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“The ultimate Safari experience”

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Lion Sands River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Warks
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“The ultimate Safari experience”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I am sure the rich and famous may do a little better but this place was the ultimate in all round satisfaction.

The staff are the best encountered anywhere in the world.
The rooms, the restaurant, the professional skill and knowledge of the Rangers, the wines, fresh fruits and above all to experience wildlife up close and often was beyond our wildest dreams.

This place is superb and deserves every accolade it receives.

bob b

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank bob b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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784 reviews from our community

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Baltimore, Maryland
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013

I have been fortunate enough to travel to South Africa and to go on safari previously. On our trip Lion Sands, I was lucky enough to be able to travel with my youngest daughter, who is 17 years old. I will readily admit that I thoroughly enjoyed my previous Safari and the place where I stayed at the time immensely. Even with my previous high baseline experience, however, Lion Sands was genuinely spectacular in every way and exceeded my highest hopes and expectations From the moment we arrived, we were treated with extreme courtesy and could not have asked for more attentive service. Our room was wonderful and close to the Lodge. The food was varied and beyond just good.

The most important part of any Safari is, of course, that daily Safari tours. It would literally be impossible to imagine that we could have had a more favorable experience on our tours than we did. Our guide, Kyle, and ourranger, Rector, were everything that anyone on the Safari could want and more. Both were magnificently knowledgeable, not only about the Big five, but also about other animals, birds, and the bush itself. On one memorable occasion, we stopped next to a tree and Kyle explained that it was a leadwood tree, composed of some of the densest wood of any tree, and that the one we were seeing was very likely over 1000 years old.

Adding to our wonderful experience was the level of enthusiasm that both Kyle and Rector showed. Unless they are beyond Academy award-winning level actors, this was very real and quite heartfelt.

Perhaps the best indication of just how wonderful our trip was is that my 17-year-old daughter, who like most of this at that age loves few things more than to sleep late, refused to even consider skipping the 5 AM wake-up and morning tour on the day that we were leaving for the airport at 10 AM! I cannot really come up with any other example of a situation where she would voluntarily get up at 5 AM. THAT is just how good our safari tours were.

I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to go to Lion Sands, that I got together with my youngest daughter, and that both of us had fantastic experiences there that I'm sure will stay with both of us for our entire lives.

Thank you very much Lion Sands. May we someday be fortunate enough to return to your wonderful establishment.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank M G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
newcastle upon tyne
Level 6 Contributor
139 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013 via mobile

We cannot understand the person who had made such uncomplimentary comments who stayed here just before us. We are a party of 4 - my husband and I , our 19 yr old son and 88 yr old mother and all of us agree that our stay here was the most fabulous week we have ever had as it far exceeded our expectations. We have been all over the world and stayed in various 5 star hotels but have to say that Lion Sands consistently provided a high standard of food in terms of choice, presentation, quantity and quality and outstanding service. So much food and drink it was almost constant! The rooms and room service were also excellent as were reception and management. Our ranger/guide and tracker were wonderful - informative and knowledgable about animals, birds, reptiles, flora and fauna and could answer anything! Their patience in this respect admirable. We tracked leopards and elephants, saw black rhino and all the big 5 over and over again including their young. Care and attention to guest personal safety is paramount and cannot be faulted. Ok - so you may say it couldn't have been perfect - our only suggestion for improvement we made on their evaluation questionnaire was to improve the drinks service at the two pools - otherwise we genuinely couldn't fault it and as my husband said - we're not always so complimentary even with some of the high class hotels we've stayed in. This review is sincere and we highly recommend Lion Sands and long may it continue to provide the high standards we experienced.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank janman_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2013

So many people told me safari would be amazing, so the benchmark was set pretty high in terms of expectations. Now I understand. All the positive reviews here I can mirror, so no need to repeat all the worthy praise. Let me add to with my impressions with salient bullet points!

- NOTHING ever too much trouble. We arrived at near 3pm and were told we could still have lunch before going on first game drive. Same on leaving.. offered lunch without question.

- Rhythm of the day perfected.. Wakeup calls, coffee, out onto game drives in comfy open land rovers, return to welcomes, your butler always ready to offer you your next refreshment. Surprises at every turn re location of sundowners, breakfasts, etc.

- Game drives (with Kenneth and Levi) heart-pumpingly close.. we saw everything, including a herd of elephants moving around us and a baby leopard playing in a tree!

- Accommodation generous, elegant and stylish with lovely touches of baths salts, candles and chalkboards for requests to your housekeeper

- Food sensational, any requests to add or remove ingredients glady honoured

- 2 pools, one warm, one cool. I say watching hippos and water buffalo on the opposite banks from my lounger.

Cant say enough about the dedication, enthusiasm and heartfelt warmth of the staff and this place. 5 stars, 10 out of 10. Thankyou for a trip we cant stop talking about!

Room Tip: Just ask for what you want and they will endeavour to accommodate
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank OzCondeNast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2013

Lion sands is a beautiful lodge. We had a very long journey from Timbavati but had a warm welcome on arrival. We had a really gorgeous, huge room. Housekeeping was great. They ran a bath for us on our first night and filled the room with candles. They also left us a bottle of champagne (though it was taken back a few days later when we hadnt got around to drinking it!!). Elliot our butler was BRILLIANT. He was really attentive - especially with the Gin & Tonics :) The food was pretty good. Our guide and tracker were great - Elliot and Sam. They really entertained us and were very knowledgeable. The highlight of our trip was when they spotted a kill in a tree on the evening drive and then on the following morning drive, tracked a leopard back to the kill. We watch for around 90mins as the leopard climbed the tree and ate while 3 hyenas circled the tree waiting for anything to fall. It was such a great peek into nature. Would recommend though no need to take back gifts guys!! :)

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sinead K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
306 reviews
194 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 270 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2013

Overall, what an amazing adventure. We were tired from the 2 hour drive from Nelspruit airport, but were greeted wonderfully by the staff at Lion Sands. Everyone was very friendly. We were taken to our room and were made ready for the afternoon game drive.
Our driver and tracker were fantastic - Allie and Kruger. Housekeeping did a great job (except the first day when we had a glass with lipstick in it in our bathroom, but overall great!).
On our game drives saw every animal imaginable including the big 5 of course.
The only major problem was the food and Butler service - not the best for me - limited choices and our butler was not the most accommodating. He rarely asked about drink preferences or refills. I had the chef come to the table one time and she was dismissive towards me a little - the food was just not great - there was plenty of it, but maybe a bit too fancy for me. The meal settings and locations were outstanding though, and buffets were quite good. I wish they had some simple food available as options at time.
The schedule was great with just the right amount of downtime needed to relax. The room was very clean (a few bugs early on, but we did not have a problem with them unlike some of the other guests).
Overall an amazing once in a lifetime adventure that I would highly recommend for everyone (although if you are a picky eater would bring some snack food along).

Room Tip: All rooms are good, would skip an outdoor shower as most people did not use them.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank xiphoid76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed March 18, 2013

Nothing can prepare you for the magical experience that is Lion Sands. From the moment you arrive and are welcomed with a cool refreshing drink and introduced to you personal waiter until the moment you say your fond farewells, this is a truly magical experience.

The lodge is set within its own grounds in the Kruger National Park. Unlike many others there are no fences between this park and the rest of Kruger. This means that animals can move freely between Kruger and Lion Sands reserve.

We had one of the superior rooms - absolutely fantastcv with large bedroom and seating area and a large bathroom area with a water room for a shower. We also had an outside shower - quite an experience for someone who had come from a very cold London.

Food was of a consistently high quality. Breakfast and lunch served on the lower deck overlooking the gane reserve. Dinner was served in a number of locations within the lodge. During our five nights we had one dinner on the lower deck, one very romantic dinner on the upper level and three bush-style dinners in various locations. These bush-style dinners are made interesting by the fact that your ranger hosts the table and you sit with the other guests you have travelled with during the day.

Of course the main reason for going on a safari holiday is to experience the African plain and to see the animals. We did eight trips during our stay and saw a range of animals on every trip - lion, black and white rhino, elephant, giraffe, hyena and much more.

We were assigned a ranger and tracker for our stay (Simon and Albert). Excellent knowledge about the reserve and the animals and birds. What really impressed me was the fact that they knew their clients go to see the wildlife but their consideration for the animals was exceptional.
Whenever they thought that an animal was getting distressed by our presence they made a discreet move to leave the area.

There is so much more that one could say about the whole experience. But that would spoil the surprise and wow factor for anyone considering this wonderful place for an adventure.

Book it
Relish the experience
Remember it forever

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank John H
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

Property: 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 #11 of 42 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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