South Africa is well and truly claiming its spot on the competitive African tourism ladder and emerging as one of the hottest destinations in Africa. This hot bed of potential, and speaking of beds, Mpumalanga lodges have far more of them to offer to visitors of the lushy province. Luxury eco-lodges like Lion Sands Game Reserve are proof that South Africa is actively tapping into the high-net-worth travellers market. With lodges, set along banks of the perennial Sabie River ,each giving breath-taking views which are all better appreciated from the comfort of the African temporary luxury. Lion Sands is the only private reserve rooted in both the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
The Sabie River forms a natural boundary between its two sides, and four waterside lodges provide the ultimate luxury safari bases. Ivory Lodge and River Lodge are located on the Sabi side, and over on Kruger are Narina Lodge and Tinga Lodge.
The animals roam freely between them, and no matter which side guests choose to stay on, they will have exceptional game-viewing opportunities. Lion Sands conserves 12 400ha (30 600ac) of a habitat that is home to the highest and most diverse concentration of wildlife in the southern hemisphere. Natural animal populations include all of the Big Five, and the reserve is renowned for the quality of its leopard viewing – the most elusive of predators.
We speak to the Manager who answers few questions from us:
1.Brief history of the Lodge?
MORE Family Collection (MFC) is a fourth-generation family business, which owns and manages a private group of award-winning, luxury safari lodges and boutique hotels, set within some of Southern Africa’s finest locations. Our origin dates back to 1933 and the founding of Lion Sands Game Reserve.
Lion Sands is the only private reserve rooted in both the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park. Lion Sands Sabi Sand forms part of Sabi Sand Game Reserve – the oldest private game reserve in South Africa, established in 1948, with our grandfather as one of the founders, instilling a legacy of community and conservation.
Lion Sands Kruger National Park is one of only seven private park concessions and protects pristine wilderness, as well as sites of cultural and historical significance .
2.Why is Lion Sands Game Reserve more than a destination?
Lion Sands is definitely much more than a destination. Our purpose is to create opportunities and experiences for people to enrich their lives.
The words of Louise More, granddaughter of Guy Aubrey Chalkley, sums up the ethos of Lion Sands Game Reserve:
“Our Family is so much bigger than my children and my grandchildren. I have had the privilege of being the custodian of this incredible land for 80 years. Our family home belongs to the rich natural kingdom, our people and our guests. Being able to share this extraordinary
place with so many others, and contributing to its sustainability for generations to come, has been such a gift.”
” We are dedicated to sustainable conservation, first and foremost, of the wilderness we protect”,says Robert More, great-grandson of Guy Aubrey Chalkley and current CEO of MORE Family Collection:
“Founded in the early 1930s by my great grandfather, Guy Aubrey Chalkley, MORE Family Collection – as we are now known – is led by its 4th generation.
Taking as inspiration the many blessings we were so fortunate to enjoy in our childhoods, Nick (my brother), Britt (my wife) and I worked hard to create a unique and life enriching collection off experiences which span the most breath-taking regions in Southern Africa.
As a community of people we are personal, private, family owned and managed. We are human and always learning. We are completely committed to our guests and the many exceptional people who deliver our incredible story.”
Lion Sands offers visitors from around the world the opportunity to connect with the restorative power of Nature. The way they connect is what sets Lion Sands Game Reserve apart.
Our team on the ground has designed unique guest experiences with the purpose of enriching lives.
Four luxury lodges each have a unique character and design, and afford visitors with very comfortable homes from which to appreciate the wild. Three remote treehouses offer the ultimate one-on-one wilderness experience, where guests are able to spend a night on their own under the stars.
3.What can a guest expect from the moment they walk in?
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach at Lion Sands, and guests can expect an utterly tailor-made experience based on their unique interests and needs.
Throughout our years on the ground – and being family people and travellers ourselves – we have come to understand what is important to our guests, and have designed more personal experiences around:
Memorable family time – our family experiences – including the Mack & Madi Kids’ Adventure – offer something for everyone, making Lion Sands Game Reserve a favourite multigenerational holiday destinations
Authentic wilderness adventures – safaris to awaken the soul put guests in the moment when pulses quicken and all five senses engage on encountering Africa’s most spectacular wildlife, accompanied by MORE Guides in a league of their own.
Relaxation and recharging – opportunities to disconnect from a life perpetually ‘switched on’ centre around being very well taken care of, in complete comfort, providing rare time to ‘just be’ that inspires a sense of wellbeing.
Opportunities to give back – on-the-ground experiences bring guests into the heart of Southern Africa, where they have the chance to connect with local people, while having a positive and meaningful impact on their lives.
Tailor-made private luxury – MORE Family Collection’s Villas – deluxe, exclusive-use accommodations, with dedicated teams of staff – create highly-personalised leisure experiences, affording guests the pleasure of holidaying their way.
4.The tourism field is changing and has changed what have you done to accommodate these changes?
In the face of COVID-19, the global traveller is looking for destinations which put their health and safety first.
We have adopted stringent Health and Safety protocols, endorsed by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) – the global authority on the socio-economic contribution of this key sector and works to promote its sustainable growth.
To urgently move Travel & Tourism forward in the time of COVID-19 from crisis management to recovery, the WTTC has developed Leading Global Protocols that will allow the sector to open up while putting the health, safety and security of its workforce and travellers first.
We are proud to be part of this solution and have received the WTTC’s ‘Safe Travels’ stamp. This stamp accredits us amongst a worldwide network of companies that are compliant with the global standardised health and hygiene protocols, which assure: operational and staff preparedness; a safe experience; trust and confidence through transparency; cooperation with governments implementing enabling policies.
Our guest experiences remain unimpacted by these health and safety protocols.
Many families and couples are looking for that ‘bucket list’ experience together following months of lockdown.
Lion Sands Game Reserve gives them the place to reconnect with one another and life, in one of South Africa’s most magnificent places.
We realise the healing power of Nature, and that what the world needs right now is healing in the wake of this global pandemic.
5.Please tell us more about your Action Against Poverty Project.
We don’t have an Action Against Poverty Project, but we do have a number of on-the-ground community projects managed by our Corporate Social Responsibility arm, More Community Trust.
MORE Community Trust (MCT) helps fulfil our commitment to creating opportunities for people to enrich their lives.
As our social development arm, it gives long-term, meaningful assistance to the communities in which our lodges and hotels operate, and empowers local people.
Development projects in place are designed around four pillars, supporting:
• Child Education and Adult Skills Development – securing a future for our children and enabling adults in our communities to enter the workplace, as well as to create their own jobs and employment for others.
• Local Black Business Enterprise Development – providing business support and enterprise opportunities to allow more people to escape poverty, build their communities, and contribute to South Africa’s economy.
• Improving Living Standards – bettering our people’s quality of life and well-being through the provision of basic needs, including security, healthcare, sanitation and clean, running water – by far the greatest necessity.
• Access to Clean, Running Water – installing solar-powered boreholes and developing a pilot borehole water-supply model in communities to ensure their sustainable access to this fundamental human right.
Our projects include:
• Henna Preschool, Mpumalanga – in partnership with Lion Sands Game Reserve
• Jabez Preschool, Mpumalanga – in partnership with Lion Sands Game Reserve
• Huntington Digital Learning Campus, Mpumalanga – in partnership with Lion Sands Game Reserve and the Good Work Foundation
• Community Borehole Installations, Mpumalanga and Victoria Falls – in partnership with Lion Sands Game Reserve, Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel, Franklin Electric SA, and JG Afrika.
Each resident has a role to play. We believe that by empowering people to contribute their own efforts, projects are continued into the future, inspiring a sense of security and pride.
But together we can do more, and our trust welcomes hands-on help from socially conscious guests.
6.Why is Tourism important in Africa?
Tourism, and particularly eco-tourism, plays a significant role as a contributor to South Africa’s economy (estimated at around 9% of South Africa’s GDP).
This benefits South African citizens through employment opportunities (more than 80% of our workforce are from local communities in the areas in which we operate), and also contributes to the conservation of our vast natural resources and rich heritage for the enjoyment of generations to come.
Make the very most out of this extraordinary and multi award winning destination of a life time that offers a thrilling escape into a breath taking setting.more.co.za