Places We Love: Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi Game Reserve | South Africa

Sabi Sabi Selati Camp is situated deep within the African bushveld, nestled in South Africa’s famous Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. This beautiful camp was built and styled in a olden 'colonial' way, taking you back to the pioneering safari. It is vintage, authentic, raw, yet ultra-luxurious Africa.

Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi | Wild Eye

Overlooking the Msuthlu riverbed, your eyes will be fixed on an incredible view of a wide open plain and large water hole that attracts a wide variety of animals, including the big 5, day and night.

Experienced and well trained guides are the face of Sabi Sabi. Thanks to their knowledge, teamwork and the vast area they get to work in, you stand to both see, and learn a tremendous amount about the stunning area and the animals that inhabit it.

Selati Camp, to this day, remains one of my personal favourite camps due to its design and layout. The rich history that the area holds, its perfect location in the heart of big cat territory, and last but not least, because of the great game viewing.

The Experience

Selati camp is situated in a large private concession shared only with the remaining three Sabi Sabi lodges  and one neighbouring lodge. Activities at Selati include morning and evening game drives, walking safaris and birding. The focus, as with most camps in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, is on game viewing and morning drives extend well into mid-morning before returning to camp for a incredible breakfast / brunch spread. At times this breakfast is enjoyed out in the bush alongside the Msuthlu river under large fig trees. To be honest, it is one of the most beautiful spots in the world!

Located in the north-eastern part of South Africa, the area receives above average rainfall during the so called "wet" months, October to April, usually peaking between December and February.

Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi | Wild Eye

Back at camp, after the morning drive, guests can take advantage of learning about the smaller things out on a bush walk. Alternatively, relax at the pool, enjoy spa treatments, a visit to a local community or simply enjoy a drink on the deck - Selati Camp has it all covered.

Night time at Selati is quiet, magic and intimate. Under the spectacular canopy of the Southern night sky the camp is romantically lit by the gentle flicker of oil lamps and lanterns, and the warm glow of boom fires.

The Lodge

Sabi Sabi’s Selati Camp is an unforgettable African experience. It offers the perfect accommodation for travellers looking for a romantic, luxury safari lodge in South Africa.

Selati Camp has a very exclusive set up, comprised of only seven spacious and luxurious suites each with their own unique feel. Each suite complete a bathroom en-suite and private outside shower and tub nestled under majestic indigenous trees.

Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi | Wild Eye Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi | Wild Eye Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi | Wild Eye

Meals at Selati camp are truly World-Class. These homely cooked meals are served on wooden thatched decks built alongside the Msuthlu riverbed, in the open air “boma” or in the “farmhouse kitchen".

Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi | Wild Eye

My Personal Highlights from Selati Camp

I've been privileged enough to spend a few years of my life working at this magical place, and so trying to pin point the number one highlight from this time will be virtually impossible. Highlights range from the in-depth history of the area, most incredible game viewing imaginable and then of course, many special moments shared with people from all around the world.

With that said, one did suddenly pop to mind.

As the morning chorus started at around 4:30am, I woke to perform the daily duty of guest wake up calls. I finished up in my room and at 5 am walked from door to door and giving each suite a light knock to ensure all guests were waking up and getting ready for the morning's safari.

I remember quite clearly that I was guiding repeat guests (a couple from New York) who had returned to Selati Camp with their son and daughter in-law. This particular morning was their last drive for a five night stay and all their son wanted to see was African Wild Dog which we had searched far and wide every day prior.

Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi | Wild Eye

After all the guests were greeted I made my way to the main area to where the early morning coffee/tea and muffins were set up.

The guests I was hosting were always early, and arrived for coffee no more than five minutes after wake up calls were complete.

Coffees in the hand, and standing on the deck overlooking the beautiful open plain as the pastel-like morning colours filled the sky, Andrew (the son) screams out, "was that a dog?"

At 05:10am in the morning, with visibility at its most challenging, and during a period with increased hyena movements, I was not convinced that Andrew saw a wild dog. While pouring a warm cup of coffee for myself I said, "It was probably a Spotted Hyena you saw Andrew as the dogs don't usually move this early unless something is disturbing them." We all accepted that what Andrew saw was a Hyena, and at that moment heard that distinctive call of a male lion just east of the camp.

Not much beats the calls of lion in the early morning while enjoying that first cup of coffee, so yes, we totally forgot about the "dog" that was seen until the calling stopped. Suddenly we all kind of looked at each other with that, "lets jump in the safari vehicle and GO!" kinda look on our faces. Suddenly three African Wild dog ran out from the river in front of Selati Camp towards the watering hole and Andrew just went off, SEE THEY ARE DOGS!

That pure excitement that someone's dream was literally happening right there and then was overwhelming - and definitely a highlight of my time at Selati Camp.

We got to watch them run at full speed over the plains while chasing behind them in the safari vehicle. This running lead to hunting, which lead to feeding which lead to a vehicle full of happy guests with great memories and stories that will last forever.

P.S. - the thrill of an African Wild Dog chase will only be truly understood once experienced first hand!

Selati Camp | Sabi Sabi | Wild Eye

Selati Camp in A Nutshell

  • Who should go: Selati is ideally suited to couples looking for a romantic safari experience, but is well suited for the first time safari trailer to the seasoned safari goer.
  • When to go: Selati camp is a great camp to visit at any time of the year as it doesn't get impacted as much by the annual rainfall. The dry winter months (May to September) are great, with my personal favourite time of year being November when the first rains start to fall.
  • How to get there: There are two flight options. First being Federal Air connecting directly from OR Tambo International Airport to the Sabi Sabi private Airstrip (50 -60 minute flight) followed by a 30 minute game-drive to Selati Camp. Or secondly, a flight using SA Airlink connecting from OR Tambo International Airport to the Skukuza Airport  (45 flight) followed by a 30 to 40 minute transfer drive to Selati Camp. There is also a road transfer option which will take about 6 hours.
  • Suggested length of stay: I would recommend a minimum of three nights at Selati given how good the game viewing is.
  • Insider Tip: Arrange a bush breakfast for one of your mornings as this is really special. If you are interested in walking, I'd definitely have a chat to your guide and fellow guests (if there are any) to rather do a three hour walk in place of the drive one one of the mornings. Oh and lastly, you must have the afternoon iced coffee at high tea.

Feel free to get in touch with me directly if you would like to explore and experience this truly wild part of Africa.

Michael Laubscher

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