Budget Travel in Sabi Sands Game Reserve

About Sabi Sand Game Reserve

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park and shares a 50km-unfenced boundary with Kruger National Park. Sharing an unfenced border with Kruger National Park guarantees exceptional game sightings of the free-roaming wild animals that move between these top game parks. 

The Sabi Sand Reserve offers a more intimate game viewing experience than Kruger Park, typically featuring more exclusive lodge accommodation. Despite the fact that Sabi Sand’s lodges are generally more upmarket there are some comfortable yet affordable lodge options available. Our wildlife safaris cater for the budget conscious traveller by offering visitors the unique opportunity of staying inside the exclusive Sabi Sand Game Reserve at a reasonable price.

The 65 000 hectare Sabi Sand Game Reserve is South Africa’s oldest and one of its leading private game reserves. Sabi Sand is renowned for its exceptional leopard sightings, boasting more frequent sightings of this elusive predator than the surrounding reserves. The game reserve is also famous for its close-up wildlife encounters, including Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). The open safari vehicles frequently get as close as three to four meters from the wild animals in Sabi Sand, making for superb photographic opportunities.

Sabi Sands Wildlife

In addition to the legendary leopard sightings, Sabi Sand boasts excellent sightings of the other Big Five animals as well as giraffe, zebra, a wide variety of antelope and other wildlife species. The reserve is home to various endangered species including the African Wild Dog, cheetah, Red-billed Oxpeckers, Ground Hornbills, Honey Badgers and bats. An array of bird species can be spotted in Sabi Sands including rare and migratory birds. Bird species include Bateleur, Brown-hooded kingfisher, Golden-tailed woodpecker, Forktailed drongo, Lilac-breasted roller, Red-backed shrike, ostrich and Marabou Stork, to name but a few of the nearly 500 species in Sabi Sands.

Sabi Sands protects an incredible diversity of African wildlife species, including:

  • 145 mammal species
  • 500 bird species
  • 110 reptile species
  • 45 fish species
  • 30 amphibian species
  • 330 tree species

The Sabi Sand Reserve is considered the pioneer of sustainable wildlife tourism in the region of Southern Africa, protecting a spectacular array of wildlife species in their natural habitat. The private lodges in Sabi Sand are actively involved in environmental management programs and studies aimed at protecting Africa’s wildlife.

Sabi Sand Geography

The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is situated to the southwest of Kruger National Park, in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa.

A rich diversity of plant life grows in this private reserve, with thousands of plant varieties found in the park. Sabi Sand reserve is fed by two perennial rivers, the Sabie River and the Sand River, that sustain its ecosystems year-round. The permanent water supply in this protected area ensures the presence of one of Africa’s most bio-diverse and abundant wildlife populations.

The Sabi Sand reserve consists of several smaller private game reserves – Djuma, Exeter, Lion Sands, Londolozi, Mala Mala, Sabi Sabi, Singita and Ulusaba. This private game reserve forms part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a joint Peace Park initiative between Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve History

The Sabie Reserve was originally proclaimed in 1898 when it consisted of what are now the protected areas of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and the main Kruger National Park. The private Sabi Game Reserve was later formed when private owners were excised from the Sabie Reserve. 

Sabi Sands Game Reserve pioneered the dropping of shared fences and shared environmental management programs, between Kruger National Park and several of the surrounding private game reserves. The 2,7 million hectare Greater Kruger National Park today incorporates Kruger National Park and several private reserves, including Sabi Sand Reserve.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is today largely operated and owned by third and fourth generations of the original founders of this protected area. These families have inherited the vision and task of protecting southern Africa’s rich biodiversity from their forefathers.


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