Sabi Sand Game Reserve Featured, Parks and Reserves
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is adjacent to the Kruger National Park. It is a collection of privately-owned game reserves which have dropped their fences by mutual agreement. There is also no fence between the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park, allowing the free movement of animals through the reserve. It is known as South Africa's top luxury safari destination, and the best place in the world for viewing leopards in the wild.
* Sabi Sand Game Reserve Highlights
- ∞ Privately-owned game reserve
- ∞ Large selection of luxury safari lodges
- ∞ Excellent Big 5 game viewing
- ∞ Best leopard spotting in the world
- ∞ Off-road game drives and night drives are possible
- ∞ 5 Hours from Johannesburg by road
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is home to South Africa's top luxury safari lodges, Singita, Malamala, Londolozi and many others. The game viewing in the Sabi Sand is excellent. Although the animals and bush are exactly the same as in the rest of the Kruger National Park, your chances of seeing the Big Five are better in the Sabi Sand due to the number of open safari vehicles that are out on game drives at any one time, all of them having radio contact with each other. This means if one vehicle spots something exciting, the sighting will be radioed to other vehicles in the area.
Off-road game drives
A key difference between the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park is that the open safari vehicles are permitted to drive off-road to get closer to the animals, something prohibited in the Kruger Park itself and vehicles have to stay on the roads. This means the quality of big cat sightings are usually better than in the Kruger Park, and photography is easier because you can position the vehicle with the sun behind you. Also, trackers are able to follow the tracks of Big 5 animals, making it easier to find some of the more elusive ones. Game drives usually continue after dark with spotlights, allowing you to view the nocturnal animals and predators which are more active at night.
You can drive yourself, or book a road transfer with us, or fly there from Nelspruit or Johannesburg. The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is roughly divided into two sections, the area north of the Sand River and the area south of the Sand River. If you are driving to a northern lodge, you need to enter through the Gowrie Gate in the north. If you are going to a lodge in the south, you need to use Newington Gate or Shaw's Gate. It is not possible to drive from a southern entry gate to a lodge in the north, or vice versa. That means if you are staying at two lodges, one in the north and then another lodge in the south, you will have to exit the reserve and drive around to get to your next lodge. The game viewing in the north and the south is exactly the same. It is also possible to fly direct to the lodge's airstrip from Johannesburg. The flight takes about 1 hour. Please ask us for details.
The are a large number of privately-owned game lodges and safari camps in the Sabi Sand, priced from around $250 per person up to over $1000 per person per night. These rates are usually all-inclusive, although at most of the less expensive lodges drinks are not included. At the more expensive lodges, you can generally expect world-class service and luxury accommodation, while at the less expensive lodges the accommodation could be smaller and more basic. The game viewing is similar at all the lodges, except that some lodges have better access to the Sand River, where the game viewing is at its best.
A couple of lodges are situated close to the western and south-western boundary of the reserve, and from some of them it is possible to see the lights and hear the sounds of the nearby villages at night. While this is an authentic aspect of Africa, some prefer a more remote lodge where there is no sign or sound of human inhabitants nearby. Some lodges accept children, others don't. Some lodges have rooms with private-viewing decks, plunge pools and outside showers, and are great as honeymoon destinations. Other lodges are more suitable for families with children. Some lodges offer tented accommodation, others have brick and thatch chalets. This is where our expertise and local knowledge comes in. Tell us your requirements and we will recommend the perfect lodge for your safari, within your budget.
The wildlife in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is the same as in the Kruger National Park, and includes the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo), as well as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, kudu, impala, waterbuck, hippo, crocodile, wild dog, cheetah, hyena, jackal, and many smaller antelope and cat species. The birdlife is also prolific. We recommend a minimum stay of 2-3 nights in the Sabi Sand, and preferably a stay of 4-5 nights. If you have more than 5 nights available, it may be best to combine the Sabi Sand with another destination, for some variety.
Before you go to Sabi Sand Game Reserve Things you should know before you go!
Malaria is a consideration in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Learn more about malaria areas and malaria prevention with our resource article.
Malaria Areas & Prevention