Sabi Sand is South Africa’s premier ‘Big Five’ game reserve. It is the place to see lion and leopard at close range and follow these remarkable cats as they hunt in the evening. The Sabi Sand Wildlife Reserve is an area comprising a number of private reserves on the western border of Kruger Park.
It is a sandy, wooded area, named after the Sabie River and the Sand River, which run through it. There is no fence between Sabi Sand and the Kruger Park, so the animals roam freely. The essential difference is that, in the private reserves, you can drive off-road, deep into the bush if necessary for a good animal sighting.
South Africa’s most famous lodges are found in the Sabi Sand – Londolozi, Mala Mala, and Singita, to name but three. These are all excellent lodges, without a doubt. We also have a particularly strong relationship with Cheetah Plains and other small, owner-run lodges which provide first-rate game viewing and personal service at a considerably lower price.
Your day in a safari lodge
Game lodges offer two game drives per day, one before breakfast and the other starting in the late afternoon – the times when wildlife is most active. Each is around three hours long, but may be extended to follow a hunt, or fresh leopard tracks. The afternoon drive becomes a night drive to look for the nocturnal species as they go out to hunt. You can also do bush walks – always with an armed ranger – and you can experience the lavish hospitality of a four- or five star game lodge.
Your day begins with a wake-up call, usually at 05h30, to give you time for coffee, rusks and fruit juice before you depart at 06h30. When you get back from your morning game drive, at around 09h30, you may care to shower, before you sit down to a substantial breakfast/brunch at 10h00. By the time that is finished, it may be 11h00 - time for a bush walk, or to relax in your chalet, on your private deck, or around the pool.
Lunch is usually served quite late, around 14h00, running into high tea at 15h00, and then you get ready to go out again at 16h00. At sunset, it is customary to stop for sundowners – a drink and some kind of nibbles. Then, as darkness falls, you begin the night drive, usually the last hour. After your return at around 19h00, there are pre-dinner drinks, with dinner usually served at 20h00, often in the boma, a circular area around the camp fire.
This is a typical day. It’s not unusual to do other things – maybe use the spa, or visit one of the villages around the reserve.