This website uses cookies

We use cookies to ensure you have an easy, quick and reliable experience whilst using the Virgin Atlantic Holidays website. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more details, see our cookie policy.

Skip to main content Virgin holidays logo
  • Mon to Fri 9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Sunday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Lion Sands — the pride of safaris

From the moment you’re collected from the delightful Skukuza Airport to that last cup of tea before your flight home, your stay at Lion Sands Game Reserve is the perfect way to experience a safari holiday.

We were greeted by the most warm and genuine welcome, as if we were among friends.  The natural, yet stylish Narina Lodge is luxurious, situated respectfully in the landscape so that it blends in with the trees. Things are so natural here — you’ll even have inquisitive monkeys trying to join you for breakfast. Your morning meals are safe though, thanks to the skilful staff keeping them at bay with the aid of water pistols. You really are sharing the space with the locals. (Leave your flip-flops unattended at your own peril!)


Naturally, you can’t be too expectant on your game drives — you may only see elephant-shaped ‘blobs’ on the horizon or a tail disappearing swiftly into a bush. Then again, you might just stumble upon an elephant having her breakfast a few steps away, or even join a whole herd on their morning stroll to the local watering hole. They’re perfectly content to let you join them!


Of course, it’s the big cats that ‘wow’ everyone on any given game drive and our trip didn’t fail to deliver. We came within feet of a leopard and her tiny cub, found a whole pride of sleeping lions, and spotted another leopard with a freshly caught kill.


The rangers and trackers who accompany you are extremely skilled. Ours (Ben and Collence) were fantastic and even found out if there were any particular animals we wanted to see. Ours was the elusive honey badger, which even some locals have never seen before! Their ability to find even the slightest trail in the wilderness resulted in all our sightings, even catching us a glimpse of our honey badger. All of this is done with no radio noise, and the drives are also exclusive. You won’t be ‘badgered’ by other trucks around you, jostling for position to snap away at the wildlife. It’s just you, your group, and nature all around.


We were also fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to take part in a bush walk with our guides. Under their careful stewardship, our party of four guests we taken on a walk into the bush, to learn about the local flora and fauna. It was fascinating to get a different perspective of this countryside… and quite exhilarating to always keep your head on a swivel for any large predators!

Back at the lodge, we were treated to an incredible selection of food and drink. As one of us is vegetarian, we were even given a personal menu to choose from, which was a nice touch and very much appreciated. Our ranger even joined us for a meal one evening and regaled us with stories from the bush and local life. It’s wonderful to hear about the preservation of the land and caring for the animals’ futures.


And to see us off, we were treated to that iconic moment in the light of a full moon — a herd of giraffe silently meandered among the trees, silhouetted in the light. It was breathtaking to see these almost prehistoric creatures move in the eerie half-light. Magic.


Helen's safari holiday tips:

  • Beg, borrow or treat yourself to a decent camera. We bought a new camera for the trip — you’ll appreciate not being limited by a camera phone.
  • That said, do make some time to take it all in without concentrating on taking photos the whole time.
  • Do some research and have a think about what you’d like to see before you go. Are you just on the lookout for the Big Five, or is there something a little more obscure you’d like to keep an eye out for? Of course, there are no guarantees, but your expert ranger and tracker will try their best.



Tagged in:

  • South Africa
  • Travel Blogger stories
  • Staff Travels
  • Platinum
  • Africa
10 Apr 2019 | Helen and Tim Crofts


There has been an error

Please try again

Text Message

There has been an error

Please try again


Thanks, we'll be in touch soon

How can we help?

Let’s get started. Please choose an option below.

Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - our website has thousands of options ready to book. But if you need more help, just give us a call on 0344 472 9646.

Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types and save your faves to your very own Wishlist. Or dive right in to our 2021 holiday offers.

Latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office repatriation travel advice

Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.

How would you like to talk to us?

With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 31 December 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates

Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected by email. 

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

Let’s talk

If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646 or chat to us on SMS/Whatspp via Manage my booking.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

Payment flexibility

Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans

We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned

If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding

Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

We'll be in touch soon

To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

I returned early from holiday and have further questions?

You can contact our team by emailing to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

I am currently on holiday and I need to speak to someone

The easiest way to contact us while you are away is via WhatsApp. To get the conversation started, click the link and type "hello” .

or you can get in touch with our in-resort team during local opening hours

Find contact details for your location

Outside of local resort office hours you can call us in the UK +44 (0) 344 472 9626 (option 2) or email us

If you are in the USA or Canada please email:

We're flying you to

Explaination text....

Continue to

Need help?

Talk to an expert

Call us directly

Feel free to call us directly on
01234 567784
Our travel experts are on hand to help you book your next holiday.

Send us an email

Feel free to email us directly on
We will try to respond to your email within 24 hours.