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Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Virginia
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536 posts
39 reviews
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Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

My husband and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary in June and I am torn between Leadwood and Ivory Sands in Sabi Sabi. I rarely see much written on the forum by anyone actually having stayed in Leadwood (which was recommended by our agent) but see many posts on Ivory Sands. What are the pros and cons of these two lodges? Anyone who has stayed at either (or both) would be appreciated as I want this trip to be as close to our ideal of what a luxury safari should be - great drives with good, interactive rangers, beautiful accommodations, lots of game viewing - and in between drives - something for my hyperactive husband to be doing! Thanks for any info, help, reviews. And yes, food should be excellent as we are both gourmet cooks! We also love meeting others and worry Leadwood may be a bit too intimate; yet if the rangers and drives are special that would be of utmost importance

While I am getting more and more specific, I should add I'd love to know which lodge has the most opportunity of viewing game on the river, etc. while at the lodge and not on a game drive. Am I getting too picky? For the prices (though June is much less and I havent figured that out either - why would extremely hot weather - summer - cost more? especially in rainy season.) Anyone willing to put in the time to help me with this? I certainly appreciate it. Love reading the forums and all the travelers with knowledge they are more than willing to share. Thanks again

bdk
SA
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358 posts
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1. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Hi there! Congratulations!

I have visited a number of lodges in the Sabi Sands and Timbavati, but I have not yet stayed at Ivory Sands. I have however been to Leadwood. It must be one of the best lodges. The setting on the Sand River is beautiful and a family member of mine, who goes there often, has seen the Big 5 from the comfort of her suite. They eve saw lions catch an impala one day, in broad daylight, whilst having lunch in the tree deck! The manager of the lodge is also your ranger for the duration of the trip, whilst his wife sees to the day-to-day running of the lodge. He is extremely knowledgeable and is ery sensitive to the guests' requierements. The chef turned out excellent cuisine whilst we were there! An highlight of our stay there was iewing the Mapogo's, a band of 6 fully grown male lions who have ade the are a their own and are readily seen on game drives, hunting, etc. What an experience it was when they all started roaring at once!

As it is a small lodge you get to know the other guests pretty well as well, as you dine together, drive together, etc. So yes, it is an intimate lodge but we had lovely interaction with the other guests.

The game lodges charge more in summer as it is peak time for especially guests rom the Northern hemisphere, who come here to escape their winter.

If you have further questions, I'd like to hear from you!

SOUTH AFRICA
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2,551 posts
6 reviews
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2. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Both Ivory Lodge and Leadwood are excellent lodges! As you know, both are situated on river banks - Ivory Lodge is on the banks of the Sabi River and Leadwood is on the Sand River. To try to predict which river would offer the best game viewing wouldn't be possible, as both rivers are "animal magnets"!! The accommodation at Ivory Lodge is more luxurious and spacious than that of Leadwood. The Ivory suites are probably of the most beautiful in Africa! When it comes to game viewing, I must say that Leadwood comes out tops! They share a traversing area with a number of other lodges, meaning that there are plenty of eyes out there looking for animals like leopard, lions, and many more! Lion Sands has only 2 lodges (River & Ivory)m, and they don't share traversing rights with any other lodge. This often means that there aren't many vehicles out on game drive on the Lion Sands property, making sightings fewer than at Leadwood. It's not that Lion Sands doesn't have the animals, it's just that you have to work much harder to find them! So in short - if accommodation is your deciding factor, go for Ivory Lodge, and if game viewing is more important to you then go for Leadwood!

Virginia
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536 posts
39 reviews
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3. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Thank you both bdk and Africa Direct; your responses have been very helpful. I think I will choose Leadwood as I am staying at another CCA lodge and can get a better price. All said, I am going so very far from the States for game viewing! So I appreciate the traversing info; I don't think many people going into the reserves even understand that. This forum is giving us a really great education. THANKS! Gracie

SOUTH AFRICA
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2,551 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Glad to hear you'll be going to Leadwood! I'm convinced it will be the highlight of your visit to SA! Which other CC Africa lodge will you be visiting? Yes, unfortunately not everyone who goes on safari understands the traversing rules. That is one of the benefits of being in the travel industry! You get to learn intimate details of the various establishments, which you can hopefully pass on to as many world travellers as possible! Enjoy your safari!

Virginia
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536 posts
39 reviews
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5. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Hi Africa Direct; we will be staying at Ngala Tented - are you familiar with this property? Gracie

SOUTH AFRICA
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2,551 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Yes, I know Ngala Tented Camp very well. It is an EXCELLENT lodge! Game viewing not quite as good as at Leadwood, but the service, food, guides,etc. are all five star!! Great combination these 2 lodges that you'll be visiting!!

Virginia
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536 posts
39 reviews
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7. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Africa Direct; you have the knowledge about the area, so could you explain why the game viewing is not as good at Ngala....is there a lodge I should be looking into to complement my trip to Leadwood - in place of Nglala....I loved the look of the tents, but of course we are coming for game viewing? Your suggestions are appreciated. G.

SOUTH AFRICA
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2,551 posts
6 reviews
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8. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

I don't want to put you off the idea of going to Ngala - they still offer great game viewing. Remember that there probably isn't a lodge that can beat Leadwood when it comes to game viewing. The reason for the difference between these 2 lodges, is that Leadwood has traversing over a big portion of land that has the Sand River flowing through it. This is an excellent game viewing area - as you know, rivers always attract animals! Ngala is in the Timbavati, which is a dryer region, and hence the animals are scarcer, but they are still there! Your guide will just have to work harder at finding them! Please, don't let me put you off going to Ngala - that really wasn't my intension! I have made numerous reservations for clients at Ngala Tented, and not one of them has ever given me a negative report after their safari! You'll have a great time - keep your safari as it is with a split between Ngala Tented and Leadwood!

Virginia
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536 posts
39 reviews
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9. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Thank you; We really are excited about the whole trip so I will keep it as we originally planned. I've read so many good reviews of Ngala; I'm sure it will be an overall exceptional trip. I do appreciate all the help everyone on the forum has given me. When going on the "trip of a lifetime" it helps to have someone to discuss it with! THANKS G.

bdk
SA
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358 posts
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10. Re: Leadwood or Ivory Sands??

Hi Gracieva

Have you booked through an agent or direct with the lodges?