​User Reviews – Lion Sands GR

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Kevin   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: February 2016 Reviewed: Mar 4, 2016

Email Kevin

Overall rating

Visited Tinga Lodge, it was magical. The guides, Simon and Isaac were so knowledgeable and tracked and found all manner of wildlife. Highly recommend, the accommodation and wildlife

Daniel P Barker   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: April 2014 Reviewed: Nov 15, 2015

Email Daniel P Barker  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Daniel P Barker and not that of SafariBookings.
Overall rating

It was good but no way as good as Kruger

Massai_1 (Carsten M.) Visited: November 2014 Reviewed: May 25, 2015

Overall rating

Maybe the best game viewing I've had.

Katherine Visited: December 2014 Reviewed: Feb 6, 2015

Our honeymoon safari was life changing!
Overall rating

All of our expectations of going on a safari were exceeded! The lodge was so luxurious, the service some of the best in the world & to be in the bush with the wildlife forever changed us. Luckily Southern Destinations sent us to an area where there are the most leopards as well as all the other Big 5 wildlife. We had many sightings that we will treasure & took hundreds of photos. The South African rangers are so well educated & can tell you everything from the smallest dung beetle to everything about elephants. They graduate from Wildlife college & are certified guides. The native trackers have grown up on the reserves so they can spot animals or tracks when no one else can. Our food at the lodge was top notch & the chef accommodates any & all special requests along with providing wonderful wines. We felt terribly spoiled our entire stay!

Adam Rose Visited: January 2013 Reviewed: May 11, 2013

Safari and luxury
Overall rating

Lion Sands was the perfect final stop on our safari adventure. We had travelled to two other camps in Botswana before finishing with 3 days at LS.
Staff were warm, welcoming, and tended to our needs. We were privileged to have Landon and Eddie as our guide and tracker. Jeffery also took care of our needs while in camp at every meal----a very humble and funny man.
We were able to view all the animals we wanted to see in close proximity without feeling threatened or disturbing the wildlife. One particular lion pride viewing was spectacular....around 15 lions grooming, playing, and getting VERY close to our vehicle.
The weather was perfect during our trip which was late January into February.
Lion Sands made it extremely easy and fun with travel between camps, airports, and game drives.
Our highlight was viewing an adolescent elephant trying to intimidate our truck by mock charging, flaring his ears, raising his trunk and so on. We all got a good laugh and were treated to this close up encounter ( check my video plus voice over http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69URe-21FO4 ).
My parents also had the opportunity to stay in the 'treehouse' one night. Quite an adventure for them! Extremely beautiful venue and a once in a lifetime opportunity.
And one must not forget Lion Sands Frank....he will send you on your way and greet you on your way back in with quite the song and dance :)

epharston   –  
United States US
Visited: November 2012 Reviewed: Feb 13, 2013

50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Exciting, relaxing, fascinating, up-close and personal.
Overall rating

Having never been to Africa, my mental image of the terrain was that of the National Geographic picture of open savannah, driving great distances to find game. In fact, in Lion Sands there were far more trees and brush than I had pictured. Our guide, perched on the hood of the Land Rover observed tracks, scat and other evidence of various animals to get an idea of where they might be heading. Both guide and driver would always answer any questions and were always willing to patiently educate. The weather in November was chilly most mornings, but if you dress in layers and take advantage of the wool blankets in the vehicle, you're just fine. While we brought mosquito repellant, it wasn't necessary most days. By noon, it was usually sunny and you've peeled most layers off. They always held a 'sundowner' which was an elegantly appointed table spread with a wide variety of goodies on which to snack. It ranged from gourmet hor's dervs to the ubiquitous Pringles chips - and South African favorite. Back at the resort, meals was served on the deck overlooking the riverbed. One day we were treated to an elephant parade on the other side. They entertained us for 45 minutes as they browsed, dirt bathed, then crossed the river. The Lion Sands resort consisted of individual "houses" each with open architecture. A lovely raised wooden pathway let the way to well-marked abodes. Inside, your eyes are immediately drawn upwards by the high ceilings - really the underside of the grass roofs. The King size bed (complete with ample mosquito net) faces sliding glass doors which open toward the river. There was a wonderfully stocked bar area and attractive bathroom complete with outdoor shower (said to use it only during the day because of the danger of leopards at night). After dark we were escorted to and from our room as a precaution against a wild animal encounter. We had no incidents for us, but another couple had to wait in their room while the staff chased a buffalo away. Lush vegetation meant no lack of wildlife, including seemingly-tame bush bucks grazing around the raised walkways leading to our rooms. Velvet monkeys, some with young clinging to their fronts, adorned nearly every tree. Thankfully, they were appropriately kept at bay from the eating area.
Theater seating in the Land Rovers offered the perfect safari vantage point from any seat. While the rear-most (and highest) seats amplified the dips and curves a bit, we thought it just added to the adventure. The kitchen staff was extremely accommodating, willing to customize any food preference you might have. Fast, friendly butlers soon anticipated our preferences. Meals were available at any time - completely at our convenience. Wireless internet access is available for the technology-dependent. Two onsite swimming pools were less than inviting - evidently no filters or chlorine, so one could not even see the bottom. Massage services were private but open-air overlooking the river - nice!
The overall resort completely exceeded all of my expectations! I would definitely go back.

After our stay, we also stayed at the exclusive Camp Jabulani. I also highly recommend it. Elephant safaris, volunteering at the Hoedspurit Endangered Species Center (arranged only for Jabulani guests), gourmet meals, etc... Tops!

lugolfer33   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2011 Reviewed: Nov 27, 2012

20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating

Was there during the World Cup back in 2010. First safari experience. However, never saw any lions which was bad luck. Just wasn't my week as we were told they were on another reserve.

Jo H.   –  
United States US
Visited: February 2011 Reviewed: Aug 14, 2012

Email Jo H.  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Lion Sands Game Reserve was an unforgettable experience!
Overall rating

During February 2011, I stayed at the Lion Sands River Lodge. I had no particular expectations, having never been on a safari trip, but this destination turned out to be one of my absolute all-time favorites! I was amazed from the moment of arrival. The Lodge is beautiful and fits perfectly into the surroundings. The private villas are luxurious yet give you the feeling that you are right out among the animals, which in fact is true, as the Lodge is not fenced in. The staff set the high mark for personal service and spoiling guests. The food was delicious and attentively served by our personal butler, whose desire was to provide us with just what we wanted. In addition to a personal butler, we were also assigned a night guide (for seeing us safely back to our villa after dark), a ranger (for the game drives), and a game tracker. The morning and evening game drives were exciting. Our tracker and ranger knew just where to find the animals and when possible, tried to give us not just a sighting but a fuller experience. We saw the "Big Five" in the first day, plus so many more fascinating animals, right down to the not-so-small Golden Orb spiders. We had the unique experience of following a female leopard for an hour as she walked about, sharpened her claws, stalked prey, and seemed virtually unaffected by our presence. Throughout our stay, the staff did things to surprise and delight us. As an example, on an evening game drive we stopped unexpectedly in the bush to find a gorgeous white-tableclothed bush dinner set up for us under the stars around a bonfire. Another example, our ranger and tracker pulled an impromptu bar from the Land Rover and served us mixed drinks along the riverbank, while we watched the hippos lazily playing in the water as the sun went down. Lion Sands was an unforgettable experience and I can't wait to go back!

alex_griffiths   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: January 2010 Reviewed: Aug 3, 2012

20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Fun and educational everything I would want from a safari
Overall rating

Whilst it’s hard to find a bad resort in the Sabi Sands, Loin sands is one of the best middle of the road resorts I have stayed at. (When I say middle of the road keep in mind you can speed £2000 + a night at some of the resorts)

The resort it’s self is to a very high standard and it’s the little things that make the difference, for example staff address you my name within the first few hours and remember you name throughout your stay. Makes you feel special. After the evening game drive you return to your room to find a warm bath has been run and a glass of sherry waits you before dinner.

The game at loin sands can be a bit hit and miss depending on the session and its location, but you will still see plenty more than if you were anywhere else. On the game drives the rangers are very knowledgeable and the resorts are very good at taking it in turns to see the animals, so you are never sat there with a hundred other game vehicles. The drives are done in such a way that you always feel that you have just found the animal whilst knowing full well the ranger has been driving around for 5 minutes waiting their turn.

The resort itself will leave you wanting for nothing, the food and drink is excellent and plentiful. We drank them out of Savannah so the next day they sent some poor sole on a good 4 hour drive to ensure that we had for the next evenings sun downers.

As a wildlife photographer this is an ideal place to get some really nice shots, the rangers are always happy to reposition the vehicle so you can get the shot you want and will get as close to the animals as you and the animals are comfortable with.

For anyone that has not been on a safari before Lion Sand will deliver some excellent game spotting, but I would recommend as you have gone all that way to spend some time in the Kruger national park that borders the Sabi Sands and is about 2 hours from Lion sands, to truly appreciate the wildlife. You will be spoilt at Lion Sands no driving around for 4 hours seeing nothing but bush. (though nothing is guaranteed the animals are wild after all.)

I have been fortunate to stay in a few places in the Sabi sands and Lion Sands is defiantly one of my favourites.

Neal D   –  
Canada CA
Visited: August 2010 Reviewed: Jul 27, 2012

Exceeded Our Expectations
Overall rating

My wife and I had always wanted to go on a safari in Africa. We had high expectations as we flew from Capetown to Mpumalanga to begin our adventure. Those expectaions were more than met during our stay at the Lions Sands River Lodge. Just on the drive from the gate to the lodge we got a taste of what was to come as we saw Impala, Bushbuck and a Kudu on the bushveld. Upon arrival we were greeted by the friendly and helpful staff and offered a welcome drink as we waited for our orientation talk. That talk had to be delayed as a herd of Elephants chose that time to pass by on the dry river bed in front of the deck. It was a magnificant sight and my wife was thrilled because elephants were what she had most wanted to see. Needless to say, it only got better from there. On our first game drive we came upon a pride of lions at dusk and were amazed at how close we were able to be to these beautiful creatures. During our stay we saw all of the "Big Five" as well as giraffe, zebra, warthogs, hippos, African wild dogs and many many more. We had nothing but memorable moments during our stay, but in addition to the welcome parade of elephant on the first day, a couple did stand out. We watched two hynea stalked a pack of African wild dogs. Observing the actions of the pack as they moved to protect their young was fascinating. And then there was my close encounter with a lioness. We had come across a pride of lions on one of the roads and stopped to watch as they passed our land rover. I was snapping picture after picture with my telephoto lens and as one lioness' head seemed to fill the viewfinder I took the camera away from my eye to find out that she was right beside the truck. I am sure I could have reached out and touched her. When I later looked at the photo, I saw that the fur on her face was red with blood from the morning kill. It was quite an experience. I would highly recommend the Sabi Sands Game Reserve to anyone who wants a great safari experience. The staff at the Lions Sands River Lodge were attentitive to our every need. The rangers and trackers are experienced and extremely knowledgeable and made sure we saw everything that was possible to see. The accomodations are spacious and comfortable and the food was great. Our time was much too short and we are hopeful we can return one day to this beautiful place.

Average User Rating

  • 4.7/5
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  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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