Lion Sands Ivory Lodge Review | Kruger National Park

Lion Sands Ivory Lodge at a glance

 Best Luxury Hotel South Africa. Top hotel on trip advisor and top hotel for honeymoons in South Africa. Top couples hotel in South Africa. Top boutique hotel in South Africa.  Tessa Juliette - Travel Where to Next

Name: Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

LocationSabi Sand Reserve, Sabie Park, Kruger National Park, 1260, South Africa

Price: Check website


  • 8 Single Villas 1 Double Suite Villa
  • Lounge
  • Dining and relaxing space
  • Spa 
  • Gym
  • Private plunge pools

Best tip: Make sure you take the optional bush walk for a completely different experience!

Stay here if… want to stay at the best lodge near Kruger.
...want the ultimate luxury experience.


Lion Sands Ivory Lodge Location

Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is located in the Mpumalanga province in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve which is located next to Kruger National Park.

A typical day at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

 What a day at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge looks like

Since this an all-inclusive safari hotel, I thought I would give you a brief outline of what your day looks like before I get into the specifics of the hotel. 

Mornings start early with a wake-up call from the staff. It is so nice to not have to set your own alarm, just let them give you a call. Your butler uses his butler window to drop off preordered coffee, a parfait, and a morning smoothie. They also give you a sheet with the weather on it so you know how warm to dress without stepping foot outside.

 What are game drives like at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Your morning game drive is around 3 hours long, depending on what you see. They are not afraid to go over time if you are having a fantastic encounter. The tracker and guide will help you spot animals and teach you about South Africa. At the halfway point, the car stops somewhere in the bush for coffee and snacks - a nice added touch. Once you arrive back from your drive, usually around 9 AM, a full breakfast is waiting for you in the dining area. 

Afternoons are a chance to choose how you want to spend your time. You can choose to go on a nature walk with your tracker or maybe get a massage at the spa. You can also take a much-needed nap in your room or maybe take a dip in your private plunge pool.

Lunch is served at 1 pm and then tea is served at 4 pm. Tea consists of small sandwiches as well as coffee and tea (duh). This is just a light snack before your evening game drive. 

The evening drive leaves at 4:30 and is another 3-hour drive tracking animals and birds in their private reserve. Again, you will stop halfway through for "sundowners", an alcoholic drink of choice and some snacks. When you load back into the jeep night will be falling and the last hour of your drive will consist of tracking nocturnal animals.

 Dining outside at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Once back at the lodge it is a quick turn around for dinner. We ran back to our room for a quick change and then joined everyone for drinks at the bar. Our dinner was served outside, BBQ style. Once dinner ends its back to your room to rest up so you can do it all over again tomorrow!

Quick note: When you are arriving you will check-in and be able to join starting at tea and continuing on for the evening game drive. On the day you check out you also are able to participate in the morning game drive and breakfast before having to say goodbye (to the best experience ever).

Driving into Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

We chose to drive from Johannesburg airport to Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, which I don't recommend. The drive is long and not worth it unless you are like us and trying to save money. In total it takes about 5 hours and the last hour is on a dirt road. The dirt road was easy to navigate and we even saw elephants on the way in! 

The best way to get to Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is one of the daily scheduled flights between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Skukuza Airport operated by Airlink. Definitely the quickest and most efficient solution!

You can find full driving directions provided by Lion Sands here.

Checking into Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

 How to get to Lion Sands Ivory Lodge - is it easy to drive to Lion Sands Ivory Lodge?

After driving the four hours from Cape Town, which is mostly all highway, we arrived at the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve Entrance. At the gate, we registered our car and paid the small gate fee in under five minutes. From there we followed signs to Lion Sands and then onto Ivory Lodge. 

Once we arrived at Ivory Lodge we were welcomed by a large group of staff. There were porters to take our bags, servers with welcome drinks and hotel staff to check us in. We also met our guide and tracker for our game drives and our villa's butler. After quick introductions, we walked around the property taking a quick peek at the dining area and lounge before heading to our room.

The rooms at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

I really shouldn't call the Lion Sands Ivory Lodge accommodations rooms, technically each guest books a free-standing villa. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous and as you walk to your villa there are many animals grazing on the property. Once you enter the villa's foyer, a large living area sits to one side while the other side is a large bedroom suite. 

 What are the villas like at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Let's start with the living area; The kitchen has a coffee machine and mini bar stocked with complimentary snacks and alcoholic beverages. The wine gummies were probably my favorite (no judgment). In front of the open kitchen is a living room full of plush seating and light reading material for your downtime during the day. Off the living room and through the sliding glass door is a deck with a sitting area. Our villa overlooked the river which at the time of our visit was very dry. I can imagine the amazing animals you would see right from your deck during the wetter months.

 Bedrooms at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

The bedroom suite has a huge king size bed that faces large floor to ceiling windows, again perfect for viewing animals. The large windows contain sliding doors that open to another private outside deck. Behind the bed are a vanity and charging station. I LOVE when hotels have a full charging station with multiple outlets. There is nothing worse than searching a room, sometimes on your hands and knees, for spare outlets. (Ok, maybe there are worse things but that is definitely a huge #firstworldproblem) 

Behind the bedroom is a large open bathroom with a tub in the center. I utilized that during my quick, one-night stay and it was fantastic. There is both an outdoor and indoor shower for you to choose from as well as his and her closets. 

 Each room at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge has a private plunge pool

Attached to your room is also a small private plunge pool. It sits between the two private decks with lounge chairs behind the pool for some sunbathing if the weather is hot enough for it. Because I was determined to use everything in the room I took a quick dip in the pool in 60-degree weather, no regrets.

Wifi at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Wifi can be found throughout the lodge as well as the rooms. I easily connected to it during my stay. During check-in, they warned us that some outer villas have slow wifi since the main signal comes from the dining area. Our villa was definitely one of the further ones and we had no trouble connecting. We easily searched the web and answered emails. If you do need a room with wifi during your stay make sure you request a closer room beforehand.

Dining at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Just as everything is perfect at Lion Sands, dining is no different. Morning coffee and snacks are provided before your drive, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the lodge. On each game drive, you also have a snack halfway through. Our dinner at the lodge was an amazing South African style BBQ. Seating was outside and the food was served buffet style. All the meals were excellently prepared and delicious.

If you have a dietary restriction, rest assured that they will make sure to accommodate you. I am pescatarian and had a special menu at each meal. Not having to worry about if I could eat the group meals was a definite plus and something I am always grateful for.

Onsite Extras of Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

There is a spa onsite if you would like a quick massage. Private plunge pools in every villa. An extraordinary lounge and deck to relax in at the main lodge. Like I said above, the rooms are perfect with his and her closets and charging stations with multiple outlets. Lion Sands thinks of everything and there is a reason they are one of the top-rated lodges in South Africa.

Lion Sands Ivory Lodge Pictures

Final Thoughts of Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

While Lion Sands is expensive, it is worth every penny. The experience is out of this world and you will not regret staying here.

Book your stay here

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