South African Safari – Sabi Sands

The ultimate South African safari destination, Sabi Sands is the most famous game reserve in South Africa.  In typical ROAM style, the reserve is totally private, so the only way to gain entrance is to stay in one of the incredible lodges.  We promise to craft you the best possible experience and this trip combines perfectly with our Cape Town adventures, making an ultimate South African experience.

Sabi Sands Game Reserve, adjacent to South Africa’s flagship Kruger National Park, offers a safari experience found nowhere else in the world.  Game viewing possibilities are simply unparalleled, including the much sought after ‘Big 5’.  Add a fantastic range of luxury lodges suiting all tastes and an African dream safari is born.  There are no fences between Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve, so wildlife roams freely in huge natural environment.

The Sabi Sands is particularly well known for its amazing leopard sightings. The most elusive animal of the Big 5 is frequently spotted when going on a game drives. As such, Sabi Sands offers the ultimate photographic safari one can think of.  You can be certain to return home with some absolutely stunning pictures and memories.  Besides the Big 5, other game species occur in great numbers, among which are more than 300 bird species.

ROAM offers a variety of lodging types in Sabi Sands but always recommends experiencing one of the tree fort accommodations designed to immerse you, literally, into this wild environment.

Trip Length 4 days
Dates
Price $2995 per person
Deposit $1000
Meeting Place Skukuza, South Africa
Gateway City Johannesburg
River Rating N/A
Age Range 10-85
Itinerary at a Glance
  • Fly from Cape Town or Johannesburg into Kruger
  • transfer by safari vehicle to your private game lodge
  • enjoy your first of many game drives and let your senses go wild
  • watch for the Big 5 – lion, leopard. elephant, buffalo and even rhino
  • indulge in outrageous service and luxurious surroundings
  • go on a walking safari with licensed rangers
  • upgrade to a tree fort for a night under the stars
  • birder’s can get a number of “firsts”
  • learning about South Africa’s unique flora and fauna
  • watch wildlife from your soaker tub or plunge pool
Detailed Itinerary

Staying in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve is all about exploring South Africa’s wild nature and allows you to spot big game in a natural environment.

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GAME DRIVES & GAME WALKS

Game drives are interpretive trips in the bush in specially adapted four wheel drive vehicles, with the purpose of finding wildlife in a natural habitat.  On a game drive you will be accompanied by ranger / guide (sometimes armed) with a comprehensive knowledge of all flora and fauna found in Sabi Sands.  Besides the ranger normally a “tracker” joins the ranger, who is being seated on the front of the car in a small seat and scans the environment for (big) game.  These are all very passionate people, who have a special ability to teach you about nature.  As you are residing in a natural environment the amount of game you will see can vary. The rangers will also show you smaller things such as plants and insects.  It’s a fun, exhilarating and education experience like no other.

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On a game walk, it’s all on foot so you get a completely different experience.  Sometimes it’s possible to approach wildlife very closely.  It is a very thrilling experience to observe wildlife without the protection of a car.  We do encourage participating in a game walk as it really is a very different experience. The minimum age for participating in a game drive is ten years old and for a game walk it is fourteen.

A TYPICAL SAFARI DAY

Game drives normally take place twice a day: starting just after sunrise until 10 o’clock and from half past 3 until sunset.  Times are strictly adhered to for safety reasons.

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TYPICAL SCHEDULE

5:30 AM: wake up call, 6:30 AM: after coffee / tea and morning snack start of morning activity, 9:30 AM: breakfast, 10:00 AM -.3:00 PM: leisure time and lunch; 3:00 PM: second game activity, 7:00 PM: back in the lodge and dinner; 9:00 PM: coffee and drinks, leisure time; 10:00 PM: end of your day in the African bush.

 

Accommodations

Ivory Lodge

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River Lodge

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Tinga Lodge

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MEALS & DRINKS

In most lodges situated in private game reserves all meals, as well as coffee and tea in included in the price.  Alcohol is usually charged separately.  In some places breakfast and lunch are sometimes combined into brunch, depending on the kind of activity in the morning.

Dinners usually take place at different locations in and around the main lodge building. So it can happen that one evening you are enjoying dinner in the traditional “boma”, the next evening at the poolside, and maybe the last night outside the lodge in the African bush.

About the Region

The Greater Kruger National Park area truly boasts some amazing wildlife numbers. Some staggering numbers: 517 species of birds, 147 species of mammals, 114 species of reptiles, 50 species of fish, and 33 species of amphibians have been recorded. Kruger National Park has more mammals than any other game reserve in Africa. Sabi Sands is the best place in the world to see the Big Five

Seeing the “Big Five” in the wild is one of the most memorable things one can ever experience. The African continent is the only place in the world where big game still roams freely in great numbers. In particular the Kruger National Park area and the neighbouring private game reserves are famous for the incredible possibilities seeing the Big Five up close. The term “Big Five” is reminiscent of the old safari hunting days. The name is not derived from the size of the animals as many people believe. Rather, these five animals proved to be the five animals that were the most difficult to hunt. Sabi Sands Game Reserve offers excellent possibilities for viewing Africa’s Big Five.

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LEOPARD

The most elusive of the Big Five. The African leopard occurs mostly throughout the whole of Southern Africa. The best chance of seeing them is in trees, which they use as observation platform or as a safe resting place. Leopards are real masters of disguise: if they don’t want to be seen you can be sure not to see them. Sabi Sands proves to be an excellent place to see these magnificent big cats, an possible the best in the world as leopards are spotted on a very regular basis.

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LION

Masters of the African savannah and probably the most exciting animals that can be seen when on a African safari. Lions usually live in prides that consists of a few females, their cubs and a couple of young males. It is most likely that you will see lion when asleep as they rest up to twenty hours per day. They are most active early morning and at sunset. The Sabi Sands is privileged to have some very healthy lion prides in the area. Some of these are so famous that they have their own Facebook community.

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BUFFALO

Although this animal is sometimes referred to as a bush cow, do not underestimate its capabilities. It has been recorded that an African buffalo can run faster than an astounding 55 kilometres per hour. It is a rather common species that can be found throughout Southern Africa. Male buffalos can weigh up to 700 kilograms. Buffalos can be notoriously bad tempered, especially when cornered or wounded they can become very aggressive.

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AFRICAN ELEPHANT

This grey giant is the largest living land mammal. Also elephants are wide spread throughout Southern Africa and live in a variety of different habitats. They can survive in desert environments, but are most commonly found in woodlands, forests and savannahs. Elephants are among the most social animals living in groups up to a hundred individuals. There is nothing more impressive that being amidst a large herd.

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RHINOCEROS

Two species of rhino can be found in South Africa, the square-lipped (white) rhino and hooked-lipped (black) rhino. These are not names that refer to the colour of the rhino, they both are pretty much grey. The white rhino’s name comes from the Dutch word “wijd”, meaning wide and refers to the wide muzzle of this particular specie. Black rhinos are much less often spotted, also in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. A group of rhinos is referred to as a “crash”.

Trip Planner

getting-to-sabi-sands-airlink charter-flight-sabi-sandsKUKUZA AIRPORT SABI SANDS

Easy flight access into Kruger and Sabi Sands makes it is possible to arrive in either Johannesburg or Cape Town in the morning and enjoy your first Sabi Sands game drive in the afternoon.

SKUKUZA FLIGHT SCHEDULES AND RATES

Airlink, a subsidiary of South African Airways offers the following flight options:

CAPE TOWN TO SABI SANDS SKUKUZA FLIGHTS
CAPE TOWN – SKUZUZA AIRLINK SCHEDULE:
  • Depart Cape Town at 10h35 and arriving at Skukuza at 13h05 (SA8651)
SKUKUZA – CAPE TOWN AIRLINK SCHEDULE:
  • Depart Skukuza at 10h30 and arriving at Cape Town at 13h05 (SA8652)
JOHANNESBURG TO SABI SANDS SKUKUZA FLIGHTS
JOHANNESBURG – SKUZUZA AIRLINK SCHEDULE:
  • Depart Johannesburg at 10h00 and arriving at Skukuza at 10h50 (SA8861)
  • Depart Johannesburg at 13h20 and arriving at Skukuza at 14h10 (effective 1 August 2014)
SKUKUZA – JOHANNESBURG AIRLINK SCHEDULE:
  • Depart Skukuza at 11h15 and arriving at Johannesburg at 12h30 (SA8862)
  • Depart Skukuza at 14h35 and arriving at Johannesburg at 15h50 (effective 1 August 2014)

SOUTH AFRICA SAFARI PACKING LIST

You do not need to outfit yourself in special safari clothing in order to enjoy a South Africa safari.  Some advice however: wear tranquil colours like green, khaki, brown and black so that you do not scare game away.  Also take a warm sweater, scarf and hat with you. Mornings and evenings in an open safari vehicle get very cold (especially in South African winter). It is best to wear several layers. Also make sure to wear clothing with long sleeves and that cover your legs, this against mosquitos and plants when making a safari on foot. We always find it extremely handy to bring our own binoculars. To help you understand what animals you are seeing it is recommendable to bring a good field guide with you.

An excellent book is “Watching wildlife: Southern Africa“. A long established field guide for bird watchers is “Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa“.

SAFARI PHOTOGRAPHY

South Africa is paradise for nature photographers. The best results are achieved by using a (digital) SLR camera with one or more lenses. For photography of wild animals a lens with a minimum range of 200mm is crucial, preferably a 300mm lens. For landscape photography, a wide angle lens (18 mm or less) is recommended. Beautiful portraits can be taken with lenses with a fixed focal length (usually a 50 mm lens provides good results) and large aperture. Don’t feel like carrying big bags of photo equipment on your South Africa safari? A 18-200 mm zoom lens produces beautiful pictures, and pretty much all subjects are within range. Important during your South Africa safari is protecting your valuable equipment: because you will probably also drive on dirt road so dust may damage your camera. Make sure your camera is always protected by a quality dust free bag.

SAFARI SAFETY

In private game reserves and national parks with big game it is prohibited to get out of your car, unless accompanied by armed rangers/guides. Each and every year there are reports from South Africa of travellers ignoring this simple rule, with all its consequences.  When staying in the lodge: listen carefully to the briefing provided by your ranger or accommodation staff. They always know what game is currently staying in the vicinity of the lodge. Many lodges are not fenced in, wildlife can freely enter the premises and will do so. For this reason it is not allowed to walk unaccompanied around the lodge after sunset. If you would you like to go the main building, restaurant or bar, just call the reception and they will send someone to pick you up from your room.