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  • Jamie Thom

Sabi Sands - South Africa's Premier Reserve

Sabi Sand Game Reserve offers excellent wildlife viewing. This is especially true for flagship species including the big cats. All of the Big Five are usually ticked in a two to three day visit. White rhino is regularly seen, but black rhino, although present, is very shy and rarely encountered. The off-road driving assures quality sightings of most species, particularly the habituated resident predators. Sabi Sand is part of the Greater Kruger eco-system, which makes for a very authentic wildlife experience.

Wildlife highlights

Sabi Sands is possibly the best place in Africa to see leopards. Both the quantity and quality of sightings is superb. This is a place where you can see leopardbehavior such as males marking and patrolling their territory or females interacting with their cubs. Wild dog sightings are less common, but if they are denning in the area, it is often possible to spend time with these amazing predators.

Best time for wildlife viewing

Wildlife viewing in Sabi Sands is at its best during the Dry season (June to September). August and September are particularly nice, since it is warmer than in mid-winter and animals tend to gather at water sources, making them easier to spot.


Sabi Sands is an extension of Kruger National Park and has the same relatively thick vegetation consisting of woodland savanna. Two rivers run through the park, providing water. The riverine vegetation makes an excellent habitat for leopards and other wildlife.

How to decide where to stay

Most places within Sabi Sands offer the same deal: upmarket safari packages, including accommodation, all meals and activities. Most upmarket lodges include drinks while others don't. The individual reserves share fence-less borders with the Greater Kruger eco-system and offer a comparable wildlife viewing experience. All Sabi Sands reserves are excellent safari destinations. When deciding where to stay, the differences in the following factors could be taken into account:

  • Property size and traversing rights Traversing rights mean that the guests of one reserve are allowed to enter the property of another reserve on game drives. While traversing rights give people access to a greater area, it also means that areas shared by multiple reserves often get more crowded. This can create congestion and pressure for time around wildlife sightings, since only 3 vehicles are allowed at any particular sighting. The best deal is a large property with limited or no traversing rights. Singita and Londolozi, for example, have a large property without traversing rights. The same applies for Mala Mala, which used to be part of Sabi Sands, but now operates as an independent reserve.

  • Luxury level and rates Although all offer luxury and expensive options, there are some differences. Londolozi and Singita are, for example, more expensive and very luxurious. Djuma is a lot more affordable, but can only be booked by groups. Mala Mala is slightly more affordable and one of the best places for wildlife viewing (large property, limited traversing rights), but is relatively simple in terms of lodging.

  • Access to river frontage River frontage is a plus because it attracts animals. While water holes have the same effect, a river is also a scenic feature and it provides an opportunity to see elephants in the water. Some of the reserves have no river frontage but have traversing rights onto a property that does, which amounts to the same thing. Images from our clients -

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