River Lodge - Lion Sands Game Reserve is the origin of the Lion Sands safari our soul safari. Here guests can expect a sophisticated interpretation of the traditional safari lodge, with an emphasis on clean lines, optimized natural light and contemporary décor.
The lodge recently reopened after an extensive renovation, introducing a new sense of brightness and space. Wooden walkways lead off to a spa, gym and pool, and back to the main lodge, where the deck’s connected water features give the impression of floating on the river. Whether you enjoy your time together socially or quietly, the running theme here is simple and natural luxury living.
Living spaces include a Safari Lounge and Bar, Baristas Station with artisanal coffees, Gallery (showcasing the works of renowned local artists), and OneLife MORE boutique.
The dining experience includes the traditional Boma with a twist, the signature Riverbed dinners and deck dining, in the shade of the trees and overlooking the Sabie River. Breakfast is a home-styled experience.
Lodge facilities include:
- a Spa
- a main swimming pool area
- a Creative Lab, where guests will be able to print their photographs on canvas at an additional cost.
- a Firepit for sociable nocturnal gatherings beneath the stars.
Accommodation at River Lodge - Lion Sands Game Reserve:
The lodge’s eight Luxury Rooms, six Superior Luxury Rooms and four River Suites are spaced along a path to reveal splendid river views, and make for a very personal safari stay. This is where couples, families and friends come together to reconnect with one another and Mother Nature.
Chalkley Treehouse - An original hideout for 2 in a centuries-old leadwood tree. Light only by the soft glow of lanterns and the absence of wi-fi, creates an au-naturel bush experience. The added creature comforts mean you won’t be roughing it.
By making a booking, your stay will include luxury accommodation, all meals, teas/coffees, minibar in room. Inclusive drinks and selected snacks (all soft drinks, and a selection of beers, spirits and house wines). Two game drives daily with FGASA-accredited field guide and tracker, game drive refreshments and snacks. Specified inclusive safari activities and Skukuza airport transfers. Wi-Fi.
Game drives, in open safari vehicles, head out each day at sunrise and again in the late afternoon. Lion Sands natural animal population includes the Big Five, and the reserve is especially renowned for the quality of its leopard viewing the most elusive of predators. With exclusive traversing rights on both Lion Sands Sabi Sand and Kruger Park sections, guests are assured a truly intimate safari experience. River and Ivory Lodge have a maximum of 10 vehicles on the Sabi Sand reserve and Tinga and Narina have a maximum of 6 vehicles on the Kruger side, and the number per sighting is also limited. This ensures the animals feel at ease and guests are able to spend more time with them, observing their natural behaviour.
- Duration: 3 hours
- Includes: a hot beverage or sundowner stop in a scenic spot to purely appreciate being in the bush and in the moment
- Children 10 years and older are welcome on the twice-daily game drives
These are our after-breakfast walks on the wild side. Guests are immersed in the bush, rather than just observing it. All five senses are engaged, as they feel scrub crunch beneath their feet, touch the velvety acacia seed pod, hear the crack of a branch indicating they are not alone, and spot big game at eye level exhilarating! Our expert guides will tailor walks to each of our guests area/s of interest, focusing on mammals, birds, insects, plants, geology, etc.
- Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on guests fitness levels
- Children under 16 years are not permitted on the bush walks
- Guests over 60 years must present a medical certificate of good health
- Guests should wear: neutral-coloured clothing; comfortable walking shoes; a hat; sunglasses; and sunscreen
- Guests should bring along: a lightweight dry mac jacket; camera/smartphone; and binoculars
Access to Lion Sands Game Reserve:
The driving time from Johannesburg to Ivory Lodge and River Lodge is approximately 5 hours. Should you choose to drive, we recommend
staying over a night at any of the mountain or country lodges along the Panorama Route to ensure you arrive at us fresh the next morning and ready for a spectacular safari experience.
FITs (5 rooms or less):
46 days or more prior to arrival = 20% of total accommodation value
0 – 45 days prior to arrival = 100% of the total accommodation value
Recommended route from Johannesburg to Ivory Lodge and River Lodge (±5 hours)
On departure, please contact your lodge so that we can keep track of your journey and ensure you arrive safely
• Take the N12 or N4 highway to eMalahleni (formerly Witbank)
• From eMalahleni, follow the N4 highway past Middleburg and continue on to Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit)
• From Mbombela, take the R40 past White River and on to Hazyview
• At the T-junction between Kiepersol and Hazyview, turn left onto the R538 to Hazyview
• At the second set of traffic lights (there will be a shopping centre on your right), turn right onto the R536 towards Paul Kruger Gate (Kruger National Park)
• After following the road for 38km, turn left onto a gravel road signposted Lion Sands Sabi Sand
• Drive for 4km, then turn right at the T-junction, and drive for a further 4km to Shaw’s Gate – the entrance to Sabi Sand Game Reserve – where an entrance fee is payable (credit cards accepted)
• Follow the signposted route on to Lion Sands Sabi Sand
• After 2km, turn right at the Lion Sands Sabi Sand sign
• Follow the signposted route on to either Ivory Lodge or River Lodge
• You will come to a control gate closer to the lodge – please sign in and enjoy our unique welcome