5.0
Excellent 914 Reviews
Jetsetter Approved
This Hotel meets our standards
This hotel meets our standards, but we haven't stayed yet

What We Love

  • Jetsetter 2015 Best of the Best Winner: Best for Communing with Nature
  • Thrilling game drives in open-air safari vehicles with highly trained nature guides
  • Additional activities like village visits, bush walks, star gazing and clay pigeon shooting available for an extra fee
  • Covered viewing decks in all suites allow you to watch game from the comfort of your room
  • Game-viewing isn’t seasonal; you’ll have great sightings year-round

What To Know

  • Children under the age of 10 aren’t allowed at the property
  • Rates include three meals per day, alcoholic beverages, two daily game drives and safari activities
  • Gratuities, conservation fees and premium liquor are not included in the rate

Amenities

  •  All-Inclusive
  •  Bar
  •  Eco-Friendly
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Gym
  •  Handicap Accessible
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Room Service
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
Country Elegant Lounge Luxury Scenic views property living room Resort home mansion Villa

Overview

Family owned, bush glam safari lodge perched on the Sabie River overlooking Kruger National Park

The Lowdown

Set on a private reserve within the 17,000-acre Sabi Sand conservation area, this lodge’s thatched villas hug the wild Sabie River overlooking Kruger National Park. This is the great outdoors at its greatest, but you’ll be far from roughing it with pillowy beds draped in romantic netting, freestanding soaking tubs, rainshowers and outdoor living areas (the better to view the elephants drinking in the river). There’s an airy minimalism to the decor, with clean-lined furniture in natural palettes of cream, moss and chocolate. Woven beds mimic thatch overhead, twigs frame mirrors and twist into chandeliers and whole walls open to let the outside in. At all meals—some served round a campfire under the stars, some by candlelight in the dining room, others out in the bush—house wines and beers are included. After a day of spotting the Big Five, kick back at one of two outdoor pools or treat yourself to an aromatherapy massage at the spa.

In the Area

This family-owned lodge goes back four generations—the current owners’ grandparents actually helped start the Sabi Sand conservation area back in 1948. It’s also the only lodge in the area that employs a full-time ecologist to monitor tourism’s impact on the environment. As such, you’ll have some of the best nature guides for your twice-daily game drives, when you can spot elephants, lions, leopards and more. And if you’re looking to stretch your legs, guides lead bush walks along Sabie River as well as educational lectures about the area. Book a village visit to learn about the day-to-day life of local people. If you want to splash out, add an extra night in a treehouse, open air rooms perched on stilts above the bush, where you’ll be treated to champagne, gourmet picnic dinners and a night spent under the stars.

How to Get There

Lion Sands Sabi Sand
Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Kruger National Park, 1240 South Africa

Reviews

nothing was left to chance
Louis L

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 !

Wonderful safari adventure
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 that we will never forget!

Second Stay Wonderful-Just Like the First
Brian B

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.