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“Experience of a lifetime”

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Lion Sands Ivory Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
148 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Experience of a lifetime”
Reviewed January 18, 2009

My wife and I stayed at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge for five nights this past September. We started our trip on the Skeleton Coast in Namibia, then to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, finishing up at the high-end of the camp spectrum at Ivory Lodge. Past reviewers of Ivory Lodge have been quite glowing in their reviews and we totally agree with them. This was one of the most exquisite experiences of our lives. As other reviewers have noted, the facility was luxurious. Malcolm, the chef, was extraordinary. His marinated wart hog, for example, was a culinary delight we did not expect. Be sure to check out the wine cellar underneath the bar. Very nice. The game drives were always adventurous and fruitful. Even from the deck of our cottage we saw lion walking down by the river, herds of over 30 elephants watering and wading, many hippos, and on and on. Other reviewers have already extolled the virtues of Ivory Lodge so there’s no sense repeating those virtues again but, suffice it to say, the Ivory Lodge is a dream destination. It is true that tipping was a bit on the high side but the higher tips were worth it to us - - the service folks don’t make huge wages yet they provide huge service. We felt comfortable in tipping commensurate with the service. Great service, great tips.

  • Liked — Extensive access to many varieties of wildlife viewing coupled with high-end luxury.
  • Disliked — Internet access was spotty (but no big deal, really). Plunge pools need to be heated.
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
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1 Thank GlobalExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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uk
Level Contributor
35 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 442 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 2009

We have recently returned from a 4 night stay at the Ivory Lodge at Lion Sands and found it a wonderful place for safari.

Accommodation:
There are 6 lodges spread along the Sabie River- we booked 3 of them. They are beautiful lodges with the bedroom and lounge split into 2 separate rooms located opposite each other. The bedroom is split into a 4 poster bed at the front with a bathroom behind with an open plan bath, indoor shower and outdoor shower.

The living room have a couple of sofas, the most ridiculous mini bar, and this along with the bedroom have great views over the river.

At the front of the property is the plunge pool with 2 deck chairs.

Service and Food:
Each lodge is assigned to a butler who looks after you during your stay. The service is 6 star as is the amazing food presented by Malcom- head chef. We have been to shimwari (eastern cape) and the royal livingstone (Zambia) but nothing compares to the quality of the food at this lodge.

Also, each night they rotate where you have your dinner- one night it is indoors a la carte, next night in the boma, and then the next night outdoors on the decking.

Just a note- u will definitely eat too much while you are at lion sands but the food is sooo good you wont mind!

Safari and Other Activities:
Our safari was great - you are woken at 5am for your game drive at 5.30 and then you have another safari at 4.30pm. On each safari you stop at different look outs for drinks/snacks which are out of this world. Some of the highlights for us were seeing the big 5 and especially the Southern Pride of 16 lions..along with 2 leopards. Also, we had a walk down to the water to see 8 hippos from our 4x4 which we have never experienced on other safaris.

We did book the hot air balloon but due to rain it was cancelled. As we are golf fanatics we did a day trip to leopard creek golf club which is highy recommended if you dont mind the 3 hour one way drive!

You can also stay in the treehouse, do clay pigeon shooting, and go on helicpoter tours.

Just a word of warning if you go to this property over dec-feb there are lots of bugs/insects in your room, and throughout the property - so just remember your insect spray!!

If you can afford it, stay here rather than the river loge its more exclusive and the service is 6 star!

  • Liked — luxury amentities
  • Disliked — bugs and insects
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank samcraig33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2008

We got married at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge and hired the lodge for our friends and family to join us.

Overall the accomodation is amazing, the suites are superb and the views brilliant. Having previously stayed at Ulusaba our expectations were high - perhaps too high on some levels but the rooms here are definitely better.

First the good points, if you want to get married here they will bend over backwards to help you, Viola in particular is so helpful and will help make anything you want to happen, happen.

The suites as mentioned are amazing and for those alone it is worth visiting Lion Sands, the cleaners were also amazing, we really never saw them and our suite was always perfect whenever we returned, turn down was also special with lovely notes every night.

The staff in the bar were great and the food was very good, breakfast in particular was a massive hit with all the guests.

There were a couple of downpoints and perhaps we noticed these more as they were areas where Ulusaba excelled. As we took over the lodge we had two vehicles, DJ was the ranger on one and he was just fantastic, enthusiastic, entertaining and made a real effort to interact. Our ranger seemed only interested in the big five by numbers, didn't talk to us and often gave us incorrect information about animals (which we found out when talking with the other vehice over dinner). My one other small critiscism is that we stopped in the same place for morning and evening drinks every morning and night, at Ulusaba the rangers made sure this was different each time which definintely heightened the experience - its a small thing but it did show a difference in quality.

On the whole we would definitley recommend Ivory Lodge, just make sure DJ is your ranger!

  • Stayed October 2008
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Belfred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
illinois
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 14, 2008

My second visit to Lion Sands Ivory Lodge lived up to the wonderful memories created during my first visit a little over one year ago. I could not wait to return.

As usual, attention to detail is paramount with very friendly staff that somehow know your needs often before you have to ask. The location of Lion Sands could not be better, perched just above the Sabie River the views are spectacular. You could spend an entire afternoon on the deck or in the pool just watching the unfolding parade of wildlife coming to drink from the Sabie River. The game reserve itself is equally as impressive with a wide variety of high profile game. Both visits I have seen large heards of Buffalo and Elephant as well as some very relaxed Leopard viewing. Lion, Spotted Hyena, White Rhino, Nyala, and Hippo were often seen.

The cuisine is outstanding with a very thoughtful Chef who prepares a wide variety of dishes and flavors. Do not miss the "Boma" nights where dinner is served under the stars with a soft fire glowing nearby, the Chef goes all out and it is definetly a culinary experience.

Lastly, the suites are large and lux with plenty of room to relax. Privacy abounds with the suites placed in a fashion that you may think you have the whole reserve to youself.

Stayed September 2008
Helpful?
Thank rojoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2008

We went to Lion Sands in May for the second time and it was as amazing as it was the first time. We stayed in one of the ivory lodges and enjoyed the beautiful villa. It is great sitting in the heated plunge pool watching to see what is either in or beside the river each day. The drives are also exceptional (we saw every animal we could think of). Both Landon and Eddie were very good and their enthusiasm for the animals was very contagious. The food is to a very high standard and a nice mix of game and more classical fare. The wine cellar is definitely worth a look as well. Staff were very friendly and professional.

All in all highly recommended and we will be returning soon.

  • Liked — Watching the animals from the heated plunge pool
  • Disliked — Had to go home
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank kllondon9999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hong kong
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2008

We did quite a lot of research on safaris in South Africa before deciding to book Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, as part of our honeymoon trip. It did not disappoint one bit.
The accommodation itself is spectacularly comfortable and stylish, and best of all overlooking the river where herds of elephants came to bathe. The food was great, and very plentiful, as was all the drinks - we had a maxi-bar in the villa to help ourselves to. We ate in our lodge one night in the living area, with a lovely roaring fire, bliss. The game drives were terrific and we saw everything we came to see and more, and the staff - both on the drives and back at the lodge, were absolutely fantastic, so genuine and lovely. We stayed for 3 nights, and could have easily had another 1 or 2. The stay was so fantastic that I pretty much cried when we left ... it is a wonderful place that holds special memories and we would love to go back. Would recommend it to anyone and everyone considering a safari to SA.
The Lion Sands land borders on the Sabi Sabi reserve, and we had a peek at the Earth Lodge there - seems much more like a cave and without the stunning vistas and style of Ivory Lodge, even though it is also touted as one of the 'top' lodges also. We did walk down to River Lodge as well, and while it seems nice there, the rooms are a lot smaller and offer less privacy.... Ivory is definitely worth the upgrade!
My husband had a massage mid afternoon outdoors on the deck in our private villa, which he said was extremely good also.
If anyone is reading this and deciding on various choices - JUST DO IT!!! Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is the ultimate.

  • Liked — EVERYTHING
  • Disliked — NOTHING
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank blasterHongKong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago, IL
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2008

Its hard to describe how fabulous Lions Sands was- you have to experience it to believe it!

Superlatives are insufficient to describe
1) The level of service: Everyone was incredibly attentive, while at the same time unobstrusive, which is a fine balance that few do well
2) The rooms: We stayed at both River Lodge and Ivory Lodge, and though the River Lodge was lovely, the Ivory Lodge was worth every penny in its sheer luxury and view! We saw a lioness stalking an impala, a giraffe walking by, and several herds of elephants drinking every day, right from our plunge pool! Did I mention the CD player in the room, the outdoors, entirely private plunge pool, ditto for the outdoor shower, the glorious bath tub in the middle of one of the rooms, the huge bed (you feel like you have to climb to reach the person on the other side!), the beautiful and tasteful decorations- a room that took our breath away when we first saw it, and which we enjoyed immensely!
3) The food: Both lodges managed to give us the most wonderful selection and quality of food we've ever encountered in a hotel! I have lived and dined in quite a few cities with some fame for food, both in Asia and in the US, but the level of fine-ness in the food here is quite unrivalled in my experience of lodging-provided food. You have to go to real restaurants, with great cooks to match the food you get here! One of the other 3 people we were on the game viewing jeep with was a travel organizer who was going around South Africa sampling some of the best private game reserves, and he had been to Singita amongst other of the top notch reserves one hears about- but even he was impressed with Lion Sands (he said the food was pretty much unparalleled in his experience of game reserves in Southern or Eastern Africa, and he's been to many of them in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania.
4) Game viewing: Fantastic, as you might expect from a private reserve near Kruger. The flexibility to go off-road is not to be sneezed at... we had quite a few exciting chases off road tracking and chasing after leopards and lions- one of which cumulated in us watching a leopard go on its back paws to mark a tree. The experience was fabulous! Our guide and tracker were great as well, superbly knowledgeable in everything about the flora and fauna (animal behavior, gestation, types, range, food etc. just to name a few) but also about history of the various parks, astrology (and the differences between Souther and Northern hemisphere star-gazing), and even about differences in game viewing between South Africa and various neighbouring countries. I'm a biologist by training and I was impressed at how biologically correct various explanations about the way organisms evolved in the region were. (E.g. Why do all South African antelope have horns instead of antlers?)

Overall: Can't say enough fabulous things about Lion Sands. Just go! :)

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank totoro42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Property: Lion Sands Ivory 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 Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #25 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Lion Sands Ivory Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 9
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 Ivory Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Lion Sands Ivory Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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