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Posted on: Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Exploring South Africa’s oldest private reserve, the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve

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The first pioneers of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve date back to the late 1920’s.  They aimed to protect the beautiful fauna and flora of the land and today six of those families have third and fourth generation owners of the land. It was only in 1948 when landowners formed Sabi Sand private nature reserve.  Here you’ll find endangered species, surreal safari experiences, moving landscapes and world-class lodges. Endangered species on the reserve include Honey Badgers, Red-billed Oxpeckers,  Wild Dogs, Bats and Ground Hornbill.

The Sand and Sabie Rivers supply this reserve with water and provides sustenance to the land and the rich variety of wildlife found here.   The Reserve goes to great lengths to control alien plant life and counteract the advances of rhino poachers. They are actively involved in trying to uplift the surrounding communities by assisting to provide drinking water and health care.  If you are wanting to do more than just game watch, join a volunteer tourism safari. On these safairs, you get the chance to be a part of the conservation and community outreach of certain lodges.  Learn the difference between Leopard and Rhino tracks or aid the rangers in wildlife protect initiatives.


Sabi Sands


If driving into the reserve before August 31 2013, the vehicle entrance fee is R160 and R40 per person. Thereafter it will R190 per vehicle and R50 per person. Some lodges can organize private road transfers and charters from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.

Even in Winter, this reserve is a great place to go on safari.  The Autumn and Winter months are dry and the bush is less dense.  Animals are known to frequent the waterholes more often due to a lack of water and summer rainfall. Days are warm, but nights are quite cold. Bird watchers should visit during October to April. Because it falls within a Malaria area, precautions should be taken before your visit.


Leopard in Sabi Sands

Stay within the Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Stay at Inyati Private Game Reserve which lies within the Sabi Sand Reserve. Inyati means ‘buffalo’ in Zulu and is home to this animal including giraffe, waterbuck, lions, elephants and white rhino amongst others. The lodge is right on the Sand River banks and wonderful opportunities abound for wildlife viewing and photography between Sabi Sand and the Kruger National Park. Choose between one of their seven luxury chalets, relax in the library, get energized in the gym and visit the walk-in wine cellar. Enjoy a meal beside the warm fire in the Shangaan boma. Choose when you want to do a game drive in a 4-wheel drive safari vehicle accompanied by Shangaan trackers and guides.

Find rest, luxury and game at Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, the only private game reserve to have access to the Sabie River. Stay in your own private villa at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge with your own fireplace, viewing deck, outside shower and swimming pool.  You may find that you don’t ever want to leave your villa but if you do, enjoy bush walks, a hippo tour and two daily game drives in open landrovers. The Lion Sands River Lodge is downstream from the Ivory Lodge and positioned beneath a canopy of 800 year old trees. Here you can find swimming pools, secluded bird hide, private hammocks and a health spa.

The Umkumbe Safari Lodge lies on the banks of the Sand River where you’ll find a rustic yet personal experience. Due to its location guests often see buffalo, hippos, elephants and antelope along the river. Find delicious local cuisine, a swimming pool, lounge, bar and a traditional boma.  Guests can sign up for photographic safaris and some say that the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is the best place to capture lions and leopards.

To book a stay, view our accommodation in Sabi Sand pages and start planning! You will be spoilt for choice when choosing your experience in this fabulous reserve, one of the best places to view Leopard in South Africa.


Leopard in Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Lauren Manuel McShane


Six continents later, Lauren Manuel McShane still has itchy feet and wanderlust for adventure in all corners of the earth. She recently married the love of her life and together they are traveling the world pausing only to find work, take photos and write. She is currently in Asia and sharing everything about her expat life on The Travel Manuel.

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