A land lauded for its luxurious safari lodges and high calibre game viewing in classical Big 5 territory, Sabi Sand Game Reserve forms the ivory tower of the famed Kruger pantheon.
Situated in the southwestern corner of Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Game Reserve has carved out legendary status amid 160,000 acres of leopard-rich land. This is the most prestigious game reserve in all of South Africa, and if you're after a Big 5 safari experience par excellence, few other African destinations can hold a candle.
With the only migratory species in the reserve being the birdlife (which even out of season is impressive), Sabi Sand is undoubtedly a year-round destination. Home to an incredibly bio-diverse wildlife population within its reach, game-viewing and nature walks yield impressive sights. Widely acknowledged as one of the last true wildernesses in the country, Sabi Sand guarantees awe-inspiring experiences accompanied by a symphony of wildlife calls and the glittering night sky.
With over a dozen lodges in the reserve, Sabi Sand caters for everyone from families with kids and honeymooners to shutterbugs and nature-lovers alike. Spaced and designed to ensure maximum privacy and an intimate safari experience, safari-goers will be hard-pressed to find another experience to top a stay in Sabi Sand.
Rhino Africa are Sabi Sand Game Reserve Experts. Our Travel Experts have slept in beds and are well equipped to help match the right lodge to your individual needs and requirements!
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Like Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is a year-round destination, but it remains seasonal. We explain when is the best time to visit Sabi Sand throughout the year and why.
November to December: The summer months are hot and humid. You can expect continual rains, with afternoon thundershowers typically clearing before your game drive. Many newborn animals are around, notably the impala lambs, adorable to see but vulnerable to predators.
January to March: The weather is generally drier with very hot days. There are many stunning migratory birds in summer. You'll likely leave early on morning drives with early returns to escape the heat.
April: The vegetation starts changing from a thick, lush green bush to slightly sparser and browning in autumn. Temperatures start cooling down at night, but the daytime is still warm. There are occasional thunderstorms in the afternoons.
May to June: You can expect cold temperatures in the evenings and at dawn during the winter months. We recommend that you pack warm clothing, especially gloves, scarves, beanies and insulated jackets. Large herds of elephant are very mobile during this time. The vegetation turns brown, and trees start losing leaves. But this means that it becomes much easier to spot the wildlife!
July to September: The weather is very dry, with temperatures dropping to very cold in the evenings, so wrap up warm on those early morning and late afternoon game drives. Game viewing is great around this time of year because of excellent visibility and wildlife gathering around scattered water sources.
September to October: In Sabi Sand, spring is also the height of the dry season, with hot, dry gusts of wind. The bush is now colourless and sparse, with minimal water sources for wildlife, which means they are gathered around any water they can find. So, the game viewing is great. There might be some rainfall towards the end of October, bringing the wet season.
Regardless of which time of year you visit, our Rhino Africa Travel Experts will ensure you are in the best area to maximise your Sabi Sand safari experience.
Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is one of the most exclusive places to visit for a luxury safari. Not only because it offers a more uncrowded experience with unique activities, but it's also renowned for its high density of the elusive leopard.
Home to some of the most luxurious lodges South Africa has to offer, you can't go wrong. For example, Silvan Safari, voted World's Leading Luxury Lodge, is located here. This is an interior design masterpiece with large luxury Suites, private plunge pools, fine dining, an extensive gin collection, photo safari opportunities, and more.
Other big names include Londolozi, a proud member of Relais & Châteaux, renowned for their wellness offerings at the Londolozi Healing House. They are also well known for their famed leopard dynasties. There's something for everyone from couples on honeymoon to families with different accommodation options.
Chitwa Chitwa is another excellent choice, with stylish Afro-European design and individually decorated luxury Suites, each with a private deck and pool overlooking the watering hole. They are also well-known for their excellent cuisine.
Singita is a name that also needs no introduction. But in case you haven't heard of them yet, they are known for upholding the highest standards. They cater to the discerning traveller, focusing on sustainability, fine dining, a curated wine selection, and family-friendly activities.
Wherever you choose to stay in Sabi Sand, we can guarantee it will be a luxurious adventure of a lifetime.
There are several ways of getting to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park.
Fly-In Safari: Daily flights operate between Johannesburg Airport and many private lodges in the Sabi Sand. This is the easiest and most convenient way to travel to the Sabi Sand and takes roughly 90 minutes to reach the airstrip nearest to your lodge. Luggage, however, is limited to 20kg on these flights. Alternatively, you can touch down in Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, Hoedspruit or Skukuza Airport, and road transfer or "lodge hop" in a small light aircraft to your lodge of choice.
Self-Drive Safari: Self-driving is feasible and enjoyable for those with more time. Sabi Sand is about 6 hours drive from Johannesburg. The road is tarred and well maintained, with clean service stations along the way. Fuel is never a problem in South Africa, and you won't get lost with Google Maps or Waze. Roads are surprisingly well signposted, and traffic density is generally low.
Based on your lodge of choice, time and cost, our Travel Experts will gladly advise you on the best way to get to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
How much a Sabi Sand safari costs depends on various factors, including but not limited to the duration of your stay, where you choose to stay, seasonality, and what activities you want to do.
Our Sabi Sand safari tours start at around $808 - $2694 per person per night, depending on service providers, seasonality, and availability.
The private game reserves like Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve along the western border of the Kruger National Park offer the best game viewing experience. There's no fencing between Kruger and the reserves so that animals can roam freely between them. Game viewing in Kruger Park and neighbouring reserves is essentially the same, but there are some differences in the type of game drive you will experience.
Because Sabi Sand is a private game reserve, you get to enjoy a more exclusive experience than those visiting lodges in the public park. When you stay in a private game reserve, you can go off-road to follow the animals, and you are generally the only safari vehicle out in that specific area for an uncrowded experience and best view. In public national parks, safaris are a bit more restricted. In Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, many lodges also offer night and walking safaris.
At Rhino Africa, we're Sabi Sand Experts. We visit and stay at all these lodges regularly, and hence we have all the knowledge and know-how to ensure you make the best choice, making your Sabi Sand Game Reserve safari the best it can be.
Sabi Sand safaris are special because they offer a more exclusive and luxurious safari experience. Because it’s a private game reserve, Sabi Sand safaris are offered in open safari vehicles for the best viewing experience. Furthermore, vehicles can go off-road to get closer to animals. Walking safaris and night safaris are two popular activities that you only get to enjoy when staying at private game reserves like Sabi Sand.
Known for its high density of the usually-elusive leopard, the most luxurious lodges, and incredible game viewing activities, you can’t go wrong with a Sabi Sand safari. Our Rhino Africa Travel Experts can help you choose the best lodge in Sabi Sand, taking into account who you’re travelling with, what your interests are, the duration of your stay, and many more.
No, Sabi Sand is located in a malaria area. However, there are simple ways to protect yourself during your stay, and our Travel Experts will guide you. However, please always consult your doctor about malaria prevention before travelling to a malaria area.
Rule 1: Avoid getting bitten
The mosquito responsible for transmitting malaria is a silent little mossy that doesn't buzz to warn you of its presence. They can also bite at any time, although they are generally more active at dawn and dusk. We highly recommend you use repellent sprays and wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the mornings and evenings. It's important to spray over your clothes and uncovered skin as they can bite through clothing. Most lodges also have screened windows and doors, mosquito nets, air conditioning and fans for further protection.
Rule 2: Take anti-malaria prophylactic tablets
No malaria prophylactic is 100% effective. It's therefore vital that you speak to your doctor or travel clinic to advise you on the best prophylactic for you. Travellers should remember to take the tablets regularly and continue to take the prescribed dosage of tablets even after they have left the malaria area.
Rule 3: Look out for symptoms and complete your course of prophylactics!
Suppose on your return or during the remainder of your trip, you experience any flu-like symptoms (nausea and vomiting, chills, fever, sweating, headache or muscle pain). In that case, you should have a malaria test to be safe. Malaria responds well to early treatment. Remember to complete your prophylactic course – even after leaving a malaria area.