National Parks

Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa

For the ultimate luxury African experience, the Sabi Sands Game Reserve offers exclusivity and top class game viewing that guarantees a safari par excellence.

Ker & Downey® Africa > Destinations > South Africa > Parks > Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa

Safari Vehicle Icon

Game drives

balloon safari

Hot air balloon safaris

bird watching

Night safaris

Everything you need to know about Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Pioneered by local landowners in the 1950s the 65,000 hectare Sabi Sands Game Reserve is a relatively small reserve compared to its popular neighbour – the world-renowned Kruger National Park. It is, however, a private reserve, meaning it is not accessible to day visitors or self-drivers which guarantees the park’s exclusivity. Considered one of the most famous of the private reserves in the area, the game viewing is quite simply unparalleled with regular viewings of the Big Five and an astonishingly beautiful landscape with over 150 mammal species and over 500 bird species calling this diverse bushveld paradise home.

Where is the reserve located?

Sabi Sands is ideally located adjacent to the Kruger National Park in the north-eastern region of South Africa in the lowveld of Mpumalanga. The name originates from the Sabie River, situated to the south of the park, with the Manyealeti Game Reserve to the north, and Kruger to the west. Like its neighbours, it is easily accessible from both Johannesburg and Cape Town with regular scheduled flights to local airports located in the different regions of the park.

About the reserve

What can you expect from the terrain?

The Sand River that winds its way right through the central landscape of Sabi Sands, as well as its many tributaries, provides saturated and therefore thicker vegetation which gives birth to tall trees and forested areas. Because of its size, there are also diverse patches of rocky outcrops and the occasional wider open savannah areas. This kind of terrain is favourable for a range of different animals, particularly the larger cats.

What type of wildlife will we see?

There are no fences between the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and Kruger National Park, which means wildlife roams freely between the two. The game viewing in Sabi Sands, however, is truly extraordinary for those that enjoy the Big Five, and the cats in particular. The elusive leopard can be spotted regularly because of the thicket vegetation with tall trees, and the lions and cheetahs frequent the more open savannah spaces. Because it is uncrowded, and rangers are allowed to go off-road (unlike the Kruger) the possibilities are far-reaching and sightings of wild dog, white rhino, hyena, sable antelope and nyala are a regular occurrence.

Top experiences to enjoy at Sabi Sands Game Reserve

There are a fantastic range of luxury lodges within the Sabi Sands Reserve, each offering exciting experiences like spot-lit evening game drives to look for nocturnal animals, sleeping under the stars and even hot air ballooning to get a truly magical perspective of the bushveld from above. Another great advantage to it being a private reserve is the rangers being able to explore off-road (something strictly prohibited in the Kruger) so tracking bucket list animals can become a truly unforgettable adventure.

When to visit

Because of its exclusive nature, Sabi Sands is in high demand all year round, so booking in advance is highly encouraged. As with most of the region, the drier winter months provide the best game viewing because of the sparse vegetation, making it easier to spot wildlife.

Start planning your safari

Our experts are here to help.