The Kruger National Park is South Africa's largest national park. Adjacent to the park is a number of privately owned game reserves. By mutual agreement, the fences between these reserves and the Kruger have been dropped, to enlarge the area under conservation and encourage free movement of animals. This entire conservation area is known as the Greater Kruger National Park and is over 2.2-million hectares in size.

The most famous of the private reserves within the Greater Kruger is the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, and the Timbavati Game Reserve further north. The lodges in these game reserves are privately owned and their open safari vehicles are able to go off-road to get closer to an animal sighting – which is not permitted in the Kruger National Park itself.

This is one of the main differences between the Sabi Sands and the Kruger, as well as the fact that all the game vehicles in Sabi Sand are in radio contact. This makes your chances of seeing the Big Five, especially leopards, much better in Sabi Sands than in the Kruger. Another difference is cost. Generally, the accommodation in the Sabi Sands is more expensive and more luxurious than in the Kruger National Park.

Other than the differences mentioned above, the vegetation and animals found in the Sabi Sands are exactly the same as in the Kruger National Park.