Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Sabi Sand Game Reserve was the first private reserve to be established in South Africa and enjoys a long, rich and complex history.
In 1898, Sabie Reserve became part of the Sabi Sand and part of Kruger National Park. The national park's boundaries were reset in 1926, then a landowner's collective formed Sabi Private Game Reserves in 1948 as a way to help preserve the wilderness. Called the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, this was the first private game reserve in South Africa.
In 1961, a fence nearly 45 miles long was erected along the western boundary of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin to keep wildlife on the reserve for the safety of the animals. In 1988, an electric fence and regular patrols along it were added. Mala Mala became a successful tourist resort in the 1960s, and new camps like the Londolozi and Sabi Sabi sprang up in the 1970s. The money brought in by tourism assured the funding for day-to-day operation of the reserve.
In the 1980s, ecology became a primary focus at Sabi Sand. Management of the reserve became more important than ever, including dealing with bush encroachment, fire and overgrazing. Animals extinct in the area – including white rhinos, sable, eland, nyala, cheetahs and elephants – were brought in from elsewhere. In 1993, the fence between the reserve and Kruger National Park was removed, allowing for free migration.
Today, leaders of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve work in local communities to promote ecology and wildlife conservation. The more than 30-mile border with Kruger is unfenced, and the private reserve boasts some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in South Africa. Individual properties within the Sabi Sand each offer Big Five viewing, luxury accommodations, great food and more. In all, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve takes in more than 250 square miles of well-managed land, much of which you can enjoy.
If you choose to stay at one of the private properties on this reserve, here are some of the things you're sure to like:
Because accommodation choices on Sabi Sabi Game Reserve are mostly all-inclusive packages, your stay can be expensive. There is also a great emphasis on Big Five animals, meaning that smaller species and birds may be ignored.