Lion Sands Sabi (River and Ivory Lodges)

Kruger and surrounds, South Africa

The hotel

Family owned and managed since 1933, Lion Sands Game Reserve is renowned for its game viewing, plus its holistic approach to safari with every animal, large or small, given the same respect and attention. Accommodation comprises of several luxurious lodges, each with a fantastic range of amenities and those all-important views of the perennial Sabie River. Gourmet cuisine is another attraction, served al fresco in the boma or in the gracious surrounds of the dining room. For a truly unique experience, try a night under the stars at one of their amazing treehouses. Chalkley Treehouse, is built around a majestic 500 year old Leadwood Tree, with beautiful views over the plains. The newly built Kington Treehouse is constructed entirely with wood and glass and surrounded by treetops and boulders.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Safari
  • Spa
  • Wedding
  • Honeymoon
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Fitness Centre/Gym
  • Internet Access
  • Restaurant
  • Villa / private house

Where is it

Overlooking the beautiful Sabie River, River and Ivory Lodges are located in the Sabi Sands Reserve. Transfer time from Skukuza Airport: 20 minutes.

Hotel information

Accommodation at Lion Sands is spread across 4 distinctive, luxurious lodges. River Lodge houses 18 thatched rooms comprising of 8 Luxury Rooms, 6 Superior Luxury Rooms and 4 River Suites. overlooking the African bush or Sabie River. Luxury Rooms have lounge area with mini-bar, en-suite bathrooms and wooden viewing deck offering fantastic views across the savannah. Rooms sleep maximum 2 adults and 1 child (aged 10-15 years).

All Inclusive of: all meals, tea/coffee, game drive refreshments and snacks, local soft drinks, beer, spirits and wines (excluding premium/imported brands and Champagne). Daily game-drives with an optional bush walk. A mini-bar is included at all Lion Sands Lodges. For guests staying at Ivory Lodge, laundry and a selection of local-brands from the mini-bar are also included.

River Lodge Superior Luxury Rooms are more spacious with large open-plan bathrooms and an outside shower.

Interconnecting rooms are available and make a great choice for larger families.

River Suites are set in a private location and have expansive decks offering river views, as well as private plunge pools. The 2 Bedroom River Suite is ideal for families.

Ivory Lodge is the ‘Piece de Résistance’ of Lion Sands and offers a personally tailored experience to guests in an ultra-luxurious environment. The stylish suites consist of 8 One Bedroom Villas and 1 2 Bedroom Villas with huge separate lounge rooms and beautiful bedrooms with open-plan bathroom, all enjoying sensational views over the landscape and Sabie River. The spacious wooden deck also has a private rim flow pool. Also available from all Lion Sands lodges are the unique Treehouses providing the ‘ultimate bush bedrooms’ and allow guests the opportunity to enjoy a night under the stars and acquaint themselves with nocturnal Africa- a simply unforgettable experience.

  • Honeymooners: couples staying a minimum of 3 nights at Ivory or River Lodge between 1 May-17 Dec '19 and 4 Jan-30 Apr '20 receive 20% off the accommodation rates.

  • Honeymooners: couples staying a minimum of 3 nights at Tinga and Narina Lodge between 1 May-17 Dec '19 and 4 Jan-30 Apr '20 receive 20% off the accommodation rates.

  • Honeymooners: Couples staying a minimum of 3 nights at Ivory or River Lodge between 4 Jan-19 Dec '20 and 4 Jan-30 Apr '21 receive 10% off the accommodation costs and a complimentary treehouse experience. Terms and conditions apply. 

Indoor and open-air (boma) dining area, private lounge and bar, wine cellar (Ivory Lodge). Swimming pool overlooking the river at River Lodge. Africology Wellness centre*. Chalkley and Kingston treehouse experiences*. Curio shops. ‘Memory Lab’ for guests to print photos on a canvas*. Complimentary WiFi in public areas.

3 nights between 18 Dec-3 Jan.

Please note: children aged 10 years and older are accepted at Lion Sands River, Tinga, Narina and Ivory Lodge.

Rating summary

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (831)
  • Very good (55)
  • Average (18)
  • Poor (6)
  • Terrible (6)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing Safari experience!

Aug 21, 2019 Lee_Randy_2014 Halifax, Canada

For our first South African safari we went with our agent's suggestions of Sabi Sands - Lion Sands River Lodge and we were not disappointed. The rooms were very nice and the private deck and view of the watering hole spectacular. The food was amazing. The attention to detail they did was so over the top, having breakfast in a tree, personalized… Read more
For our first South African safari we went with our agent's suggestions of Sabi Sands - Lion Sands River Lodge and we were not disappointed. The rooms were very nice and the private deck and view of the watering hole spectacular. The food was amazing. The attention to detail they did was so over the top, having breakfast in a tree, personalized messages and water bottles, it was our anniversary and we had arrangements in the room. A great experience. Our guide and tracker were so knowledgeable and there was an instant bond with both of them and the family that was to form our safari team for the 3 days we were there. Stopping for amazing sunsets, snacks and drinks every night, warm hot chocolate and coffee in the am was the icing on the cake. Within two days we had seen the magnificent seven - big 5 + wild dogs and cheetahs. The experience of being so close to so many wild animals is beyond imagination. They pick you up at the airport at Skuzuda and you are taken care of until you leave. You go out twice a day, wake up at 6am leave for 6:30 for a 3 hour safari - if it is cold they have hot water bottles and blankets it was great. Then you come back for an amazing breakfast, you have the day to yourself to hang-out, go on safari walks, rest, read, etc. and then you are out again at 4:30 to 6:30 then back for a great supper and evening. Look for my review on What to bring to a safari" for more information. Shout out to Quintin and Joel - you guys raised the bar for the other safari and made our first Safari experience so special - thanks guys! Shout also to the assistant manager for taking such great care of us! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating First Class!

Aug 20, 2019 Matt_and_Matt Sheffield, United Kingdom

Our stay at Lion Sands River Lodge was first class. From the initial greet at the airport, we just knew we would be in for a treat. Everything they do at Lion Sands is co-ordinated with precision. Guests are made to feel so special and the attention to detail is perfect. The guest relations team are always one step ahead. They are professional,… Read more
Our stay at Lion Sands River Lodge was first class. From the initial greet at the airport, we just knew we would be in for a treat. Everything they do at Lion Sands is co-ordinated with precision. Guests are made to feel so special and the attention to detail is perfect. The guest relations team are always one step ahead. They are professional, courteous, knowledgeable, obliging, thoughtful and always put their guests as their top priority. Everything about our stay was perfect. At Lion Sands, you are assigned a Butler. Ours was Lucky! We really felt lucky having Lucky care for us. She was incredible. She was discrete yet attentive. She was so happy and thoughtful. She made our stay extra special. Our room was the River Suite. It was so spacious with its own outdoor deck and plunge pool. The glass bathroom was elegant and it was complimented with a decked, outdoor shower. The whole arrangement of rooms and lodges has been carefully designed and every room is private and maintained to the highest standards. The housekeeping team were exceptional. The food and drinks were excellent. Throughout our stay, the team skilfully varied breakfasts, lunches and dinner around our bush drives so it never seemed routine. One morning we arrived at a riverside treehouse for a post-drive breakfast. Nothing was ever too much trouble. We always felt each day was special. Guests have two bush drives a day. One early morning and one late afternoon. You are assigned a guide and a tracker. Our team was Jamie and Joe and like all the teams, they become your family for the duration of your stay. They take you to the places where they know the animals will be, by reading animal tracks, listening to the sounds and calls in the bush. They discretely co-ordinate with other teams to ensure the rarest of animals are viewed. We saw leopards, elephants, buffalo, white AND black rhino, plus zebra, giraffe and impala. They make the bush drives special by offering food and drinks under the setting sun and blankets and hot water bottles before sunrise. Our ‘family’ was brilliant and we couldn’t thank them enough. Between the bush drives, guests can simply relax. Lion Sands offers all this and more. The outdoor Boma night was particularly memorable for us as the female singers serenaded us with a memorable version of ‘happy birthday’ by the camp fire. Overall, this trip was the trip of a lifetime. It was incredible and we will never forget how magical it was. This is testament to the slick team and their first class service. We would love to return someday and unreservedly recommend it. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating nothing was left to chance

Aug 19, 2019 Louis L Nicosia, Cyprus

heaven on earth. nothing else ! service impeccable , lovely clean rooms. scenery out of this world. staff were excellent. food great ! details made all the difference. for families and couples. lovely pool , restaurant bar and outside areas !
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Wonderful safari adventure

Aug 18, 2019 Susan A

I could gush about this property forever. It was beautiful, the staff friendly and great to talk to, and the game drives were awesome! I was truly heartbroken when we had to leave! They went above and beyond my expectations and I will remember my stay here forever!! Thank you River Lodge staff for giving us such a wonderful honeymoon/anniversary… Read more
I could gush about this property forever. It was beautiful, the staff friendly and great to talk to, and the game drives were awesome! I was truly heartbroken when we had to leave! They went above and beyond my expectations and I will remember my stay here forever!! Thank you River Lodge staff for giving us such a wonderful honeymoon/anniversary that we will never forget! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Second Stay Wonderful-Just Like the First

Aug 9, 2019 Brian B Morgan Hill, California

We stayed at Lion Sands August 5-9. We previously stayed here in May 2018. We are finishing up our fourth trip to Africa and Lion Sands is still our favorite. Details: Stayed in River Suite #1 which is the best in the Lodge; Guide was Francois who was also our guide last year-we requested him again because he did a great job last year; Amu was our… Read more
We stayed at Lion Sands August 5-9. We previously stayed here in May 2018. We are finishing up our fourth trip to Africa and Lion Sands is still our favorite. Details: Stayed in River Suite #1 which is the best in the Lodge; Guide was Francois who was also our guide last year-we requested him again because he did a great job last year; Amu was our tracker; Philly was our butler-he is relatively new but did a great job, especially with my unusual eating preferences. Game drives here are different than a lot of places. You don't see a high volume of animals everywhere like some places in Kenya for example. So you drive around a bit but each drive it seems we found something spectacular. An example (best game drive ever, even Francois agreed): came to a leopard up in a tree with a kill. At the bottom of the tree were 10 lions with some of the younger males trying to climb the tree to get to the leopard, only to get halfway and then falling back down. Eventually the lions left, then the leopard came down and left. In the meantime 6 hyenas came by to clean up all the scraps. This all took place less than 10 feet from the jeep! On another occasion we were closely tracking a leopard who then came right by the jeep and was within inches of the tracker who sits outside the jeep at the front. The lodge itself is like a 5 star resort. Suite had a great view of the river and we were frequently visited by guests-at one time we had 11 elephants and a young hippo in the area right outside our suite. Dining is by menu and they are very flexible on special requests. Francois did a fabulous job again and we really enjoyed discussion and kidding with Philly our butler. Only room for improvement-wifi was very spotty. I know we are in Africa but wifi in Kenya camps was much better. I like to keep up or else face an avalanche of emails at the end of the trip. We will almost certainly have a 5th trip to Africa and Lion Sands will definitely be one of the places we return to. It's a great way to end the trip to Africa! My advice to people planning safari: 1. Avoid lodges in national parks. Typically you cannot go off road in national parks such as Kruger. The experience in being able to go off road totally makes the safari a different experience. (Kruger is right next to Lion Sands.) 2. On your first safari avoid time in cities like Capetown, Nairobi or Johannesburg. Those can be visited later but they are not unique like being on safari. Every day you spend in a city is a day you aren't spending on safari! We highly recommend Lion Sands, both for the game drives and the quality of the lodge. Read less