18 September 2012 by Kate Turkington

Lion Sands – living up to its reputation

Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park, is home not only to fabulous game and birds, but also fabulous lodges. Lion Sands, one of the most prestigious, lives up to its stellar reputation.

I’ve been updating Fodor’s The Complete African Safari Planner, so have been lucky enough to have visited some of South Africa’s finest private game lodges during the last few months.

Although the lodges at Lion Sands are some of the newer kids on the block, the area has been family owned since 1933, and since then 3 generations have been custodians of this wonderful wilderness along one of the best and longest stretches of the great Sabie River in the Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park. Lion Sands has the only full-time ecologist in the reserve.

View from the ultra-luxurious Ivory Lodge

Today its gorgeous lodges have stellar reputations.

You can choose to stay at the ultra-luxurious Ivory Lodge – haunt of international celebs because of its exclusivity and guaranteed privacy – where you can watch game from the deck of your own rim pool; or opt for the less pricey (but still great) River Lodge, also with stupendous views of the river.

At breakfast recently, we watched a fully grown male leopard prowling along the far river bank while elephants and bushbuck munched their way along the near bank.

Three generations have been custodians of this wonderful wilderness along one of the best and longest stretches of the great Sabie River in Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park.

If you’ve won the jackpot and have a big family, or want to get a group of friends together, then the spacious family lodge, called 1933, is for you. It comes with 4 suites (all with their own river views), can sleep up to 16 people, and has its own chef, butler, game ranger, pool, gym and wine cellar

For the ultimate bush experience, sleep out at Chalkley Treehouse – Tarzan and Jane never had it this good.

But if it’s Sabi Sand, then it’s the Big 5 – especially leopard – you’ve come to see. And you certainly won’t be disappointed.

A very small baby hyena gives us the eye...

Sabi Sand has the highest density of leopards in the world. We found them even on a very uncharacteristically rainy morning. A mother leopard had killed an impala and dragged it up a jackalberry tree. A small 5-month-old cub was clambering about in the higher branches, while a hopeful hyena circled the trunk waiting for scraps.

On another day we discovered a hyena den where adults and babies of all sizes slept and played in the morning sun.

And don’t forget the birds – there are hundreds of them, especially in summer when the migrants return.

Another glorious African sunset

Category: Wildlife

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