We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The ultimate authentic luxury safari experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lion Sands River Lodge

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Save
You added Lion Sands River Lodge to your Saves list
Lion Sands River Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Sabi Sand Game Reserve | (Shaw's Gate Entrance), Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“The ultimate authentic luxury safari experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2012

I started off my safari experience at Lions Sands and immediately feared I may have made the mistake I always try to avoid by booking the best property of my trip first and having every subsequent one pale in comparison! Lion Sands is truly one of the nicest lodges in all of Kruger, fully deserving of its Virtuoso designation. The service was first rate; the staff’s vocabulary does not include the word “no.” I had a fantastic massage, facial, manicure and pedicure in an outdoor spa surrounded by gorgeous views all around. The rooms are all appointed with indigenous African décor that made us feel as though we were royal guests. The food was absolutely delicious. We enjoyed after dinner drinks every evening in the main lodge, lounging on comfortable couches, listening to music with a fire roaring in the hearth. Lion Sands’ game drives were spectacular! We saw the big 5 on our very first drive and there were plenty of elephants, giraffes, lions, buffaloes, and our favorite – baboons – to see on every drive. We went on drives twice daily in great open-air Land Rovers with wonderful guides and trackers. We stopped in the bush for appetizers with a full bar served on tables with tablecloths. Time stood still under the most incredible sunsets. Thankfully, we were not disappointed, as I had feared, by any of the properties throughout our travels in Africa as each was wonderful in their own unique way, but we will always have the best memories of our starting point, Lion Sands! l am the owner and CEO of a multi-location Virtuoso Travel Agency and will whole-heartedly recommend Lion Sands to travelers to South Africa as the ultimate authentic luxury safari experience.

  • Stayed August 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

434 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    385
    33
    9
    2
    5
See reviews for
70
239
10
11
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (89)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2012

Get ready to wake up really early and seise the day!

The staff at the lodge were amazing, do hold your tips 'till the end and tip well, the people don't provide their service expecting it, but, they will appreciate!

It's quite a drive from the airport, but once you get there it is your own secluded luxury oasis -- don't be afraid of the Mosquitos, or what not, take the correct precautions and enjoy the rest (we took malaria medication from our doc in Canada and always had deet spray).

Our greeter and host was Advice and our tour guides were Kruger and Peter, awesome people!

When we first arrived, we were greeted with an elephant in our backyard, awesome! About 1/2 hour after we got there (our flight was a little late) we went to our first of 6 outings...2times a day. We ate so much, such great food, we ate before the outings, snacks during the outings and full meals when we returned from the outings, as mentioned all great food.

The swimming pools are clean and very cosy for groups and overlook the Sabi river, hipos, can be heard all around.

We got to see all the big 5 and everything in between.

Worth the trip and the place was phenomenal!

One of our group members stayed in the room with the outdoor shower, they used it once and said it was nice, but a novelty, their rooms were closer to the pools, which was nice.

Room Tip: They are all good, but the middle rooms of the wings, have the better patios and views
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

Lion Sands is a wonderful place for game viewing. We did 2 game drives/day (5 am and 4 pm). In between we basked in the African sun back at our private villa. There was a small pool that we Could cool off in. One afternoon we saw a parade of elephants crossing the river near our villa as well as many monkeys. We went in November which is just after many animals give birth so we were able to see how many animals are with their newborns!

  • Stayed November 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2012

There is no feeling in the world like being on safari - especially when staying at an amazing place like Lion Sands.

From the moment you arrive and are treated to a refreshing juice whilst checking in to the moment you leave, everything you need is taken care of.

Being a safari, the days are long - first safari kicks off at 6am(ish), which means getting up and out for a coffee at 530ish. A three hour morning safari is beautiful as you see the sunrise and then head back for a nap before some lunch and heading out again at 3ish for another 3 hours of safari. Back to the lodge after this and following a freshening up, dinner is served - amazing 3 course meals cooked to the standard of top restaurants! Drinks etc are all available at the bar at lodge.

A great enhancment to previous safaris I have been on is where the ranger will stop in the middle of the national park for tea/coffee in the morning and for a sundowner in the evening. Being in the middle of a an area where numerous wild animals roam and relaxing with a drink is an amazing feeling!

The best evening of the trip was an evening BBQ organised in the safari park which we joined at the end of our evening safari. Towards the end some hyenas seemed to be getting a little too close so we left the food and head back to the lodge - but again this was certainly a one in a lifetime experience.

The lodge rooms themselves are very clean and aside from a little nap, its best to be outside on the lodge deck where a dried up waterbed can be viewed over a cool drink - elephants and hippopotomus are always attracted to the area which can provide great entertainment. We viewed two hippopotomus fighting each other for a few hours, and also an elephant feeeding and relaxing nearby the lodge!

The two small pools on offer are not heated, but to be honest its hot enough for this not to even bother you.

All in all, a fantastic lodge with lovely, friendly staff, providing a very amazing opportunity to see all Big 5 animals! It will be our dream to visit again one day (when we haved saved enough money!!)!

  • Stayed August 2011, 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 4
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 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 will be planning another trip as soon as possible. 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: All rooms are perfect!
See more room tips
  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calhoun, Louisiana
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2012

We had an amazing time from the moment we arrived. This 3 night stay was part of our 45th Anniversary celebration.
The food was great and varied. Early morning safari was invigorating and exciting every time. Benri and Patrick made us real very special. During the stay we went out 6 times. Even the day we left they arranged for us to be sure to go out and be back in time to leave for the trip home.
The other reviews gave a run down of times and animals seen. We only missed seeing the giraffe. One evening we were able to see a Leopard kill and defur her shrub hare.
The staff at the River Lodge made everyone feel extra special with attention to your personel pleasure. I can't say enough about each one we spoke with including the housekeeping staff with their cheery hellos. If you have never been greeted by having a message spelled out on your bed in stems and roses believe me it mades you feel very special and wanted.
One fun thing--at lunch a monkey jumped onto our table and stole our rolls --I wish I had gotten a picture.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2012

Fit for a King and Queen. The attention to detail is perfect, the food de-li-cious, game drives and sightings awesome, rooms a pleasure to be in. Thank you for spoiling us rotten!! It was worth every penny!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Lion Sands River Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Lion Sands River Lodge

Address: Sabi Sand Game Reserve | (Shaw's Gate Entrance), Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 40 Specialty 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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Despegar.com and Jetsetter so you can book your Lion Sands River Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Lion Sands River Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Lion Sands River Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Lion Sands River Lodge, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.