Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve Lodges
The 65 000 hectare Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is famous for its leopard sightings. Big game abounds and the lodges over some of the most exclusive and unique accommodation in Southern Africa.
A general overview of Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve Lodges in the Limpopo province shares a 50 kilometre unfenced border with the renowned Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa. It forms a part of the recently established Greater Kruger Park, an open conserved area that totals approximately 7 000 000 acres or 23 000 square kilometres.
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve was established by local landowners in the 1950s and consists of 65 000 hectares. Many of the families are today third and fourth generation land owners in the successful conservation of the highest density of big game in South Africa. The Sabi and the Sand Rivers run through the reserve which adds to the bio-diversity of the area.
Sabi Sands is one of the most private games reserves in South Africa and offer a safari experience that is unparalleled to any other. Due to the no fences between Sabi Sands and the KNP, wildlife can roam freely in a vast natural environment. From anywhere in the Sabi Sands, visitors can enter one of two entrance gates to Kruger National Park which is between one and two hours’ drive away.
Visitors are guaranteed close encounters and abundant sightings of the Big 5, particularly the elusive leopard. Thus Sabi Sands offers the best photographic safari one can think of. You will return home with stunning photographs and memories. The area also boasts a full range of other indigenous wildlife, including over 300 bird species. Sabi Sands possibly makes the best South African safari destination for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers and bird watchers.
The best way to enjoy the wildlife of the area is through game drives during your visit and the many offered open vehicle safaris drives are the best way to get even closer to these majestic animals. Under the guidance of experienced and qualified rangers, you may experience more than one such a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Of all the game drive possibilities, night game drives are possibly the most popular and rewarding.
At night that part of the bush that one cannot experience on your own during a self-drive safari, comes alive as the nocturnal animals start to emerge and go hunting and feeding. Most of the vehicles used for night drives are fitted with effectively adapted spotlights to provide optimal game viewing in the dark.
The reserve and surroundings offer accommodation by means of highly rated lodges, from where both local and foreign visitors can enjoy a true African luxury experience, but in a typical safari setting.
Many of them offer the convenient option of travel packages that are all inclusive and offers all meals, drinks, activities and more as part of the price.
The history of Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Sabi Sands Game Reserve as we know it today was originally proclaimed as the Sabie Reserve in 1898. It was the forerunner of Kruger National Park. Many of the original landowners had to move out of the area in 1926 when the National Parks Act was passed. In turn, the former land owners created the Sabi Private Game Reserve next to Kruger National Park in 1934.
Six families of these pioneering land owners, still own land in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve as third and fourth generation owners. Sabi Sands was formally formed in 1948. Although it is now part of the Greater Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sands Game Reserve was originally agricultural land. Farming mostly with cattle, reliable water resources was needed on the farms. To provide this many boreholes were drilled that provided a steady flow of water.
Since Sabi Sands was established as a game reserve, the waterholes and dams functioned as a water source for the many wild animals. As the waterholes provide enough water throughout the year, together with the Sabi and Sand rivers, the reserve proves to be a very popular place for large herds of animals.
Where is the Sabi Sands Game Reserve located?
Sabi Sands is a protected game reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park as a member of the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR).
Sabi Sands Game Reserve is situated on the western boundary of the KNP, east of Acornhoek in the north and Hazyview in the south. The Sabi River forms the southern border of the reserve, while the Sand River flows from the south through the centre of the reserve to the north.
How do you get to the Sabi Sands Game Reserve?
Getting to Sabi Sands Game Reserve is accessible by road and air. Many visitors choose a scheduled flight or shuttle flight to the reserve.
Getting to Sabi Sands by air is convenient since there are three major airport serving the Sabi Sands, namely:
- Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA)
- Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport
- Skukuza Airport
Travellers can book scheduled flights from Johannesburg and from Cape Town to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) near Nelspruit which is convenient for visitors to the western sector of the reserve. From here you can travel by road to your lodge or a lodge link flight on a small aircraft.
South African Airways also flies scheduled flights to Hoedspruit Airport, which is convenient for travellers staying in the northern section of the Sabi Sands. From here travellers can make use of road transfer to your lodge.
Skukuza Airport located in Kruger National Park, was recently reopened and is perfect for travellers staying in the southern section of the Sabi Sands.
Sabi Sands will assist with road transfers from any of these airports to your lodge in combination with a confirmed booking.
Visitors arriving at KMIA or Skukuza can also make use of a short onward transfer flight on a small aircraft to their preferred lodge. Many lodges have their own airstrips and these short flights are an experience in itself and very scenic as the aircraft will stay at a low altitude offering you picture perfect views over the South African Bush.
The following airstrips are available:
- Ulusaba airstrip which is convenient for lodges in the western sector
- Arathusa airstrip, perfect for lodges in the northern sector
- Londolozi Airstrip only caters for Londolozi lodges
No additional road transfers are required when arriving at any of these airstrips.
In addition, Sabi Sands offer shuttle flights which is the fastest and most convenient option to get to the Sabi Sands Game Reserve from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Federal Air serves most of the lodged on a daily base.
Getting to Sabi Sands by road is just as easy and the distance from Johannesburg is about 450 kilometres and should take you about 6 to 7 hours. From Johannesburg you take the N4 heading to Nelspruit and from there to Hazyview.
Sabi Sands has three access gates:
- Shaw’s Gate
- Newington Gate
- Gowrie Gate
All three the gates are open from 05:00 to 22:00 and serve different lodges. Visitors should make sure they use the correct gate. Access to the northern section of the reserve to Chitwa, Cheetah Plains and Arathusa lodges is through Gowrie gate which is a 7-hour drive from Johannesburg. A gate fee also applies for the vehicle as well as per person travelling in the car.
Why would you want to visit the Sabi Sands Game Reserve?
There are numerous good reasons to include a visit to Sabi Sands in your southern African travelling itinerary. Sabi Sands Game Reserve has many lodges that all have something unique to offer. All the lodges include meals in your stay as well as safari activities. This is one of the main advantages of staying in a private game reserve, you will be guided by highly trained guides that can tell you everything about the reserve and the animals. You are not allowed to drive around on your own but this also has it advantage as rangers may drive off-road. That elusive leopard can now be followed by your ranger when it disappears in the bush.
Day visitors are not allowed in the reserve. There is no self-catering, camping, or picnic facilities available on site. You need a booking at one of the Sabi Sands lodges to be allowed entrance into the reserve.
Since Sabi Sands Game Reserve is situated adjacent to the world-famous Kruger National Park without any of the previous fencing, the game reserve now shares open borders with the park and forms an integral part of the national park’s ecosystem.
The experience of game viewing in this reserve is now even more rewarding, with the presence of all species including the Big 5. The Sabi and Sand rivers attracts a variety of wildlife, including not only the Big 5 but a variety of wildlife like, waterbuck, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck and giraffe, to mention but a few.
All the lodges offer daily open safari vehicle drives as well as off-road drives to staying guests for an unforgettable experience.
The area offers excellent bird watching. The Sabi and Sand rivers, is perennial rivers that attracts many waders and other birds associated with water. The area is also excellent for raptor sightings.
If you want to have close and intimate encounter with the animals that can be found in Big 5 territory, Sabi Sands is the destination for you. Having enough water sources and with two rivers flowing through the reserve, the area attracts a multitude of animals all through the year.
To summarise some of the most prominent reasons for visiting Sabi Sands:
- You will be able to experience the wilderness in the Greater Kruger Ecosystem
- A variety of luxurious accommodation are available
- You will get excellent value-for-money
- Game drives are offered during the day and night
- The Sabi and Sand rivers attracts a variety of wildlife all year round
- You can experience amazing game viewing, including the Big 5
What can you do while staying at the Sabi Sands Game Reserve?
Everything in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve has been designed so that you can have a unique experience within unspoilt nature. You can ready yourself for animal sightings galore. Chances are very good that you will see most if not all of the Big 5. Apart from that you will see an abundant number of other animals and birds whilst on game drives or even just walking around where you are able and allowed too.
Open safari vehicle game drives that are offered during the day and night permits close-up encounters with wildlife. Sabi Sands Game Reserve covers thousands of hectares on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park, which means that exceptional Big 5 game viewing can take place in a private area where guest numbers are limited.
Game drives are interpretive drives in the bush specially adapted four wheel-drive vehicles, with the purpose of finding wildlife in their natural habitat. You will be accompanied by ranger, which will sometimes be armed, with a comprehensive knowledge of all flora and fauna found in Sabi Sands.
Normally a tracker will join the ranger who is being seated on the front of the car in a small seat and scans the environment for game. These are all very passionate people, who have a special ability to teach you about nature. They will also pay attention to smaller things in the bush such as plants, birds and insects.
Game drives normally take place twice a day – the first starts just after sunrise until around 10:00 and the second from 14:30 to sunset. The open vehicles in which these drives are negotiated, add a greater sense of adventure for close encounters with African wildlife and guests usually thoroughly enjoy these outings.
During a sunset or night safari, your stops will be timed and planned by the ranger or guide to get the best opportunity to photograph a stunning sunset and to listen to the traditional night sounds. Powerful spotlights are usually provided and used to locate the more elusive nocturnal animals.
Visitors will also experience night-time wildlife encounters, and guests should always be on the lookout for civets, owls, bush babies, aardvark, hares and the elusive leopard, to name but a few. Night drives are even more magical, with the to life at night in the bush brought to you with the help of powerful spotlights.
When available, the lodges in Sabi Sands also offers a bush walk with an armed ranger to add to the thrill of encountering animals on foot. You experience a completely different understanding of nature and it is sometimes even possible to approach wildlife to a very short distance. The minimum age for participating in a game walk is usually fourteen.
These walks are always guided by an accompanying experienced and armed ranger, even more than one, and they are ready to share their knowledge and expertise on the footprints and other signs left by animals. The focus of these walks is on tracks, scats and other signs of the wild. Most of these can’t easily be seen from game vehicles, so this way you can learn how to personally identify the paths the animals make and follow and discover more of the smaller critters and plants of the area. You will witness the daily experiences of the animals by sharing their game paths, waterholes and become more knowledgeable about their environment.
Although these guided walking safaris really are something spectacular, during which you can truly immerse yourself in the surrounding nature, you can also embrace pristine African landscapes with an abundance of wildlife and birds in and around all the accommodation establishments offered.
Since Sabi Sands is known for its variety and abundance of wildlife, an array of plains game such as zebras, wildebeest, buffalo, impala and giraffes can usually be found at the various watering holes, and larger game like hippos, elephants and crocodiles can be found in the Sabi and Sand river catchment at any time throughout the day.
The availability of many of these animals as prey in turn attracts lions and other predators, which will then closely be followed by scavenging hyenas.
With over 300 bird species found in the area, Sabi Sands is a favourite destination among birders, and a range of encounters with some rarer species can be expected. Water birds like storks and herons can be found in the lush vegetation along the banks of the two rivers.
But bird and game viewing are not the only activities that you can keep yourself busy with while staying in Sabi Sands.
The reserve is a real mecca for avid photographers and cinematographers, especially since the area is so well-known for its amazing sunsets and panoramic views. Stargazing is offered by some venues on cloudless nights and offers a spectacular experience.
Gym facilities are found at many of the lodges and offers a healthy way to work up a sweat on the various machines and equipment while watching out over the bush below. The many well-equipped gym caters to the guests’ need for physical exertion – something often necessary when the temptation to overindulge in the culinary delights offered at the same lodges gets the better of your willpower.
Moreover, such exercise in the bush can be just the alternative after you had adequate time for relaxing on a deck or next to a pool.
To complement some healthy exercise, spa treatments like massages, or skin and beauty spa treatments, can enhance a deeper and more spiritual aura cleanse for better body balance and an enjoyable sensory experience.
Such massage treatments can leave you feeling revitalised and rejuvenated after a hot day in the sun and offers the perfect alternative to rest and relax. These havens of tranquillity provide the ultimate and much coveted African Spa experience.
One of the best ways to end a day in the veld remains to cool off in a swimming pool, and if you are able to do that with a spectacular view of the unspoiled landscape around you, it is an added bonus. Most lodges boast viewing decks with swimming pools that are excellently situated for both bird watching and game viewing, whilst enjoying the cool water with a refreshing drink in hand.
For the couple who seeks an intimate destination for a wedding or honeymoon, Sabi Sands Game Reserve is the ideal place for that kind of romance. With its warm heart of African hospitality, beautiful sunsets, panoramic views and beautiful accommodation, it offers the ideal venue to escape to with a close group of family and friends.
What should you watch out for while staying at the Sabi Sands Game Reserve?
Sabi Sand is located in the subtropical lowveld of South Africa, an area with multiple eco-zones that results in a significant variety in its fauna and flora. Seeing the Big 5 in their natural habitat is one of the most memorable things one can ever experience. The African continent is the only place in the world where big game still roams freely and in great numbers.
The diverse flora of the region in turn accommodates a diverse array of fauna. Many different kinds of birds inhabit the area. These include several raptor species such as lappet-faced vulture, Pel’s fishing owl, martial eagle and impressive larger birds such as the kori bustard, ground hornbill and saddle-billed stork.
There are numerous species of mammals, ranging from plains game such as wildebeest, zebra and giraffe, to predators such as lion, cheetah and leopard. The rivers and other watering holes are home to herds of hippos and crocodiles.
Sabi Sands has a completely natural eco system, with all the animals being free to walk on and off the reserve according to their feeding needs. The reserve’s bushveld is synonymous with the African continent, and although the occurrence of each species fluctuates according to a specific area, the long grass combined with striking woodland trees such as the fever, mopane and thorn trees, are easily recognisable as far as you go.
During the dry months, which occur in winter, the Sabi and Sand rivers still holds water in scattered pools and this, together with the riparian woodland, attract abundant wildlife from all over.
Once spring arrives, the knob thorns, marula, leadwood, apple leaf and sjambok trees are covered by breath-taking seasonal flowers, and later pods and fruits that in turn bring an influx of migratory birds to the area.
The conservation efforts of Sabi Sands Game Reserve and the surrounding area are also not limited to the wildlife only. With some plant species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, conservation policies include the clearing of any alien vegetation, controlling and curbing erosion and planting of indigenous trees and plants to ensure their prevalence.
Due to the more pristine nature of Sabi Sands, as compared to the busier parts of the Kruger National Park itself, there is a better chance to spot rare animals, such as civets and honey badgers, here.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve Accommodation Guide
Accommodation in Sabi Sands Game Reserve range from very luxurious to those offering more affordable lodging for families with children. As there are several lodges to choose from in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, you can be sure to enjoy an exclusive experience guaranteeing an absolutely unforgettable time in the African bush.
The following lodges and camps offer accommodation in the Sabi Sands Reserve:
Londolozi Game Reserve
- Londolozi Founders Camp
- Londolozi Pioneer Camp
- Londolozi Tree Camp
- Londolozi Varty Camp
- Londolozi Private Granite Suites
Mala Mala Game Reserve
Lion Sands Game Reserve
- Lion Sands River Lodge
- Lion Sands Ivory Lodge
- Lion Sands Tinga Lodge
- Lion Sands Narina Lodge
- Treehouse safari Lion Sands
- Singita Boulders Lodge
- Singita Ebony Lodge
Other Sabi Sands Lodges
- Elephant Plains Lodge
- Arathusa Safari Lodge
- Nkorho Bush Lodge
- Idube Game Lodge
- Umkumbe Safari Lodge
- Chitwa Chitwa Lodge
- Tengile River Lodge
- Jaci’s Sabi House
- Ulusaba Safari Lodge
- Leopard Hills Lodge
- &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp
- Ulusaba Rock Lodge
- Notten’s Bush Camp
- Savanna Game Lodge
- Cheetah Plains Lodge
- Inyati Safari Lodge
- Silvan Safari Lodge
All of these lodges in the reserve offer guest an unforgettable Big 5 experience and much more.
The following is an overview of these lodges, with reference to the type of accommodation, facilities and activities offered and highlights to expect during your stay.
Top selling Sabi Sands Lodges
Chitwa Chitwa Lodge
Chitwa Chitwa features a diverse fusion of African and European design in unbridled luxury. It is situated next to one of the largest lakes in Sabi Sand and a popular watering hole for wildlife. Guests can experience spectacular game-spotting without even leaving the lodge, whether you’re on your private deck, in the lounge, dining room or lake-side lapa.
The lodge has six individually decorated suites that open onto a private lake-view deck with its own private plunge pool on a timber deck that overlooks the nearby lake. The suites can accommodate two extra beds for children under the age of 12 years.
The Charlsy Suite is ideal for families or friends travelling together as it consists of two inter-leading en-suite rooms joined by a comfortable living area. A spacious common lake view deck with a swimming pool completes the unit.
All the Chitwa Chitwa Suites include a bath-tub, indoor and outdoor shower, fireplace, minibar, fan, hairdryer, tea coffee making facility and an iPod docking station.
Activities at Chitwa Chitwa Lodge include game drives and bush-walks under the guidance of professional rangers and trackers. Children of all ages are welcome and dedicated bush walks for children are catered for.
Lion Sands Game Reserve
The Lion Sands is the only private reserve that has access to the Sabie River. It offers accommodation in five lodges.
- Lion Sands River Lodge
The Lion Sands River Lodge is situated right on the banks of the Sabi River and is the heart and soul of the Lions Sands Game Reserve. The lodge consists of eighteen rooms which include eight luxury suites, six superior luxury suites and four river suites. All have their own private wooden deck overlooking the Sabi River. The river suites also come with their own private plunge pools.
All suites feature a king-sized bed and en-suite bathroom. The superior luxury suites and river suites also have outdoor showers. All suites are air-conditioned.
Activities at Lion Sands River Lodge include morning and late afternoon game drives guided by experienced field guides and trackers. Guests can between safari activities relax at the pool or get pampered at the spa.
- Lion Sands Ivory Lodge
As with Lion Sands River Lodge, Ivory Lodge is also situated on the banks of the Sabi River. This lodge has the most unique design as the eight one-bedroom villas and one two-bedroom Fish Eagle villa is decorated in ivory and black colours with a feeling of zen.
Each bedroom is connected to a larger living area by means of a sun deck which is just the place to wind down after an excited bush safari. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls assist a wonderful view over the surrounding bushveld and Sabi River. The bathroom is equipped with a free standing bathtub, as well as both indoor and outdoor showers. In addition, guests have their own heated plunge pool on the viewing deck.
Activities at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge include morning and late afternoon drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, accompanied by a two-man team. All vehicles are equipped with binoculars and bird books as well as hot-water bottles and blankets to keep away the cold during chilly winter mornings. The area around Lion Sands is famous for its high number of leopard sightings.
Guests can also participate in a game walk after breakfast or visits the local Shangaan village where you can learn about local traditional medicine and buy local crafts. The lodge has its own spa offering a range of treatments at the hands of expert therapists with natural and ethically formulated Africology products.
- Lion Sands Tinga Lodge
Lion Sands Tinga lodge is situated on the Sabi River and is the one of two lodges in the Lion Sands Game Reserve that is situated on the Kruger National Park side. It consists out of nine suites and one two-bedroom Hi’Nkweni Villa. The Sabie River forms a natural boundary between the two sides of the lodge.
All suites are equipped with a fully stocked minibar and spacious bedrooms with an outdoor shower. All suites are air-conditioned and has a large private lounge area from where you can enjoy unobstructed views of the Sabi River. At Lion Sands Tinga Lodge you experience wildlife at its best. After a safari guest scan relax beside the infinity pool or in the privacy of your own suite in your very own plunge pool.
Activities at Lion Sands Tinga Lodge include twice daily safari drives with trained and experienced rangers. Guest can also experience African nature on foot during a guided bush walk where you will discover and learn to appreciate the smaller things in nature. The lodge also offer wildlife lectures, bush dinners, stargazing and local community experiences. You can also choose to be pampered in the wellness centre with a massages and other treatments.
- Lion Sands Narina Lodge
Narina Lodge is the second lodge of Lion Sands Game Reserve that is situated in KNP. The lodge is built on stilts, blending in between the riverine trees on the banks of the Sabie River. The main lounge, bar, wine cellar and library are decorated in a true African Safari style. Nine thatched suites are connected to the main building by raised wooden walkways. Each is air-conditioned with mini bars and personal safes. All the en-suite bathrooms have double vanities, outdoor showers and large free-standing bath tubs with views of the river. All bedrooms open onto private viewing decks and secluded plunge pools.
Activities at Lion Sands Narina Lodge include morning and afternoon safari game drives with a well-trained and experienced ranger. Guests can also participate in after-breakfast bush walks, wildlife lectures, bush dinners, stargazing and local community experiences. Narina Lodge also has a spa Sala offering a range of treatments at the hands of expert therapists with natural and ethically formulated Africology products.
- Treehouse Safari Lion Sands
If you want to add something truly special and spectacular to your stay at any of the Lion Sands safari lodges book your accommodation in one of the three tree houses on offer. You will be sleeping under the stars in complete privacy whilst listening to the sounds of the bush. A night in a tree house can be booked as an add on when staying at River, Ivory, Narina or Tinga Lodge.
These treehouses are the ultimate bush bedrooms and are constructed above the ground, where animals will remain at a safe and comfortable distance. A ranger will take you to your tree house at sunset. He will provide a full orientation when he drops you off, and will remain on call via the radio until it is time to leave the following morning. You will be provided with a picnic dinner and a sunrise cup of coffee.
- Chalkley tree house Lion Sands
The Chalkley Treehouse is a romantic treehouse with all the 5-star comforts, but affords an experience as wild as the animals that roam beneath it.
- Kingston tree house
Make your way across a small drawbridge to this tree house where you will be surrounded by African bush and uninhibited wildlife at its very best. It is equipped with full bathroom and shower facilities.
- Tinyeleti treehouse
The Tinyeleti Treehouse can accommodate a family of four that includes two adults and two children under the age of 15.
Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Ulusaba Rock Lodge is situated on a hilltop offering uninterrupted panorama views and is probably one of the lodges offering the most amazing views over the South African bushveld. The lodge offers only ten rooms in a distinctly African in style. The main lodge is under thatch with viewing decks where guests can appreciate the views. Guests can soak in the natural rock pool, between game drives and bush walks, or enjoy a relaxing treatment in the luxurious spa.
The rooms are spacious with air-conditioning, a bathroom and a well-stocked minibar. The Master Suite and two Makwela Suites have their own private plunge pools.
Activities at Ulusaba Rock Lodge include early morning and afternoon game drives in an open 4×4 vehicle. Guided bushwalks are also offered. When not exploring the bush, you can relax at the swimming pool or in the spa. In addition, there is also a tennis court and gym. Guest can also visit the wine cellar or gaze at the stars in the bush observatory.
Notten’s Bush Camp
Notten’s Bush Camp means “the land of the rising sun” in the locally spoken Shangaan language. It is an exclusive and private safari lodge run by the Notten family.
Notten’s Bush Camp’s accommodation consists of spacious suites cooled by ceiling fans and air-conditioning. It comes with open-plan bedroom and en-suite bathroom and have both indoor and outdoor shower facilities. All windows and sliding doors are fitted with screens, and insect coils are provided. Each suite leads onto a private wooden deck with a view of the bush. Paraffin lamps and candles replace electric lighting for ambience. Your room is equipped with a power outlet for re-charging phones and camera batteries. Telephone and Wi-Fi is available in the main area of the lodge.
Activities at Notten’s Bush Camp include game drives led by experienced rangers in open-top land rovers as well as walking safaris, giving guest the opportunity of discovering the hidden treasures of the region. Guests can also relax around the pool of enjoy a massage at the Nature Spa. As night falls you will hear the sounds of the African night, while dining in the candlelit boma beneath a canopy of stars.
Sabi Sabi Game Reserve
The Sabi Sabi Game Reserve is home to four camps.
It features thirteen ultra-luxurious suites, each with an indoor and outdoor shower, individually designed furniture, and private plunge pool. The indoor-outdoor dining area overlooks a waterhole and the bushveld. In addition, the lodge has a library, underground wine cellar, Zen garden and Amani Spa.
Activities at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge include a morning and afternoon game drive as well as a daily game walk.
This luxury lodge, includes twenty-five air-conditioned suites and glass-fronted indoor showers. The main lodge overlooks the waterhole from the open-sided viewing decks. It offers a kids centre to occupy the children while parents visit the spa. There is also a pool.
The Mandleve Suite, is specifically designed for honeymooners and consists of a private pool, an open plan lounge and a bathroom with an outside shower.
Activities at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge include a morning and afternoon games drive or you can relax around the pool or visit the spa.
Sabi Sabi Selati Camp is named after the defunct Selati railway line and consists of just eight romantic luxury suites. The suites are all air-conditioned and include full bathrooms with showers. The Ivory Presidential Suite is a favourite of most visitors and includes an en-suite bathroom and a private plunge pool. It has a private terrace and its own fireplace. The Lourenco Marques Suited is designed for honeymooners and comes equipped with a king-size bed and an en-suite bathroom. This royal bathroom has indoor and outdoor baths and showers.
The open-sided camp has a lounge and bar, as well as a dining deck with riverside views. Boma dinners add to the camp’s bush appeal, as the sounds of the wild mingle with the firelight and the aromas of the meal.
Activities at Sabi Sabi Selati Camp include morning and afternoon game drives as well as a morning guided bush walk. If you love bird watching, then Sabi Sabi is the best place to be for you as it has around 350 different species of birds.
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp is situated under the shade of the indigenous riverine trees on the banks of the Msuthlu River. Accommodation is offered in six free-standing thatched luxury suites, making this lodge an excellent option for families or small groups. Each suite includes luxury furnishings, a full en-suite bathroom with an indoor and outdoor shower, mosquito nets over large beds, air-conditioning, fans, minibar, tea and coffee facilities and a private viewing deck with a heated spa bath overlooking the riverbed.
The thatched central area includes a lounge with a fireplace, dining area, full bar, viewing deck, swimming pool with sun loungers, boma for starlit bush dinners and Wi-Fi.
Activities at Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp include morning and afternoon game drives and mid-morning environmental awareness walks. Guests also have access to the Amani Spa at Bush Lodge or Earth Lodge.
Singita Sabi Sands
Spanning more than 45 000 acres, the two lodges at Singita Sabi Sands is renowned for high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings.
Singita Boulders Lodge
Singinta Boulders Lodge is situated on the banks of the Sand River and is built around an enormous boulder. It offers a wraparound view of the bushveld and wildlife activity. The lodge has twelve glass fronted suites of which two double suites are available for families. The suites are air-conditioned and the bathrooms consist of indoor and outdoor showers. It has an extensive living area with double-sided fireplace, mini-bar and fridge and private wooden leisure decks with a heated plunge pool. The thatched, open sided lounge and lookout deck at the main lodge offer a river view and is equipped with a bar area, wine cellar, traditional open boma, gymnasium, health spa and library.
Activities at Singita Boulders Lodge include a morning and afternoon game drives as well as morning and afternoon safari walks, mountain biking and archery.
Singita Ebony Lodge
Singita Ebony Lodge consists of twelve private suites with en-suite bathrooms. Ten of these rooms are 1-bedroom suites, the other two are 2-bedroom family suites. All suites all have a private plunge pool and indoor-outdoor showers as well as game viewing decks.
The main lodge area has a large swimming pool, spa, gym and library where you can relax with a book, watch TV or make use of the Wi-Fi. The lodge also boasts a premier wine boutique as well as an Art Boutique and Gallery.
Activities at Singita Ebony Lodge include morning and afternoon game drives with a maximum of six people. Another activity is a stargazing safari where you will learn more of the stars. The lodge also offers guided safari walks, mountain biking and fishing. Guest who would like to fish will be accompanied by a professional guide and tracker who will see to it that you will experience the local fishing habits. Guest can also learn how to shoot with a bow and arrow or visit the local communities of Justicia and Lillydale.
Dulini Game Reserve
Dulini boasts three safari lodges.
Dulini River Lodge is set in a leafy, evergreen thicket shaded by a grove of ebony trees on the banks of the seasonal Sand River and has an exquisite riverfront location. It consists of eight luxury thatched suites, each with a close-up views of the Sand River. Each suite features an en-suite bathroom with deep bath tub and outdoor shower, air-conditioning and fan, mini bar and a private wooden veranda with loungers, plunge pool and river views. The lodge lounge and dining areas has with open sides with comfortable sofas and furnishings, an extensive deck, a giant sausage tree and open air boma.
Activities at Dulini River Lodge include morning and afternoon game drives with a guide and Shangaan tracker while guided bush walks are conducted from the lodge. Guests also have the choice of an in room massage.
Dulini’s six suites is situated in a riverine grove, all with private views of the Mabrak River. All the suites have mosquito nets over the beds, fully equipped bathrooms, plunge pools, outdoor showers and shady decks. Guest can choose to work out in the gym, relax in the guest lounge, or bird watch from the lounge patio or the deck overlooking the Mabrak river.
Personal butlers attend to guests every delight. The intimacy of the lodge is ideally suited to indulging the safari dreams of individual adventurers, as well as exclusive parties of guests celebrating special occasions, while the romantic ambience ensures a lavish retreat for honeymoon couples.
Activities at Dulini Lodge include morning and afternoon game drives.
Dulini Leadwood Lodge consists of four suites that can be booked either for individual use or the sole-use for families and friends. Your accommodation offers outdoor showers, cosy fireplaces and private plunge pools. Each suite comes with their own private verandas allowing you to fully absorb the beauty of this wildlife area. What truly makes this lodge special is the intimacy and privacy as the suites are at such a distance from each other that it allows enough tranquillity for all the guests. Dinner can be served in the open air dining room.
Activities at Dulini Leadwood Lodge include a morning and afternoon game drive with an experience ranger and professional tracker. Guests can also choose to enjoy a bush walks in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and bird watching is also a must-do activity. The lodge also has a wellness centre that offers special massages which can also be done in your own comfortable room.
Elephant Plains Lodge can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests in five rondavels and six open-plan suites. Adults can enjoy game drives or use the pool, spa and gym, while the children are baby-sat. The rondavels come equipped with air conditioning, sundecks, en-suite bathrooms, overhead fans, tea and coffee facilities, minibars, mosquito nets and electronic safes. The suites are also air conditioned, with overhead fans, mosquito nets, electronic safes, mini bars, tea and coffee facilities and fireplaces. It has a double bedroom, lounge, en-suite bathroom and viewing deck with views over the riverbed and open area.
In addition, the lodge offers the Manyeleti honeymoon suite which is a glass fronted suite with all the regular luxuries and boasts a private splash pool and daybed, ideal for a mid-morning nap.
Activities at Elephant Plains Lodge offers morning and afternoon game drives or guest can opt to relax next to one of the two swimming pools or work out in the gym. There is also a conference centre, small library and games room.
Arathusa Safari Lodge is intimate and offers accommodation in nine thatched-roofed standard rooms within its perimeter. Each room comes with an en-suite bathroom, with a bath and shower, indoors and outdoors. It has air conditioning, mosquito net, mini bar, electronic safe, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and a veranda that offers views of the surrounding veld. Twin rooms may also be arranged.
The fours luxury rooms have all the comforts and amenities mentioned above, with the addition of their own plunge pools and lounge areas. These rooms are also located further from the main camp to afford guests privacy.
The main living area is intended for comfort and offers an infinity swimming pool that overlooks a waterhole, viewing veranda, dining in the traditional open-air boma, and a wellness spa.
Activities at Arathusa Safari Lodge include early morning and late afternoon safari drives with and experienced ranger and tracker. It is a keen area for birders with over 300 species identified. Guided walks can be arranged during the early mornings of the summer months.
Tengile River Lodge
Tengile River Lodge is only of the more recently opened lodges and is situated in the southern sector of the Sabi Sands on a bend of the Sabi River. It is located close to Skukuza Airport which is an added bonus. The lodge consists of nine secluded suites, nestles in the shade of a cool riverine forest. Each suite has a master bedroom, bathroom and outdoor shower. There is also a private lounge area, dining area and bar, as well as an outdoor deck with swimming pool.
Activities at Tengile River Lodge include a morning and afternoon game drive or bush walk. Guests can also view animals from their private viewing deck, enjoy a massage or work out in the gym.
Jaci’s Sabi House
Jaci’s Sabi House is an intimate bush house for small groups and families. It can be booked on an exclusive-use basis and is ideal for families or friends requiring independence and flexibility. It has one double suite in the main house, and two double suites in a separate cottage. All rooms come with viewing decks overlooking the landscape. There is an interactive social kitchen and the semi-enclosed veranda for outdoor dining. In addition, the lodge have a private swimming pool, your own private chef, field guide and a game viewing vehicle.
Activities at Jaci’s Sabi House include twice-daily game drives led by a field guide. The lodge is suitable for families travelling with children. With the exclusivity of your own house and a flexible activities schedule to suit your family’s needs, family fun and a bushveld experience is a given.
Ulusaba Safari Lodge
Ulusaba Safari Lodge is the ultimate adventure lodge with its tree houses and rope swing bridges while the Big 5 passes buy. The lodge is located on the edge of a dry river under a canopy of trees and consists of eleven luxury suites all with views over the African bushveld.
Honeymoon suites and wedding packages are also available. With all available facilities, you may need to plan your time at Ulusaba Safari Lodge so that you can enjoy your safari experience to the fullest. Besides going on safari, you can enjoy guided bush walks, moon-lit dinners and gazing at the stars in the bush observatory.
Activities at Ulusaba Safari Lodge include morning and afternoon game drives as well as bush walks. Besides going on safari adventures, guests can enjoy the spa and gym. After dinner you can participate in stargazing in the bush observatory.
Leopard Hills Lodge
The lodge is situated on the top of a rocky outcrop, with spectacular views over the bush and the natural waterhole on the plains below the main building. Leopard Hills crosses over 10 000 hectares of diverse ecosystems, from the open plains in the south, to the riverine bush along the banks of the Sand River, to the woodland and rock outcrops in the north. It offers a diverse fauna and flora making this lodge the ideal destination to view game in its natural habitat.
There are eight luxurious glass-fronted suites, with their own sundeck and rock plunge pool. The suites are equipped with air-conditioning and overhead fans, bathrooms with double indoor and outdoor showers that open to a view of the passing parade below. The lounge offers views over the bush while you relax there or in your hammock of pool lounger outside.
Activities at Leopard Hills Lodge with knowledgeable rangers include early morning and evening game drive or a bush walk on request after breakfast. If you prefer a more relaxed stay you have the option to go for massage treatments in the spa that is either offered in the Sala or in your own suite. You can also have a work out in the gym.
Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp
This lodge is situated high on a ridge offering an incredible view over the African bush. It consists of eighteen guest suites, each with its own private veranda that will give you the opportunity to enjoy the view in the privacy of your own space. The suites have air-conditioning for the warm summer months and a fireplace to heat up your suite in the winter. It has claw-foot bathtubs and stand-alone showers. The main area has a rim-flow lodge swimming pool with a view of the Sand River valley.
Activities at Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp on offer is early morning and late afternoon game drives in an open 4×4 safari vehicles accompanied by a ranger and tracking team. Guests also have the option to do some bird watching or take part in bush walks. Walking safaris are also on offer at an additional charge.
Nkorho Bush Lodge offers a comfortable environment in which to become one with nature, whether it is bird- watching or game-viewing from an open vehicle. Twelve guests can be accommodated in the six thatched chalets which come with chunky wood furnishings, en-suite bathrooms with glass indoor and outdoor showers, large oval bath tubs and sliding doors that open to a private wooden viewing decks. Breakfast is served under a thatched deck overlooking an open plain, while dinners are enjoyed around an open camp fire in a typical Leadwood boma. The lodge also has a rock swimming pool.
Activities at Nkorho Bush Lodge include twice daily game drives in the early morning and late afternoon. You also have the option to participate in a walking trail with a ranger and tracker as your guide.
Londolozi Game Reserve
Londolozi is one of the first original pioneering Private Game Reserves and is family run. Guests have the choice to stay in one of the five lodges.
Londolozi Founder’s Camp is a luxury lodge and also child friendly. It is situated next to the Kruger National Park on 17 000 hectares of bush. The lodge consists of 7 chalets which are all equipped with en-suite bathrooms and their own viewing deck. The bathrooms come with a shower and a separate bath.
Activities at Londolozi Founders Camp include an early morning and late afternoon game drive. Rhino tracking is a special activity on offer at Londolozi. In May, June and July guests can participate in bush walks that lead through a river bed. Bush breakfasts and adventure picnics are also on offer. The area is a birders paradise with over 450 bird species identified. Another pastime at Londolozi is catch-and-release fishing.
In addition, yoga sessions take place on the yoga deck for both beginners and intermediate participants. To recover from all the activities, the lodge offers therapies that include Swedish and Tai massages as well as aromatherapy and Reiki healing which are offered in the massage room, outdoors, or in the privacy of your own suite.
Londolozi has a specially designed children’s programme where they will learn from and enjoy nature. Many of them will want to become game rangers because of this unforgettable programme.
Londolozi Private Granite Suites
Londolozi Private Granite Suites is located in the central region of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and offer a private river affair as it is literally set on the banks of the active Sand River. The lodge is for the exclusive use of six guests, individually or as a private camp as it only has three private suites. They come equipped with bedroom, lounge, indoor and outdoor showers, air-conditioning, minibar, mosquito net, outdoor Sala, heated swimming pool and viewing deck.
The double volume thatched central lodge includes lounge areas, a deck and dining area, outdoor boma and central swimming pool, all with stunning river views.
Activities at the Londolozi Private Granite Suites include an early morning and afternoon game drive and guided nature walks. There is also one group yoga class per day at the Varty Camp.
Londolozi Pioneer Camp is situated in the central region of the Sabi Sand Private Reserve and is the most secluded of the Londolozi Camps. It is surrounded by river and bushveld views. The camp has only three private suits and can be converted into a private bush home for family groups comprising of six adults and six children.
Each suite has king size extra length beds, mosquito nets, air-conditioning and fans, hairdryer, mini bar and an outdoor private plunge pool. The bathrooms are fully equipped with indoor and outdoor showers. The central thatch roof guest area has a wooden deck and rock walls. There is an open-plan kitchen that leads to the indoor and deck dining areas, a lounge area, boma and lap pool.
The Londolozi Tree Camp lies within magnificent Jackalberry and Leadwood trees on a prime site overlooking the Sand River. It comprises of six private sanctuaries with king size beds and mosquito nets, air-conditioning and fans, mini bar, lounge and deck with plunge pool. The bathrooms have indoor and outdoor showers. You can reach your sanctuary by lantern lit walkways. The main lodge area is built high off the ground under thatch with some solid walls and plenty of open spaces. It has lounges, a bar and restaurant, viewing deck and swimming pool.
Activities at Londolozi Tree Camp include guided game drives in the morning and afternoon, guided walks and one group yoga class per day at Varty Camp.
Londolozi Varty Camp is the symbolic heart and soul of Londolozi. This luxury family friendly safari lodge lies on the site of the original camp and is raised off the ground under a cathedral of trees, overlooking the riverine bush. The camp comprises of 10 chalets that include two superior chalets. Each features king-size beds with mosquito nets, fans and air-conditioning, tea and coffee facilities and minibar. Outside there is a Sala and private swimming pool on a deck overlooking the riverine. The bathrooms have a free-standing bath and shower. The superior chalets also have an outdoor shower.
The main guest living areas are raised off the ground under a large, double volume thatch roof. It includes a lounge, bar, dining area, a massive deck with stunning views, swimming pool, gym, kiddies club and spa.
Activities at Londolozi Varty Camp include morning and afternoon game drives, guided nature walks and one group yoga class per day.
Savanna Game Lodge
Savanna lies in an area where guests are guaranteed to see the Big 5 in a single game drive. Many nearby dams and waterholes in front of the lodge attract many wild animal species, especially in the dry winter months when elephants are daily visitors. The lodge comprise of nine suites. One consist of two separate en-suite bedrooms, a lounge, own deck and plunge pool. Seven of the nine suites have Bedouin-styled draped ceilings below tented roofs, set on permanent structures. All suites are equipped with Wi-Fi, fans, air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms, inside and outdoor showers, tea and coffee facilities, mini bars and covered patios. The three Executive Suites boast a lounge area, covered patios, wooden deck and private plunge pools.
Activities at Savanna Game Lodge offer a morning and afternoon safari drive with experienced and dedicated rangers. Land Rovers have been specially modified for guests’ comfort and safety with bucket seats separated by large storage boxes. There are never more than two people in a row in order to maximise photographic opportunities. The afternoon game drive includes a stop for sundowners while on the morning drive there is a tea or coffee stop. Game walks are on offer to guests who would like to experience the fauna and flora on foot. Walks usually take place in the area around the lodge in between game drives and meals.
Idube Game Lodge is set in an indigenous garden of tall trees and cool, green lawns watered only with recycled water. There are eight suites built at some distance from each other among Knobthorn and Jackalberry trees and can accommodate a maximum of 20 guests. The extensive lawns are home to a variety of animals. Suites have overhead fans and air-conditioners and all the windows and doors have extra screens so that the windows can be left open at night. The new Makubela suites offer the ultimate in luxury, comfort and privacy and are built at the end of a raised walkway.
At the main entertainment area guests can use the bar, relax in the open lounge, whilst waiting to see what animals will come wandering in front of the lodge or cool of in the swimming pool. There are a number of viewing decks and a sunken hide at the dam directly opposite the lodge for those who want to get really close to animals.
Activities at Idube Game Lodge include an early morning game drive and a late evening game drive over an area of approximately 10 000 hectares. After breakfast, a morning guided walk is offered or you can relax round the pool or on your decks. Guests also have the option of a village tour in the local community which include the local school and pre-school, choir and dancers, watching local food being prepared and trying it afterwards and ending up with the little cultural museum. Elephant education excursion can also be arranged on request.
Inyati Safari Lodge
Inyati Safari Lodge is situated on the banks of the Sand River in 65 000 hectares of bushveld. The lodge comprise of seven luxury chalets and four executive chalets and can only accommodate 22 guests. Each chalet comes with air-conditioner, and an en-suite bathroom with twin hand basins, separate bath and shower.
The guest lounge and dining areas overlook the Sand River while the veranda overlooks the riverine vegetation, which is the natural habitat of the elephant and hippo. Other facilities at the lodge is the Warthog hollow bar, library, swimming pool, air-conditioned gym and walk-in wine cellar.
Activities at Inyati Safari Lodge comprise of morning and evening game drives with expert rangers and Shangaan tracker. Interpretive guided bush walks are offered for guests over the age of 16 years.
Silvan Safari Lodge
Silvan Safari Lodge is one of the newer additions to Sabi Sands Game Reserve. It has six individual suites, located around the main building of the lodge. All the suites offer luxury accommodation and river views. Each has a unique design, with a contemporary modern feel. The outdoor area is fully equipped with a private plunge pool on your deck.
Activities at Silvan Safari can be participated in from the convenience of your deck as the wilderness and all its inhabitants are on your doorstep. The lodge offer early morning and late afternoon games drives with dedicated rangers. You can also choose to the pampered in the spa.
Cheetah Plains Lodge
Cheetah Plains offers you much more than the mere sighting of the Big 5. The lodge is situated adjacent to KNP in the northwest corner of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. On its other side is borders Mala. The lodge offer accommodation on only three designer bush homes. Each come with two lounges, outdoor boma, heated swimming pool, wine cellar and private safari vehicle. Extra facilities include a bar and lounge area, viewing deck, swimming pool, boma and curio shop at the main lodge area.
Cheetah Plains Lodge offer twice-daily games drives with your own professional filed guide. You’re guaranteed exclusivity as you go on safari through Cheetah Plains and the surrounding area. You are guaranteed to spot lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, antelope and much more among the thorn and marula trees. Guests also have the option to visit the surrounding local communities of Utah and Dixie.
Umkumbe Safari Lodge is owner-managed and run and can sleep 14 guests in seven chalets or rooms overlooking the Sand River. Six chalets have en-suite bathrooms that includes a shower and one has an en-suite bathroom with both a shower and bath. Four of the chalets are connected with an inter-leading door, offering families or two groups of friends or couples travelling together the perfect accommodation set-up. Rooms have either double or twin beds with mosquito nets. Some chalets also have a small veranda with camping chairs overlooking the Sand River. At the main lodge area additional facilities include a swimming pool, lounge, bar and dining area and a boma. All facilities have views of the riverbed. Dinners in the boma is served around a roaring fire.
Activities at Umkumbe Safari Lodge like at all the other lodges involved a morning and evening game drive which allows you close encounters with the animals. During the night drives, your tracker uses a powerful spotlight to search for nocturnal animals. Expect to see a wide variety of animals not normally seen during the day, including leopards, hyenas, aardvarks, bat-eared fox, porcupines, bush babies, bushbucks, mongoose, genet cats and nocturnal birds like owls and nightjars. Guests also have the option of a morning bush walk led by qualified rangers.
Mala Mala Game Reserve
Mala Mala has years of experience in the African bush and offers elegance and style at one of its three camps.
Mala Mala Main camp is one of the oldest lodges in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and is situated right next to the banks of the Sand River. Guest are able to spot animals only a few metres from your bed and the wooden elevated veranda overlooking the animals drinking from the river. Accommodation comprises of 5 river-view luxury suites, 4 river-view luxury rooms, 5 waterhole luxury suites and 1 river-view single room, 2 inter leading river view luxury rooms, and 2 inter leading waterhole view luxury rooms. Each room or suite comes with an en-suite bathroom. The suites have both bath and shower whilst the rooms only have a shower. All have air-conditioning and overhead fans, a mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, a mini-safe, direct dial telephones, and hair dryers.
The main lodge facilities comprise a lounge, dining room, bar, library, boma, swimming pool, safari boutique, fitness facility, massage service, Wi-Fi and a huge wooden safari deck overlooking the Sand River.
Activities at Mala Mala Main Camp include guided bushwalks as well as morning and afternoon game drives with knowledgeable rangers. They can also assist you with snapping that perfect photograph. In the camp you can relax at the swimming pool or spa, make use of the tennis court or gym. Guest also have the option to visit the wine cellar or gaze at the stars in the bush observatory.
Mala Mala Sable Camp is perfect for visitors who desire tranquillity and exclusivity. The six luxury suites accommodate a maximum of fourteen guests and overlook the banks of the Sand River from an elevated position. Five of the suites come equipped with his and hers bathrooms, mini bar and bathroom amenities. The private deck overlooks the African bush and river. Next to the 5 suites, there is the Lion’s Den Suite that house four guests in two en-suite bedrooms separated by a large living room with the same luxuries as the other suites. This makes Sable Camp perfect for families, groups and two couples.
After an adventurous day in the bush, guests can relax and enjoy dinner in the African boma under the stars or on the wooden deck with panoramic views on the beautiful surroundings and animal life on the Sand riverbanks.
Activities at Mala Mala Sable Camp include a morning and evening safari drive and being in the Sabi Sands reserve you are guaranteed to spot many of the 200 different species of wild mammals including the Big 5. One of the advantages of a safari in a private game reserve is the possibility to go off road, which is strictly prohibited in the National Parks and other reserves in Africa. The experienced ranger will be able to drive into the bush to let the guests observe each animal to the fullest. Walking in the bush is another activity offered by; Mala Mala Sable Camp where you can get closely in touch with African nature.
Sandwiched between the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park, on the western side of the 13 500 hectare Mala Mala Private Game Reserve, is Rattray’s on Mala Mala with the Sand River flowing through it. Rattray can accommodate sixteen guests in eight luxurious “khayas”. Each khaya has a private veranda with a river view and a heated plunge pool, private indigenous garden, en-suite bathrooms with double vanity, ball-and-claw bath and double indoor shower and outdoor shower. It also has an outdoor and indoor dining area, comes with air-conditioning, overhead fans, minibar, tea and coffee facilities and a hair dryer. Satellite television, DVD player and laptop with wireless connectivity are available on request.
The main guest areas include a dining room, bar, large wooden safari deck for outdoor dining and game viewing, an infinity pool, fully stocked wine cellar, small fitness facility and safari boutique.
Activities at Rattray’s on Mala Mala offers guided game drives with only four guests per vehicle in the early morning and afternoon. Bush walks are available on request.
When is the best time to visit the Sabi Sands Game Reserve?
It is possible to visit Sabi Sands all year round, but summers in the northern part of South Africa can get extremely hot. The rainy summer season also brings an influx of mosquitoes and the risk of malaria is at its highest then.
The seasons in Sabi Sands Game Reserve occur in opposite times as compared to Europe and North America. The sparser vegetation during the dry winter season brings animals to waterholes and make for easier game viewing, so it is best to visit in the winter between May and September. While winter morning and evening game drives may be quite frosty, day temperatures will be very comfortable.
Birding is excellent though during the summer months from October to April and the lush greenery then makes for fantastic photography.
A month to month guide for visiting Sabi Sands Game Reserve:
May to September marks the dry season.
October to March is wet and the game reserve is not overly crowded.
April to September offers excellent wildlife viewing.
April to May may bring a little rain but will have mild weather. Temperatures usually fall between 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) and 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit).
September to October one can expect very little rain and mild weather.
June to August is characterised by cool mornings and nights. Nights are usually around 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) while afternoon highs get to 25 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).
December to February can be very hot and steamy. The summer season is also very humid, with rainfall being frequent. Temperatures can go above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). On an average, afternoon temperature is 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).
Anti-poaching measures in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve
With Sabi Sands Game Reserve part of the Greater Kruger conservation area and home to a big part of South Africa’s rhino population, anti-poaching measures take centre place in the management of the reserve. Sabi Sands is a private reserve, privately funded and had been hit hard by illegal poaching in the past.
Since showing up on the radar in 2008, the current rhino poaching crisis has continued to escalate, becoming one of the most pressing conservation issues of the 21st century. At Singita, specifically, that is situated in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, the team believes that resolving this challenge requires a tiered approach. Only the reduced demand for rhino horn in the long-term, will determine the survival of the species. Meanwhile the team ensures that the local communities derive real benefits from wildlife which will turn them into protective custodians of these living resources. Effective anti-poaching and law enforcement operations are critical in the short-term to buy time for the medium and long-term objectives to be achieved.
Singita’s original property, is one of the most secure protected areas as primary layers of security are implemented collectively by all the land owners of the Reserve. In 2012, the team decided to deploy a highly-skilled team of tracking dogs and handlers to further enhance anti-poaching efforts on the reserve in the Sabi Sand. The K9 units patrol the reserve to ensure 24/7 coverage.
Highly trained and able to perform multiple functions, from pursuing intruders to sniffing out rhino horn and ammunition from vehicles and bags, the dogs are deeply valued, professional assets supporting important conservation initiatives.
The mere presence of dog teams acts as a deterrent to potential poachers. Once tracking dogs have been deployed into an area, the news quickly spreads amongst poachers and criminal syndicates, and the level and frequency of poaching incidents have been shown to drop dramatically.
Safety during your stay in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve
As with most national parks and private reserves in South Africa, Sabi Sand is very safe to visit due to stringent safety measures and access control.
Most of the people employed in the reserve are passionate about conservation and the hospitality industry and will do everything possible to make your trip safe and comfortable. Wildlife viewing is generally done very safely with a professional guide ensuring your safety on a guided safari.
Self-drive safaris are safe too, as long as guests treat animals with due respect and follow all the park rules. Some general safety guidelines and tips to adhere to, are:
- Always follow the guide’s instructions and guidelines when on a game drive or bush walk
- Always keep your voice down and act as quiet as possible when close to animals
- Stay in the vehicle during game drives except at designated areas where you are allowed to climb out under supervision
- Don’t stand up in open safari vehicles, hang out of the window or sit on the roof of your vehicle when self-driving
- Don’t get too close to animals if you are on a self-drive safari and back off immediately if it seems that the animals are disturbed
- Never drive between elephants in a herd, especially if there are females and young ones in the herd
- On a walking safari stay together as a group and close to your guide. Always walk in single file
- Never walk between a hippo and water; the animal may panic and charge at you because you may block its safety route to the water
- Don’t wear bright and colourful clothes or strong perfume on walking safaris
If you are a foreign visitor, Johannesburg will most probably be your entry point into the country for visiting Sabi Sands. Crimes and car-jacking do occur in and around the city hence it is advised that visitors try to limit the risks by taking simple safety precautions if they self-drive to Sabi Sands Game Reserve.
You may feel safe inside your vehicle but stay aware of dangers and keep your doors locked and windows rolled up at all times, even if you’re in an area that you think is safe. It is not uncommon for thieves to wait near intersections and on highway off-ramps, approaching vehicles when they stop and attempting to rob the driver and passengers.
Keep valuables like camera bags and handbags out of sight to avoid attracting attention from would-be thieves.
The roads leading into and out of the KNP are popular for carjackers to strike, so be cautious of any debris on the road which may have been placed there on purpose by criminals in an attempt to get you to stop. Don’t get out of your vehicle to clear anything from the road, just try to drive around it or better still, turn around and seek safety.
Don’t pick up hitchhikers, it is not worth the risk. When parking anywhere, always keep your vehicle locked with the windows rolled up and all valuables out of sight.
If your vehicle breaks down or you get a flat tire, pull over, put on your hazard lights and remain in your vehicle with the doors locked and windows up while calling for road-side assistance.
Don’t be scammed by criminals posing as traffic police, pulling you over for a supposed traffic violation and demanding an on-the-spot fine. Offer to go to a police station to pay the fine or motion for them to follow you to the nearest police station.
Malaria and vaccinations
Although the risk of contracting malaria is higher during the damp summer months (October-April), Sabi Sands does lie in a malaria zone and you should guard against mosquito bites with repellents, preferably those containing DEET which are most effective, and by taking proper anti-malarials.
Always cover your arms and legs in the evening and use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes. Sleep under the mosquito nets provided at most lodges and camps.
Where is the Sabi Sands Game Reserve located?
Sabi Sands Game Reserve is located on the western boundary of the KNP in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. It lies east of Acornhoek in the north and Hazyview in the south.
When is the best time to visit the Sabi Sands Game Reserve?
You can visit Sabi Sands all year round, but summers can get extremely hot. The rainy summer season also brings an influx of mosquitoes and the risk of malaria is at its highest then.
Is Sabi Sands in the Kruger National Park?
No, but although there are no fences separating Sabi Sands and the Kruger, it is located on private property. It forms part of the Greater Kruger conservation area.
Will I see the Big 5?
All the animals comprising the Big 5 frequent the area, but the animals are free to roam where they please, which means each safari is unique.
Is the reserve child-friendly?
Yes, many of the lodges and other facilities cater specifically to families.
What about malaria?
Sabi Sands is located within a malaria area. It is best to contact your physician for information on anti-malarial prophylactics prior to your departure. Keep your arms and legs covered after dark, sleep under mosquito nets and use repellents where possible.