Sabi Sands Game Reserve A Brief History
The Sabi Sands game reserve consists of a private group of game reserves and lodges (our stop being Savanna Private Game Reserve).
The Sabi Sands runs adjacent to the Kruger National Park. and is its own reserve. Its a 65000 hectare reserve created by local landowners in the 50’s.
There is a 50 kilometer unfenced boundary with the Kruger. Prolific sightings are high in the Sabi Sands with it being a hotspot for the Leopard.
The Sabi differs from the Kruger in that a spotting of a big 5 allows game drivers access to go off road to get up close and personal. Compared to the Kruger, where it is strictly adhered to stick to the roads.
Savanna Private Game Reserve Arrival
We arrived at the private game reserve after a long and bumpy drive from Kruger Mpumalanga airport. Once we arrived the sense of being in the wild is there to be seen. Savanna Private Game Reserve is right in the midst of the Sabi Sands reserve surrounded by dense forestry.
We were greeted at the entrance by the manager and some staff and brought through to the bar / restaurant area for refreshments and a meet and greet. Once paperwork’s were done we were told our first game drive would be that afternoon. All of a sudden a sense of excitement of a safari a dream of mine all my life was about to become true in a short time.
The Rooms @ Savanna Private Game Reserve
We were escorted to our room , much to our surprise we had own private executive suite, complete with our own walkway and plunge pool. And the view straight out onto the game reserve where we could see Warthogs roaming around.
We stepped inside our suite it looked amazing the biggest bed you ever seen, beautiful wooden furniture and then a walkway behind a wall, we wondered round to see a huge double bath, his and her sinks and a indoor and an outdoor rainforest shower. My words couldn’t describe the luxury we were in.
The room was a fully stocked with complementary mini bar, complete with champagne, wines, beers, spirits snacks and the room itself came fully air conditioned, ceiling fans, mosquito nets, safe, coffee station, fresh water machine, telephone and even complimentary Savanna branded water bottles. this place was heaven.
Every evening after we arrived back from our afternoon game drive we would return to an already run bath and alongside that one day there was a bottle of champagne waiting for us and another day a decentered bottle of port. It was just perfect to come back and unwind without having to think.
The Food @ Savanna
Firstly was breakfast was amazing there was a menu and buffet area. The menu itself was beautiful and you could create your own if you fancied something a bit different. The buffet was full of fruits, meats, cheeses, pastries, muesli’s, yoghurts and toppings. Al delicious and perfect after the early morning game drive.
Secondly was lunch, so clean and so fresh. There would be a buffet self serve of the freshest salads, cold meats and cheeses. And then to accompany that we had fresh seafood and some perfectly cooked meats.
Lastly the dinners, now this really took us by surprise, each night was a different theme. Our first night we had dinner under the stars surrounded in fairly lights in a big clearing out in the wild.
The chef was there cooking like a bbq style of game meats, fresh fish and a great selection of vegetarian options. Plenty of sides were available and some beautiful red wine. The scene was set so perfectly we sat around in a table of 10 chatting and having the best time.
The second night was back at the lodge were we had a beautiful 3 course dinner. This was were I tried Ostrich for the first time which I must say was beautiful and so tender. The one great thing with savanna is the one long table so everyone joined in and mingled which was great to meet other like minded people. .
Our last night was a night I will never forget a traditional BOMA dinner complete with locals performing there local dances which was incredible to see and everyone got up and we all joined in. The dinner was a BBQ style with beautifully cooked game meats and seafood and tempting sides a feast fit for a king.
Private Game Drives In The Sabi Sands
Now where do I start, a lifetime of waiting to do a real life safari in the wild to see the animals in the own habitat. The time had finally come to get out and see it all containing ourselves was not possible like children on Christmas morning.
Having a coffee before our first game drive, we met our driver and guide Kevin, made us feel very comfortable and really took and interest in getting to know us. We got on board our jeep and we were with one other couple from Alaska. Just before we set off our spotter Lybon arrived and took his place at the front of the car. We were ready to finally set off.
We were told to brace ourselves it would be exciting but we were warned that there could be slow periods when would be looking for sightings.
Straight off and if by magic about 100 meters out of camp we came across a huge Elephant we couldn’t believe it so soon the excitement was unreal. Out came the camera and the snapping began and as you can see below my favourite elephant selfie.
There were two drives each day consisting of about 3 hours each time. a drive just after sunrise and a drive just before sunset. Then there was plenty of downtime to relax and look over our photos.
During the six drives we done we saw so many animals and even luckier to see the BIG 5 Leopards, Lions, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino. And on top of that we saw Crocodiles, Hippos, Hyenas, Wild Dogs, Wilderbeast, Impalas, Giraffes, Warthogs and Zebres. the gallery below shows a few of these.
Our Driver and Spotter at Savanna
These two were amazing I don’t think you could find two more passionate people, who absolutely love there job. And also very friendly and tool time to get to know us personally. Which made the whole experience that much better.
To be honest it made the drives so much better to have there knowledge firstly from kevin the Driver / Guide. He was so passionate about all the animals and gave great insight to there behavior and how they survive and behave in the area.
Lybon who was the spotter who I believe was local to the area knew the land like the back of his hand, It was fascinating to see him picking out tracks and spotting everything in sight.
Community Projects In The Area
The Savanna is very passionate about giving back to the locals and the community projects they have in place are amazing.
If I’m honest would not do them justice to explain them so I have put a link here and take a look for yourselves they are a credit to this community. https://savannalodge.com/community-projects/
Summary Of The Savanna Private Game Reserve
So to conclude our trip to Savanna Private Game Reserve this was truly an experience of a lifetime, we will never forget it and one memories we will never forget.
We would highly recommend to anyone, if you are planning a safari in South Africa please look these guys up you would not regret it.
Check out a few more of our Africa posts in our Africa sections
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