Sabi Sand Game Reserve_

Sabi Sand Game Reserve South Africa Safari Guide

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(Last Updated On: December 26, 2022)

Probably the most prestigious recreation reserve in South Africa, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is famed for a number of the finest Big 5 recreation safaris on the earth.

A luxurious wildlife reserve called Sabi Sands is located next to Kruger National Park in South Africa. The most fashionable spot to stay if you’re going on an African safari is here. Here, you may find the “Big 5” in their natural environment. On game drives in this reserve, one of the Big 5’s most elusive members, the leopard, is frequently spotted.

The 65,000-acre Sabi Sands Game Reserve, established by local landowners in the 1950s, is a modest reserve when compared to its well-known neighbor, the famed Kruger National Park. However, because it is a private reserve, no day visitors or self-drivers are allowed, ensuring the park’s uniqueness.

One of the most well-known private reserves in the region, with frequent sightings of the Big Five and an astoundingly gorgeous terrain that is home to more than 150 animal species and 500 bird species, this diversified bushveld paradise offers game-watching that is simply unmatched.

You’ll be residing at a private, opulent lodge. The cost includes meals and game drives. An experienced ranger will lead you as you discover the charm and mystique of the African wilderness.

There are 21 lodges from which to select. We’ve picked just a few of the highlights for you to think about.

What is the admission charge to Sabi Sand Game Reserve?

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve charges R340 ($USD 20) per vehicle, for each stay, R160 ($USD $10) for each person, and R151 ($USD $8.78) for visitor conservation donations as part of the admission fee.

In what region is the Sabi Sand Game Reserve?

Federal Air operates twice-daily scheduled flights to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which is situated in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga, South Africa, right next to the Kruger National Park.

Which animals are present in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve?

Big cats, including the Big Five—the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and African buffalo—as well as wild dogs, may be seen at the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve SA Reviews & Africa Safari

Sabi Sand Game Reserve shares a 50km/30 mi unfenced border with Kruger National Park and gives the very best wildlife viewing in South Africa.

The world is split into particular person personal recreation reserves, all providing the final word Large 5 expertise, luxurious lodging, nice service, and glorious meals.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is a 65,000-hectare reserve, pioneered by native landowners in the 1950s, and shares a border with the world-renowned Kruger Nationwide Park.

Immediately, many of those households are actually third and fourth-technology land homeowners, their legacy being the profitable conservation of the very best density of huge recreation in South Africa.

Where exactly is the reserve?

On South Africa’s northeast, in the Mpumalanga Lowveld, Sabi Sands is well situated next to the Kruger National Park. The Sabie River, which borders the Manyealeti Game Reserve to the north and Kruger to the west and is located to the south of the park, gave rise to the name.

Similar to its neighbors, it is conveniently reachable from Johannesburg and Cape Town by regularly scheduled flights to regional airports situated across the park.

Despite the fact that there’s a 50-kilometer unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park, wildlife within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is nicely habituated leading to extraordinary shut encounters and prolific sightings, notably of the elusive leopard.

The Sabi and the Sand Rivers are run by the reserve, which adds an additional dimension to the bio-diversity of this space.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is located within the southwestern nook of the world-renowned Kruger National Park and shares a 50km unfenced border.

The reserve gives unique expertise with a number of the world’s most luxurious lodges, nice service, and positive eating.

Sabi Sands is the final word South African safari vacation spot. With such a focus on wildlife, your unbelievable Large 5 encounter is nearly assured.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve additionally hosts a number of the best luxury safari lodges to be discovered anyplace in Africa, so put together to be impressed.

With no fences between the personal recreation reserves and the Kruger Park, animals wander throughout huge stretches of grazing land as they did years and years in the past.

With one of many richest recreation populations within the nation, the probability of seeing the Large 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino) are glorious.

You might be virtually assured of sightings of the Large 5 and the reserve is legendary for unbelievable leopard sightings.

What can you anticipate from the landscape?

The Sand River and its numerous tributaries produce saturated and hence denser flora, which gives rise to towering trees and wooded places. The Sand River snakes its way directly through the middle of the Sabi Sands terrain.

Due to its vastness, there are also several rocky outcrop sections and sporadic, more open savannah regions. Many different animals, especially the bigger cats, thrive in this type of environment.

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Image Credit: Wikivoyage

Why Sabi Sand Game Reserve?

Sabi Sands Game Reserve gives a number of the finest recreation viewing in Africa.

World-class luxurious safari lodges, with top-quality service and glorious delicacies, supply private and fully-inclusive safari expertise.

Skilled guides and trackers will present extraordinary shut encounters and prolific sightings.
Exhilarating night recreation drives will help you spot nocturnal wildlife and the elusive leopard.

Birthplace of sustainable wildlife tourism in southern Africa.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing with good sightings of the Large 5
  • Good guides and trackers take you out on two drives a day
  • Off-road driving permits shut viewing of animals
  • Glorious high-end luxurious safari lodges
  • Principally costly, fully-inclusive safari packages obtainable
  • Emphasis on Large 5 animals and ticking off flagship species

Trees

The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is home to hundreds of different plant species. Depending on how palatable they are or how high their nutritional content is, all plants, whether grasses or other types, have different levels of appeal as food. There are two different plant species that provide nourishment for animals. The two types of grasses.

Similar-sized grasslands can support more animals than wooded bush regions do. The Scented Thorn, the Delagoa Thorn, the Fever Tree, and the Brack Thorn are among the trees that may be seen at Sabi Sands.

Animals

Wildlife may move freely between the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and Kruger National Park since there are no walls between them. For those who appreciate the Big Five, and cats, in particular, the game-watching in Sabi Sands is absolutely remarkable.

Due to the dense foliage and tall trees, it is possible to frequently see the elusive leopard, whereas lions and cheetahs prefer the more open savannah areas. The possibilities are vast since it is not overrun with tourists and rangers are permitted to travel off-road (unlike in the Kruger), thus sightings of wild dogs, white rhinos, hyenas, sable antelope, and nyalas are frequent.

Visitors to the park are in for a treat since Sabi Sand Game Reserve offers genuinely exceptional animal watching. In particular, this applies to huge cats.

Most visitors see all five of the Big Five species—the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and African buffalo—during their two to three-day stay. Off-road driving ensures great sightings, especially of the local predators that have become used to humans. The fact that Sabi Sand is a component of the enormous Greater Kruger ecosystem allows for a really genuine wildlife encounter.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve is the place in South Africa to simply see all the Large 5 in a brief interval. Even a two-day go-to is normally sufficient to see all flagship species.

In fact, Sabi Sands may be the finest location in Africa for seeing leopards. The number and caliber of sightings are both excellent. Leopard activity, such as males marking and patrolling their territory or females socializing with their offspring, may be observed here.

Although wild dog sightings are less frequent, it is frequently feasible to interact with these gregarious group animals if they are dining nearby.

Wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, hyenas, and Cape wild dogs are among the other animals that frequent the area.

With superb inhabitants of extremely habituated leopards, Sabi Sand Game Reserve is likely one of the finest locations in Africa to see these usually elusive cats. Lions and cheetahs are additionally simply seen.

Birds

With more than 350 different kinds of birds present, the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is a bird watcher’s heaven. Any safari may be enhanced by learning about the local birds, and knowledgeable rangers can give you an inside look at their fascinating world.

The majority of guides have extensive knowledge of both birds and other subjects. In the private reserves, car and walking safaris work quite well for birding.

But in Sabi Sands, the focus is on animals and the Big 5. If you are a birder, it might be wise to schedule private game drives. From November through April, migratory birds can be found here.

The Bateleur, Comb duck, and Black-bellied bustard are some more species that may be found in the region.

Best things to do in Sabi Sands Game Reserve

The Sabi Sands Reserve is home to a wide variety of luxurious lodges, each of which offers thrilling activities like hot air ballooning for an absolutely breathtaking aerial view of the bushveld and spot-lit nighttime game drives to search for nocturnal wildlife.

The rangers’ ability to travel off-road, which is absolutely forbidden in the Kruger, is another fantastic benefit of it being a private reserve. As a result, following creatures on your bucket list may become a memorable journey.

One of the greatest spots in South Africa to observe all five members of the Big Five quickly and easily is the Sabi Sands private game reserve. Most of the time, a two-day trip is sufficient to observe all the flagship species.

Sabi Sands is one of the greatest areas in Africa to watch leopards since it has a large population of habituated individuals. Also easily spotted are lions and cheetahs.

The region is well known for its diverse wildlife, which offers everything a safari enthusiast might want. As Sabi Sand was, avid bird or wildlife photographers will be astounded by the caliber and quantity of birding on offer.

Visitors to Sabi Sand Game Reserve may also look forward to the following South African activities during their trip:

  • Game drive: A tour of the animals in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve that offers breathtaking vistas of diverse wildlife populations and breathtaking surroundings.
  • Spend a delightful day interacting directly with six magnificent African elephants at Elephant Whispers – A Full Day with Elephants. Watch the elephants’ morning workouts and daycare while helping to brush them down.
  • In the midst of the bushveld, the Amani Spa at Bush Lodge provides a wide variety of beauty and health services, such as massages, facials, traditional or luxury pedicures, and manicures, body wraps, and scrubs.
  • Boma dinners: After a fruitful evening game drive, you are welcomed by the alluring sight of elegantly set dining tables gathered around a blazing fire at your camp. You will feel toasty from the flickering heat of the fire when you sit down near it.
  • Bush camp walks: Explore the amazing Sabi Sand Game Reserve with expert guides at a leisurely, calm pace while spotting birds, animals, and rare tree species.
  • Helicopter tour: Take in a panoramic bird’s eye view of the magnificent Lisbon Falls, which drop in four directions from a 92-meter-high cliff into a sizable, lovely, and chilly lake. Witness the 64-meter-high Mac-Mac Falls, which drop into the wooded canyon below, the 80-meter-high Berlin Falls, and God’s Window.
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Image Credit: Go2Africa

Setting

Sabi Sand Game Reserve is an extension of Kruger National Park and has the same comparatively thick vegetation consisting of woodland savannah.

Two rivers run by the reserve, offering water. The riverine vegetation makes a wonderful habitat for leopards and different wildlife.

Most locations inside Sabi Sands provide an identical deal: upmarket safari packages, together with lodging, all meals, and actions. Some upmarket lodges embrace drinks whereas others do not.

The person reserves share fenceless borders with the Better Kruger ecosystem and provide a comparable wildlife viewing expertise.

All Sabi Sands reserves are glorious safari locations. When deciding the place to remain, the variations within the following components might be taken into consideration.

Property size and traversing rights

Traversing rights imply that the friends of 1 reserve are allowed to enter the property of one other reserve on recreation drives.

Whereas traversing rights give folks entry to a higher space, it additionally signifies that areas shared by a number of reserves usually get extra crowded.

This could create congestion and time stress around wildlife sightings since solely three autos are allowed at any specific sighting.

The perfect deal is a big property with restricted or no traversing rights. Singita and Londolozi, for instance, have a big property without traversing rights.

The identical applies to Mala Mala, which was once a part of Sabi Sands, however, now operates as an unbiased reserve.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve accommodation

When considering where to stay when visiting Sabi Sand Game Reserve, visitors have a variety of alternatives, with lodging options ranging from high-end safari hotels to more affordable campsites.

Lodges

The first of its type in the reserve, Umkumbe Bush Lodge is a luxury tented camp that provides all the amenities of a home, including superb air conditioning.

This resort is more of a glamping destination than a typical safari lodge. The restaurant is handled by a small group of highly capable and amiable individuals, and the food is straightforward but delicious braai-style.

The main section of Umkumbe is equipped with local antiquities and has a boma, bar, swimming pool, and large viewing terraces. It is perfect for families and couples.

The outstanding Royal Malewane, a luxurious safari lodge located in the 12,000-hectare Thornybush Game Reserve, is also available. The colonial elegance can accommodate up to 20 guests, and each air-conditioned apartment has its own balcony, pool, and gazebo.

The main camp structure, which includes a library, dining room, and lounge outfitted with Persian carpets and antiques, is connected to the apartments by elevated walkways. Additionally, there is a spa, a steam room, and a gym where licensed therapists provide services including massages and aromatherapy.

Other lodging choices include the luxurious Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge in the adjacent Kruger National Park, which offers stylish rooms with hot tubs or private pools.

Bars/restaurants/amenities

All meals and beverages are often included in lodging packages.

Luxury stage and rates

Though all provide luxurious and costly choices, there are some variations. Londolozi and Singita are, for instance, dearer and really luxurious. Djuma is much more reasonably priced, however it can solely be booked by teams.

Mala Mala is barely extra reasonably priced, and among the finest locations for wildlife viewing (massive property, restricted traversing rights), however, is comparatively easy by way of lodging.

Entry to the river frontage

River frontage is a plus as a result it attracts animals. Whereas waterholes have an identical impact, a river can also be a scenic characteristic, and it gives the possibility to see elephants in the water.

A number of the reserves haven’t river frontage, however, they have traversing rights onto a property that does, which quantities to the identical factor.

Chitwa Chitwa Lodge

Chitwa Chitwa blends traditional African style with contemporary European architecture. It has a view of one of Sabi Sand’s largest lakes, which is a favorite hangout for the local fauna. You may unwind in your lodge while seeing the animals consuming water from the lake.

Leopard Hills Lodge

Leopard Hill has 10,000 hectares of varied terrain and is situated on a rocky outcrop in the western portion of Sabi Sands. The Lodge, which has eight opulent rooms, looks out into a natural waterhole. They all have glass fronts, a sundeck, a plunge pool, and views of the bushveld.

There are indoor and outdoor showers in the enormous bathrooms. The beds have mosquito nets covering them and percale cotton linens. This will be your opulent haven following a tiresome day of seeking the Big Five.

Should you feel the need to work up a sweat, there is even a gym.

Londolozi Game Reserve

Family-run Londolozi Game Reserve is popular among eco-tourists. There are five opulent lodges from which to pick. The Pioneer Camp, which can accommodate up to 14 people, is the most secluded.

The Varty Camp Londolozi features eleven cabins. The campfire has been burning here for eighty years; it serves as the Londolozi Game Reserve’s symbolic center.

It’s difficult to match Londolozi Tree Camp’s visual charm. It offers a private plunge pool and 6 opulent suites.

Lion Sands Game Reserve

The only reserve that allows access to the Sabie River is where the Lion Sands hotels are located. You’ll struggle to find a finer location for your safari than the Lion Sands Narnia Lodge, which is shaped like a luxurious tree home, or the River Lodge, which is situated on the banks of the Sabie River.

Private pools are available at several of the resorts. Others consist of a series of chambers connected by wooden stairways.

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Sabi Sabi Game Reserve

In Sabi Sands, the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve provides a variety of opulent lodges. The lodges are extremely stylish, fusing traditional colonial designs with contemporary African touches.

The Earth Lodge is practically imperceptible to the eye since it has been carved into a slope of the ground. It’s a unique resort and among the most environmentally friendly in the area.

The Bush Lodge is cozy, and vivacious, and offers breathtaking views of the African plain while being situated right in the middle of the bushveld.

The Selati Lodge is the best place for romance. It evokes a bygone era with its ancient furnishings and lights with little oil lamps.

Families will love the Little Bush Camp, which is located beside the Msuthlu River. On starry nights, you may enjoy dining and drinking in the thatched center area.

Geography

In the Mpumalanga Lowveld, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is situated next to the Kruger National Park.

Here, safaris may be paired with excursions to Phinda Game Reserve, Singita Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, or Kruger National Park.

Weather

Winter and summer in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve occur at opposite times from when they do in Europe and North America. The hot, rainy summer lasts from October to April, whereas the moderate, dry winter lasts from May to September.

Warm clothing is recommended for game drives in the winter since, despite the nice winter days, it can be chilly in the mornings. Most of the time it doesn’t rain and the humidity is low throughout this winter season, which lasts from May to September. Animals congregate around permanent water sources, which makes them easier to see.

Health

The chance of contracting malaria during the rainy summer months is quite low because the disease is present in Sabi Sand. Using DEET-containing insect repellent and taking antimalarial medications are two precautions you may take if you are traveling during this period.

For South Africa, it is suggested to get immunized against malaria, get additional immunizations, cover yourself at night, and use insect repellent (those containing DEET are most effective).

It is advised to go to a travel medical facility before traveling to South Africa. It is generally advised to be vaccinated against several diseases in South Africa before traveling there.

When to travel

The Sabi Sands safari lodges, famous for their chic interior design and unmatched game-watching just outside your door, are the perfect place to unwind after a long day of wildlife viewing.

It’s critical to know when is the ideal time to visit South Africa because this will affect costs for lodging, flights, availability, and weather for safari travelers. There may also be a need for an entrance visa for South Africa.

Winter, usually known as the “low season,” is the ideal time to explore Sabi Sands. This runs from May through September and is known as the Dry season.

During the dry months, animals congregate around rivers and waterholes where they are easier to notice since there is less vegetation to cover them. It’s a great time to travel in September. Additionally, it is the least chilly during the winter season.

Booking in advance is strongly advised since Sabi Sands is in high demand all year round because of its exclusivity. Because of the scant vegetation, which makes it simpler to observe animals, the dry winter months offer the finest game-watching in the majority of the region.

How to go there

By plane

Visitors can fly to either Cape Town International Airport (CPT) or O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg to go to South Africa and the park. According to the most recent entrance regulations, a visa for South Africa will probably also be needed.

After that, you may board Federal Air’s twice-daily scheduled trip to Sabi Sand.

As an alternative, you can take a subsequent flight to Skukuza Airport (SZK) in Kruger National Park or to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) close to Mbombela. You may organize a two-hour transfer from Nelspruit or Skukuza to your Sabi Sands safari lodging.

By Road

You might rent a car in Johannesburg and take the N4 to Nelspruit to go to the park. For access to the many lodges located inside the reserve, the park has three entrance gates. The travel takes roughly 5.5 hours, covering a distance of approximately 500 kilometers (310 mi).

The rand (ZAR), which you should have on hand in tiny amounts, is recommended for smaller purchases.

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Tariffs and regulations Admission charge

All costs for the Sabi Sand Game Reserve must be paid at the gate before entering. The 24-hour validity of park fees. Fees comprise:

Entry costs R340 ($20 USD) for each car, night R160 ($10 USD) per passenger, per night Guest Conservation Contribution of R151

Regulations

You can stay with the animals as long as you follow park regulations and do not disrupt them.

Final thought

The 65,000-hectare Sabi Sand Game Reserve is located in the southwest portion of South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park.

The most prominent game reserve in South Africa, and one that has won several awards as well, is well known for its outstanding leopard and lion sightings.

The region is separated into many private game reserves, each of which provides the ultimate Big Five safari experience, plush lodging, first-rate service, and delectable cuisine.

The reserve has one of the most abundant game populations in the nation, making the odds of seeing the Big Five great. Additionally, the reserve is generally well-established, leading to amazing near encounters and frequent sightings.

Self Drive Direction

Website: www.sabi-sands.com

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