Lion Sands, River Lodge ~
South Africa

For those real wow moments

Take A Walk On The Wild Side Of Luxury

Lion Sands River Lodge in South Africa is a true gem among safari destinations, offering an exceptional and unforgettable wildlife experience.

Nestled within the renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve, this luxurious lodge boasts a prime location on the banks of the Sabie River, providing guests with unrivalled views of the surrounding wilderness. What sets Lion Sands River Lodge apart is its perfect blend of opulence and a deep connection to the natural world.

The lodge will offer you stunning accommodations, world-class cuisine, and attentive service, ensuring that you are pampered in style. However, the real magic happens during the game drives and bush walks, where expert guides lead you into the heart of the African bush, where the Big Five and a multitude of other fascinating creatures roam freely.

The abundance of wildlife and the lodge’s commitment to conservation make it an amazing place for you to witness the beauty of the African wilderness up close whilst also contributing to its preservation. Lion Sands River Lodge is an unparalleled destination for those seeking a safari experience that combines luxury with an authentic connection to the untamed.

Why we love this!

“What a great way to spend a weekend.

Overnight flying 10hrs on BA with only one hour time difference yet a whole other world at the end of your journey. We flew in via Johannesburg and transited with a personal welcoming transit guide to lead us to the domestic terminal for a 30 minute flight by small jet to Skukuza.

We travelled in November so it was 20 to 22°C daytime, so lovely and balmy in comparison to a wet and windy Petersfield.

Karen is into photography in a big way, so a long Safari weekend is an ideal five nights away, taking us out on the Wednesday evening with Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights at the lodge and Sunday overnight arriving home by 04:30 and back at work Monday morning.

On the three days we were there, we had six drives, one early morning and one early evening with plenty to do in between although we pretty much rested. Relaxing, eating and meeting other Safari guests with plenty of stories of game seen and experiences enjoyed.

We stayed at the wonderfully appointed Lion Sands resort in Sabi Sands. The two Lion Sands Lodges are the River Lodge and Ivory Lodge. We stayed at River Lodge, on the riverbanks of the river and a slightly larger property, although we could’ve chosen the more exclusive and intimate Ivory Lodge but it really wasn’t necessary.

The MORE family own and manage what was originally a farm, they created a private Safari Park in the 1930s and are now dedicated conservationists, Safari hosts, and are one of the best reputed family businesses in the Country, the accommodation was perfect. The More family direct much of the safari lodges’ revenue to managing conservation projects, the wildlife and husbandry of the greater park area whilst sponsoring, employing and educating local community people and projects.

River Lodge comprises of 14 individual lodges some with plunge pools, The main buildings include the restaurant, bar, shop, the Boma, decking, lounging and outdoor views. There’s no shortage of space, resting areas with river views and open fires all around.

Ivory Lodge is slightly smaller but more exclusive with a private butler service, private game drives, themed rooms, plunge pool family rooms. You can also book exclusive use of the whole nine Lodge property for a party or a large multi generational family group, or even a corporate event.

Overlooking Sabi Sands river we witnessed Hippo in the morning and Wildebeest and Elephant in the afternoon, on the other side of Sabi Sands is the Kruger National Park which is a public park compared to Sabi, which is a private conservation property.

Lion Sands is up there with the best of the best. With a natural and comfortable environment and beautiful buildings that blend into the surroundings, not forgetting plenty of glass windows to always have a view in every direction.  It has a luscious blend of forestry and open savannah which is great for the animals giving them plenty of space to hide. With this being said, expert trackers are vital and it does mean that you do go off-road a lot, so if you like off-road driving, this is also a great experience and a lovely holiday, in addition to the sights to be seen.  

All the big five were here and with so much to see there was never a dull moment, it was an educational experience being with such highly experienced guides. Lion Sands provide a guide, a tracker and a spotter on each brand-new open Toyota Safari truck of which there were six.  There’s such extra attention to detail that you wouldn’t expect but come with great pleasure.

We did go off the beaten track and had the chance to venture on foot to walk back to the lodge at one point and did a slight detour to get up and close and personal with a family of Hippo wallowing in the river. Such an incredible experience. 

Safety is a big deal here, but this is as much to protect the animals in the environment as it is the guest, with good briefings given and good local knowledge shared helping you feel a part of the environment. Local villages rely on the employment at the parks to keep away from the temptation of poaching, and local wildlife relies on tourism for investment protection and breeding programs.

A happy staff says a lot about a good company and every single member of staff had a smile on their face, exactly the way it should be. Be careful if you choose Lion Sands as your first Safari as it may ruin you to expect this quality everywhere else.

Karen’s photographs are the stuff of legend and we have returned with the most amazing footage.

What a wonderful and extravagant way to fill a weekend. ~ James

All the things you need to know

  • Luxury Room : In each of the eight Luxury Rooms, fold-back glass doors unveil a private river-view deck. Inside, you’ll find an ultra-comfortable king bed (or the option of ¾ twins) complemented by a full en-suite. Organic amenities add a further touch of luxury. You are in for memorable stay.
  • Superior Luxury Room : Six Superior Luxury Rooms, each notably more spacious and featuring lavish open-plan bathrooms along with outdoor showers. Two sets of inter-leading rooms work perfectly if you’re travelling with the family. Linger over bush views from the deck and cushioned couches, dreaming of your next sightings.
  • River Suite : The three standalone, River Suites promise even more space and heightened privacy. Each comes with its own deck and inviting plunge pool, drawing you closer to the natural world. Step from the expansive bedrooms into comprehensive en-suites, which then lead to outdoor showers, making nature feel like an extension of your living space. Relax in your personal sanctuary, soaking in the river views.
  • Family River Suite : The two-bedroom Family Suite treats families to plenty of space. Both bedrooms can be configured as double or twin and when laid out for your children, it’s like home – only better!
  • Under The Stars : These treehouses offer sprawling views of remote Africa, globed by even bigger star-lit skies. Below, the stillness is punctuated by animals’ whistles, huffs, and growls… It all began with Chalkley Treehouse, built on the site where the ancestor Guy Aubrey Chalkley once set up camp in a leadwood tree. Since then, there’s been Kingston and Tinyeleti treehouse added to the collection.
  • Lion Sands Safari : This private reserve conserves 12 400ha (30 600ac) of habitat that is home to the highest and most diverse concentration of wildlife in the Southern hemisphere. You can see all of Africa’s iconic species here, including the Big Five, along with a supporting cast of 150 mammal species and over 500 varieties of bird. The magic here lies in how you experience this extraordinary place and its wildlife wonders.
  • Cuisine : From boma feasts to safari stops, dining promises to be a highlight of your stay – with any dietary requirement, including Halaal and Kosher, catered for. The chefs transform local recipes into contemporary dishes, giving you a true taste of Southern Africa. Paired with wines from the collection of premium Cape labels, your meal will become an experience in itself. You will also be offered wine tastings – a favourite whether you’re a connoisseur or dabbler.
  • A Family Adventure : Mack & Madi Kids’ Adventure Explorers is an all-round family experience that makes a family safari child’s play. While you relax, they’ll keep your young explorers entertained through milkshake sundowners, scavenger hunts, baking, or beading – they’ll spark their sense of adventure, creativity and wonder all the way. All children receive their own backpack or cap, games, and gifts, and child friendly meals are offered. Child minding services are also available on request. Children of all ages are accepted in the Fish Eagle Residence (Ivory Lodge) and Hinkwenu Residence (Tinga Lodge). Kids of 10 and over are welcome at all other lodges.
  • Spa & Wellness : Lion Sands will reset and restore your spirit with rest, nourishment and natural beauty. Sleep deeply, fuel up on wholesome cuisine, walk among ancient trees, indulge in spa pampering, or enjoy yoga on the deck. Here, time slows down so you can reconnect with yourself and what matters most.
Clothes That Blend In : 

Muted coloured, lightweight clothing is best for game viewing. Game drives are generally conducted in the early morning and the late afternoon, which can be cold, especially in winter. The temperature often warms up during the day, so it is best to dress in layers.

  • Clothes in khaki, green, beige and neutral colours
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts or a light skirt
  • Jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
  • Jackets, windbreaker, fleece, sweaters for early morning and late afternoon game drives
  • A lightweight waterproof jacket in case of rain
  • Swim and beachwear
  • Comfortable walking shoes or trainers
  • Flip flops for around the pool
  • Hat or baseball cap
  • Warm scarf or pashmina
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Journal
  • Bird or wildlife book


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call us today or complete our online enquiry form to start your next adventure.

Let's Chat

We are here to help. Our travel experts will organise and book your dream holiday.
call us today or complete our online enquiry form to start your next adventure.