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“Terrific experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lion Sands River Lodge

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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
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Top Contributor
172 reviews 172 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Terrific experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

We were 4 and stayed. 4days. Excursions went out at 5 am and about 4 pm. We saw all of the big 5 and were very close to all, ESP lions feasting on a giraffe. Great guides and experience. Lodging was 5 star and service great. Recommend highly

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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434 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
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English first
Tel Aviv, Israel
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

Was there May 2012, came alone after a riding safari and felt right at home.
It is better to come with a friend or your partner as this is a luxury lodge and there are mostly couples.

Great driving and walking rides with some excellent guides and trackers.
Great food and accommodation.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 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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Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2014

We spent 4 nights at Lion Sands and every minute was spectacular. Within the first 5 minutes of arriving and stepping out onto our private patio, we witnessed 2 male hippos charging out of the water and up on to the bank. It was quite a sight.

We were amazed at how close we were able to get to the animals. Cape buffalo, rhinos, giraffes, nala and of course impala were just a few of the animals we saw close up. We had lions walking and lying right beside our jeep and a herd of elephants calmly grazing right around us. Tristen our guide was exceptional (the best of our 3 week trip). He was very informative and had lots of stories specific to the individual animals. In addition to the safaris Tristen took us out for a bush walk and a drive to specifically see hippos lounging in the river. We particularly liked the 2 vehicle rule for the private reserve. This way when an animal or group of animals is spotted you don't have 10 vehicles surrounding it. Much more respectful of the animal and more enjoyable for the guests.

The accommodations were wonderful, the food was delicious and service was great! We would definitely recommend staying at least 3 nights so you don't miss the traditional boma dinner. Our stay here exceeded all our expectations. The only warning we have is watch out for the monkeys - we had a very entertaining lunch one afternoon watching them swoop down from the trees above and steal bread right off the tables.

  • Stayed September 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

From the moment you arrive till the moment you leave your every dream will come true. All the services are top notch. The accommodations are private & lovely. Although we did stay at the Lion Sands Narina one night & each room has there own plunge pool. Which I saw Cape buffalo, Hippo, & an Elephant all while sitting in the pool. I would go back to either lodge. Look for Simon as your Ranger at the River lodge. He does his job with a passion. Joe was great at Narina he will go to the ends of Kruger to find your favorite animal. The food is of the highest quality & quantity. They don't stop feeding you or serving you drinks even during your safari. We also stayed in the Chakley Treehouse one evening. It was a fabulous experience. You can see shooting stars & all the constellations after watching a beautiful sunset ( with a glass of wine in your hand) . This whole safari will exceed all your dreams.

  • Stayed January 2014, 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.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2014

We spent three nights at Lion Sands during our Cape Town honeymoon and loved it.

Our guides took us out each morning and evening and we saw everything and got really close - lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, monkeys, honey badgers, bulls and more - it was fantastic.

The food was delicious and the service was very, very good. The best iced tea I've ever had (and it goes well with vodka.) Insects were not an issue. We didn't get malaria medication in advance.

We had great weather so we lounged by the pools during the day between breakfast and lunch. Really nice.

Four items of note:

1) Lion Sands only houses about 45 guests total so it's VERY quiet. Don't expect to be anonymous in a crowd.

2) We paid extra to fly from Nelspruit (Kruger Mpumalanga Airport) to Skukuiza Airport inside Krueger Park and we're glad we did. It was expensive, but really fun and saved us several hours of travel time.

3) Keep in mind you're in the inland bush, not the jungle so while it's pretty, there are no dramatic views (cliffs, waterfalls, etc.)

4) It was very expense but well worth it. We were strongly encourage to do a minimum of three nights and we're glad we did but two would have also worked.

We're so happy we stayed at Lion Sands. The lodge was gorgeous and welcoming. We loved our well-appointed bungalow. And we happened to get paired with two great couples on our safari outings which made everything even better.

My our minor complaint was the low-watt wi-fi which only covered the main sitting room of the lodge. Unplugging is great but I'd have preferred the option of sharing pictures and coordinating travel plans more easily.

While you're in the area, don't miss Cape Town and do what ever it takes to get to the Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain. The prettiest places I've ever seen.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
St. Helier, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2014

Our family had never been on safari and, indeed, we were on our first ever trip to South Africa! Our four night stay at Lion Sands exceeded all our expectations and all aspects of our stay were quite outstanding. In particular, all staff were very friendly and went out of their way to be helpful.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Canada
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2014

We stayed here for 2 nights. We drove from the airport to the lodge ourselves (around an easy 2ish hours drive with the last 15-20mins on pretty rough roads once you reach the park area).

We signed in at the gate and they told us staff would be waiting for us at the parking lot which was around 6km away from the gate. Got to the parking lot, was welcomed by the manager, Andrew (whom I have been in contact with) with towels and drinks. He took us to the open lobby and explained the area and our schedule to us. Introduced us to out butler as well. Then took us to the room.

Room: amazing, luxury in the wild. There's a patio area looking right into the bushes. Double sink, shower and bath. No TV but you'll be too busy anyways. No wi-fi in the room, but its available in the common area. Watch out for the bugs at night. Both nights we ended up surrounded by all kinds of bugs, but we expected it so it was okay for us. There's mosquito net for the bed, so no bugs while we slept.

Service: Excellent! We had a nice welcome on the first day and at night, when we returned to the room after dinner, our room was all romantically decorated - with candles, flowers, bubble bath, champagne. Everyone is so friendly there, always with a big smile.

Food: I like how they change things around. 1st lunch and breakfast was inside the restaurant area and 2nd lunch and breakfast was outdoor on the big patio - we were joined by a few elephant visitors. 1st dinner was inside the restaurant and 2nd was the campfire dinner. The menu for lunch and dinner were different on the 2 days. Food was excellent. Got to try zebra.

Game: Our guide Sly and tracker German were great! Very entertaining. We saw 4 out of the Big Five the first day. We missed the leopard though. But saw some amazing scenes - lions mating, cheetah mommy and 2 babies eating - just amazing.

Definitely felt sad having to leave. Great place, great location, great staff.

  • Stayed October 2013, 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.
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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
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 
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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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