“Sleek black-white styling, private plunge pools and a prime river frontage set this above all other Kruger lodges, with game viewing to match”
Ivory Lodge’s 6 suites were designed to guarantee guests complete privacy and are in keeping with the lodge’s ethic of cossetting you at every turn. Named after Kruger birds - Fin Foot, Tawny, Sandpiper, Malachite, Woodlands and Peregrine - each has been given a broad sweep of river frontage so that you neither hear nor see the other suites. Their design is as stunning as it is faultless with a thatched bedroom and separate sitting room placed either side of a river-facing deck and a heated drop-rim plunge pool. The front, back and pool-facing walls are all glass, so as to celebrate those incomparable views: you’ll be loath to drop down the slatted blinds at night.
The suites are decorated in the same Zen-chic style as the main lodge, with every last object and furnishing matched to the ebony and ivory colour scheme: cushions, shining screed floors, sofas, chairs, lamps, basins, even black and white photographs and white single orchids.
And you are treated to every conceivable creature comfort: kingsize beds, raised bathrooms with free-standing bathtubs from which you can gaze out to the Sabie, and a second outdoor shower set in a raked Zen garden. The fabulous living rooms contain fireplaces, snazzy sofas and chairs strewn with beaded cushions; there’s also an amazing selection of goodies in the fridge and 'maxi bar', and masses more in the bathroom, including robes and a hairdryer. Hidden away in the sitting room is a state-of-the art CD/DVD player.
You can also spend a night in one of the lodge’s 3 treehouses: one in a high jackalberry, one overlooking the river, and the other in an ancient leadwood tree (named Chalkley Treehouse, Kingston Treehouse and Tinyeleti Treehouse). You’ll be driven out from the lodge after dinner and left to commune with the extraordinary African night. You get a double bed with a mattress and linen, a mosquito net, bedside tables, a toilet, a bush vanity table, and a viewing deck with chairs and gowns and slippers.
All meals are moveable feasts at Ivory Lodge. You normally eat on the mahogany deck of the main lodge which wraps around towering trees and looks out to the Sabie: this must number amongst the world’s most spectacular places to dine. Meals are also prepared at a second platform at the river’s edge, at a leadwood-lined boma or out in the Sabi bush. And you can always choose to dine in the privacy of your suite: meals are delivered via a ‘Buluwayo club hatch’, as is early morning tea and coffee before the game drives. Your waiter will discreetly bang a Shangaan gong as she or he approaches.
Ivory Lodge’s cuisine would hold its own against that of any Michelin-starred restaurant and we’ve rarely seen such exquisitely presented food. Buffet breakfasts include a stunning array of meats, cheeses, fruits, juices and homemade breads, followed by whatever cooked breakfast variant you might like. Lunches are also often buffets with a choice of soups, salads, dips, samosas, fish cakes and mezzes, there's also sushi and a selection of meat dishes, plus maybe ostrich bolognaise or rooibos-infused honeyed chicken pieces.
Dinners are as good as they come, taking the form of big buffets out in the bush or set menus with a choice of starters, mains and desserts on the mahogany deck or in Ivory lodge’s dining room. Starters might be a grilled calamari steak, mushroom and white wine soup, a light Greek salad or smoked crocodile salad with a gooseberry and lemon vinaigrettes. Our main course choices included gemsbok fillet pocketed with fresh avocado, duck breast with black cherries, and Eland babotie. Ivory Lodge also has a cellar with an extrordinary selection of wines; food of this standard deserves a really good bottle. Alternatively try some of the other tipples on offer at the bar.
Ivory Lodge isn’t really suitable for kids, as the accent is firmly placed on grown-up intimacy and privacy. Children over 10 are welcome but there are no extra beds available. Children between 10 and 15 are charged at 50% of adult tariff if with 2 adults. Those over 15 are charged at adult rates.
Please note that should you wish to book 2 adults and a child into a suite at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, it will be compulsory to hire a private vehicle, at the standard daily rate, for the duration of the stay.