated as if we were royalty and the suite we had at TINGA was even more amazing than Lion Sands - we didn't think it was possible. They are both owned by the same family so the entire, though short, stay at TINGA was even more perfect than Lion Sands. Our Ranger and Tracker had amazing knowledge of the animals, birds, trees, etc. We learned many things from them that would be impossible to get by reading a book. We are already planning the safari for next year and we will make sure that we spend most of our days/nights at TINGA LODGE! Both lodges have few rooms but they both are constantly fully booked. We will recommend these lodges to everyone we know. Jean P.

Room Tip: No need to worry about what room you get. There are only 9 suites but all are marvelous!
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 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, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 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, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lion Sands Kruger National Park

Address: Paul Kruger Gate, Kruger National Park, South Africa (Formerly Tinga Private Game Lodge)
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 14 Hotels in Kruger National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Lion Sands Kruger National Park 5*
Number of rooms: 18
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Tinga Private Game Hotel Skukuza
Tinga Private Game Skukuza

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