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Lion Sands River Lodge
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Reviewed September 29, 2010

A friend of mine and I spent 2 nights at the Lion Sands River Lodge, and it was a wonderful experience. The staff was friendly, the food was great, and the game drives were amazing. Our safari guide was a wealth of knowledge. Everything about this experiences was 5-star.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank HoJoCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 27, 2010

Lion Sands is an amazing place. The staff are wonderful, so professional and helpful. The hotel itself is beautiful, very clean and every facility you could dream of in the bush! From our room (and almost all of the site) we could see elephants in the dry river bed. The game drives were fantastic, Stanely and Ranios (our guide and tracker) were wonderful with a great sense of humour! Watching giraffes while sipping champagne at sunset is definately the way to safari!

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tonylou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 6, 2010

We recently returned from 3 nights at Lion Sands. Our stay was with a group of 34, yet everyone was well attended. The facility is family owned and run, and the personalized touches were apparent from arrival. Our guide, Brandon, and our tracker, Ray, went out of their way to find game we wanted to see. Their enthusiasm was infectious!! Brandon was a weath of information regarding animals. Service could not have been better. My husband has mobility issues, and the staff went out of their way to help him and ensure his safety. I would not hesitate to recommend Lion Sands to anyone and all ages!!

  • Stayed: August 2010
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Thank vrmdlm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 5, 2010

My husband and I spent four amazing nights at the Lions Sands River lodge mid-August 2010. Having planned the trip for almost a year we spent countless hours reading and researching lodges – and were thrilled with our choice of the Lion Sands River Lodge as the first game lodge of the trip. A number of travel agents suggested to us that we begin with this lodge and for our second lodge transfer to a smaller more exclusive property that would be more “elegant.” We found that the River Lodge was no compromise at all but truly a worthy destination in and of itself with top of the line service, food and accommodations. While our second lodge was also stunning – the experience at the River Lodge was equally luxurious – a fact that came to us as a bit of surprise!

The renovated room was hugely spacious with a beautiful view of the riverbed. We had bushbuck, mongoose and monkeys right up to our private deck. We loved the glass shower and the tub with the view of the river. [I’ve included some pictures – having planned our vacation I know you can never have too many images.]

In August it was too cold to use the pools – but there are two – one on either end of the property and we found them lovely spots to sit and relax - the infinity edge looks out right over the river. The pools are very modern, kept pristine and very secluded. The gym was small but clean and well maintained. Both are great examples of how Lion Sands has the better amenities of a large place – but still feels very intimate. Never once did I feel my experience was compromised by the fact that there were other guests. I liked the fact that there were multiple areas to eat and to lounge – a bit of space and breathing room can be nice.

Others have mentioned the river viewing deck that is down at the main area of camp. This platform is built in right into the trees and is absolutely exquisite. Its an asset we think the lodge doesn’t stress enough. After lunch each day it was perfect to take our wine down to the river and look at hippos and birds that pass by.

The food is wonderful and frequent! There is a coffee & snack prior to drive, a full breakfast after, a full three course lunch, a snack prior to night dive and a three course dinner. We liked receiving a formal printed menu with the choices for each meal. The food was well prepared and the menu offered a nice mix of the familiar and the exotic. Our butler Jeffery was kind and attentive. Mixing up meals on the beautiful river deck and in the salon area were two festive Boma dinners. (We loved tasting the traditional grilled food, the staff performance and the privilege of sharing a meal with our amazing ranger Gawey) We also enjoyed two Bush Breakfasts, at which Jeffery and his staff prepared a full breakfast buffet in a treehouse outside of camp – a surprise treat for our landy with a great view.

As I mentioned, we were lucky to have Gawey as our ranger and the tracking skills of Beke as well. You can tell they love their job and are incredibly experienced. Gawey selected our landy crew – and did very well putting together a group of guests that enjoyed each other’s company. The Lion Sands property is huge and we definitely saw fewer other trucks and had the bush to ourselves here, far more than at the lodges on shared land further south in Sabi Sands. We saw the big 5 and had some amazing sightings and bush walks with Gawey. As much as we love to see animals – we also found we love the thrill and adventure of tracking and Gawey and Beke led us on some intense and breakneck leopard hunts that we will never forget!

The Chalkey Treehouse is just as stunning and romantic as it looks in all the guidebooks. If you have the opportunity you must do it. All in all the quality, luxury, and service of Lion Sands River Lodge have our highest recommendation.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank EastCoaster36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 31, 2010

My stay at Lion Sands River lodge has been the worst game lodge I have stayed in the Sabi sands area (having stayed in 8 different ones in the last 3 years)
The rooms are smaller than most lodges and the whole property feels crowded and cramped.
Also by having so many rooms the service is affected as they are not prepared to hanlde the volume of people they have rooms for.
The service was seriously on par with a 3 star establishment as things took forever and when we asked for something, even by the next day nothing had been done and pretty much it took multiple hours and many conversations as they showed no initiative to cater to the guests needs.
Last the food is very average.

Game viewing is still superb thou.

Overall I much rather stay at chitwa chitwa, sabi sabi, savanna, exeter or some of the other properties around as they offer better service for about the same price.

DONT GO THERE unless you want to experience mass market game lodge experiences

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with friends
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12  Thank cheloni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MoreHotelsandLodges, Owner at Lion Sands River Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded November 9, 2010

On behalf of the owners and management of Lion Sands, we would like to apologize for your experience at our Lodge. We really do pride ourselves, as a family owned lodge, in trying to above all else, listen to our guests and act upon their wishes, efficiently, effectively and decisively. We are aware that your specific requests were not heard and that there was definitely and understandably so, frustrations as a result. We certainly take your experiences as posted in a very serious light and would like to thank you for bringing this to our attention not only to highlight but to make a difference in our guest experience on the ground.

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