Sabi Sands is probably the most exclusive private reserve of South Africa.
Open to the Kruger National Park, you will find here a plentiful of luxury safari lodges. The reserve is well known for the excellent wildlife photography, also thanks to off-road driving. Which is not allowed, on the contrary, in the Kruger National Park.
Sabi Sands is, like other prime private game reserves, home to all big 5, but very hard to top anywhere else in Africa with regard to leopard sighting. Large lion prides, buffalo herds and an abundance of white rhino are other typical features.
As in most of all private game reserves, self-drive is not allowed.
A bit of history.
What’s the secret behind Sabi Sands’ success? Originally, this was a farm land. As cattle farming required lot of water consumption, several artificial dams were created. To the beneficial of animals and, nowadays, of tourists as well.
To a certain extent, Sabi Sands paved the way to the Kruger National Park and other private reserves, being proclaimed in 1898. Fifty years later, the reserve reached its current size.
On average, most of them are quite up-market. This is not the right reserve for travelers on a budget. However, you can find even here more affordable solutions. And above all, make no mistakes: Sabi Sands offers the best safari experience of South Africa.
If you’re looking for romance (ie. for your honeymoon trip) and value for money, Notten’s Bushcamp will perhaps be your best choice. Unfortunately, because of its high popularity, you can often find it already fully booked. Rather be an early birder, if you don’t want to miss your chance.
If you want to save money, take into account Umkhumbe Safari Lodge (just please go for the superior room), which in addition has got a great setting.
If you can afford it (lucky you!), take into consideration Chitwa and Leopard Hills. The first is located in the less “crowded” northern section of the reserve. The latter is a gem for the safari connoisseur and enjoys great intimacy and a breathless view from your verandah.
The most exclusive safaris of all you can likely make is in Mala Mala, the largest private area within Sabi Sands. Nobody but the safari vehicles carrying the guests of the three only lodges can drive through this 130 squared km wilderness. As if it was, and to a degree it is, a reserve on its own, with an unbelievable concentration of wildlife.