Sabi Sands Game Reserve
leopard, Sabi Sands Game Reserve is a private game reserve that offers a luxury safari experience right next door to the world-famous Kruger National Park. But, unlike Kruger, Sabi Sands game drives can take you off-road into the bush, increasing your chances of spotting Africa’s “big five.”
Home to numerous all-inclusive luxury safari lodges, Sabi Sands offers visitors packages that include guided game drives, game walks, overnight accommodations, and traditional South African meals. Plus, you get the chance to search for the big five—lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo—with the guidance and security of a ranger at your side.
With the best game viewing opportunities taking place around sunrise and sunset, the reserve offers game drive in the mornings and evenings. Game drives and walks frequently include visiting the reserve’s watering holes (two rivers cut through the reserve) where you can see a multitude of animals and birds.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Sabi Sands attracts visitors looking for luxury and wildlife—think spa treatments overlooking the African bush.
- Bring warm clothes for the chilly open-air game drives.
- All Sabi Sands game drives and walks are guided and you can not explore on your own.
- There are multiple entrances to the park so use the gate that accesses your lodge of choice (a map can be found on the reserve’s website).
How to Get There
There are multiple small airports located in the Sabi Sands region, making it easy to reach the park from Johannesburg or Cape Town with a combination of a flight and a shuttle. You can also fly into the reserve itself on a small plane—most of the lodges have their own airport. If you are traveling by car you can take the N4 from Johannesburg.
When to Get There
It is best to visit Sabi Sands in the dry season/winter, from May through September. The lack of foliage makes it easier to spot wildlife through the bush. The dry season also means animals are likely to congregate around watering holes, making viewing easier. Additionally, winter is South Africa’s low season so the park will not be as crowded.
Spotting Leopards in Sabi Sands Sabi Sands is known as one of the best places in the world for spotting leopards—frequently the most difficult animal to tick off the “big five” checklist. This can be attributed to the private reserve’s conservation management techniques coupled with the area’s animals being habituated to human activity. Guided game drives also increase the likelihood of spotting leopards because guides know where to look and are trained at picking them out despite their camouflage.