Expert Reviews – Lion Sands GR

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Feel instantly at home in this family-run reserve
Overall rating
5/5

In the far south of the Sabi Sands Reserve, with access to the Sabie River, Lion Sands is an exclusive concession in which your fellow guests are the only other wildlife-watchers you’ll see. The main place to stay, River Lodge, is relatively large at 18 rooms, but Ivory Lodge has only six villas and 1933 Lodge, which is perfect for a private group, has just four suites plus a very cool dormitory for kids. All the accommodation is smart and contemporary, with urban touches – the styling reminds me of the best of Australia’s ultramodern eco-lodges, and I think it works here really well. As an absolute treat, you could spend a night in the Chalkley Treehouse – a raised timber platform, open to the stars, with a four-poster bed on top. Other superb extras include spa treatments and balloon or helicopter flights.

I’m particularly impressed by how seriously the welfare of wildlife is taken at Lion Sands. The resident ecologist, Edwin Pierce, produces regular, detailed reports on environmental conditions, helping ensure that all the staff are exceptionally well-informed, and the trackers and guides are so proud of their record of Big Five sightings that they publish their success rates online. Lion Sands also takes an active role in community development by supporting education and health projects and offers guests the opportunity to meet the locals on a village visit.

Average Expert Rating

  • 5.0/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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