Ivory Lodge, Lions Sands, MpumalangaIf you have pots of money, blow some of it on the gorgeous Ivory Lodge at Lion Sands, a private unfenced reserve bordering the Kruger.
Ivory Lodge is so classy that you have a private butler to pamper you. Mine was Solly, who served our first lunch in our suite, manfully bearing a tray ladened with a three course meal and wine down the wooden path. It was splendid. We tucked into an exotic salad, grilled fish and luscious chocolate mouse with our feet dangling in the plunge pool. That’s on the deck outside an enormous bedroom leading to a bathroom with his ‘n hers sinks, indoor and outdoor showers and a bathtub too.
On the other side of the suite is your large and extremely welcoming private lounge. You may never want to go home again.
Dinners are served al fresco on the Mahogany deck at the lodge itself, with dishes like spinach and feta soup and perfectly grilled yellowtail, kudu or blesbok.
If you feel the need for a workout and crave a larger pool, a gym or a spa, you can follow a path to the River Lodge, a less exclusive sister property where those facilities are based. You’ll notice the ‘no entry’ sign to keep the less well-heeled River Lodge people out of the hallowed Ivory Lodge territory.
The landscape at Lion Sands seems a little lusher than in the Kruger proper, and animals, just like humans, gravitate to where the living is easy. Game viewing included the voyeuristic sight of a mighty shaggy-maned lion in a bonking session with the bored lioness beneath him. That National Geographic moment was topped by tracking a leopard through the bush, before getting stuck in a traffic jam with six rhino.
As we returned from the evening game drive the Milky Way had switched on its full display, and our ranger guided us through the galaxies with his rather impressive Lightsabre.
You can also spend a night in Chalkley Treehouse, a funky bush bedroom named after Guy Chalkley, who camped in a Leadwood Tree to escape the predators below. The ranger drops you off just before sunset so you can enjoy drinks and a picnic dinner on an incredibly sturdy platform high up in the branches. Astonishingly there’s even a mezzanine floor with a toilet.
The price of such luxury? From R13,180 per person per night sharing.
Details from www.lionsands.com