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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Hampton

Genius Design at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, Kruger Area

Updated: Sep 29, 2021

You may think that a safari lodge decorated in no other colours than variations on black and white, could be too monotone. But it’s genius! Ivory Lodge in the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park, uses shades and textures to create a truly unique look. The contrasts of ebony and ivory combine creatively to create a strong Afro-European statement.

Décor Wow Factor

Ivory Lodge suites are a huge 145 square metres, with ‘Wow’ factor in abundance. I never cease to be amazed at how design and décor that’s pared down in its use of colour and content, can be so profound. They explain it as, “rich yet minimal, ambient lighting and African design accents subtly pick up on the safari theme.”

Dual mansion doors open into a cool living space, where two buildings extend like arms on either side of an open space (one housing the bedroom & bathroom, the other the lounge). In the centre is a private sundeck and infinity pool facing the river.

Vervet monkeys bounded across the roof as my sister and I entered our private space. They then halted in the branches of a mahogany tree and stared indignantly at us for invading their space. The monkeys returned again as soon as we went inside, and carried on lounging on our outdoor furniture and drinking from the pool, as if they were the ones on holiday.

Ultimate Privacy

Such is the level of privacy at Ivory Lodge, that the rich and famous, or the intensely private, can have meals delivered through a little cubby-hole in the wall. The fully stocked bar takes care of booze and soft drink needs, and cravings for chocolate and nuts.

To the rear of the giant bed and up a few steps is the glossy bathroom, with a large bath in the centre. Beyond that, in a pebbled zen garden, is the outdoor shower. I didn’t need both a bath and shower, but who can resist getting wet unnecessarily in such tempting surroundings?

The glass frontage to the suite looks towards the Sabi River, and beyond its reed beds is Kruger National Park. We watched elephant grazing and drinking as they walked along the riverbank and crossed from Kruger into Lion Sands and back again. I was tempted to forget the game drive and just stay put, but the last time that happened, Sister came back with stories of a leopard chasing an impala in broad daylight and a rhino paddling in the river, and showed me the pictures to prove it!

The Chef gets one over on me…

The attention to detail in the suites, gives a good indication of what to expect at Lion Sands. Creativity comes in many forms, from the specialist spa treatments, to food that resembles artworks. I wondered out loud if they offered a taster menu. This clearly made the chef see red, so he proceeded to give us a full portion of each dish. Not wanting to upset him we tried to eat as much as possible. After plate number 5, we had not yet progressed to the meat course, and we both started to feel slightly ill. By dish number 7, we felt sick. By course number 8 we were stuffing the food into napkins to throw into the bushes later. By the time the desert was announced, we had long ago admitted defeat. I humbly beg forgiveness from the chef.

Sleepout under the Stars

Sleeping on the ground in big-five country is not advisable, which is why Lion Sands has built three romantic tree houses; Kingston, Chalkley’s and Tinyaleti. Sleep under the stars on a bed swathed in mosquito netting that sways gently in the breeze – get the idea? They aren’t really tree-houses, more like free-standing platforms, equipped with picnic basket full of champagne and snacks and whatever else you requested. Make sure to book a night in a treehouse. See more safari sleepout options in my Botswana Experiences Article in Travel Africa Magazine Issue 93 July-Sept 2021.

Generations of the Moore Family grew up on Lions Sands

What I haven’t yet mentioned, is that Lion Sands is a family-owned reserve, with four generations of the Moore family. They have River Lodge, Ivory Lodge and Fish Eagle Villa in Lions Sands reserve, and Tinga and Narina lodges and Hi'Nkweni Villa on private concessions inside Kruger National Park. Also Marataba in Marakele National Park. If you want to see all the big animals, including, almost without fail, lion and leopard, then you’ll find them at Moore lodges.


· 8 Villas & 1 Family Unit (Fish Eagle Villa)

· Contemporary-style masterpiece, built of concrete, timber, glass and steel to meld into

the riverscape

· Private Plunge Pools

· Children 10 years + welcome

· Family Rooms, children’s activities and babysitting available

· Suitable for disabled travellers (with assistance)

· Dietary preferences catered for

· Wi-Fi

· Spa

· Gym

· Average max temperatures range from 24°C/75°F in July to 33°C/90°F in January, with

the lowest average minimum occurring in July at 8°C/46°F. Most of the rainfall occurs

during midsummer (December – February)

· Animals here are non-migratory so you are guaranteed big game sightings. The best

period for birdwatching is October to April


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