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“Incredible game viewing and luxury accomodation!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lion Sands River Lodge

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Lion Sands River Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Houston, Texas
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Incredible game viewing and luxury accomodation!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2014

This place is amazing! We stayed for 3 nights and within only 3 safaris had seen all big five, and hippos and leopards and giraffe. One day we saw all big five in only a day! Our ranger, Dumay, was very friendly, dedicated, and knowledgable, and made sure we got the most of our game drives. The additional hippo river tour and the bushwalk were also great. I enjoyed going offroad in the jeep to get the best views. The food is delicious, and there's plenty of it, with excellent and friendly service from the butlers. The rooms are great, with really comfy beds, Africology bath products, and the outdoor showers are a nice touch. We also stayed one night in the ivory lodge, and the view of the river (and the elephants drinking from it) here is amazing. This was the best vacation I've ever been on, with just the right amount of excitement and relaxation.

Room Tip: All the rooms are great! There are more people at the River Lodge, so if you're looking for mor...
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  • Stayed May 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
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394 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
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English first
Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
117 helpful votes 117 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2014

Staying at Lion Sands River Lodge was the most magical experience I have ever had. From start to finish this was a perfect stay.
The guest rooms are phenomenal. Understated elegance. Very well maintained and so comfy. I never wanted to leave.
You receive a dedicated butler, guide & tracker. The resort has a gym, spa, 3 lounges, boutique and 2 swimming pools. There are roughly 20 guest rooms. When we were staying the hotel was not full so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. One day we had a pool to ourselves. I had a massage in the outdoor room and it was wonderful. A herd of elephants walked by during my treatment.
The food is amazing. You can eat breakfast & lunch whenever you want. Dinner was unique each night. Once we had a bomba, another night we ate on the decks and the final night we enjoyed a firelight dinner in the dry river bed. One day during lunch a huge herd of elephants walked by in the dry river bed. Amazing.
Each day you enjoy 2 game drives. They were fantastic - we saw the big 5 plus so much more. It seemed like they could make any animal appear. I asked about warthogs and were told they are very skittish and hard to find. Maybe 30 minutes after asking wouldn't you know 3 warthogs ran in front of our vehicle. Wild dogs made an appearance and it was so cool to see them playing, hunting and eating their kill.
I would highly recommend Lion Sands to anyone going on safari! I hope to one day return! I would give them 10 stars if I was able to!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2014

We stayed here for two nights as part of our honeymoon and it was lovely. We would have lived more time to enjoy the hotel. The hotel is in a great location for game drives. We saw at least 4 of the Big 5 every drive. The food was lovely. It's a bit of a rush from when you get back from evening drive. Dinner is served very soon after return so no time to shower really just a quick change. We did not get to make us of our all inclusive package as we were up early and tired then at night. The hotel is well prepared for Mosquitos with spray and nets in your room. Everyone was very nice and friend.

One or two issues included check out and tipping. The hotel have a tipping advice sheet and ended up following these and giving a lot of money over for tips. Also we asked about having a late check out because we didn't leave until 4. We asked for even an extra hour or town on the 11oclock check out so we could have a little nap after our game drive however they couldn't help us but yet we saw a couple checking out at 12.30 while we sat in the reception area. But other than this we had a nice time in this resort.

The game drives were spectacular and we would go back.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Geelong, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2014

My husband and I stayed at Lion Sands from 25th - 28th February 2014. We chose the lodge as we wanted somewhere to indulge and relax after a gruelling week climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and we definately picked the right place! The food was plentiful and delicious, the lodge facilities and our room were understated but oh so elegant and perfectly suited to the surrounding landscape. The staff were attentive and welcoming yet made us feel instantly relaxed (as sometimes in such luxury you can feel 'watched' when they are too attentive or they can make you feel out of place when its obvious you don't have butlers and housekeeping staff at home!). Our safari's were amazing and we could have stayed out all day if they let us, our incredible experiences were definately attributed to our superb guide Jono and tracker Abraham whose enthusiasm and passion shone through and you could tell it was much more than just a job for them both. The sundowners and stargazing were moments where we really had to pinch ourselves, I will never forget those memories. We can not wait to one day return to Lion Sands to enjoy the scenery, wildlife and as there was simply not enough time to indulge in the swimming pools and spa treatments as well as go on safari!! So my only tip would be to book in advance (if possible?) if you really want a spa treatment at a time that doesn't interfere with the safari activities. They also offer a visit to the local kindergarten however due to unrest in the community during our stay we were unable to visit which was a shame but we certainly didn't want to exacerbate the tensions, there's always next time!

  • Stayed February 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.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2014

Seven of us stayed three nights at Lion Sands and will have memories to last!
One six year old, two young adults and four parents all had a blast. Staff were amazing at this intimate lodge where the safari drives were led by outstanding team of ranger and tracker.
Bush dinner was a highlight where staff went all out for only nine guests at the lodge that evening.

Room Tip: If you don't like walking in the dark with wildlife nearby, ask for a room close to the main lod...
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  • Stayed May 2014, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2014 via mobile

We started our south African adventure here to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in the middle of April and we will never forget it. Unfortunately we only stayed 2 nights, I wish it were longer. Sly and Tony took us on Safari and could not have been nicer or more helpful. We both left our hearts here. Beautiful memories. Thanks

Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2014

We spent four nights in late April at the Ivory Lodge--River Lodge is a couple hundred yards away, though you would have no idea that it existed. River Lodge seems to be more set up for families and is a tad larger, but still incredibly lovely. Ivory Lodge consists of 5 or 6 one bedroom villas (huge, with own plunge pool), so it's arguably a bit more exclusive.

I've been lucky to have traveled a great deal, including 5 safaris. There really is not a single criticism that I can think of--staff, accommodations, setting, food, game experience--all absolutely first class. Virtually every review that I read before traveling here shared my opinion. The one or two unflattering reviews strike me as people who are in dire need of psychological help. If you can't be happy in this sublime environment, surrounded by staff that only wants to please..well, you need help.

Two things I would highly recommend: First, spend a night in one of the tree houses--once in a lifetime experience, I promise. Second, go into the village with your guide or tracker and visit the schools that Lion Sand's is sponsoring. I promise it will be one of the highlights of your trip and might change your life.

PS: Don't be afraid to skip a drive (assuming your stay lasts a couple days or more--and it should!) and simply lounge at your villa or on the lodge terrace. The river is stunning and you will see plenty of great animals while you catch some sun and relax.

Room Tip: The villas are all great and completely private--not a bad choice to be had.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Lion Sands River Lodge

Address: Kruger National Park 1240, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 41 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: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Family owned and managed since 1933, this International Award Winning private game reserve is located in the finest territory of the world famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve. It stretches for kilometers along the perennial Sabie River which forms its natural boundary with the Kruger National Park. The land is a place of rarity and carries with it a passion which can only be instilled by a great family history. Lion Sands has three different Lodges, Lion Sands River Lodge; Lion Sands Ivory Lodge and Lion Sands 1933, each with their own unique style and experience. ... 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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