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Into the wild

My Unforgettable South African Safari

Nick Wilson May 6, 2014

On a recent holiday to South Africa, I was lucky enough to visit the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, which forms part of the Kruger National Park. It has always been one of my favourite places in Africa to safari as you are pretty much guaranteed to see great game (including the Big Five) during a two or three night stay – as long as you are lucky with the weather!

The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is renowned as being the birthplace of sustainable wildlife tourism in the whole of Southern Africa and it is the oldest of all the wildlife reserves in South Africa. It has no boundaries between itself and the main Kruger National Park and as such, the game can pass through freely. Every time you arrive, you know you are in for a special experience and this trip was to be no exception.
As the Sabi Sands is a private resort it is occupied by opulent lodges and camps, most with suites that have their own private plunge pool and butler, so it’s not a ‘roughing it’ experience as many people would think! As you are shown to your room, you can’t help but cast your eyes over the nearby bush, especially as the rangers tell you not to walk alone at night. Every noise and sound has your senses on high alert! 
Whilst the luxury accommodation is indeed a perk of safari in the Sabi Sands, for me, it’s the game drives and your rangers which make the experience once in a lifetime. Safari never gets boring for me – nature is in control and you have no idea when you set off on the back of an open topped land cruiser what the next few hours will entail. 
The rangers in the Sabi Sands are experts in their craft. Teamed up with their tracker (who has his or her own seat at the front of the vehicle), they tirelessly search the surrounding landscape for signs and tracks and they go out of their way to find amazing wildlife. 
My personal favourite is the leopard, an elusive creature that often hunts by night, so I was beyond happiness when our tracker discovered a leopard by just its tracks. After searching all afternoon, we found the leopard just in time, under a tree with its kill as the sun was setting. After the sun sets, it’s off to an open area for your sundowner drink of choice – heaven!