This website uses cookies

We use cookies to ensure you have an easy, quick and reliable experience whilst using the Virgin 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
  • Easter Sunday 12 Apr - Closed
  • Mon to Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • 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

Whatsapp

There has been an error

Please try again

Text Message

There has been an error

Please try again

Telephone

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 the government’s travel restrictions

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK have advised against all but essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - our website has thousands of hand-picked options ready to book. But if you need more help, just let us know.

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.

Your holiday will not be going ahead as planned

Due to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19, the Foreign Commonwealth Office have advised against all but essential travel. Therefore, with known airline cancellations, the following holidays will not go ahead as planned:

  • Any holidays departing before 27th April 2020.
  • Any Caribbean holidays departing before 1 May 2020.

We’re flexible with your holiday plans

We understand you may want to change your holiday plans. You can postpone your holiday to any time before 31 December 2021, and even choose a different destination. We won’t charge you to make these changes.

For now, we do ask you not to contact us. As a priority, we are currently supporting those customers whose holidays have already been directly affected by cancellations. We will contact you as soon as we can, or if there are any further changes that could affect your holiday.

We know you’ll want to get this sorted as soon as possible, and we’re very grateful for your understanding.

Please look out for an email from us in the coming days and weeks with our latest advice. See our Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for latest updates.

You’re good to go

In line with the advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office UK, and known airline cancellations, all trips booked from June onwards are currently going ahead as planned.

As a priority, we are currently supporting those customers whose holidays have been directly affected by cancellations.

So, for now, we ask you not to contact us. Rest assured we are contacting all of our customers by email in departure date order to support them with options, and we will absolutely let you know if your situation changes.

Please look out for an email from us in the coming weeks. See our Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for latest updates.

Rebook your holiday


We are sending all affected customers a voucher by email that is valid for the full value of your cancelled holiday. When you rebook, we’d like to gift you with 4,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles too.

There’s no rush. You can redeem your holiday voucher on a new booking with us any time before 31 July 2020.

We know you’ll be wanting to get this sorted as soon as possible. So please look out for our email for more details of how to amend your holiday plans.

Cancel your holiday


We're sending all affected customers a voucher by email that is valid for the full value of your cancelled holiday.  

Rather than cancel, if you’d like to travel with us sometime in the future, we would still love to find a great holiday for you (and gift you with 4,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles as a thank you).

If you'd prefer to cancel completely, we understand. We will refund you in full. Refunds will be successfully returned in approximately 90 days.

We know you’ll be wanting to get this sorted as soon as possible. So please look out for our email for more details of how to amend your holiday plans.

Your holiday is in safe hands


No need to contact us. Be assured, that if the situation changes, we will contact you as soon as this happens with the options available to you.

Change it up


You can postpone your holiday to travel any time before 31 December 2021, and even choose a different destination. We won’t charge you to make these changes and our Service Team are there to help – just give us a call.

Please bear in mind our wait times are currently longer than usual due to high demand.

Your holiday is in safe hands


Your holiday is scheduled to depart as booked. Continue to pay off your holiday balance with the assurance that your money is fully protected through ATOL. Be assured, that if the situation changes, we will contact you as soon as this happens with the options available to you.

The choice is yours


No problem! To amend your holiday dates, just give us a call. Any amendments to your booking can be made for £50pp, and our Service Team can help you decide on dates, or even a different destination.

Please bear in mind our wait times are currently longer than usual due to high demand.

Register yourself as away from home


If you’re abroad and your flight home has been cancelled please let us know, as relief flights will end soon.

Register as away from home

Alternatively, call our UK Duty Office on +44 0344 472 9646 (option 3) to discuss your options for getting home.

Book online


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

Help is at hand


Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types online and save your faves to your very own Wishlist

If you’re ready to book but can’t find the information you need on our website, just call our travel experts who will be happy to help.

To redeem your holiday voucher on a new booking with us, just give us a call and quote your old booking reference.

How would you like to talk to us?

Important information: We are working hard to help all of our customers, particularly those already on holiday or due to travel in the next 72 hours.