After our night at River Lodge, a ranger drove us to Lion Sands Tinga Lodge… which is only 5 minutes drive from Skukuza Airport (really handy when we left!)

We stayed at this magnificent luxury lodge for one night too. This lodge is also on the banks of the Sabie River, and has the most amazing views from the main deck. We sat there for a few hours on Sunday morning watching the birds, and the impala come down to the water… and we also spotted a leopard in the distance too!! Seriously… from the deck! Not something you see every day while you’re having a cup of coffee.

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Again, our suite was incredible. This lodge only has 9 suites, and they’re completely private and even have their own private plunge pools!

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After a 3 course lunch, a rest and then a spot of iced tea and snacks, we went on the afternoon game drive. Our rangers at Tinga were Mark and Emanuel.

We saw quite a lot of skittish giraffe and impala and heard a cat… but unfortunately didn’t see one on this game drive. Instead, we saw such a cool troop of baboons! Most of them had little babies… it was so awesome to watch them for a bit.

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This is the same mommy that was crossing the road, getting a hug from her little one. Pity about the stick across her eyes, or else this photo would be awesome! I still love the feeling of it though.

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Then we came across this hyena, he’s been resting in the road before we came along. There was also a really strong smell in the air, which Emanuel said was a dead hippo. Gosh, I loved the light!

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After that excitement and seeing another troop of monkeys, we headed off for the Sand River bank for sundowners. The guy with the gorgeous big lens was taking photos of a hippo that was grazing on that line of grass just across from the dried up river.

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Yet again, the spread of drinks and snacks for sundowners was incredible!
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On our way back to the lodge (where the beds had been turned down… how amazing are those mozzie nets…), Emanuel spotted a marshall eagle resting in a tree, and also a scorpion on a tree trunk!! So incredible how quickly he spotted them in the scanning torch light. We also saw quite a lot of scrub hares too. Wish I’d had a bigger lens to be able to take photos of everything we saw actually!

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Our dinner setting on Saturday night was next to a roaring fire… so amazing!

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At 6:30am the next morning after some coffee, tea and muffins, we headed off again. The morning light was just beautiful with the cloud cover, and there was the gorgeous smell of rain in the air. Just as we left the lodge we spotted a hyena, but he disappeared as we got close.

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Mark and Emanuel spotted buffalo tracks as we crossed the river so they went off to see if they could find cat tracks because the buffalo had been running.

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They didn’t find anything there, but a while later we heard a leopard call, so off we went in the direction of the sound. Emanuel spotted this leopard and we raced off to get close to it… and WOW!! It was such an incredible experience to be so close to him. This was the leopard we’d seen in the distance on the first evening’s game drive. Isn’t he just magnificent?!

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Then as we sat there watching him slink into the bush, Emanuel turned around and softly said BLACK RHINO!! What?! This was the first time I’d seen one. I couldn’t get a clear shot, because as soon as we got close he walked into the thick bushes… but OMW what an amazing experience to see. There are less than 2500 left in the world… so this was uber special.

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How cute is this baby giraffe playing peekaboo with us?! 🙂

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After all that excitement we stopped for our coffee break on the banks of the Sabie River

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This was such a special trip. Truly out of this world. Proper bucket list material.

And we didn’t get to see any lions!! Oh well, but the leopard and rhino sightings were more than special. Once in a lifetime.

Disclaimer: The photos were commissioned for marketing use by More.