Sabi Sands Game Reserve - Essential Information
Sabi Sands is a combination of private reserves adjacent to the Kruger National Park in the Mpumalanga province - South Africa. The game reserve shares a 50 (fifty) kilometres unfenced border with the world famous Kruger National Park. Sabi Sands Game Reserve is known as the best place in Africa to view the Big Five and it's famous for amazing leopard sightings.
Sabi Sands gets its name from the Sabi River on its southern border & The Sand River which flows through the reserve making it water rich, therefore wildlife concentration is very high due to the abundance of water in the reserve.
History of Sabi Sands Game Reserve
It all started in 1898 when the large reserve was named The Sabie Reserve which was included in the Kruger National Park. The National Parks Act came into effect around 1926 and all private land owners were removed from national land (state property) to form the greater Kruger National Park. The land owners came together an they formed the Sabie Reserve in 1934 which was renamed The Sabi Sand Wildtune by 1948.
Although all private reserves forming the Sabi Sands are geographically located within the Sabi Sands, some land owners chose to become independent and not to be part of the Sabi Sands game reserve.
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Best time to visit Sabi Sands Game Reserve: Year round. Summer is hot and the bush is green. You stand a chance of seeing many baby animals. Winter is much cooler and the bush is dry which makes it possible to see a hunt or a kill due to the scarcity of the water.
Travelling to Sabi Sands with Children: The Sabi Sands & Kruger Park in general is a great destination to visit as a family.
Flying to Sabi Sands Game Reserve: Scheduled flights are available from Johannesburg and Cape Town via Skukuza airport or private charters directly to the airstrip of your lodge or camp.
Driving to Sabi Sands Game Reserve: It takes approximately 6 to 7 hours driving from Johannesburg to the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, please plan your day carefully so you don't miss your afternoon safari activity. It's recommended that you stay in a hotel or a guest-house near the Sabi Sands gate closest to your lodge or camp, so you can arrive at your lodge or camp by lunch time fresh and not too tired.
How to Choose your Sabi Sands Accommodation
When it comes to choosing your Sabi Sands accommodation, a few things need to be taken into consideration. Arriving into the Sabi Sands game reserve can be done either by flying to the nearest airport to your Sabi Sands accommodation or flying directly to the airstrip of your lodge or camp. Driving to the Sabi Sands game reserve is another option.
Travelling long distance before your arrive at your Sabi Sands accommodation will impact your overall experience, so you need to minimize your travel time before you arrive at your lodge in order to be on time for your afternoon (evening) safari activity. Accommodation in the Sabi Sands game reserve vary in price and location, budget and location are the most important factors that will affect your experience at the Sabi Sands game reserve. Some lodges / camps have traversing rights into other parts of the game reserve.
Traversing rights mean that the vehicles & guests of one lodge / camp are permitted to enter the property of another lodge /camp on safari activities. While traversing rights grant guests access to a bigger area, it can also mean that areas shared by multiple lodges / camps often get more traffic which makes it less appealing. This can create crowded sightings and less time spent on a specific wildlife viewing. For example - only three vehicles are allowed at any wildlife sighting.
The ideal safari would be a lodge / camp with limited or no traversing rights to guests from other lodges. Mala Mala, Singita and Londolozi, for example, have a large property without traversing rights.
The Ideal itinerary for a Sabi Sands Safari: The ideal itinerary should start by arriving at your Sabi Sands accommodation by lunch time so you can check-in, have a meal and relax before your first game drive in the Sabi Sands. Being tired & hungry may affect your experience as the safari rangers will try their best to find the Big Five including the elusive leopard which might take a little longer than the allocated time for the game drive.
Whether you are arriving by air or by road, you need to plan your itinerary carefully. Check in time at your Sabi Sands accommodation is between 12h00 & 14h00, you need to arrive as early as possible. It's recommended that you stay the previous night near the Sabi Sands gate closest to your Sabi Sands accommodation if you are planning to arrive by road.
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Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Sabi Sands is a private reserve which means no day visitors, no camping and no picnics are allowed. You are guaranteed an exclusive safari experience in the Sabi Sands game reserve.