Whether you’re a family of five looking to escape the daily grind or a loved-up pair in search of a romantic retreat, a safari at Sabi Sabi Game Reserve is just what you need. Offering an authentic safari experience with added luxury, visitors will find peace and relaxation in the heart of the bushveld in this 65,000ha reserve. Sabi Sabi is teeming with wildlife and untainted by the crowds that flock to the neighbouring Kruger National Park.
Start the day by greeting the bush on foot with a guided walk and keep your eyes peeled while on twice-daily Game Drives. The reserve’s wildlife population include the Big 5, endangered wild dog, rhino, cheetah, and a multitude of birds. Amateur and experienced photographers will be thrilled to experience Sabi Sabi’s personalised photographic safari complete with custom vehicles and knowledgeable guides.
End your day with a massage at the wellness spa and a dinner accompanied by tribal dancing. A visit to the nearby Shangaan will enhance your understanding of local culture and their customs – and be sure to pay a visit to the traditional healer while you’re there. Guests can reach Sabi Sabi by flying to the Sabi Sabi airstrip or nearby Skukuza Airport. Both airports service daily flights from Johannesburg.
- Equipped to entertain families with children as young as 4 and those on honeymoon
- The Sabi and Sand Rivers run through the reserve, attracting a multitude of wildlife to its banks
- Off-roading is permitted and allows for closer inspection of the wildlife by guests
- A five-hour drive from Johannesburg and a two-hour drive from Nelspruit
- Skukuza Airport services daily flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg
- The Sabi Sabi Airstrip services direct flights from Johannesburg or connections through Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
History of the Sabi Sand
The name Sabi Sabi is derived from the word 'tsave', meaning 'fear' or 'danger' in the Tsonga dialect. This stems from the large numbers of dangerous crocodile and hippo in the Sabie River. European hunters first established a camp on the south bank of the Sabie River in 1830. Hunting for game ivory and rhino-horn continued until the end of the century. The discovery of gold in the Lowveld brought a temporary boom to the area.
A Railway Link for Gold
Also in the late 19th Century, construction began on the Selati Railway Line to link the goldfields in the west with the coast. Remnants of this railway line can still be seen throughout parts of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin.
Recreational rail travel into the area became popular in the early 1920's. Game viewing from the comfort of a railway coach was possible, and public awareness was raised as to the beauty of the Reserve.
One of the train stops was Newington Siding, a stone's throw from where the luxurious Selati Camp is situated today. The story goes that one night almost a century ago, the train driver peered into the darkness trying to make out the shapes of potential passengers. There was nobody to be seen at the stop so the train carried on towards Komatipoort.
Meanwhile, alongside the track dismayed travellers having been forced into the surrounding trees by a pride of hungry-looking lion, watched helplessly as their train steamed away into the night. The sympathetic railway management eventually placed permanent ladders against the trees for the convenience of passengers threatened by prowling predators! Today Selati Camp is furnished with memorabilia relating to the pioneer magic of the railway era.
In 1979, the present Sabi Sabi company was formed. During the 1980's and 1990's, the owners purchased three portions of the farm 'Shaws', on which Selati Camp and Bush Lodge were built. This was done with great foresight as the land was bought during the turbulent apartheid era, when the country's future direction was uncertain.
Subsequently, after purchase of the beautiful farm, 'Lisbon', Earth Lodge was constructed. Over the years, assisted by a dedicated staff of approximately two hundred, Sabi Sabi has preserved a wonderful piece of Africa.
Sabi Sabi's Conservation Philosophy is Based on Two Principles:
The first is the need to conserve rapidly dwindling wilderness areas and to provide a sanctuary for fauna and flora as part of South Africa's heritage.
The second is the belief that the business must be a true example of eco-tourism effectively linking tourism with conservation and the community. Sabi Sabi's environmental management system is a holistic one, where the ecological needs are balanced with the needs of people and their communities, i.e. focusing on the interdependence of tourism, conservation and local communities.
The Environmental Management Policy
"We need to conserve our rapidly dwindling wilderness areas and to provide a sanctuary for fauna and flora of our heritage." The only way a wildlife sanctuary can survive the onslaught of socio-economic pressures is by:
- Employing people
- Earning foreign currency
- Paying tax
- And promoting sustainable tourism
Each member of the Sabi Sabi team receives ongoing training in all areas of our business, empowering them and improving their skills; and each has a thorough understanding that an individual's performance reflects and is dependant on the performance of other members of the team.