Dulini River Lodge | Sabi Sands Game Reserve

 

 

The Dulini Collection is made up of three stunning luxury safari lodges located in Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve which is the oldest and most exclusive private reserve in South Africa. Sabi Sands falls within the Greater Kruger which is home to the Big 5 and an abundance of wildlife which thrive in diverse habitats.

What makes the Greater Kruger greater is it comprises a selection of private game reserves which boast some of the most prestigious luxury establishments in southern Africa. The amalgamation of the private game reserves with the Kruger National Park added 180 000 hectares to the protected wilderness corridor.

In total, the Greater Kruger spans some 20 million hectares of pristine bushveld in the northeastern region of South Africa. The wildness region is unfenced and game moves freely between the Kruger National Park and across the added reserves. Visitors are restricted to those staying at one of the luxury lodges in Greater Kruger which offers discerning travellers exclusivity and the ultimate safari experience.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve is situated in the wilderness belt of Mpumalanga Province in South Africa in the southwestern corner of the Greater Kruger. It shares a 50-kilometre border with the iconic Kruger Park; boasting one of the richest game populations in South Africa. In particular, Sabi Sands is renowned for its leopard sightings.

The Greater Kruger includes Timbavati, Makuya, Letaba, Balule, Klaserie, Umbabat, Manyeleti and Sabi Sand Game Reserves. It’s home to the famous Big 5 which includes elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard. Bird life is prolific with some 500 species recorded across the massive wilderness region; many are endangered and rare bird species.

Sabi Sands incorporates legendary safari hospitality brands which are some of the most exclusive lodges in South Africa. A few famous names include Mala Mala Reserve, Lion Sands, Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Singita Game Reserve and Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Private Game Reserve. The private game reserves that make up Sabi Sands cover some 65 000 hectares with the Sabi River and Sand River running through the savanna bushveld.

Dulini Lodge, Dulini Leadwood and Dulini River Lodge are located in the north-east corner; falling within the largest conservation area in southern Africa. The lodges are typical of the extraordinary establishments in Sabi Sands; exuding elegance and sophistication within rugged bushveld surrounds.

Dulini expanded its hospitality offering when the new owners purchased what was Exeter Leadwood and Exeter River Lodge. This added an additional 18 beds to create what Dulini market under the banner of ‘The Dulini Quintessential Collection’.

 

DULINI EXPERIENCE

 

Dulini Game Reserve offers guests the combination of exceptional wildlife sightings and luxurious accommodation in spectacular settings. A stay at one of the three luxury safari lodges in the private reserve is so much more than Big 5 sightings; you get to share unique experiences and natural resources which makes Dulini a sought-after safari destination in southern Africa.

 

Access to a massive wildlife reserve

Dulini is a private game reserve in Sabi Sand Wildtuin which falls within the Greater Kruger which in turn falls within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. The latter is known as a Peace Park and is a dynamic conservation initiative which unfolded across the southern African region. One of the main goals for The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is that local communities benefit from increased eco-tourism to the area.

Established in the early 2000s, the goal of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier park was to support sustainable ecotourism across South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Its an exemplary process of partnerships between governments and the private sector and makes a significant contribution to creating what could be the world’s greatest animal kingdom.

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park links the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique; the Greater Kruger in South Africa; and Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe. It also includes two areas between Kruger and Gonarezhou, namely the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa which adds an additional 35 000 square kilometres.

This vast lowland savanna ecosystem is bisected by the majestic Lebombo Mountains which runs along the border between South Africa and Mozambique. Five major river systems cross this ecoregion. The four main landscapes include lowland savanna grassland plains in the majority of the region; a hilly granite plateau in the western region; the Lebombo Mountains; and the floodplain riverbank areas along the Save, Changane, Limpopo, Olifants, Shingwedzi and Komati rivers.

There are five major types of vegetation; Mopane woodlands and shrubveld in the northern portions, mixed bushveld in the southern half, sandveld in the southeastern areas of Mozambique, riverine woodlands mostly in Kruger and Gonarezhou, and seasonally flooded and dry grasslands in and around Banhine National Park.

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park also holds significant cultural importance. Stone-age artefacts and more recently Iron Age implements at many sites provide evidence of a very long and almost continuous presence of humans in the area. Early inhabitants were San hunter-gatherers who left numerous rock-paintings scattered across the region, while Bantu people entered about 800 years ago, gradually displacing the San.

Available evidence suggests that humans occurred at low density and were mostly confined to the more permanent river-courses. It is reasonable to assume from the continuous presence at some sites (Pafuri, for example) that humans and wildlife existed in harmony, with no major impact of humans on wildlife or the reverse.

The arid nature of the environment, together with an abundance of predators and diseases (e.g. malaria) would have played a role in preventing large-scale human population growth and settlement. Nevertheless, sophisticated cultures already existed by the 16th century, as evidenced by the Thulamela and other ruins near Pafuri in the Kruger National Park.

 

Exclusivity and low tourist numbers

Dulini is one of 18 game reserves in Sabi Sand Wildtuin which borders the Kruger National Park. There’s a strict rule in place that visitors to Sabi Sands have access to the Kruger Park but visitors to KNP can’t come across to Sabi Sands.

This means the tourist footprint in private reserves like Dulini is low; considerably lower than in the Kruger National Park. There is not a self-drive option for game viewing and visitors explore the reserve in an open safari vehicle in the company of a professional game ranger and tracker.

Sabi Sands also enforces a strict game viewing protocol which limits the number of open safari vehicles around animals. For example, only two game vehicles are allowed at a leopard sighting and a lion kill. In remote corners of Dulini, visitors could be mistaken in thinking they’re the only people in the reserve. It’s the ultimate luxury Kruger safari experience with such rare exclusivity.

 

Best Big 5 safari tour

Exceptional wildlife sightings and awe-inspiring photographic opportunities are a major drawcard for Sabi Sands and Dulini does not disappoint. Dulini has traversing rights across Sabi Sands which is some 65 000 hectares of unspoiled bushveld.

Dulini guests go on two game drives a day in an open safari vehicle; an early morning sunrise and late afternoon sunset game drive. These are the best times to see animals in Sabi Sands because this is when they’re most active.

Evening game drives are really special because it’s a chance to see nocturnal animals such as porcupines and bush babies. Guests are taken to a special vantage point as the sun is setting and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the evening with drinks and snacks.

Game rangers and trackers working at private game reserves like Dulini are some of the best in southern Africa. They all have extensive bushveld experience and a vast knowledge of the fauna and flora of Sabi Sands. The trackers are highly skilled at picking up animal spoor and spotting elusive game such as leopard. Game spotting on a night drive is a completely different skill. Sometimes all a tracker relies on is seeing the white glint of an animal’s eye.

You also have the option of going on a fascinating guided bush walk which you can pre-book with the Dulini lodges. It’s offers a completely different perspective on the bushveld and a chance to learn more about the lesser known animals that tend to be ignored on a hunt for the Big 5 as well as learning more about the cultural and medicinal properties of the trees and plants in the bush.

The Big 5 was the term given by hunters in the old days for the five safari legends which were feared the most on a hunting expedition. The group includes elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. Today, the Big 5 are the animals safari tourists are the most keen to see.

The Big 5 shouldn’t be your sole focus because it’s just as much fun to sit at a waterhole and watch a pod of hippos wallowing in the water or watching a weaver bird steadfastly building a nest for its fussy partner in an Acacia tree. Ask you safari guide about the Small 5 and the Ugly 5.

Two major Lowveld rivers run through Sabi Sands. The Sabie River creates the southerly border of the reserve and the Sand River flows from the north west to the south east for about 50 kilometres. This permanent water source supports an incredible array of animals as well as water birds. In winter, the game tend to congregate close to the rivers which is excellent for game viewing.

 

Luxury safari accommodation

Private game reserves in Sabi Sands are unashamedly geared for the high-end market expecting luxurious accommodation in an incredible setting and an unrivalled safari experience. Once again, Dulini Lodges don’t disappoint and tick all the boxes for its discerning guests.

Three beautiful lodges in riverbank settings make up The Dulini Collection. The original safari lodge at Dulini lies nestled in the shade of ancient ebony and leadwood trees on the banks of the Mabrak River. The riverine forest creates a symphony of bird song and intimate splendour.

Dulini River Lodge embraces the long-standing signature safari tradition with six luxurious suites nestled in the riverine grandeur of ancient ebony trees. Dulini Leadwood is named after the grove of leadwood trees which surround three suites. Both Dulini Lodges offer guests an intimate bushveld experience coupled with contemporary style and design in a serene setting.

Dulini maintains much of the warmth and sincerity of a traditional safari lodge but couples the experience with modern conveniences such as a well-equipped gym and sophisticated spa, boutique shop and wine cellar stocked with distinguished wines from premier wine estates from the Cape Winelands.

Safari cuisine has also gone up a notch and many chefs working for luxury lodges in Sabi Sands are award winners and produce exemplary meals offering a European-African fusion experience.

 

Conservation at its core

The private game reserves are first and foremost conservation companies with luxury hospitality being the drawcard to their splendid safari lodges. Dulini is no exception and conservation is core to its operations. Dulini Lodges generate income which allows the company to partially fund core competencies; wildlife conservation and community empowerment and upliftment.

Dulini contributes significantly to Sabi Sands’ environment management programmes which include alien plant control, micro-catchment management to combat erosion, monitoring wildlife and habitat densities, anti-poaching initiatives and control of runaway fires. Community empowerment initiatives managed by Dulini includes activities to generate income for outreach programmes such providing health care facilities and drinking water for the local people.

Dulini and the luxury safari lodges of Sabi Sands contribute significantly to the economic viability of the region by employing community members who receive training in a variety of useful skills which sets them up for a lifelong career in hospitality.

Dulini also taps into the traditional knowledge of the Shangaan tribe. Members of the community become experts in the field of tracking using ancient wisdom of animals and plants to complement what they’ve learnt through the FGASA Professional Field Guide Course.

Empowering and harnessing the skills of the local community forms part of Sabi Sands’ ecotourism model. A special excursion for international guests is a visit to a local village. It’s an incredible opportunity to get to know more about the local culture and the communities way of life. Wildlife conservation is highly dependent on unity between animals and humans.

Villagers interacting with tourists helps them see firsthand the benefit of being part of the reserve’s conservation initiatives because they ultimately benefit from the money generated through safari tourism.

Community outreach projects run by Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve put education at the forefront of what they do. They also play a role in small business creation and support, housing and medical healthcare. The fight against AIDS is a priority, particularly as the epidemic destroys the fabric of families by creating child-only homes with no parents to care for children orphaned by the disease.

Other outreach programmes including sports training for younger children; upskilling learners so they can earn a living making shoes and hats or products such as beaded products and candles which are sold through boutique shops at the Dulini Lodges.

 

Romance & intimacy

If you’re looking for an intimate safari experience with lashings of romance, Dulini Lodges are perfect.

There are only 3 luxury suites at Dulini Leadwood which are carefully positioned a good distance from each other. Dulini River Lodge has 6 luxurious suites and the whole lodge is geared for an exclusive experience for sophisticated travellers.

Dulini offers special packages for wedding parties and intimate honeymoon stays and the team love adding romantic touches to make your stay special. Dreamy bubble baths in a luxurious bathroom sipping on crisp sparkling wine, romantic gourmet dinners on your private viewing deck, indulgent spa pamper sessions in the privacy of your suite, your own plunge pool and outdoor shower and complete solitude and privacy are what you can expect when you stay at an intimate Dulini safari lodge.

 

ACCOMMODATION AT DULINI

 

The three spectacular safari lodges on Dulini Game Reserve offer guests a world-class safari experience in a wilderness region which falls within the Greater Kruger. The latter falls within the internationally-declared Kruger2Canyons UNESCO Man and Biosphere and which in turn falls within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation area (GLTP Treaty of 2002).

You have the choice of three intimate safari lodges on Dulini which are geared for the sophisticated safari market expecting an unrivalled safari experience. The lodges are elegant and stylish but retain much of the warmth and charm of a traditional African safari lodge to create a ‘home away from home’ experience.

 

DULINI LODGE

Dulini Lodge is the original safari lodge on the private game reserve. It’s set in a secluded riverine grove with 6 exquisite suites positioned carefully on the bank of the Mabrak River to offer guests solitude and privacy.

The quiet safari retreat exudes romance and elegance with classic interior design that integrates the grandeur of nature with contemporary chic décor. Its unique ‘Out of Africa’ style gives it the warmth and charm of an authentic African safari lodge and refined furnishings give it an air of stylish elegance.

Six private thatched suites lie nestled in a grove of ancient ebony and jackalberry trees. Overlooking the Mabrak River, game viewing and birdwatching from your private deck is a wonderful extension of your daily game drives in Sabi Sands.

Each air-conditioned suite at Dulini Lodge has its own viewing deck and a heated plunge pool. You can choose to hide out in the privacy of your suite and enjoy romantic evenings on your deck under the wonderful African sky or you can join guests at the main lodge for a lovely evening which includes a delicious African-inspired meal at an open-air restaurant and savour some of the finest South African wines from Dulini’s wine cellar.

Expect all the modern conveniences of a 5-star safari lodge in Sabi Sands, including a well-equipped gym and spa treatments as well as a boutique shop stocked with souvenirs and crafts created by talented artists from the local community.

With only six luxury suites sleeping up to 12 people, a stay at Dulini Lodge is never overcrowded. The suites are carefully positioned to create the impression that you’re on your own in pristine bushveld. The wide glass doors and vast windows draw incredible light into the suite and there’s a seamless blend between the stylish interior and the rugged wild surrounds.

Soft carpeting and stark white linen are offset against polished concrete floors and the warmth of the thatch and wicker furniture. The King-size beds are enveloped in a giant mosquito net and invite you to sink deeply into them for quality rest and rejuvenation.

Daily game drives are spent with a professional game ranger and experienced tracker. Photographic equipment can be rented through Dulini Lodge and your safari guide will help you with any photography needs and questions you have for the perfect shot.

Leopard sightings are a major drawcard for Sabi Sands and you’ll have ample opportunity to get up close to these majestic cats. You can book a guided bush walk with your knowledgeable safari guide which gives you a different perspective on the surrounding bushveld and up close to the smaller creatures and details in the wild.

Dulini Lodge is surrounded by beautiful bushveld which is renowned for its diversity and density of wild animals and prolific birdlife. It’s home to the Big 5 which includes elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopards as well as an abundance of antelope. A major attraction of Dulini Lodge is the chance see large packs of Wild Dog, prides of lions with young cubs and Sabi Sands beautiful leopards.

Guests have a window seat to all that Dulini Game Reserve offers with incredible wildlife sightings, beautiful birds in the riverine forests and an intimate safari experience away from the busy tourist thoroughfare in the Kruger National Park.

Dulini is situated in a ‘hotspot’ of biodiversity in one of the most prestigious wilderness corridors in Africa. The reserve supports over 350 species of birds, 47 large mammal species as well as a myriad of smaller animals, reptiles and invertebrates. It has over 90 species of trees and countless species of shrubs and grasses.

The Big 5 are a major drawcard but you’ll have just as much fun spotting and getting to know what locals call the Ugly 5, the Little 5, the Shy 5 and the Impossible 5.

The luxury safari lodges on Dulini Game Reserve are stylish and sophisticated but not ‘over the top’. Service is personal and warm; meals are delicious but not too fancy; and the whole experience is intimate and romantic.

Children 8 years and older are welcome at Dulini Lodge in Sabi Sands.

 

Accommodation at Dulini Lodge

 

6 luxury suites at Dulini Lodge:

  • air-conditioning and ceiling fans
  • ensuite bathroom with an indoor/outdoor shower
  • lounge area with fireplace
  • viewing deck and plunge pool
  • King-size bed with mosquito net
  • Fully-stocked complimentary mini-bar and Nespresso machine
  • Digital safe
  • Hairdryer

 

Facilities at Dulini Lodge

 

  • well-equipped gym and spa facilities
  • lounge and relaxation area
  • outdoor boma (barbeque area)
  • spacious outdoor deck
  • swimming pool
  • wine cellar
  • complimentary Wi-Fi
  • boutique shop

 

DULINI RIVER LODGE

Dulini River Lodge is an indulgent safari experience which promises guests an intimate and private stay. There are 6 luxurious suites on the property placed carefully on the banks of the Sand River with panoramic views of the surrounding bushveld.

The air-conditioned luxury suites have a beautiful viewing deck with a heated plunge pool. Guests enjoy brilliant wildlife sightings in a tranquil setting surrounded by ancient ebony and leadwood trees. The leafy, evergreen thicket provides glorious shade on hot summer days and the air is filled with the wonderful song of birds which are prolific in the riverine forest.

The thatched suites are elegantly furnished using natural earthy colours and luxury finishes with touches of contemporary African flair. Luxurious features include an ensuite bathroom with deep bath tubs and an indoor-outdoor shower. The calm lounge area leads out onto a spacious wooden verandah with comfy pool lounges placed around the sparkling pool.

The stylish main lodge boasts a beautiful lounge and dining area under warm thatch with open sides, high ceilings and screed floors. Deep comfortable sofas and elegant furnishing create a ‘home away from home’ ambiance.

Guests dine in the restaurant or on the deck under a giant sausage tree. Evenings are spent around a roaring fire at an open air boma enjoying authentic African-European fusion cuisine prepared by highly experienced chefs.

Activities at Dulini River Lodge include early morning sunrise and late afternoon sunset game drives with a highly qualified professional safari guide and a seasoned Shangaan tracker. You can opt for an guided bush walks which takes you into the beautiful bushveld surrounds around the lodge. For a decadent pamper session, you can have a massage in the privacy of your private suite.

What makes Dulini River Lodge special is its intimacy and exclusivity. With only 6 luxury suites sleeping up to 12 people, you’re guaranteed privacy and exclusivity in an intimate, romantic setting. It’s perfect for honeymoon couples and safari travellers wanting to stay far from the busy crowds at the Kruger National Park.

You have the option of booking Dulini River Lodge on an exclusive-use basis for a whole family or group of friends. You then have exclusive access to a professional guide, Shangaan tracker and an open safari vehicle and can gear your safari tour to your own personal needs.

 

Accommodation at Dulini River Lodge

 

6 luxury suites or 4 suites on an exclusive-use basis

  • air-conditioning and ceiling fans
  • ensuite bathroom with an indoor/outdoor shower
  • lounge area with fireplace
  • viewing deck and plunge pool
  • King-size bed with mosquito net
  • Fully-stocked complimentary mini-bar and Nespresso machine
  • Digital safe
  • Hairdryer

 

Facilities at Dulini River Lodge

 

  • well-equipped gym and spa facilities
  • lounge and relaxation area
  • outdoor boma (barbeque area)
  • spacious outdoor deck
  • swimming pool
  • wine cellar
  • complimentary Wi-Fi
  • boutique shop

 

Children 12 years and older are welcome at Dulini River Lodge.

If the property is booked on an exclusive-use basis, children of all ages are welcome.

 

How Dulini River Lodge got its name

Dulini River Lodge is built on the banks of Sand River which is one of two major rivers which run through Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve. Both the Sabi and Sand River intersect the reserve although the flow of the Sand River varies according to the season.

A forest of tall trees and thickets growing along the river’s course remains green throughout the year and attracts leopard, elephant and buffalo as well as giraffe and bushbuck.

Fishing in the Sand River is popular and its one activity which can be booked during a stay in Sabi Sands. There are over 37 species of fish in the Sand River with the most common ones being sharp-tooth catfish (barbel), Mozambique tilapia (bream), squeakers, tigerfish, small-mouth yellowfish and mudfish.

Fishing on the Sand River is an wonderful alternative to a game drive in an open safari vehicle because you’ve got a first-class seat to excellent game viewing and bird watching.

 

DULINI LEADWOOD LODGE

Dulini Leadwood Lodge lies nestled in a glorious grove of magical leadwood trees which the lodge was named after. It offers discerning guest the ultimate safari experience in one of the finest wilderness areas in the Greater Kruger.

This intimate safari lodge only has 3 luxury suites sleeping 6 people at any one time. Its built on the confluence of the Sand and Mabrak Rivers in beautiful bushveld surrounds. The suites are positioned a good distance from each other, making them perfect for an idyllic private stay.

Dulini Leadwood Lodge can be booked on an exclusive-use basis and is popular for a small, intimate wedding or for a small group of family and friends. Guests then have access to a professional safari guide and Shangaan tracker and an open safari vehicle for safari tours tailored to personal interests.

Tall expansive glass windows draw in incredible light and offer panoramic views of the surrounding bushveld and the river banks. Excellent wildlife sightings and prolific birdlife make it a sought-after safari experience. The lodge is designed to blend seamlessly with the rugged wilderness and the interior design reflects a truly natural feel with calming tones.

Luxury features in each airconditioned suite include a spacious ensuite bathroom with an indoor-outdoor shower, cozy fireplace and a private heated plunge pool. Dinner is served in a beautiful open air dining area leading out onto an expansive outdoor viewing deck.

Guests are taken on early morning sunrise and late afternoon sunset game drives in an open air safari vehicle with a professional safari guide and experienced Shangaan tracker. Dulini is home to the Big 5 and an abundance of antelope and other wildlife. Drinks and snacks at special vantage points allow guests time to soak up the peace and tranquility of Sabi Sands bushveld before returning to the lodge for more game viewing along the banks of the river.

You can opt for a luxurious pamper session in the privacy of your suite or spend time at the main lodge relaxing in the beautiful lounge area. Meals are an African-European fusion created by excellent chefs and paired with wines from a collection of some of South Africa’s finest from leading wine farms in the Cape Winelands.

Dulini Leadwood Lodge is a delightful blend of luxurious accommodation in Sabi Sands with unrivalled game viewing. It’s an intimate experience with only six guests staying at a time. Romance and sophisticated surrounds makes Dulini Leadwood Lodge a unique option.

 

Accommodation at Dulini Leadwood Lodge

 

3 luxury suites or 4 suites on an exclusive-use basis

  • air-conditioning and ceiling fans
  • ensuite bathroom with an indoor/outdoor shower
  • lounge area with fireplace
  • viewing deck and plunge pool
  • King-size bed with mosquito net
  • Fully-stocked complimentary mini-bar and Nespresso machine
  • Digital safe
  • Hairdryer

 

Facilities at Dulini Leadwood Lodge

 

  • well-equipped gym and spa facilities
  • lounge and relaxation area
  • outdoor boma (barbeque area)
  • spacious outdoor deck
  • swimming pool
  • wine cellar
  • complimentary Wi-Fi
  • boutique shop

 

Children 12 years and older are welcome at Dulini Leadwood Lodge.

If the property is booked on an exclusive-use basis, children of all ages are welcome.

 

How Dulini Leadwood Lodge got its name

Dulini Leadwood Lodge is named after the magnificent grove of leadwood trees which surround the property. These ancient species are part of the plant family Combretaceae which has at least 250 species. Most of the species in the combretum family are small to medium-sized trees or shrubs but the magical leadwood tree is one of the largest trees in Africa and capable of growing to a height of some 20 metres.

The common name, Leadwood, describes the weight of the wood which is extremely dense and heavy. When dry, a leadwood tree can weighs 200 kilograms per cubic meter more than water which makes it one of the only woods which will sink, not float, when dropped into water. The wood is so dense that wood boring insects such as termites would take up to 800 years to devour a fallen leadwood tree.

The leaves are eaten by many animals including elephant, giraffe, kudu and impala. In the spreading canopy, the fragrant yellowish flowers and fruit ripen to a pale red 4-winged pod in the summer. The semi-deciduous tree is striking almost all year round.

It’s a very long-lived but slow-growing tree found in the southern regions of South Africa and stretching up a far as northern Tanzania. Some leadwood trees found in Sabi Sands are nearly a 1000-years old.

There are many traditional medicinal and conventional uses for the Leadwood tree, as well as a host of spiritual beliefs surrounding it. The Ovambo people from Namibia never pass a Leadwood without paying respect to it, believing that the tree represents the great ancestor of all people and animals. Bushmen used the gummy sap from the tree as a food supplement.

The wood is so strong and durable that it was used in the last century to make railway sleepers and hoes. Although it is extremely difficult to work with, the wood is prized as a medium for making beautiful furniture.

Inhaling the smoke from the burning wood of a Leadwood tree is an ancient remedy for curing coughs and colds. Leadwood bark is used as a traditional treatment for bilharzia and the roots as a cure for infertility.

Today, leadwood trees enjoy a protected status and no wood from this species can be used unless it is a branch which has fallen or been discarded as a half-eaten meal by an elephant.

 

TOURIST DESTINATIONS CLOSE TO DULINI

 

Dulini Lodges can organise excursions to popular tourist destinations located within reasonable distance from the game reserve. Book in advance if you have a few days to spare to visit these attractions.

 

Kruger National Park

Dulini Game Reserve is located in Sabi Sand Game Reserve which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park. Guests have easy access to South Africa’s largest national park.

This iconic protected wildlife region comprises 2 million hectares of unrivalled biodiversity. Exceptional safari excursions are a major drawcard but the wilderness belt is also rich in history and archaeological sites.

Kruger National Park is 30 kilometres from Dulini Game Reserve; approx 1 hours driving time

 

Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Take a day tour to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and meet several of Africa’s finest wildlife ambassadors. The centre is a safe haven for abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife and birds of prey; some of which are healed and re-introduced to the bush, while others take up permanent residency because they are too badly damaged to fend for themselves.

You’ll see a wide array of animals at Moholoholo; from lion, leopard, serval, cheetah and hyena to Stoffel the famous honey badger as well as vultures, eagles and other magnificent birds of prey. The centre plays an extremely important conservation role, has a very successful breeding programme and is actively involved in anti-poaching initiatives.

The centre is entirely self-funded and relies on the support of visitors and generous donors. There is a small fee for guided tours which last about two hours. Your visit to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre helps keep this incredible facility going.

Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is 87 kilometres from Dulini Game Reserve; approx 2 hours driving time

 

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC)

HESC is a non-profit organisation which runs a successful breeding and research programme and plays a vital role in protecting endangered species in Africa. It is world-renowned for the role it has and continues to play in protecting dwindling predator populations in southern Africa.

The centre provides a safe haven for orphaned, sick and injured animals and has set up an impressive education centre where the general public and school children can learn about endangered wildlife species and interact with them. HESC plays a major role in assisting anti-poaching initiatives, in particular, saving our precious rhino from extinction.

HESC is based at Kapama Game Reserve which is a short drive from Royal Malewane. A visit to HESC exposes guests to the incredible work researchers and conservationists are doing in the field; it’s a chance to interact with the animals on a closer level and helps towards raising much-needed funds for conservation and anti-poaching initiatives.

HESC is 65 kilometres from Dulini Game Reserve; approx 1 hour 30 minutes driving time

1 h 26 min (64,6 km

 

Helicopter flip

Hoedspruit Helicopters is the only scenic helicopter charter company operating in the Hoedspruit. Contact them directly for a one-of-its-kind helicopter flip over the majestic Drakensberg mountain range and the Blyde River Canyon. Gain a different perspective of the lush Lowveld from high up in the air.

 

Blyde River Canyon Cruise

Blyde River Canon is the third-largest canyon in the world and the largest ‘green’ canyon in the world. You’ll enjoy an interpretation tour of the canyon which takes you to the rare living Kadishi Tufa waterfall; a fascinating 200-metre high natural phenomenon which builds up and lays down tufa rock as a result of a chemical reaction which precipitates cultrate out of the reaction between plant, water and rock.

A canyon cruise is awe-inspiring; the steep cliff faces tower above you while the boat cruises in the shadow of the Three Rondavels (a mountain landscape shaped like three small huts). The tour takes 1 hour 30 minutes and departs from the Blyde River Dam jetty which you get to from Swadini Forever Resort.

Swadini Forever Resort is 100 kilometres from Dulini Game Reserve; approx 2 hour driving time

 

Explore Hoedspruit       

Hoedspruit is the largest town in the region and a thriving tourism hub. It’s grown so much in the last few years that it’s now a destination on its own. A modern shopping centre has just gone up and you’ve got a choice of a number of great restaurants, coffee shops and pubs. It’s where the local farmers and game farm owners come to shop and meet friends and the town’s packed with tourists either passing through or spending a few days in town.

Hoedspruit lies nestled in a fertile agricultural valley at the foot of the majestic Klein Drakensberg, which means ‘Small Dragon Mountain’ in Afrikaans. It lies on the railway line which links Tzaneen in the north-west with Kaapmuiden in the east.

The town got its name – which means ‘hat creek’ in Afrikaans – from an intrepid explorer who allegedly made the long and arduous trek over the Drakensberg mountains, down into the scorching Lowveld. When he reached the cool waters of the Sandspruit River, he threw his hat into the creek and declared he would settle there.

There’s a lot to do in and around Hoedspruit; plan to spend at least a day exploring the area. Most trips to Hoedspruit end at one or other restaurant or pub where the locals will greet you warmly and convince you to drink up and stay awhile.

Hoedspruit is 98 kilometres from Dulini Game Reserve; approx 2 hour driving time 2 h 3 min (98,2 km)

 

Panorama Route tour

If you are driving to or from Royal Malewane; one way at least should go via the Panorama Route. It’s an incredibly scenic route with spectacular views around every corner; taking you from Hoedspruit via the historic towns of Graskop and Pilgrim’s Rest to the town of Sabie. It tracks the ancient paths of gold diggers who came to the area during the gold rush to seek their fortune.

An iconic feature along the Panorama Route is Blyde River Canyon. It’s the third-largest canyon in the world and the largest ‘green’ canyon in the world. Other highlights along the way include God’s Window, a breath-taking viewpoint on the Drakensberg escarpment; the Pinnacle, a rocky outcrop which some people call God’s Finger; and Bourke’s Luck Potholes, a beautiful and strange natural phenomenon where river water has over centuries eroded the rocks and created perfectly formed smooth potholes and unusual sculptures.

Stop for pancakes at the legendary Harry’s Pancakes in Graskop or delicious craft beer at the Sabie Brewing Company.

If you have time, enjoy the ride of your life on Misty Mountain’s Long Tom Toboggan which is located on Long Tom Pass. It’s a 1.7 kilometre track that winds down a mountain slope at speed; it’s the longest toboggan run in Africa and a huge amount of fun for children and adults.

Graskop is 100 kilometres from Dulini Game Reserve; approx 2 hours driving time

 

MORE ABOUT SABI SANDS

 

Reputed to be one of Africa’s finest safari destinations, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is home to Dulini. The 65 000ha Sabi Sand Reserve shares a common 50km unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park to the east. Two perennial rivers, the Sabi and Sand Rivers sustain the diverse fauna and flora of the area, which enjoys one of the highest and most bio-diverse populations of any reserve in Africa.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve is located in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. It borders the world famous Kruger National Park and offers the same magnificent wildlife safari experience at luxury Sabi Sand Game Reserve safari lodges.

See the Big Five wildlife while on guided game drives conducted by expert rangers. Stay in luxurious safari lodges where your every need will be met. Enjoy excellent cuisine, wildlife viewing, safari drives and walks while staying at these Sabi Sand Game Reserve safari lodges.

With no boundary fences between the Sabi Sand and the Kruger National Park, a great diversity of wildlife is found here, including the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.

Game drives traverse an area of 10 000 hectares (24 700 acres) and strict vehicle limits at sightings ensure the exclusivity of your game viewing experience. Off-road driving enables the best possible view of any exceptional sighting and rangers are constantly in touch with each other to keep track of animal movements.

 

The History Of Sabi Sands

Sabi Sands Game Reserve is one of the oldest safari parks in South Africa and is renowned world-wide for its successful conservation projects, excellent game viewing and luxurious lodges.

Although the seeds of creation of the Sabi Sands can be traced back to the late 1800’s, history records the official creation of the Sabi Private Game Reserve in 1934 which later became the Sabi Sands Private Reserve in 1948. Today at least 6 of the original families still own large tracts of the land, with third and fourth generation owners still in possession of the land.

 

Human habitation

Historical evidence shows that the savannah country now known as the Sabi Sands Game Reserve was inhabited by man for many years. Stone Age artefacts, Bushmen paintings and trading artefacts linked to the Arab, Portuguese and Dutch traders all point to a long and rich history.

The Voortrekkers passed through the land during their journeys and the Shangaan tribe developed here after King Shaka attempted to conquer the various regional tribes.

 

Location of the game reserve

The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is located in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa and takes its name from the two rivers that flow through the wilderness area; the Sabi River and the Sand River.

Stretching across 65 000 hectares of land, the game reserve shares an unfenced eastern border with the Kruger National Park, however; this has not always been the case.

 

Building up then breaking down fences

In 1961 fences were erected between the two game reserves; the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Reserve due to the threat of foot and mouth disease and the continued threat from hunters. The reserve then also erected fences on the western perimeter to prevent the wildlife from moving out of the area.

The eastern border fences remained in place until 1993 when, after much discussion they were finally removed. The animals soon migrated across the border and now roam freely between the two reserves.

 

Incredible game viewing

With the valuable resource of water supplied by both rivers, the Sabi Sands has one of the highest wildlife populations in southern Africa. Its biodiversity has earned it world-wide acclaim. Home to over 200 different species of game animals including the Big Five and some 500 bird species, Sabi Sands is also famous for its leopard conservation project.

Guests staying at a luxury game lodges in the reserve enjoy organised game drives in the company of a professional safari guide and skilled game tracker. Sabi Sands is home to the famous Big 5 which includes elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard but it’s also home to bountiful species of antelope, predators and other regular wildlife.

Accommodation in Sabi Sands is comprised mainly of privately run safari lodges. The reserve is considered to be the birthplace of the luxury African safari lodge and experience boasting exceptional facilities in stunning settings. These lodges are geared for the discerning traveller expecting sophisticated facilities and the ultimate safari experience.

 

TRAVEL & BOOKING INFORMATION

 

WEATHER IN SABI SANDS

Sabi Sands and the Kruger National Park fall within the Greater Kruger which experiences a sub-tropical climate. The region is a year-round destination and when you visit largely depends on what you’d like to see and do in the nature reserve.

October to April

The rainy season is in summer which is October to April; peaking late December to end February.

Day time temperatures can reach highs of 30°C plus and the evenings cool down to bearable levels.

The bushveld is lush and verdant and birdlife is prolific but this is not the best time for game viewing because the bushveld is thick and animals have access to water deeper in the bush.

May to September

The winter season is between May and September and this is the best time for game viewing because the grass is dry and thinned out which makes it easier to spot game and the animals tend to congregate on river banks and waterholes during the dry season.

Day temperatures are usually warm and mild in the bushveld with infrequent cold fronts moving through bringing colder weather. Winter evenings get very chilly and you need warm clothes, gloves and beanies for the evening game drives.

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT DULINI

For the ultimate safari experience with exceptional sightings of wildlife, choose the dry winter months from May to October to visit Singita Lodges in Greater Kruger. This is the best time for game viewing and the risk of malaria is greatly reduced in the colder months.

Bird lovers prefer the summer months from October to April to visit the Greater Kruger because an array of bird species fly to the reserve to wait out the cold European winters.

This is also the time most animal species give birth to their young; at the start of the rainy season. The bush is teeming with newborn animals which in turn draws out the big cats and predators.

 

MALARIA WARNING

The Sabi Sand region is considered a low risk malaria area but it still needs to be taken seriously as malaria can be fatal if not treated immediately. Consult your GP or a travel clinic for advice on taking anti-malaria tablets. Mosquitos are more prevalent in the warm, rainy season between October and April.

In addition to taking anti-malaria tablets, precautionary measures include using a good mosquito/insect repellent (spray your room and car), sleeping under mosquito nets, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants as well as socks and closed shoes in the evening.

 

ACCESS TO WI-FI

The three luxury safari lodges on Dulini Game Reserve have internet connectivity. However, check with the lodge you’re staying at if Wi-Fi is available in your room as a few operate on the basis that guests need to put away their mobile devices and completely relax without outside distractions.

Mobile connectivity and signal is often poor in the bushveld where the lodges are located.

 

ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE

Sabi Sands is within an hour’s drive from the nearest medical facility which is a medical clinic in Skukuza in the Kruger National Park. The on-call doctor at Skukuza will treat minor ailments and stabilise more serious conditions. Patients who need emergency medical treatment will be sent through to one of two big private hospitals in Nelspruit.

 

DULINI CHILD POLICY

  • Children 8 years and older are welcome at Dulini Lodges.
  • A child is considered 8-16 years old at Dulini Lodge and River Lodge and 12-16 years at Dulini Leadwood Lodge.
  • Children are charged at 50% of the full adult sharing rate when sharing with at least one adult.

If the safari lodge is booked on an exclusive-use basis, children of all ages are welcome at all three Dulini safari lodges.

 

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TIMES AT DULINI

  • guests may arrive and book in any time from 13h00
  • suites need to be vacated by 11h00
  • lunch is served at noon (12h00-13h00)
  • hot beverages and homemade rusks/cakes are served before the early morning and late afternoon game drive
  • breakfast and dinner are served when guests return from the game drive

 

TRAVELLING DISTANCES BY ROAD:

The approximate travelling distance by road is:

Johannesburg to Dulini: 5-6 hours (approx 500 kilometres)

KMIA Airport (Nelspruit) to Dulini: 2 hours (approx 150 kilometres)

Skukuza Airport to Dulini: 1 hour 20 minutes (approx 50 kilometres)

Ulusaba airstrip: 20-30 minutes (complimentary game drive transfer)

 

GETTING TO DULINI

 

There are a variety of ways to get to Sabi Sands Game Reserve but most international travellers opt to fly to the area on a scheduled flight operated by a national airline carrier or a shuttle flight operated by a private charter company.

A flight to and from Sabi Sands is very convenient but if you choose to drive to the reserve by car, you’ll get to see the diverse geography of the region on a scenic road which takes you from Johannesburg over a mountainous escarpment into the lush fertile valleys of the Lowveld.

 

BY AIR

Guests travelling to Sabi Sands from Johannesburg and Cape Town make use of scheduled flights to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) near Nelspruit or a scheduled flight to Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park. Dulini organises the road transfer from the airport to the three lodges on the property.

Airlink (subsidiary of SAA) and Federal Air (FedAir) fly to Hoedspruit Airport which is conveniently located close to the Greater Kruger. There are also direct flights to Sabi Sands using a private charter company or FedAir.

Federal Air operates as a shuttle service so departure times and routes vary depending on guests requirements and local weather conditions. Guests are limited to carrying 20 kilograms of luggage in soft duffel-type bags which includes hand luggage and camera equipment.

 

BY ROAD

The drive from Johannesburg to Sabi Sand Game Reserve is approximately 450 kilometres long and takes about 5 to 6 hours depending on how many times you stop. The route takes you from Johannesburg along the N4 national road to Nelspruit in Mpumalanga; from there you take a scenic route through fertile farming areas via Hazyview to Sabi Sands.

Another option is to take a longer scenic drive along the breathtaking Panoramic Route which passes through magnificent man-made forests and the historic towns of Sabie and Graskop with stops along the way at Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

Sabi Sands entrance gates

Sabi Sand Game Reserve has three access gates. The closest entrance to Dulini Game Reserve is Newington Gate.

The entrance gates open at 05h00 and close at 22h00.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve entrance fees:

Guests are required to pay an entrance fee of ZAR 280 per vehicle (2018 price.

An additional conservation fee of ZAR 120 per person is charged.

Credit cards are accepted at all Sabi Sands entry gates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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