Lion Sands River Lodge
Sabi Sand Game Reserve,
of Sabi Sand Game Reserve © James Weis
View images of Lion Sands River Lodge: River Lodge
View images of Lion Sands Activities & Safari: Lion Sands Safari
LION SANDS RIVER LODGE RATES: River Lodge Rates
LION SANDS RIVER LODGE-
SABI SAND GAME RESERVE
Lion Sands Private Game Reserve is situated in the Southern portion of the 65,000-hectare Sabi Sand Game Reserve, an area well known for its spectacular game viewing.
It has exclusive access to the Sabie River. The source of the River includes the famous Mac Mac falls flowing from its source high up in the Drakensburg mountain range. This River is central to why Lion Sands delivers an incomparable safari experience in Africa. Where there is water there is life, coolness, sanctuary from the heat of the African sun, a place where the wildlife travel great distances to quench their thirsts, rejuvenation and so much more. This is the natural wonder which can be experienced at Lion Sands.
The name ‘Sabie’ is derived from the Zulu term ‘eSaba’, meaning ‘afraid’. Ironically the River is not only the provider of life but also the taker! It is said that in days of old that this River was the most dangerous in the region due to the fact that it was inhabited by a abnormally high amount of Africa’s largest reptile, the Nile crocodile. These prehistoric creatures can still be seen basking in the sun or quietly watching from the shallows of the River, ever the opportunist.
Yet another key aspect to the Lion Sands experience lies within its Safari. The philosophy of the safari experience at Lion Sands is to deliver a consistently professional, informative & holistic safari experience, ensuring that all spheres of the eco-system, from the small insects to the mighty African elephant, are covered in as much detail as the Guest may require. The Senior Ecologist, Ranger & Tracker teams have been carefully selected to make certain that your Safari Experience will not only meet, but exceed your highest expectations.
River Lodge is the soul of Lion Sands and has been built on the banks of the Sabie River, positioned on a site with trees dating back 800 years. Facing due east, the lodge catches the sun as it rises over the Kruger National Park. River Lodge is approximately 100 meters downstream of Ivory Lodge. Hosted by a family of staff that make it feel like home away from home, the lodge is about spirit, warmth and nature. Here you are invited to relax and experience African hospitality at its finest.
images of Lion Sands River Lodge, click River Lodge
Rooms: The rooms at River Lodge offer respite and protection from the Lowveld heat. The interior is a tranquil cream and beige haven, cool in the summer, cosy in the winter. The bathroom, with its tranquil look and pebble-inlaid floors complements the bushveld well. There are 18 luxurious thatched bedrooms with en-suite bathroom, outdoor & inside shower & wooden viewing deck. The bedroom area is air-conditioned with an overhead fan. All rooms have mini-bar & telephone access. The rooms are linked to all areas by raised wooden walkways.
• King size bed with mosquito netting (can be made up as twin bed)
• En-suite bathroom
• Inside and outside shower
• Bath and vanity basin
• Private Viewing Deck
• Air-conditioning and overhead fans
• Safes and telephone
Lodge: The lodge comprises the following: a private lounge and bar, an outdoor safari lounge, 2 swimming pools, wooden viewing decks, a secluded bird hide, a river island deck, conference room, gymnasium & health spa, curio shop & both an indoor and open-air (Boma) dining area.
The Lalamuka Health Spa… “Lalamuka” means unwind in Shangaan and that is exactly what it is all about. An array of body and facial treatments are available to guests to assist in getting rid of those urban stresses.
• 18 luxurious bedrooms
• 2 swimming pools
• Communal lounge with fireplace
• Outdoor Safari lounge
• Air-conditioning & Overhead fans
• Health Spa
• River Island Deck
• 8 guests per Land Rover (private Land Rovers available at extra charge)
• Curio Shop
• Indoor & outside dining areas incl. Boma
• Conference room
• Internet & telephone access
Private Land Rovers
The sole use of a Land Rover can be arranged upon request, subject to availability and will be at an additional charge.
Tariffs Children & Extra Beds
We regret that we are unable to accommodate children under the age of 10 years unless the lodge is block booked by the same family or group. Children of 12 or under in the accompany of 2 adults: less 50% of tariff. Extra beds in the rooms cannot be provided.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard & Visa Cards are accepted at the lodge.
• Luxury accommodation
• Two game drives in open Landrovers
• Three meals daily
• Game drive refreshments
• Skukuza airport transfers
Lion, elephant, white rhino, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, Wild Dog giraffe, zebra, hyena, waterbuck, hippopotamus, crocodile, wildebeest, kudu and many other mammal & bird species.
images of Lion Sands Activities, click Lion Sands Safari
The activities program has been developed to enhance the guest’s safari experience by enabling the guest to tailor-make their stay with us. The activities are all offered in a flexible and convenient environment. The activities programme is uniquely exclusive to Lion Sands guests only.
This is done during the evening game drive and is kept as a surprise for those guests who have a keen interest in our solar system and the associated African folklore. Lie back under the African sky & be taken on a journey through our ancient galaxy.
Guests are driven to either the river hide or one of the open plains where breakfast is served. A full table is set and the guests are invited to join the animals, which can often be viewed from the breakfast venue, whilst savouring a full continental breakfast.
Guests are driven to either a dry riverbed or under the African sky on an open plain. Lit by only paraffin lamps and a big open campfire, this dining experience makes for one of the most unforgettable memories of a visit to Africa. Listen to the night sounds and enjoy a sumptuous meal cooked on the open-coals of the bush fire.
Prior to departing the ranger will assess the guest’s fitness level and will structure the walk accordingly. During the summer months the walks are done in the early mornings and form part of the morning game drive. In winter the walk is done after breakfast but to ensure the best walking areas are accessed, the guest will leave the lodge in a Land Rover until the optimal walking route is reached. Once everyone (maximun 8 guests) has settled into the walk the ranger will start to talk on a wide variety of subjects ranging from the medicinal uses of certain plants to the basic skills of tracking animals. On returning to the vehicle light refreshments are served. This is a highly recommended activity in both summer & winter.
Guests are taken on early morning and evening open land rover game drives.
Often the guests do not get the chance to see the hippopotamus during either their morning & evening game drive as the Land Rover’s traverse the interior of the reserve, focusing on the inland animals. This tour offers the guest a chance to observe this amazing creature in its natural habitat. There is also a good chance of seeing the enormous African Nile crocodiles (12/14ft), which inhabit the Sabie River.
Guests can request for a picnic lunch at either one of the River hides or Waterhole hide. This activity is only offered during the winter, dry season months, as this is the time when wildlife are seen to congregate around these points.
These lectures cover a variety of wildlife subjects. Our Senior Ecologist & Head Ranger will ensure that the subject content is not only interesting but very site specific. The lectures will take place every alternate day. The venue, content & spokesperson details will be available at reception desk.
Note: All outdoor activities are weather dependent and therefore remain optional.
Additional Activities (at extra charge)
The Tree House
In each Tree House, a bush bedroom is set up to accommodate a single/sharing guest/s for the night with secure access and as many of the room comforts as are practically possible, mosquito net, mattress, linen, bedside table, toilet & bush vanity table.
The guests are given the option to either go out at sunset or after dinner depending on their personal preference. For those leaving at sunset a delicious picnic dinner will be packed for them, having the opportunity to spend the hours of dusk, relaxing, absorbing the beauty of the African bushveld as it transforms from day to night.
The Tree Houses are completely private & secluded allowing the guest the unique experience of being completely alone in the wilderness – an experience that few places in the world can truly offer. After the ranger has taken the guests to the Tree House & ensured that they are perfectly safe he will return to the Lodge (15 minutes away).
As dawn breaks the guests will either be able to call the Lodge with their radio or await their collection by the Ranger at the pre-arranged time.
At Lion Sands, we offer our guests a choice of two different Tree House experiences:
Jackalberry Tree House: This bush bedroom has been constructed high up in the top of a 100-year-old Jackalberry tree overlooking the Msutu dry-river bed. From your camouflaged hideaway, you will get up close and personal with nature …
Chalkley Tree House: With views extending onto an open plain where you can watch the sunset over the African bushveld. The Tree house is built around a 500 year-old Leadwood Tree where the stars are your only canopy...
These experiences will never be forgotten, guaranteed to touch the soul, a memory that will last forever. (maximum of 2 people per Tree House).
Guests leave the Lodge an hour before sunrise, arriving at the Sabie River valley launch site at sunrise. The flight is approximately 1 hour in duration and flies over the entire Sabie River valley. After the flight the guest is then taken to one of the small country lodges within the Sabie River valley for a full English breakfast. This is done outside of the reserve & is a unique way of experiencing another part of the region’s natural beauty.
Clay Pigeon Shooting
Guests are taken to an open-plain were a shooting range has been set-up (25 minutes drive from River Lodge). A qualified ranger will accompany the guests to ensure that the correct safety measures are adhered to and that the shoot is correctly managed. The guest is given 4 sets of five shots each. The shots are scored and results recorded for the guest. Shooting of other calibre rifles can be arranged but only by special requests.
Skukuza Golf Course, Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park has a very unique 9-hole golf course at Skukuza main camp. The course is unfenced, open to the reserve and it is not uncommon to have ones round interrupted by a herd of zebra or a wandering giraffe; even the occasional lion has been sited resting in the cool shade of a tree. Transfers to and from Skukuza Golf Course is included in our Golf Rate. Guests are transferred in open land rovers from Lion Sands through the Sabi Sands Reserve to the Kruger National Park. The transfer distance is 15 kilometres and takes approximately 45 minutes.
“Lalamuka” means unwind in Shangaan and that is exactly what it is all about. An array of body, facial & hydrotherapy treatments are available to guests to assist in getting rid of those urban stresses.
Blyde River Canyon & Gods Window
This must be the most spectacular way of viewing the northern Drakensburg, which is host to some of South Africa’s most well known geographical landmarks. Guests are collected from & returned to the Lion Sands helicopter pad.
The helicopter flies due west towards the Drakensburg arriving at the Blyde River Canyon were one gets a close-up view of the Three Rondawels & the Blydepoort Dam. Rising out of the canyon the helicopter passes over the Berlin & Lisbon falls on route to a secluded picnic spot next to the Pinnacle. Here our guests will enjoy a delicious picnic with breath taking views stretching out as far as the Kruger National Park in the east. After lunch the helicopter flies past God’s Window, Wonder View, Panorama Falls and over the town of Graskop before heading east back to Lion Sands.
Private Game Drive: General
The exclusive use of a private Land Rover can be arranged. Subject to availability.
Private Game Drive: Photography
The land rover will be supplied with, a canopy (if required), beanbags & a cooler box. The photographer will have the use of the ranger and vehicle from 06h00 until 21h00. Packed meals can be arranged if the guest wishes to spend the entire day out in the bush. Subject to availability.
Private Game Drive: Bird Watching
Lion Sands has one of the most extensive lists of bird species within the greater reserve (350 recorded species). Our rangers, who have an excellent knowledge of and passion for birding, take the drives. In having the private use of the land rover the guest is able to cover the diversity of habitat and therefore increase the variety of bird species that are found within the region. Guests are advised to bring their own binoculars however if this is not possible pairs can be hired from the reception. Please note that this activity is subject to vehicle availability and is fundamentally geared towards the genuine bird fundi.
History of Lion Sands
In the late 1920's Guy Aubrey Chalkley, an American of Irish descent, came to South Africa to explore opportunities as a mining engineer. With the gold rush at its height, a stock exchange had been created earlier to help raise finance for all the mining activity. It was in this field that Guy chose to establish himself and, together with Paul Davis, formed a stock broking firm, Chalkley Davis. The business flourished and culminated in one of South Africa's foremost stock broking firm, Davis, Borkum & Hare, which was purchased recently by Merrill Lynch to form the basis of its South African branch.
Being a keen hunter Guy Chalkley often ventured into the wilds. It was on one such adventure that he stumbled onto Kingstown, a jewel of a property belonging to the Transvaal Consolidated Lands that bordered the Kruger National Park. Those lands were soon to become the basis of what is now the world famous Sabi Sand Wildtuin.
Guy Chalkley, overcome by both the affection for the animals around him and the admiration of the pristine condition of the Kingstown property, refrained from doing any form of hunting for the rest of his life. There were no roads then, only markings on trees indicating the route to the camp which Guy followed in his old Ford sedan. This passion for conservation and protection of wilderness areas has been passed down through four generations to the three More brothers who now own and run Lion Sands Private Game Reserve on the very same property, Kingstown.
John More, who married Louise Chalkley, granddaughter of Guy Chalkley, introduced Kingstown to the public in 1978 when he built two camps - River Lodge and Bush Lodge. Even during those early days of extremely basic bush operations, where hot water was a luxury, the More family concentrated on keeping Kingstown in pristine state. Today, the family employs a full time Ecologist (the only reserve in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin to do so), to monitor the effect of commercialisation on the wilderness.
In the late 1930s Guy Chalkley built a small camp on the banks of the Sabie River, which flows through the Kruger National Park and the Kingstown property. For over 60 years the camp was enjoyed as a peaceful retreat by the Chalkley and More families until the 7th February 2000 when an incredible flood changed the face of the banks of the Sabie River. On that day, by 09h00 the river had risen above the roofs of both River Lodge and the family camp, Warthog Wallow, wiping away decades of history in a single blow.
Nick and Robert More, fourth generation owners of Kingstown, set about rebuilding River Lodge and creating the stunning new Ivory Lodge. They also introduced a new name, Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, to the market and it incorporates the magnificent Kingstown property (approximately 3500 hectares) and both River Lodge and Ivory Lodge. The brothers have the type of passion for Lion Sands that can only be instilled by a great family history. Guy Chalkley, in his brilliance, had provided an enormous opportunity for his family to create something unique and magnificent to share with the world.
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