Africa, Featured, South Africa

My First Safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

January 4, 2019
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa

About this Adventure

When I booked my ticket to South Africa using Chase Sapphire Reserve points I had nothing planned. In fact, I had less than 72 hours to prepare to travel halfway across the world to a place I knew nothing about. Was I overwhelmed? No. I thrive on spontaneity and was in need of an epic adventure. To start figuring out how I wanted to spend my trip I posted on social media for recs. One of the posts that stuck out was from my friend Gregg who works for Expedia. He suggested I go to Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. Less than a week later, Sabi Sabi offered to host me as a travel journalist for a 3 day, 2 night luxury safari experience.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Justin Walter

Traveling There

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is located in the Southwestern section of Kruger National Park in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin (Sabi Sand Reserve). There are a wide variety of ways to get to Kruger and options will depend on budget, time restraints and itineraries. I found the cheapest way was flying from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then driving about 4 hours to Kruger. The night before I was flying to Joburg, I actually met up to have drinks with Jared in CPT, a fellow travel journalist I had connected with over Instagram. When I told Jared I was headed to Sabi Sabi he ironically was in talks to feature them in an article. The next morning he decided to ask if we could combine trips. They agreed to it and hours later I had a new travel buddy to experience Sabi Sabi with.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Jared Ruttenberg Jared in CPT Justin Walter

What I Did

My Sabi Sabi Private Game experience was a 3 day, 2 night luxury safari. The daily routine is simple.

  • 05h30 – Wake up call
  • 06h00 – Depart for morning safari
  • 09h00 – Return for breakfast, free time and lunch
  • 16h00 – High tea
  • 16h30 – Depart for night safari (including sunset drinks)
  • 19h30 – Return for dinner and sleep

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa

Fun Fact: The “Big 5” in Africa refers to the 5 most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot mostly because they fought back.

Since 1979 Sabi Sabi has promised guests the “safari experience of a lifetime.” I can honestly say that is an understatement! My Sabi Sabi experience was mind-blowing and magical. Led by highly trained game rangers and trackers, Sabi Sabi’s open safari vehicles left me speechless with a front row seat to Mother Nature at its finest. One of the main highlights was seeing the “Big 5” – lion, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo and leopard – up close and personal.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa lionSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa elephantSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa rhinoSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa buffalo

The “Big 5” tend to get the most attention on safaris, but Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is full of so much wildlife and home to some 200 other animal species. Some of my favorite included giraffes, zebras, endangered African wild dogs and kudus.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa giraffeSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa zebraSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa African wild dogSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Kudo

Where I Stayed

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve has four luxurious and award winning lodges including Selati Camp, Bush Lodge, Little Bush Camp and Earth Lodge. Daily all-inclusive rates range from ZAR 11,800 to ZAR 31,500 per person per night. I spent my time on the reserve calling Earth Lodge home. From the moment I stepped foot on the property it’s no wonder this place is one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. The lodge is literally build into the slope of the Earth making it invisible in the landscape.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Earth LodgeSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Justin Walter Earth LodgeSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Earth LodgeSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Earth LodgeSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Earth LodgeSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Justin Walter

Justin’s Takeaway

I live for outdoor adventure. And if you’ve been following my travels you know that I mostly travel on a budget. I’ve NEVER experienced luxury the way I did at Sabi Sabi. The property, the staff, the lodges and the safaris all combined gave me one of the best experiences of my life. Even better, during my time at Sabi Sabi I’ve never felt more connected and one with the Earth. I was repeatedly in awe of the beauty that exists on our planet and so grateful to experience it with Sabi Sabi.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Small Bush Lodge Justin WalterSabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa

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Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa Luxury Safari

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve Kruger National Park Big 5 Safari

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve South Africa

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2 Comments

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