The Safari Never Ends
From the moment you arrive at Lion Sands, the safari begins. As you enter the reserve from the airport or one of the main gates, keep your eyes peeled. You are guaranteed to spot animals if you’re looking out for them. The same goes for once you’ve checked into your lodge. Each lodge opens to an expansive view of the Sabie River. Flocks of birds pass in unison, small antelope tip-toe around the reeds, a giraffe in the distance may tower above the treeline.
All of the lodges at Lion Sands are set along the Sabie River, in the middle of pristine bush. Because of this, animals abound in the area. Every day, guests can see plenty of antelope species, like bushbuck, nyala and impala, who congregate around the lodges for the safety this environment affords. These antelope are habituated to human presence, and you can approach them within a few meters without them taking much notice. Monkeys are often seen hanging around the trees. But be warned: keep an eye on them around meal times – these monkeys aren’t shy, and know that where there are humans there is food up for grabs!
All of the lodge dining areas offer views of the bush, so you’ll never miss a game viewing opportunity. From your room, doors open onto a private viewing deck. You’ll likely spend some of your relaxation time between activities here, listening to the honking of hippos or a fish eagle’s distinctive cry – which has become known as ‘the sound of Africa’. Make sure to use the binoculars provided to get a closer look. Keep the curtains open during your bush bath – you never know what might pass in front of you. At Lion Sands, you need not go far to be on safari…
Other than antelope, monkeys, and a myriad of bird species, you also have a very good chance of seeing members of the Big Five from the lodge decks. In the dry season (winter), elephants make an appearance almost every day, while buffalo are often spotted along the reeds. Big cats are also not an uncommon sighting, especially leopard, who frequently patrol along the river. In fact, leopards are spotted around the lodges as often as once a week. Even more amazingly, guests have, on a number of occasions, seen leopard and lion kills from the decks! If you’re interested in spotting these big cats from the comforts of your lodge, increase your chances by listening out for the alarm calls of animals who’ll give away a nearby predator’s location. Or ask any of our people who are all tuned in to the sounds of the bush.
On days when you feel like taking it easy, there’s no need to compromise the excitement of game viewing for the luxuries of your five star lodge. At Lion Sands, you can enjoy the best of both together!
Words by: Charlotte Arthun
Photographs by field guide Mark Winckler and Charlotte Arthun