South Africa’s oldest, most prestigious and arguably best game reserve, private Sabi Sand borders Kruger National Park’s unfenced western flank. It accommodates both the Sabi and Sand rivers, and those waterways, coupled with the ‘Big Five’s year-round presence, mean most visitors leave with lifetime memories. Crucial to that are some incredibly luxurious lodges – home to excellent guides and gourmet food – which are built well apart to ensure privacy.
Guides and trackers stay in radio contact to maximise their guests’ chances of sighting the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo – along with many others. In particular, Sabi Sand is commonly considered Africa’s prime spot for spying leopards. Most lodges offer early-morning and sunset game drives, spliced around late-morning nature walks and lazy afternoons. Following that are delicious dinners and al-fresco nightcaps, when you can listen to wildlife calls and admire the awesome night sky.
Skukuza airport has daily connections from Nelspruit (aka Kruger Park International). Regular flights to there take just over an hour from Johannesburg; the one daily from Cape Town is about 2.5 hours. Transfers to the lodges can be arranged. Private charters from Johannesburg are also possible, taking you directly onto reserves’ landing strips. Alternatively, the drive from Johannesburg takes about six hours, passing gorges and waterfalls along decent roads. Mpumalanga, with stellar attractions like Blyde River Canyon, is well worth a stop-off.
Best Time To Visit
While game viewing is sensational year-round, summer’s dense green bush allows animals to hide more easily, and abundant water means they don’t need to head to rivers as often – making spotting them trickier than during dry winter (June-September). Daytime temperatures in winter average 22°C, but it can get chilly in mornings and evenings. Less so in summer, when the average is nearer 30°C.
Located in the Sabi Sand Reserve, this intimate 8-suite tented camp offers views over the indigenous gardens to the floodlit waterhole.
The Best of South Africa Travel map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.
Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.
When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.
How to make the most of every moment?
Local knowledge makes a huge difference! When I asked Ash at Best of South Africa to give me some guidance on how to make the most of our trip to Cape Town and Franschhoek wine valley, I felt sure she would be able to send me in the right direction. It never occurred to me that she would organise our ...