Each of the reserves offers its own merits, so we have listed them separately below with detailed information on what you can expect to experience in each area.
Established in 1998 in order to provide a sanctuary to the wildlife found in the South African lowveld, this extraordinarily vast park of almost two million hectares offers unrivalled diversity, both in its wildlife and its environmental policies and techniques. The density of wildlife is equally astounding, and you will find more species of large mammals than in any other African reserve. The ‘Big Five’ or lion, African elephant, cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros are there to experience in close proximity, and the park serves as a benchmark for the complete safari experience.
The oldest and arguably most established and successful of Kruger’s private game reserves, Sabi Sands sits adjacent to Kruger National Park on its western border, a total area of 150,000 acres. Named after the rivers that dissect the reserve into four quarters, many would say it is the experience of staying in some of South Africa’s most revered lodges, combined with some of the best game viewing to be had from the natural water sources, that embodies the Sabi Sands experience. Singita Boulders Lodge, for example, is exemplary in its approach; a natural stone lodge with lookout decks ideally positioned to view wildlife drawn to the Sabi River. Some of the smaller reserves below form part of Sabi Sands.
Formed when a collective of over 50 farm owners decided jointly to take down their internal fencing and dedicate their land to conservation efforts, Timbavati borders with Kruger National Park and therefore offers great proximity to the dense wildlife, including Big Five game. This lush reserve was established in 1956, and offers authenticity, from its indigenous group of white lions to its hospitable camps and lodges, such as Kings Camp, with expert trackers who combine knowledge of and passion for the wildlife in the reserve to ensure excellent sightings.
A biodiverse haven and wildlife sanctuary that is a constituent of the greater Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Sabi Sabi offers character, large numbers of big cats and approximately 200 indigenous species for a complete bushveld experience. There are just four game lodges here, which are said to represent ‘today, yesterday and tomorrow’. The Bush Lodge has a number of great viewing decks, nestled into a perfect spot between a watering hole that throngs with wildlife and beautiful savannah.
One of the oldest and largest of the Kruger region reserves, with a strong emphasis on service and the wildlife to be experienced, with frequent and consistent Big Five sightings and over 200 species in total. Set over almost 16,000 hectares, it is unquestionably the largest area of land within the Sabi Sands reserve. The Sand River is prominent here, and no less than 36 kilometres of river flows through Mala Mala, which adds to the biodiversity, and, whilst never guaranteed, it is considered unusual not to spot the Big Five in one day. Mala Mala Main Camp is one of the original lodges within the reserve, and due to its size and location offers superb game viewing within close range.
Meaning ‘protector of all living things’ in Zulu, Londolozi is a private reserve, again falling within Sabi Sands, and has remained under the same management of the Varty and Taylor families since 1926, so has a long tradition of being a well-run family bush camp, but has seen a huge shift away from its origins of a hunting farm for presidents and royalty, and is now a beacon of conservation, aiming to preserve the land, communities and wildlife with a sensitivity to the natural world. It is particularly renowned for its close observation and relationship with leopards within the reserve, which started in 1979 but it is a loyal kinship that has endured to this day.
Over 140 mammal species, 500 bird species and countless additional reptilian, amphibian and flora species all offer an unsurpassed experience for natural world enthusiasts.