Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest and best-known game reserve, but there are numerous alternatives, including one right next door.
Of course, “next door” is a relative term in the wide expanses of the savannah, but Sabi Sand Reserve does indeed share an unfenced border with Kruger, in South Africa’s north-east. It’s the oldest private game reserve in the country, prized for its huge range of wildlife, emphasis on sustainability and luxury accommodation.
The reserve covers 153,000 acres, irrigated with numerous waterholes as well as the Sabie and Sand Rivers–from which it derive its name. A protected area since 1934, Sabi Sand has attracted truly impressive stocks of wildlife. You’ll see not just the Big Five–lions, elephants, cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros–but also endangered species like honey badgers and wild dogs, crocodiles, giraffes, monkeys and a huge range of birdlife. Open safari vehicles and experienced guides ensure you can get right up close to these majestic creatures, with numerous opportunities for stunning wildlife and landscape photography.
A high standard of accommodation and catering makes Sabi Sand a prime location for weddings, honeymoons and anniversary celebrations. Around 20 different encampments embrace all levels of comfort and facilities, all of them working in sympathy with the surrounding landscape.
Each lodge has its own unique features. At Chitwa Chitwa, guests can dine right on a waterhole or enjoy their suite’s private pool. Richard Branson’s Ulusaba is split between two lodges, one dramatically perching on stilts, the other on a dry riverbed with tree house rooms connected by swing bridges. Notton’s, meanwhile is an intimate family-run lodge which operates without electricity, candles lighting the elegantly furnished rooms as the sun sets over the savannah.