Why visit Lion Sands Game Reserve?

Lion Sands is one of several private reserves in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve: a private 64,000-hectare wilderness that shares its eastern border with the Kruger National Park.

With more traversing than you'll ever need and fenceless boundaries with the surrounding reserves, Lion Sands is an excellent wildlife destination. Top that with larger-than-life luxury at either of the five lodges making up the Lion Sands portfolio and you've got the classic African luxury safari.

All Lion Sands lodges line the banks of the Sabi River and offer varying degrees of luxury. In addition to the two daily game drives, the lodge has some impressive facilities: outdoor dining area, wellness spa, gym, private dinners, laundry service and a host of indoor entertainment and educational offerings. Family owned and run, Lion Sands is the ultimate family safari destination.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Lion Sands Game Reserve

  • There are several ways of getting to Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, each of which has a slightly different cost implication and convenience to take into consideration. Daily flights operate between Johannesburg Airport and Skukuza airport. This is the easiest and most convenient way to travel to Lion Sands, who will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your lodge of choice.

    Alternatively, you can touch down in Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, and road transfer to Lion Sands. Commercial flights from Johannesburg take one hour, Durban an hour and a half, and Cape Town is just over two hours away.

    For those with more time, self-driving to the Lion Sands is a very feasible and enjoyable option. Lion Sands is about 6 hours drive from Johannesburg. The road is tarred and well maintained with clean service stations along the way. In fact, the Maputo Corridor means you will be travelling on dual carriageway for most of the way. Fuel is never a problem in South Africa, and you won't get lost with Google Maps or Waze. Roads are surprisingly well signposted & traffic density is generally low.

    Based on your lodge of choice, time and cost, our Travel Experts will gladly advise you on the best way to get to Lion Sands Private Game Reserve.

  • At Lion Sands Private Game Reserve the More family has refined the menu of activities to include a unique blend of senses and soul, creating an offering of sophisticated style and adventure that has recaptured the subtle essence of the Swahili word for journey – safari.

    Lion Sands offers spectacular Big 5 game drives in the extensive wildlife area with unsurpassed leopard viewing but this is just the beginning of what really constitutes “the Lion Sands experience”. Lion Sands is the ideal space to escape from the rigours of everyday existence, to shift into a full appreciation of the moment and awaken the senses. With this in mind, Lion Sands has created tailor-made activities to help recuperate mind, body and spirit.

  • Lion Sands Game Reserve is a year-round destination, but it remains seasonal. Here is what you can expect to experience through the months of the year.

    November through to December: The summer months are hot and humid with either continual rains or very typically afternoon thundershowers which generally clear before the game drives depart. Lots of young animals are born during this time notably the impala lambs, which are beautiful but vulnerable to predators.

    January to March: These are normally drier months with very hot days. There are lots of beautiful migratory birds during the summer periods. Early morning drives with early returns to escape the heat are typical.

    April: The vegetation starts changing from thick lush green bush to a slightly sparser browning bush during this autumn period. The temperatures start cooling down at night but daytime is still warm. Potential scattered thunderstorms can be experienced in the afternoons.

    May to June: Cold temperatures are experienced at night and at dawn during the winter months. Warm clothing is recommended such as gloves, scarves, beanies and insulated jackets. Large herds of elephant are very mobile. The vegetation becomes totally brown and trees start losing leaves. Visibility during drives is enhanced due to sparser vegetation.

    July to September: This period is very dry in the bush with very cold night temperatures and therefore chilly during the early morning and late afternoon game drives. Game viewing is generally fantastic and the visibility is good and the game is concentrated around any water source.

    September to October: Spring is the height of the dry season boasting hot dry winds and colourless, sparse vegetation. Because the rivers and dams are low high concentrations of game can be viewed at these areas and game viewing, in general, is very good. The first rains may start towards the end of October and the signs of spring and a new wet season are evident.

    Whichever season you chose, our Rhino Africa Travel Experts will ensure you are in the best area to maximise your Safari experience.

  • Here is a rough idea of what you can expect on a Lion Sands safari. Please note that this differs depending on where you stay.

    05:00: Wake up to get your day started!
    05:30: Coffee with your ranger and tracker before going on safari, most often on an open 4x4 vehicle. 
    09:30: Start heading back to the lodge for a scrumptious breakfast.
    11:00: Depending on where you are staying at what time of the year, you can often embark on a bushwalk with an armed tracker. This gives you a chance to appreciate the smaller wonders of the bush.
    13:00: Enjoy your lunch and unwind.
    16:00: Meet for your afternoon game drive.
    16:30: Your evening game drive promises different sightings than the morning, with nocturnal animals coming out to play.
    18:00: Watch the incredible sunset while you drink a G&T.
    18:30: Using a spotlight, take a peek into the lives of your nocturnal creatures.
    19:30: Return and freshen up for dinner.
    20:00: Feast on dinner while your ranger tells you stories around the campfire.

  • Unfortunately not. We are not doctors, so please note that you should always speak to your doctor about malaria prevention before travelling. However, on that note, it is entirely possible to have a safe, malaria-free holiday in Africa by using prophylactic drugs. 

    Tip 1: Repel the Mosquitoes 
    The female mosquito responsible for transmitting malaria is a silent mossy, so you will have to ensure you repel them. They can strike at any time of day but are most active at dusk as well as dawn. Always wear repellent as well as long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the evenings and mornings. Please note that clothes alone won't protect you, as they can bite through the material. Most of our lodges will have screened windows and doors, air conditioning systems, and mosquito nets to further protect you.

    Tip 2: ALWAYS Take Anti-Malaria Tablets
    The most important thing you can do to protect yourself against malaria is taking Prophylactic tablets. Please note that you have to speak to your doctor before taking these tablets to ensure that you take the right one, as well as the correct dosage when entering the malaria area.

    Tip 3: Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms and Finish Your Course of Meds
    If you start to notice any flu-like symptoms, you must get a malaria test to be safe and catch it early because malaria reacts well to early treatment. Also, don't stop taking your meds until the course is complete!

  • The highlight of any safari in the Greater Kruger National Park is exploring the bush and the wildlife by enjoying a game drive or bush walk. It's an incredible experience to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat, but we do urge you to take note of the guidelines below that will assist in ensuring the long-term survival of South Africa's beloved Kruger National Park.

    Please respect your surroundings and the wildlife by following these guidelines:
    - Take back photographs and memories only! Do not remove natural objects (rocks, flowers, plants, etc.) from the Kruger Park or any of the reserves. It disrupts the ecology of the area.
    - Do not try to attract the animals’ attention by imitating their sounds, clapping, throwing objects or any other means.
    - Never tease or corner wild animals. This may cause an unpredictable response and a potentially dangerous reaction.
    - The vegetation in Kruger Park is very sensitive, and off-road driving causes erosion. Only go off-road with a ranger and never on your own.
    - Remember that you are a visitor to the animals’ natural habitat, so observe the animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives will frighten the animals away.
    - Don’t litter! Besides being distasteful, litter thrown on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds.
    - The African bush is very dry, ignites easily, and fires can kill many animals. So PLEASE abstain from smoking on game drives.
    - Respect your driver/guide’s judgment about your proximity to certain wild animals. Don’t insist that they take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. A vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt or cause animals to abandon a well-deserved meal.
    - Always follow your guide’s advice – they are the experts! Don’t be afraid to ask them questions if you are unsure of anything.
    - Never attempt to approach a wild animal on foot, especially near your lodge or campsite where the animals have become accustomed to humans.

  • Lion Sands Private Game Reserve was established in 1933 by Guy Aubrey Chalkley and forms part of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve as well as the Kruger National Park, which together with some other parks make up the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. Guy Aubrey Chalkley, was a keen hunter and travelled extensively throughout Africa. It was on one such adventure that he stumbled across the farm known as Kingstown. Belonging to the Transvaal Consolidated Lands, this was a jewel of a property on the border of the Kruger National Park. These were the same lands that were soon to become the basis of what is now the world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

    Filled with affection for the animals around him and with admiration for the pristine condition of the Kingstown property, its a known fact that Guy never lifted a rifle to an animal in this reserve. Guy purchased the property on 25 November 1933 from Transvaal Consolidated Mines for four thousand pounds and fourteen shillings.

    John More, who married Guy’s granddaughter, Louise 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, when hot water was a luxury, the More family concentrated on keeping Kingstown in its pristine state.

    Today, the family employs a full-time ecologist to monitor the effect of commercialization on the wilderness.

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