It’s sundown in the middle of the African bush, yet the heat still permeates the air. For miles on end is the undulating landscape dotted with water holes, rock formations and termite mounds. The buzz of insects acts as a Bushveld soundtrack. Welcome to the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in South Africa.
Suddenly, out of the thicket emerges a majestic male leopard, marking his territory. In the distance is a herd of elephants with youngsters in tow on the lookout for refreshment.
The sense of discovery and exhilaration makes one’s heart pump – there is a feeling of connectedness and awe of the wonder of the natural world around us.
Sabi Sabi is set in an unspoilt part of Africa, ecologically and geographically integrated with the Kruger National Park. It is situated within one of the oldest and largest private reserves in Africa – the world renowned Sabi Sand Wildtuin.
Up close and personal
This pristine and diverse part of the African continent is home to spectacular wildlife including the Big 5 – lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant – as well as cheetah, wild dog and some 200 other animal species indigenous to the area. Having become habituated to the presence of safari vehicles, guests of Sabi Sabi are privy to the unique experience of close encounters with these incredible animals as they undertake their natural daily patterns of hunting, feeding, courting and suckling.
The Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is also home to a remarkable 350 species of birds. On a single summer’s day, a visitor from the Northern Hemisphere can see more bird species than they are likely to see in a lifetime at home. In fact, almost five per cent of the world’s bird species have been recorded in this region of South Africa.
Sabi Sabi consists of four unique lodges, each with an individual look and feel, décor style and ambience yet with the same commitment to excellent service, African hospitality and outstanding levels of luxury. All the lodges are unfenced and with no fences between Sabi Sabi and the other reserves in the area, wildlife roams freely, giving guests the ultimate safari experience.
A member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection, Earth Lodge has taken its cue from South Africa’s vast mineral wealth, with veins of the metallic colours subtly reflected around the lodge.
Each of the 13 suites at the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve has a glass-fronted bathroom with indoor and al-fresco showers which lead to secluded private plunge pools. The lodge boasts a meditation garden, Amani Spa and the cavernous cellar with eclectic collection.
A unique ‘day bar’ has been created, where guests relax looking out at the waterhole whist enjoying cocktails. There is also a “gym with a view” for those who want to keep up with their fitness routines.
Relaxing in the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Having recently been transformed with a new look in earlier this year, the intimate Little Bush Camp is cozy hideaway nestled in the shade of the indigenous riverine trees. Exuding warmth and comfort, the six elegant suites have a private deck with spa bath giving the illusion of being alone in the vast African bush. The pool area is just out of sight across the riverbed and it’s where guests eat “safari cuisine; code for a rather high level of gastronomy.
Selati Camp is reminiscent of a bygone era . Nights are illuminated by the glow of lanterns and dinners are taken in the outdoor boma under the African sky. Armchairs around the pool or on the covered wooden viewing decks are a perch to watch game drinking at the nearby waterhole.
Bush Lodge offers suites and two-bedroom villas featuring high quality linens and fabrics, natural wood furnishings, and an en-suite glass fronted bathroom with indoor and alfresco shower leading onto a private patio.
The lodge has two swimming pools and there is space to relax and unwind on one of the two wooden decks overlooking a waterhole where wildlife regularly come to drink. The Amani Spa at Bush Lodge also offer a spa experience and children can enjoy the EleFun Centre where trained caregivers are on hand to supervise and encourage learning.
Regardless of which lodge guests stay in, the Safari experience is the same for all and is led by a pair of experienced rangers and local Shangaan trackers who ‘read’ the signs of nature to get to the game.
A stay at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve offers unrivalled encounters with some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife, coupled with a fair bit of indulgent luxury. ML
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve prices start from ZAR 10,500 (£450) per person per night sharing, fully inclusive of open Land Rover safaris by day and at night, environmental awareness walking safaris as well as meals, selected beverages and South African house wines. www.sabisabi.com