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Two Sabi Sands Lodges or Mix of Sabi Sands and Timbavati

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17 posts
49 reviews
Two Sabi Sands Lodges or Mix of Sabi Sands and Timbavati

I thank anyone in advance who may be able to weigh in on this matter.

My wife and I are planning a South African safari for August of 2010. We are just about complete with our planning, but can't decide between our final two choices. We plan on visiting two lodges for three or four nights each. We have chosen Exeter Dulini. For our second lodge, we are torn between Lions Sands River Lodge and Ngala Tented Camps.

We have been told by many travel agents that it is a waste to visit two Sabi Sands resorts. This doesn't really make sense to us. Is everything so similar that it will get boring? Is Timbavati that different.

As far as Lion Sands we like that it will offer a different experience than Dulini as it is much larger and has more amenities. We also like the idea of the viewing decks on the river.

As far as Ngala Tented Camp we like that it is further away from Timbavati and may offer a different environment.

Both of these lodges have excellent reviews and I'm sure we would greatly enjoy either, but we are struggling making a call.

Any advice is welcome.

Thanks Again,


Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
9,634 posts
65 reviews
1. Re: Two Sabi Sands Lodges or Mix of Sabi Sands and Timbavati

Have you seen my Dulini and Lion Sands River Lodge videos? These are from last May, just to show the lodges, really. Environments are not identical at the two. Lion Sands perhaps a little more interesting landscape. Watch in HQ. Here's Dulini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBBIpG4bQfc and Lion Sands River Lodge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkRAfnDBh5k and here's a game drive that was taken in the area where Dulini does their game drives.. it'a a quite large section of western Sabi Sand, shared by several lodges. I happened to be staying at Inyati, a very short distance from Dulini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2JKupNUEQ0

Sorry I never edited the Lion Sands video..

Turning to your real question - My thought at Lion Sands was that food was amazing, service, too. Room was not so spacious, wildlife pretty good. I did 2 game drives there in my visit (spent the 2nd night at the ultra-luxurious Ivory Lodge) and didn't really have any highlights like the ones in the above video - which was shot in just one morning game drive. I have not been to Ngala Tented camp, but I have been in a lot of Timbavati and I like it.

If I were your agent, I might talk to you about the Ngala Safari Lodge instead of the Tented Camp because it is more comfortable, same wildlife and game drive experiences, and a lot less expensive, Even a pay-for-2-and-stay-3 Sundays through Thursdays in August.

Dave Patterson - Owner, The Africa Safari

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
9,634 posts
65 reviews
2. Re: Two Sabi Sands Lodges or Mix of Sabi Sands and Timbavati

Meant to say "Sorry I never edited the Lion Sands game drives video"

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
166 posts
25 reviews
3. Re: Two Sabi Sands Lodges or Mix of Sabi Sands and Timbavati

Hi! I haven't stayed at any of the lodges you are thinking about although they were contenders in our decision-making. We ended up splitting time between 2 lodges in Sabi Sands mostly because we couldn't afford 4 nights at Singita Boulders, but really wanted to stay there. While it was nice to have the comparison between the 2 lodges, I think that if I were to repeat the trip, I would have just picked one lodge. I didn't like having to get adjusted to a new guide and new staff and new people in the vehicle. When we got to our 2nd lodge, they paired us up with people who had arrived the same day (very typical and logical from the lodge's standpoint). The other couple had never been on safari and we had to go through an entire day of game drives where we were stopping to look at impala, nyala, and other animals that I had already seen thousands of, plus we were given the exact same info that we were given by our 1st guide at lodge #1. If you can bear to have all the same info given to you twice, plus possibly wasting at least one game drive as the new party gawks over an impala sighting, then maybe it would be worth the experience of 2 lodges. Also, the landscaping between the two lodges was a bit different, but not like 2 different ecosystems.

I had never thought of these things when we decided to split our time, so just wanted to give you a different perspective.

Gold Coast...
Level Contributor
5,593 posts
35 reviews
4. Re: Two Sabi Sands Lodges or Mix of Sabi Sands and Timbavati

Hi EastCoaster. My husband and I are also planning a 6 day safari for late 2010. We have also decided on Dulini for our first 3 days and most likely will move to Rattrays on Mala Mala for the second 3 days. We just really want to spend our whole time in Sabi Sand to experience great game viewing, and we think it will be great to experience two different areas and lodges. Just wanted to say that one of the reasons we have chosen these lodges is the number of people in the vehicles. We had first picked Exeter River Lodge but they have advised us by email that they do seat 3 across in the vehicles which we really do not want, therefore we changed to Dulini which has six maximum and 2 across.. At Rattrays there is only ever four guests to a vehicle, yet is still far from the most expensive and you have input into what you see on the drives. So not sure if this important to you or not but we decided with what you spend to do this possibly once in a lifetime experience, it is well worth considering that at some lodges you may well be in the middle of the row, which as other people have stated does affect the quality of your viewing.

Cape Town
Level Contributor
733 posts
1 review
5. Re: Two Sabi Sands Lodges or Mix of Sabi Sands and Timbavati

I realize that most people want to minimise traveling times but why not go for a different area altogether for your second safari. If you are doing a garden route tour, it will be easy to extend it to one of the reserves in the Eastern Cape. The scenery and vegitation there are very different to the Kruger area. The other alternative is Madikwe. I love the Madikwe reserve and the lodges there offer very good value.


6. Re: Two Sabi Sands Lodges or Mix of Sabi Sands and Timbavati

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