Deep in the African bushveld, within South Africa’s famous Sabi Sand Reserve, ‘something enchanting lies in wait’ – the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.
Both the Sabi Sand and Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserves are very dear to me. I say this because not only is this beautiful area home to one of the richest game populations in the country, but I also spent three years of my life guiding at the world renowned safari destination.
The time I spent out there all those years ago has moulded me into the guide I am today. Learning from and being inspired by Sabi Sabi’s experienced guiding team is something I will always be thankful for. The many special moments I was blessed with during my time there are ones that I will cherish forever. Memories that I so often look back on and ones that will last a lifetime.
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is about a five to six hour drive from Johannesburg and if you do not wish to see more of the countryside, a quick 45 minute flight. You have two flight options available, one being a Fed-Air flight that lands on Sabi Sabi’s private airstrip or a SA Airlink option that lands on the Skukuza Airstrip in the Kruger National Park.
The reserve is situated in the southwestern corner of the Kruger National Park in South Africa and consists of 65 000 hectares (160 620 acres) of which Sabi Sabi make up 6500 hectares.
In my opinion, it is the most prestigious game reserve in South Africa and is famous for incredible leopard and lion sightings and very high chances of seeing the other three members of the Big Five, as well as cheetah, wild dog and hundreds of other species of animals, birds and plants indigenous to the area. Even though there is a 50-kilometre unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park, wildlife in the Sabi Sand Reserve are well habituated resulting in extraordinary close encounters and prolific sightings. This is amplified further as you will be guided by highly trained and experienced rangers and trackers who will ensure that your safari experience ranks amongst the best in the world.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is an award winning game reserve that offers world-class standards in luxury accommodation, exceptional close wildlife encounters, personal service and delicious cuisine.
The Sabi Sabi philosophy of ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ stems from over 100 years of safari experience; a history richly woven into the atmosphere of each of its four uniquely individual safari lodges;
- Selati Camp
- Bush Lodge
- Little Bush Camp
- Earth Lodge
During my three years as a Sabi Sabi Guide, I was fortunate enough to guide out of and experience each one of these incredible lodges. They all offer a unique experience and South Africa and its warm hospitality echo through the style and flavor of each and every one.
Imagine the Africa of the great safari era, when blazing sunsets melted into lantern lit romance and service was an effortless whisper. This is the Africa you will experience at Sabi Sabi’s Selati Camp. Due to its colonial style and rich history, Selati Camp is the Sabi Sabi from ‘Yesterday’.
During the 1870’s, high in the crevices of the Drakensberg escarpment which rises to the west of Sabi Sabi, gold was discovered. To transport the gold, the parliament of the Old Transvaal Republic commissioned a railway line from the interior to Delagoa Bay in Mozambique. A branch railway known as the Selati Line crossed the Sabi Sand Reserve.
Today the line is disused but the old rail bed can still be seen in the north-eastern section of Sabi Sabi, close to Selati Camp. Sabi Sabi’s intimate all-suite Selati Camp is an unforgettable African experiences. It offers the perfect accommodation for travelers looking for a romantic luxury safari lodge in South Africa. Selati is furnished with a historic railway theme and is meticulously created as an authentic home in the bush. The railway theme extends from the original steam engine name plates, signals and shunter’s lamps lighting the way to your suite, to interesting memorabilia and other collector’s pieces in each suite.
Nights in one of the seven suites at Selati are quiet, intimate and possessed with a rare magic. Under the spectacular canopy of the Southern night sky the camp is still romantically lit by the gentle flicker of oil lamps and lanterns, and the warm glow of fires.
With its classic vintage styling, this exclusive lodge comprises seven opulent thatched suites, each with full bathroom en-suite and private alfresco shower nestled under majestic indigenous trees. World-class cuisine is served on wooden thatched decks built alongside the Msuthlu riverbed, in the open air “boma” or in the “farmhouse kitchen”.
The premier accommodation at Selati Camp is the sumptuous and spacious Ivory Presidential Suite, which is a favorite amongst Kings, Queens, and those just looking for exceptional accommodation. It offers grandeur in the form of original antiques, a draped four-poster bed looking out onto your private terrace and has a private plunge pool. The magnificent en-suite bathroom, complete with Persian carpet and antique chaise-lounge, also features a quiet space surrounded by the sounds of the bushveld. The separate dressing room features an antique wardrobe and matching dressing table.
The Lourenco Marques Suite is a must for honeymooners or the romantic at heart. Whether it is the fragrant flower petals strewn on the exquisite bedlinen, or the candles illuminating the bathroom on return from the evening safari, a stay in this romantic suite will always be remembered.
Sabi Sabi’s Selati Camp combines turn of the century elegance with personalized safari luxury, a rare experience.
Deep in the bushveld overlooking a waterhole and an open plain, lies a lodge that pulses to the rhythm of Africa’s heartbeat. This is Bush Lodge, steeped in tradition, vibrant and warm, the Sabi Sabi of “Today”. With a history spanning over 35 years, the lodge has earned a reputation of a “luxury home in the bush”, service excellence and effortless personal attention. The conventional safari style showcases a vibrant and eclectic mix of furnishings and décor garnered from all corners of the African continent.
To maintain privacy and intimacy, the lodge has 25 suites in total including 2 luxury villas and the Mandleve Duluxe Suite with each suite featuring en-suite bathrooms and al-fresco, glass-fronted showers, with wonderful views of the bushveld.
Two spacious Luxury Villas feature a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, second en-suite bedroom, a private pool, library/lounge and beautiful patio facing a waterhole. The suites are air-conditioned and feature sumptuous linen and classic leather and wood furnishings.
The Mandleve Deluxe Suite features a private plunge pool and luxurious interiors with endless views of the bushveld.
Bush Lodge has been sensitively designed to allow ample space to relax, unwind and savor the tranquillity of the bush. The two swimming pools and large covered viewing decks overhanging the Msuthlu riverbed are an invitation to cool off in the filtered water or sit in comfort while spotting game at the well utilized pan. An exquisitely furnished lounge, atrium and intimate bar area are perfect meeting places for friends old and new. As an extra indulgence, the Amani Spa at Bush Lodge offers the ultimate African Spa experience.
The lodge is family friendly and children of all ages can enjoy the EleFun Centre, a fully-fledged children’s facility. Interesting environmentally themed activities, including hands-on ‘edutainment’ for several distinct age groups, are designed and supervised by qualified childcare professionals.
Little Bush Camp
Nestling in the shade of indigenous riverine trees on the banks of the Msuthlu river lies Little Bush Camp, the newest addition to the Sabi Sabi collection of 5 star safari lodges.
Little Bush Camp offers luxury accommodation for family, friends, or small groups. Exuding the same warmth and effortless hospitality that characterizes Bush Lodge, Little Bush Camp offers unparalleled intimacy and seclusion.
Six luxury suites, each with a private viewing deck and heated spa bath overlooking the riverbed, are decorated in contemporary African design, complete with luxury furnishings, full bathroom en-suite, indoor and outdoor showers and air-conditioning. Thatched roofs, romantic mosquito nets draped over the comfortable beds and beautiful wooden finishes complete the picture of an exclusive safari getaway.
Delicious dinners eaten outside under gently lit trees are a wonderful experience loved by all. This jewel of the South African bushveld boasts all of the features associated with an exceptional safari lodge, beautiful setting, excellent cuisine and abundant wildlife.
Sabi Sabi’s Little Bush Camp offers not only luxurious creature comforts, but a host of adventures as well. Tracking Africa’s big game including the Big Five in open vehicles by day and at night accompanied by qualified game rangers and Shangaan trackers, and going off road for exceptionally close wildlife encounters, make for a truly memorable experience, the highlight of your safari holiday in South Africa.
Earth Lodge is the lodge of ‘Tomorrow’. A sanctuary symbolizing a new era in luxury South African safari lodges. Sculpted into a slope of the earth, almost invisible in the landscape, the lodge uses texture, light and space to present a lodge like no other. Taking its cue from the surrounding environment, it has been described as the most environmentally sensitive lodge in Africa.
Earth Lodge reveals itself in a series of sensory revelations. On arrival a hidden corridor leads you down on a journey to a unique and unforgettable experience. The unexpected entrance opens to a panorama of uninterrupted bushveld. As in nature everything at Earth Lodge exists in harmony and you are immediately aware of a sense of calm and a restoring spirit.
Home to 13 ultra-luxurious suites including the Amber Presidential Suite, the lodge breaks with traditional bush lodge style to create a masterpiece of artistry and innovation. Each of the suites at this luxury lodge features individually designed furniture, private plunge pool, en-suite glass fronted bathroom and indoor and outdoor shower. The natural wooden sculptures by renowned South African artist Geoffrey Armstrong add a powerful magic.
The Amber Suite is a glorious celebration of generous size and space. Beyond belief in its beauty, from the magnificent carved wooden headboard to the deep egg-shaped bath, the suite boasts its own study and kitchen. It captures the spirit of nature and luxury in one unique experience.
The outdoor boma’s walls are sculpted from tree roots and piled up piece by piece, captures the drama of the African night and evokes the power of the wilderness. An indoor/outdoor dining area overlooking a waterhole and unending bushveld, a secluded library, art gallery, meditation garden; and an underground wine cellar with a collection of over 6000 bottles of rare wines, the venue for an unforgettable dining experience – everything at this luxury lodge has been created for your indulgence.
While on safari escape to the Amani Spa at Earth Lodge and indulge in holistic body, skin and beauty rituals, treatments and massages. The gym facilities at Earth Lodge offer cardio equipment in a safe and air conditioned environment while still capturing the beautiful views out towards the bush.
Each morning and evening spent at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve you will depart your lodge of choice into the wilderness. This will be either by open safari vehicle or on foot for a walking safari, accompanied by your armed and knowledgeable Game Ranger and Shangaan Tracker. Close enough to share in a thrilling encounter with Africa’s beautiful wild creatures.
A visit to this spectacular destination is a must. It will be and adventure that will not let you down. Remember, something special is happening deep in the heart of the wilderness every day and at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve you stand a great chance of finding this.
I hope this blog has inspired you and please feel free to leave me any questions in the comments below.