We went away for the weekend to experience the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve. Lion Sands is part of the Greater Kruger National Park, and there are 4 lodges to choose from on their property. On the first night of our amazing weekend, we stayed at River Lodge.

It was a bucket list kind of stay, so this post is going to be FULL of photos… basically a photo journal of our stay.

The weekend started with our flight from ORT to Skukuza airport. It really is the best way to get there, because the amazing trip starts the moment you get out the airport, and are transported to the lodge in the game drive vehicle… with a ranger! So of course, we stopped on the way to the lodge to check out a giraffe 🙂

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This guy that dances at the gates to the lodge is awesome! His name is Frank, and he’s retired, yet comes to the lodge every day to put on a show.

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How incredible is this room? At night, the mozzie nets are dropped, if you’re wondering. It even had an open air shower at the back of the bathroom!

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The patio was the perfect spot to watch the passing nyala and bush bucks which came in for some grazing.

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Actually, we only had a few buck come sauntering past, but the River suites had a few Cape Buffalo come for a visit after our game drive, so the guests staying in those rooms couldn’t get there until the buffalo had gone! Such fun!

Anyhoo, after checking out the room, it was time for lunch on the deck overlooking the Sabie River banks.

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After a spot of tea at 3pm, we then headed on our first game drive. Our guides were Liam and Abraham.

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We spotted a leopard on the opposite bank… and so did the rangers from the other Lion Sands properties. If you look carefully, you’ll see the leopard at the bottom of the shot in the grass. The other vehicles were much closer to the leopard, than we were, but we couldn’t get closer because he was on the other side of the river.

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That evening though, our best sighting was a family of elephants. I think I’ll tell the whole story in another post, but here’s my favourite shot of the female.

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This big elephant is a tuskless male… who was not happy with us AT ALL!  This was taken just before he charged the vehicle! Pity my long lens was on my camera actually…
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And after that heart thumping experience, it was time for a drinks break 🙂

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And time to watch the sun go down…

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On the way back to the lodge, Abraham spotted a hyena as he was scanning around the vehicle with his torch! I am so very pleased with this shot I got in the spotlight

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The next morning, we got up at 6am for another game drive 🙂 which was really tough after a big night with the guys we’d met on our first game drive. The tequila was NOT a good idea at all 🙂

It was absolutely freezing, but the game vehicle was kitted out with hot water bottles and blankets on every seat… what a win!

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The morning drive started amazingly, when Liam was radioed to say that there was a male leopard on the river bank. Isn’t he gorgeous?! It looked like he’d just eaten and was resting. We also saw the other male leopard on the other side of the river at this sighting, but he was too far to take a shot. I’m definitely renting a bigger lens for the next trip!

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Then we came across a bachelor group of Cape Buffalo…

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And more ellies in the beautiful soft morning light 🙂
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Time for morning coffee 🙂

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Liam stopped to show us the rhino midden… and explained how the twigs are chewed at a 45 deg angle. He also explained about the significance of the midden, and how it’s a calling card asking for other rhinos to find his scent…

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… and then we saw one!! It’s so special to see white rhino like this…

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After we got back to the lodge, and had breakfast, we got transferred to the next lodge for the next night… which will be blogged tomorrow 🙂

What an amazing experience! The food, the people, the place, the atmosphere, the animals, the game drive… every single part of this trip has been insanely amazing! I’m definitely going to try and visit River Lodge again.
Disclaimer: the photos were commissioned for marketing use for More