Sabi Sand Game Reserve
The Sabi Sand should be high on every guest's list as their safari destination of choice when visiting South Africa. This is the reserve historically most famous for leopard sightings, and today it lives up to that name. Although one can never predict the animal action in the bush, many guests visiting the Sabi Sand for 3 nights get to view leopard more than once, along with regular Big 5 sightings.
Sabi Sand Highlights
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve consists of a mixed bush savanna habitat and is dominated by acacia, marula and combretum trees, with tamboti and weeping boerbean on raised termite mound thickets. A narrow band of riverine forest lines the Sand River and its drainage lines.
These wooded habitats provide the ideal conditions for leopard, bushbuck and a variety of shade-loving birds. Rock outcrops (koppies) north of the Sand River support trees such as large-leaved rock fig and jacketplum. Two perennial rivers supply the game reserve with a valuable water source. The Sand River flows through the reserve for 50km, while the Sabie River flows on the southern boundary. The sustenance of these rivers ensures that this area boasts one of the highest and most bio-diverse wildlife populations in Africa.
Over 200 different species occur in abundance whilst the ever changing bird life provides even the most experienced ornithologist with rare finds. This sort of environment ensures that the wildlife remain in their territories all year round.
Some of the best private game lodges in South Africa are in the Sabi Sand, located on Kruger Park's western border. It offers guests an opportunity to view the untamed African bush and all its indigenous wildlife in luxury lodges.
We recommend at least 3 nights in the Sabi Sand, and preferably to combine the Sabi Sand with another two to three nights in either of the Klaserie or Timbavati Private Game Reserves, which results in a more rewarding overall safari experience
View our suggested Kruger Park Tours for inspiration on safari lodges to visit in the Greater Kruger Park.
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve offers a variety of camps and lodges to choose from. Although most of the safari lodges in the Sabi Sand are priced well over US$450 per person per night, Elephant Plains Game Lodge and Arathusa Safari Lodge offer superb affordable options.
For discerning travellers looking for exquist rooms, award-winning meals and guides at the top of their field, the Sabi Sand has many sublime lodges to choose from. Mala Mala Rattray's Camp is one of the oldest lodges offering a safari from a bygone era. Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is an eo-friendly uber chic lodge, built into the surround bush. Exclusive bush villa's completewith privat electric vehicles delight guests at Cheetah Plains.
One of the most luxurious ways to experience this wildlife wonderland is from a treehouse. Lion Sands Reserve has 3 treehouse options, which cater for guests high up, out in the open.
Londolozi Varty Camp is considered to be one of the best safari destinations in the Sabi Sand and Londolozi is renowned for its progressive ecotourism practices and is one of the most sought-after safari destinations in Africa.
How to Get There
There are daily flights from OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg International) to various airports bordering the Kruger National Park, being, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, as well as Hoedspruit Airport (also called Eastgate).
We recommend that guests use KMIA for lodges in the southern section of the Sabi Sand Reserve and Hoedspruit Airport for lodges in the northern area of the Sabi Sand Reserve. Sun Safaris agents will book these flights for their guests.
Upon arrival at the various airports, guests will either take the car hire option, a road transfer to their lodge or a short air transfer or flight hop to an airstrip (depending on lodge location).
All the Sabi Sand Reserve safari lodges are accessible via self drive with a sedan rental car from anywhere in South Africa. To self drive from Johannesburg will take approximately 6 hours.
Sabi Sand Game Viewing and Activities
There are no fences between the Sabi Sand and Kruger, which mean animals roam freely in this pristine part of Africa. The reserve is regarded as one of the best wildlife destinations in South Africa, home to the Big 5, as well as an abundance of general game and prolific bird life. The reserve is also known for the best leopard viewing in Africa.
Impala are the most abundant antelope, with common waterbuck and grey duiker seen on a regular basis. Greater kudu, bushbuck and nyala prefer thickets and riverine forest, whilst buffalo herds graze in tall grasslands. Waterholes attract elephant, white rhino, giraffe and warthog and many other wildlife species during the dry season. Sabi Sabi hosts a remarkable 350 species of birds.
The reserve is divided by the Sand River, an important source of water and a dependable place of refuge for the animals' endless migration. This unique and unspoilt region promises guests a safari experience of a lifetime, which they will experience on 4x4 game drives.
Londolozi Varty Camp
Londolozi Varty Camp offers one of the best Big Five safari experiences combined with incredible leopard viewing anywhere in the world. Guests will experience high quality guiding and trained and knowledgeable rangers and trackers will lead all game activities.
Ulusaba Rock Lodge
Ulusaba Rock Lodge offers a magnificent setting on top of a hill in the game rich Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The lodge offers the ultimate in safari luxury yet offers a traditional wildlife and big five safari experience in a peaceful environment.
Ulusaba Cliff Lodge
Ulusaba Cliff Lodge is a luxury safari lodge offering a sought after location in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve bordering the Kruger National Park. The lodge offers a true bush experience with a view from one of the tree houses in the heart of in the bush.
Chitwa Chitwa Game Lodge
Chitwa Chitwa offers luxury and charm in the heart of the famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Guests can enjoy an exclusive safari experience in a quiet and peaceful setting offering incredible views over the largest lake in the reserve with a nearby waterhole.
Londolozi Pioneer Camp
Pioneer Camp offers a traditional safari experience from a bygone era; steeped in history in a truly breathtaking and remote corner of Africa. Guests will have the privilege of exploring the famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve with its abundance of game.
Londolozi Founders Camp
Londolozi Founders Camp offers a superb big five safari experience in the famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The camp is family friendly and welcomes children of all ages. The chalets are luxurious and offer magnificent views as well as private viewing decks.
Leopard Hills Game Lodge
Leopard Hills offers five star luxury in the heart of the African bush combined with incredible game viewing and close encounters with Africa’s notorious big five; elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard can frequently be seen.
Notten's Bush Camp
Notten’s Bush Camp offers one of the best safari experiences in Africa; located in the world renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Guests can enjoy thrilling encounters with the Big Five, elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.
Mala Mala Sable Camp
Mala Mala Sable Camp is an intimate safari camp accommodating only 14 guests; the camp may also be booked on an exclusive basis for the ultimate private wildlife experience. Game Reserve is situated in the eastern part of South Africa in the province of Mpumalanga.
Singita Ebony Lodge
Singita Ebony Lodge is luxurious yet cosy with sophisticated rooms offering a fusion of Egyptian and African flair; beautiful linen, antiques and modern luxuries. The suites are secluded and offer breathtaking views from the wooden decks overlooking the Sand River.
Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge offers luxury and charm in the famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve and is the flagship lodge of Sabi Sabi known for warm hospitality and friendly and efficient staff. It is known to offer one of the best big five safari experiences in Africa.
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp is a luxurious safari lodge offering five star luxury in a private and secluded setting amongst the trees in the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve. Accommodation is elegant and sophisticated and is ideal for a family-safari.
Inyati Game Reserve
With its superb location in the sought after Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Inyati Game Reserve promises a personal and intimate safari experience. Accommodation is luxurious and the reserve is home to Africa’s Big Five as well as an abundance of general wildlife.
Kirkman’s Kamp offers a magnificent location in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park; one of the most incredible game parks in South Africa. This enormous reserve of 65 000 hectares offers visitors a unique African safari experience.
Dulini Lodge is charming and elegant and offers a traditional safari experience in luxurious thatched cottages on the banks of the Mabrak River; a peaceful setting in the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park.
nKorho Bush Lodge
Nkorho Bush Lodge is a small and intimate safari lodge offering only 6 luxurious bush chalets with beautiful en-suite bathrooms and lavish stone baths. The sought after Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park.
Djuma Vuyatela offers guests a unique African safari experience; with the use of wood, thatch and bright African colours that enhances the safari-feel, guests can relax and unwind in complete luxury with interesting, beautifully decorated suites.
The Lion Sands Chalkley Treehouse is a 10 minute drive from Lion Sands Ivory Lodge and Lion Sands River Lodge, and is completely secluded and private. The Field ranger does not accompany the guests at the Treehouse, as it is designed to be a totally secluded.
Lion Sands 1933
1933 Lodge offers a peaceful location nestled on the banks of the Sabie River. The suites are luxurious and spacious with spectacular views of the Sabie River. The bathrooms are elegant with double vanities as well as a bath and outdoor showers.