Lion Sands Game Reserve Blog

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Welcome to the spa at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Lion Sands Ivory Lodge offers an exclusive Africology Spa on site. A range of body, skin and grooming treatments are available – best enjoyed in the quiet hours between game drives. The expert therapists, combined with being in the most natural of environments, promise a wellness experience that will utterly relax the body, quiet the mind and …
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Your own private home – Ivory Lodge two-bedroom Villa

The exclusive Fish Eagle Villa is the ‘pièce de résistance’ of Ivory Lodge. From August 2017, guests booking the Villa exclusively will have their own private chef – together with their butler. The Villa also comes with its own private landrover and Field Guide. Although privacy and exclusivity are assured, visitors are welcome to use …
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Love is in the air! Our romance at Lion Sands…

Honeymoon, anniversaries or to simply reconnect as a couple…there are many reasons why our guests seek a romantic safari. Recently, Lion Sands Narina Lodge hosted blogger, Che Dyer, for her wedding dress adventures. As Che has travelled to a few romantic destinations, we asked her to tell us why Lion Sands ticked all the boxes …
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We are MORE: Meet Xavier Francis, Head Chef at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge

Xavier Francis joined the Ivory Lodge team after working in South Africa’s food capital, Cape Town and before that, his hometown of Durban. From as young as 11 years old, Xavier knew he wanted to be a chef. Inspired by his grandmother, he still regards her as the most phenomenal cook he has ever encountered. …
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“You can’t help but feel closer to the wildlife….” Lion Sands guest, Matt Peel

  Incredible wildlife sightings, delectable cocktails, friendly staff and a night under the stars in a Treehouse – this is what a dream honeymoon is all about. This is exactly what our recent guests Matt and Alice experienced at Lion Sands Narina Lodge. Congratulations on the nuptials ,Mr and Mrs Peel, and thank you for …
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Ivory Lodge revealed

We bring you the first grand reveal of Lion Sands Ivory Lodge. In Robert’s words; “This project was very close to Britt’s and my heart. My wife’s extraordinary vision manifested in something so utterly perfect and wholly beautiful, it surpassed all of our greatest imaginings. I know she would be so proud, and I will always find …
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We are MORE: Meet Karnan Munsamy, Head Chef at Lion Sands River Lodge

We’re welcomed the talented Karnan Munsamy into the position of Head Chef at Lion Sands River Lodge. Let’s get to know him a little better. Karnan hails from Durban., where his family is still based. It’s here that he completed his culinary studies. The middle child, with an older sister and younger brother, he says his …
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Assisting a hyena by Field Guide Mark Winckler

Field Guide Mark Winckler joined Lion Sands Kruger National Park after completing his studies at NJ More Field Guide College. Since joining the team, Mark initiated and started a dedicated hyena project within the concession. About two months ago, Mark filled out an identification form for a specific hyena. He noticed that this hyena had …
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Two leopards and a kill

Field Guide Joe van Zyl set our from Lion Sands Tinga Lodge,  Kruger National Park on an early morning game drive. He spotted the Postman’s leopardess moving around, nose in the air, sniffing the branches. He slowly followed her to see where she was going.   “She decided to cross the road and I followed , with …
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Five reasons why the new Ivory Lodge is the place for romance

Ivory Lodge has always been our first choice when it comes to a romantic African safari. The new look Ivory Lodge has taken this special experience onto a new level, with incredible spaces designed for those seeking something ‘other-wordly’ – whether that be a for a honeymoon retreat, a special proposal or simply for quality …
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I would give this eight out of five if I could!

We can’t hep but share the lovely feedback received by “Catventurer” My husband and I went there for our honeymoon with high expectations as I have been wanting to go for some time after reading about this place in a travel magazine and the Lion Sands team knocked the ball out of the park! We stayed …
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An unforgettable trip, by the Peacock Family

Danielle Peacock and her family recently spent 3 days at Lion Sands and shared a couple of magnificent images with us that were simply too good to keep to ourselves! Danielle, we’re delighted that you enjoyed your safari, and really hope you’ll return again soon (camera at the ready, of course!) “We recently stayed with …
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A visitor after the rain

  We are very fortunate to have had some rain recently, and no sooner had the drops begun to fall, than we noticed some of our summer animals coming out to enjoy the moisture ….  like this leopard tortoise. Tortoises will come out before or after rain to drink from the puddles of water left …
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“Our only regret is that we didn’t stay longer!”

Sometimes it’s important to pause and remember the responsibility and privilege we hold in creating lifetime experiences for our guests. Thanks to “BenM” for reminding us why it is that we do what we do via his Tripadvisor feedback… “We have just had the unfortunate experience of having to leave Lion Sands! We booked four …
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The countdown to the launch of Ivory Lodge begins… 80 days to go

There are just 80 days to go until we reveal the brand new Lion Sands Ivory Lodge. Lion Sands has been our home for four generations and is therefore deeply ingrained in our DNA. It is with this in mind that we have reshaped the Ivory Lodge experience. We’ve taken our cue from the passion …
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Kruger Park leopards spotted mating

Guests to Lion Sands Kruger National Park recently spotted two of the most frequently sighted resident leopards mating. Field Guide Joe van Zyl tells of how they found the Postman’s female very far from her usual territory. She was with the Mbavala male, along the Sabie River. This behaviour could be very dangerous for the …
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Wild Dog pups at Lion Sands Kruger National Park

A few months ago the field guides at Lion Sands Kruger National Park noticed that the wild dog pack was denning on the concession. With great anticipation they monitored the dogs behaviour, hoping to see pups. A few days ago, Field Guide Joe van Zyl not only saw the 9week old pups, he was able …
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Ivory Lodge: Home is not a place, home is a feeling…

We’ve loved our journey at Lion Sands. As children appreciating the essence of the African wilderness with our parents and grandparents. As teenagers exploring life and testing our limits. As young lovers learning about romance and relationships. As newly-weds, high on fresh beginnings, hopes and dreams. As first-time parents, at peace watching our babies lulled …
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The Rockybridge female leopard at sunset

Field Guide Joe van Zyl was 30 minutes into a recent game drive, when he stopped at an impala herd. At this time of the year, impala behavior is particularly interesting due to rutting  and the change in herd structure. Joe noticed that one young male was not relaxed. He was alert, looking around with obvious apprehension. …
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Vlog: The Charleston Pride at Narina Lodge

Field Guide David Parker and his guests from Lion Sands Narina Lodge were out on an early morning game drive when they encountered the Charleston lion pride. “We love these big cats and it’s always an incredible experience to have them pass our vehicle so close” says David. Enjoy a short clip of the pride, as …
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Taking the lion’s share by Field Guide Joe van Zyl

In the wild, animals have to be on constant watch. Predators and opportunists are always on the ready, and if an animal is slightly lower on the food chain, it’s necessary to be super alert at every moment. Field Guide Joe van Zyl and his guests were out on game drive recently, enjoying a leopard …
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Introducing Ndzilo – the young leopard

Meet Ndzilo, Scotia’s beautiful daughter from one of her previous litters. Scotia is a very well-known female leopard resident to the Lion Sands area (pictured below). This young lady is between 3 and half and four years old. She should start looking to mate soon – in fact, our guides have already noticed a few …
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Vlog: Lioness takes on a young hippo

We recently shared Field Guide Joe van Zyl’s account of a lion attacking a hippo (if you missed it, you can read all about it here). Joe also caught this incredible sighting on video. The clip shows the tenacity of the lioness, and is a reminder of just how thick a hippo’s skin really is! …
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Safari highlights from our guests Jill & Michelle Voigt

It is always an absolutely treat for us to get feedback from our guests about their safari experience. Guests Jill and Michelle Voigt had this to say, following their visit to Lion Sands River Lodge; We hope you enjoy these highlights as much as we did! Thanks go to Jill & Michelle for taking them …
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Guests Chuck & Claire Laufman share their Lion Sands experience

“My husband and I had the most wonderful time while at Lion Sands and want to thank everyone there for their part in making this such an unforgettable adventure.” Thanks to Claire and Chuck for sharing their pics. This is the beauty of a safari experience – no two are alike. There is nothing we …
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The lioness and the hippo, by Field Guide Jo van Zyl

There are moments on a game drive where, as a guide, you realise you are about to witness a sighting that many only dream of. The kind of sighting that usually only reveals itself on the National Geographic Channel. My guests and I were returning to Narina Lodge during the recent morning game drive when …
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Xovonekela gives up his giraffe kill

Our well known male leopard, Xovonekela, was recently seen by NJ More Field Guide College student Mark Winckler during a fascinating encounter. This is what he had to say; “During a morning safari, we were driving along a two track when all of a sudden we came around a corner and found around a dozen hyenas feeding …
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Vlog: Rhino v lion cub

Remember our guest John Fairlie who shared the incredible sighting of the lion cub and the rhino? Lucky for us, John managed to capture the sighting on film too! Take a moment to watch the events unfold. HELPFUL HINT: Remember to breathe… Thank you for sharing yet another piece with us John!  

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A slightly different view of the African Buffalo

It is a well-known fact that buffalo are infamous for being one of the most dangerous members of the Big 5 to encounter on foot. They have a reputation for having a moody temperament, which often makes them charge without warning (and then follow through). I have heard that the saying “an elephant never forgets” …
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A night under the stars at a Lion Sands Treehouse

“The game drive vehicle twists along the tree lined road and the anticipation is building within me. I know what is coming, but I am not prepared for the sight that greets us. Somehow larger than life and welcoming at the same time, the wooden structure is surrounded by glowing lanterns. Our guide escorts us along …
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Lion v Rhino at Lion Sands, by guest John Fairlie

One of our regular guests, John Fairlie, spent a few nights at Ivory Lodge in November 2014. During one of their game drives, they experienced an incredible interaction between a lion cub and a rhino. In today’s blog, he shares this memory with us. “We were out on a game drive with Michael Moth, and …
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A spectacular morning drive at Lion Sands, by guest John Fairlie

One of our regular guests, John Fairlie, recently spent some time with us Lion Sands Ivory Lodge.  On the blog today, he shares just one of his morning game drives with us, and what an extraordinary drive it transpired to be…. “As is our habit when we are here, we started the day about 45 …
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Earth Hour 2016 at Lion Sands

Earth Hour is a cause which we support every year, and we always encourage our guests to participate with us. This year, on Saturday 19 March 2016, we intended to host all guests for a riverbed dinner, allowing them a front row seat to the lodge as we switched off the power. Due to the threat of rain, we opted to have …
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Eternal Rivals: Lions and Buffalo, by Field Guide Neil Jennings

The eternal rivalry between lions and buffalo has gone on for centuries. It’s a battle that captivates you as a guide and provides exhilarating viewing. The buffalo is a highly underestimated animal. It is incredibly tough, aggressive and powerful and doesn’t give up without a fight. It has killed many lions and, in fact, man …
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The Lion Sands Potjiekos Lesson

At Lion Sands, our head chef, Faith, loves sharing her passion for food and cooking with our guests. When possible, she enjoys presenting a “Potjiekos” lesson. Directly translated as “little pot food”, this dish is one of our traditional favourites. When the Dutch arrived in South Africa, they brought with them their cooking methods, one …
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The ultimate bush bedroom

“Lit solely by candle light and lanterns, these stunning tree houses provide the ultimate exotic – and romantic – escape” –  Katie Amey for MailOnline What better way to fully experience the wild African bush, than to spend a night under the stars. The treehouses at Lion Sands Game Reserve each have a unique style, …
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A morning spent with Scotia the leopard

Field Guide Joe van Zyl and his guests spent a morning with Scotia the female leopard on Thursday 18th February, and captured some excellent images which we had to share with you. Said Joe, “We followed Scotia doing a boundary walk. She was scent marking her area and performed the Flehmen grimace (more than an …
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Beautiful Bonecrushers – The Spotted Hyena by Liam Burrough

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is an Eden of biodiversity. A pristine wilderness synonymous with top-quality sightings of lion, leopard and other highly sought after and equally spectacular residents. Eco-tourists are drawn in from every corner of the globe in the hopes of spending time up-close with truly wild animals. One species however that seldom …
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Meet Lion Sands Field Guide, Michael Moth

 In today’s ‘Meet the Guide’ blog series we introduce you to Michael Moth. 1. Tell us how you came to be a Field Guide. “When I was a kid, I always enjoyed visiting the Kruger National Park. We used to go once a year for about seven days, and just drive around looking for animals. …
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An unusual lion sighting at Lion Sands, by Joe van Zyl

One of the young Hilda’s Rock male lions was seen playing with the Charleston cubs. It is unusual behaviour for a male to interact in a positive way with cubs of another pride. But in the case of these companions, it is believed that the cubs are from one of the Hilda’s Rock males, who …
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A very special game drive, by Jopie Moth

You never know what to expect from a drive in the bush. I seem to be reminded of this on a regular basis, and a drive I was on a couple of days ago was no exception. After an already spectacular day (having already seen leopard, elephant and kudu) we were on our way to …
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The Lion Sands Bucket List

For those who prefer a shorter read with less words and more pictures, we’ve compiled a list of the “Bucket-List” moments to experience on a  Lion Sands Safari. Go on a bush walk Take a trip to Hippo Pools Go on a helicopter ride over the Blyde River Canyon Drink a glass of bubbles on safari, while watching …
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A very special day, through the eyes of Patricia Borrageiro

We recently had the distinct privilege of hosting Daniel and Arina at Lion Sands. What made it so special was that they chose to celebrate a very special day while with us. The day they tied the knot. There are few places on this planet that could rival the Inkwaze Hide Deck, perched over the …
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A very special graduation, by Patricia Borrageiro

I knew coming to work at Lion Sands would change my life, but I had never imagined the complete shift it would take. Everything that seemed so important or gave meaning to my old way of living, no longer seemed relevant in the African bush. I embraced the simplicity of living out here and all …
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Meet Lion Sands Field Guide, Landon Eades

In the first of our ‘Meet the Guide’ series for 2016, we introduce you to Landon Eades. How did you get into field guiding as a career? “From the age of about 10, I always said I wanted to become a game ranger. This never changed through all my years of schooling, and when I …
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Scotia the leopard’s cub is named, by Field Guide Dumay de Longchamps-Boulle

Scotia’s cub is now about 1 year and 5 months old and has grown into a magnificent leopard, just like her mother. However, it seems that the bond between mother and daughter has been breaking down, as Scotia has been mating with the territorial male Xovo. She is clearly ready for a new litter (which …
Continue reading Scotia the leopard’s cub is named, by Field Guide Dumay de Longchamps-Boulle

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Meet Lion Sands Field Guide, Dumay de Longchamps Boulle

In today’s ‘Meet the Guide’ blog series we introduce you to Dumay de Longchamps Boulle. 1. How did you get into field guiding as a career? “I went to the Kruger National Park for the first time when I was 22 years old and my love for the bush began immediately. I made the decision …
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Meet Lion Sands Field Guide, Stanley Chiyasa

In this instalment of our ‘meet the guide’ series, we introduce you to Stanley Chiyasa. 1. How did you get into field guiding as a career? “I started as an intern at a camp in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, in 1999 where I started my career by conducting the necessary qualifications and expanded from there.” 2. …
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A pack of wild dogs at the Sand River

On a sunny morning last week, the wild dog pack was spotted along the Sand River. They were finishing off the remains of a bushbuck. This pack has been quite successful in raising their pups this year, with only two (that we know of) having been killed – one by a Charleston lioness recently. This is great news considering …
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Meet Lion Sands Field Guide, Bianca Erasmus

In an effort to bring you closer to the experiences and lives of our Field Guides, we kick off this new blog series with a Q & A session with Bianca Erasmus. How did you get into field guiding as a career? “I will never forget my first experience as a guest in the Sabi …
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Scotia the leopard found mating with Xovonekela

Some exciting news is that over the last 4 days, Scotia the female leopard has been found mating with Xovonekela. This means two things: firstly, that Scotia’s youngster is finally independent at 15 months old; and secondly, that in the next 100-110 days we could expect to hear the ‘pitter-patter’ of little paws. As far as …
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Ready for their 7th visit! Meet our guests Frank and Dot

When you fall in love with a place and its people, it’s easy to return again and again – and in so doing, making it another home away from home. You’re greeted like an old friend back from a long journey, your favourite drink is waiting and everyone knows just what you love. Guests Frank and …
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Inspired to make a difference: Oral Surgeons of the US

We recently hosted a group of Oral Surgeons from the United States. During their time with us, they visited our Henna Community project in the village of Huntington. They were quite moved by the experience and really wanted to get involved, or to contribute something to the community. During their stay we were notified that the …
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A series of amazing pictures from honeymoon guests: Stephen & Katie Boag

We always appreciate feedback from our guests telling us how much they enjoyed their experience with us (this is, after all, what makes our world turn). And when they send us their pictures, we love it even more! Stephen and Katie celebrated their honeymoon at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in January this year, and they are still looking …
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We welcome wild dog pups to Lion Sands

After posting a video of the wild dog pups at Lion Sands last week, we wanted to share a few more pictures along with the story of their den site. Over the last two months, we have had the privilege of viewing a pack of 7 wild dogs and 14 puppies at their den site. The dogs haven’t denned on Lion Sands in …
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A fascinating sighting of a southern ground hornbill

Head Guide at Lion Sands Kruger National Park was on a game drive with his guests when he turned a corner and spotted something he had not seen for many months. He stopped dead in his tracks and gave his guests an explanation as to what they were looking it. Walking past them was a southern ground hornbill …
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Vlog: The wild dogs den at Lion Sands

“The wild dogs have decided to den at Lion Sands this year!” says Field Guide Landon Eades with great excitement.  “They have chosen an abandoned aardvark burrow in one of the more remote blocks on the property, and have had a litter of 14 pups! A truly special occasion for both guests and staff!“ We look …
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The elephants came down the hill

One of our recent guests, Stephan Munster, shared his photos of elephants clambering  down an embankment with us, eager to get to the Sabie River below to frolic in the water. We loved the sequence so much that we just had to share it with you. Lion Sands Sabi Sand Head Ranger, Syd Hlatshwayo, explains the clumsy …
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Vlog: A rare sighting of a serval

  Unique to Africa, this solitary mid-sized cat is not often seen in the wild. Field Guide Landon Eades not only enjoyed a great sighting recently, but managed to capture it too! In the video clip below you can clearly see the characteristic traits of the serval – its tawny colour, dark spots and stripes, …
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Vlog: Hyena and Lioness share a Waterbuck Kill

It’s very rare to see a lioness and a hyena in the same close space, let alone feeding off the same kill! In this extraordinary encounter, watch how a Charleston lioness allows a hyena to join her before walking away. The hyena continues to eat with enthusiasm before getting a little carried away…. Stay tuned until the …
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Vlog: Male lions feed on a kudu in the Sabie River

Field Guide Landon Eades shares this fascinating sighting of two male lions hoisting a kudu kill from the Sabie River. It’s a steep embankment and it proves to be a challenge as they opt to feed while still partially in the river. Who ever said cats don’t like water? It appears nothing will stop them …
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Vlog: A hyena chases a leopard from it’s kill

Field Guide Landon Eades caught a moment on camera where a brave hyena chases a leopard from a kill. Watch the video to find out who got the last bite! Wish you were here!      

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Vlog: The glorious sight of a leopard chasing a waterbuck

Said Field Guide Bianca Erasmus, “I took Brian, a guest of ours at Lion Sands, out on safari last week. We could never have expected the glorious sighting we enjoyed! Brian captured footage of a leopard hunting a waterbuck. The waterbuck leaped into the dam and swam away to safety. All was not lost by the leopard, however, …
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‘Witness to a leopard Kill’ at Lion Sands, as seen on Africa Geographic

Guide Stanley and guests (including Jen Kucherawy who captured these incredible pictures) watched as Xovu, one of the territorial male leopards at Lion Sands, stalked and killed an Impala. Being in the right place at the right time is critical! As reported on the Africa Geographic blog: ‘The leopard was found on the road intently watching a …
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Vlog: Mating Leopards at Lion Sands

Field Guide Michael Moth captured the Xovonekela male mating with the Wilsons Pan female. This happened for 4 days, every 20 minutes. Hopefully we’ll be seeing leopard cubs soon! Wish you were here! Field Guide Michael Moth    

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Vlog: A Leopard and a Hyena meet at a Waterhole

Field Guide Landon Eades and his guests were enjoying the sighting of a male leopard as he quenched his thirst at the waterhole after a kill, when a hyena joined him. The outcome was not what would usually be expected! Wish you were here….   by Field Guide Landon Eades

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Vlog: Stand Off Between Wild Dogs And Buffalo

Watch how a couple of old Buffalo Bulls (known as Dugga Boys) block the way for a pack of African Wild Dogs on the move. Even though the buffaloes seem uneasy, they are still not at risk from this pack – despite its size. Wish you were here….   by Field Guide Landon Eades

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23 April 2015 – Memorial Day at Lion Sands Game Reserve

What a great place to be I am an angel of God and As I am an angel in the stars sparkle I shall be… Know that I’m watching over you just look up and see I’m looking watching over you please don’t be sad for me. April 23rd is a day we will never forget. …
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The love of soccer unites the Flora Family and Henna Children

We love it when guests visits Henna Pre-school in the Huntington Village near Lion Sands, and we love it even more when they get involved and share the day with the children. Andrea Flora and her family got in touch with Thembi – the community projects manager – before leaving for their trip to South …
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Vlog: A Spotted Hyena steals a Cheetah’s kill

Alarm calls on safari usually mean just one thing …. a predator is nearby. Sounds you could hear include vervet monkeys calling, impalas snorting, baboons barking, and grey loerie birds (also known as ‘Go-Way birds’) with their very distinctive cry. The Lion Sands field guides and trackers are masters when it comes to identifying these alarms. Landon Eades …
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Lion Sands Easter Crumpets in the Dry Riverbed

      Setting out on an early morning safari is a great way to start the day. Add a scrumptious surprise breakfast treat, and you may just have the perfect day! The Easter Sunday game drive was a special one. Guests were whisked off to the dry riverbed near River Lodge where they were met …
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Vlog: A lion does something extraordinary for a leopard’s kill

We all like a quick and easy meal, and lions are no exception! Why go through the effort of burning energy to hunt when there is an instant kill ready and waiting? A female leopard had made an early morning kill and, as leopard’s do, saved it in a nearby tree. Later that day, while out on afternoon …
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A young leopard makes light work of an impala, but not as you would think!

It wasn’t long after heading out on an early morning game drive that Field Guide at Lion Sands Kruger National Park, Cameron Scott, heard of a leopard sighting in the vicinity. He set out with his guests to see if he could find the young female. Not only did they find the spotted beauty, but …
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Vlog: A python, a leopard, two hyenas and a duiker meet …..

We’re taking a trip down memory lane today as we revisit an incredible sighting from 2014, experienced and captured by Guide Landon Eades. Landon and his guests were following a male leopard, when the cat stopped and began to listen very intently – his gaze riveted on a thick bush. He moved off the road and into the …
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The deadly dance between a leopard and a porcupine

The sun had barely appeared over the horizon as we recently headed out into the western part of the Tinga concession on an early morning game drive. Shortly after leaving the Lodge, we came upon a male and a female porcupine walking along River Road. They were not alone, as hot on their heels was …
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Colouring outside the lines to create a unique, purposeful gift

When you take little hands and you let them create something for fun and then give it a purpose, you are giving those hands something more than money, you’re uplifting them. Henna Pre-School, the Lion Sands Community Project, relies on the generosity of guests and the surrounding community for its success. And when we have …
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Living Out Our Dream in the Lion Sands Kingston Treehouse, by Mike Ricci

We recently returned from an incredible honeymoon spent at the Lions Sands River Lodge in Sabi Sands Game Preserve. Our honeymoon was the kind of things storybooks are written about as we not only got to see the Big 5 within our first two game drives but were also treated to some mother leopards and …
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Wine and food pairing with Seven Springs Vineyard

Recently at Lion Sands River Lodge guests were treated to a tasting menu paired with wines from Seven Springs Vineyards. The evening was hosted by the wine makers themselves, along with Chef Debby and our Sommelier Anton. The deck beside the Sabi River was beautifully prepared and lit with lanterns, and guests enjoyed a sumptuous …
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Elephant meets Crocodile in the Sabie River

It was a glorious morning when we recently came upon a herd of elephants playing and swimming in the Sabie River. Where better to have our morning coffee break, so we stopped a safe distance away, preparing to enjoy a good cup of java and enjoy the scene. What quickly caught our eye was the …
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