Sabi Sands Game Reserve | South Africa
The Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve adjoins the south west border of the Kruger National Park. The boundary is unfenced, and animals are free to roam between the Kruger and the Sabi Sands at will. Home to some exceptionally luxurious safari lodges, the Sabi Sands offers outstanding game viewing and is without doubt South Africa’s premier safari destination.
The Sabi Sands – The Details
The Sabi Sands comprises an area of approximately 60,000 ha sharing a common unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park. The area is home to a vast population of wildlife including phenomenal concentrations of the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). This is the oldest of all the private reserves in South Africa and one of the best wildlife viewing areas in the whole of Africa.
It has rightly earned its reputation throughout the world as ‘the safari destination’ in South Africa. With exceptional guiding that can be undertaken in a vehicle or on foot, you can be sure of a memorable stay. In most camps, night driving is possible which gives you a fantastic chance of catching some of the rarer nocturnal creatures that inhabit the area that you would otherwise miss.
The reserve consists of a number of separate private concessions, each sharing traversing rights with neighbours. Some of Africa’s most luxurious safari lodges are to be found here, including Londolozi, Singita and Richard Branson’s Ulusaba. These lodges offer exceptional levels of hospitality and service, and guaranteed superb game viewing.
The lodges in the Sabi Sands are also wonderfully accessible. Flights are regular to and from Johannesburg with some lodges having their own private airstrips, whilst others can are accessed from a flight into Skukuza or Nelspruit Airport and then a short vehicle transfer.
The majority of travellers to this area will be lucky enough to see all the Big Five within a short period of time, sometimes all in one game drive. Leopard viewing in the Sabi Sands is without any doubt some of the finest in Africa. The area is also a stronghold for the critically endangered wild dog and cheetah meaning that guests often tick off the ‘magnificent seven’ during their stay.
Another reason why Sabi Sands is one of our favourite places to visit is because it is an all-year destination. The best time of year to visit is between May and October when the climate is cooler and dryer. At this time the vegetation is thinner and water is scarce. This allows for optimal game viewing as animals congregate at the water points and makes photography easier.
However, any time of year is great in the Sands. During the rainy season, the lush vegetation and flowing rivers attract a huge variety of bird-life and many migratory birds such as the woodlands kingfisher and the southern carmine bee-eater can be spotted and photographed here. It is a birding heaven!
The major factor when deciding on your South African safari is to to ascertain the differences between the Sabi Sands and the Kruger National Park. Our blog post explains this everything from the vehicles used, to the different types of game viewing on offer, but if you are unsure, make sure you contact one of our Africa experts who would love to talk you through the different options and deals you could take advantage of.
Combining the Sabi Sands with Cape Town is a great trip for everyone. Whether you are on honeymoon or a family, there is something to suit everyone’s needs. If one safari destination is not enough for you then it also mixes well with certain parts of the Greater Kruger, Phinda Game Reserve on the Eastern Coast, or Tswalu in the Kalahari region of South Africa.