One last trip of the year safari, sundowners and surreal sightings in South Africa

Ending the year on a high, we were lucky enough to escape to the South African Bush for one last travel experience before 2017 comes to a close. We headed deep into the bushveld to the world renowned Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve to celebrate its year of successes. This included the stunning refurbishment of classic Selati Camp, the acceptance of all four lodges into the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World programme for their demonstrated commitment to sustainability and surrounding communities, to the recognition by The World of Fine Wine for having one of the world’s best wine lists.

Sabi Sabi is a great year-round destination, offering optimum wildlife sightings year round yet with a different bush setting depending on the season. We experienced December in the bush. This is South Africa’s summer and officially their rainy season, offering lush grassy landscapes, new born antelope hopping after their mothers and an incredible variety of birds returning to the reserve.  

On the airport transfer alone from quaint Skukuza to the stylish Earth Lodge we spotted elephant, white rhino, giraffe and countless antelope. This was just a small taster of what we were to witness over the course of our three days in the bush. From the small chameleons and bird witnessed on a walking safari, to zebras, giraffes, hippos, lions, leopards and endangered black rhino incredible close to our open vehicle, to enjoying lunch with warthog at Earth Lodge. The highlights had to be enjoying dinner each evening as elephants drank from the lodge’s watering hole and spotting endangered wild dog playing and hunting on the final day.  

Sabi Sabi is celebrated for its holistic approach to the safari experience. The upmost importance is protecting the environment and wildlife, whilst supporting the local communities. We joined a community visit for an insight into the community projects supported by Sabi Sabi and the areas from which many of the Sabi Sabi staff hail. This includes a visit to the Swa Vana children’s project which works towards the development of long term solutions for orphans and vulnerable children in the community.  

Sabi Sabi offers four unique lodges each with its own identity. Visiting each of these felt as if we were embarking on a journey through African history with each lodge representing the ethos of yesterday, today or tomorrow. We enjoyed accommodation at the forward-thinking Earth Lodge, the safari lodge of tomorrow which boasts an intelligent design, blending into a natural slope in the land. The landscape is reflected through the design and soft furnishings, all unfenced, meaning wildlife are regularly present in the immediate areas – it is really quite impressive to wake to an elephant drinking from your outside plunge pool!  

The warm South African hospitality is omnipresent at Sabi Sabi. The team have this impressive ability to offer a warm, homely, family atmosphere, whilst still ensuring the highest and most professional levels of service. It is clear that Sabi Sabi and the bush is a passion for every member of staff, from your tracker to your waiter. The knowledge of the rangers and trackers and their level of detail was mind blowing. The surprises they set up throughout the stay, from popcorn on an evening game drive, G&T sundowners with magnificent view to a private breakfast in the bush, were the cherry on top of an already exceptionally tasty cake. This is why Sabi Sabi has been offering a home in the bush for almost 40 years.  

With thanks to South African Airways for their continued support. Until next time!