The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is my absolute favourite location in South Africa for wildlife photography. The Sabi Sand is a private game reserve and shares its Eastern border with the world famous Kruger National Park. There are no fences between the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park, thus wildlife move between them freely. The original Sabie Reserve was proclaimed in 1898. It turned out to be the forerunner of the massive Kruger National Park. Many of the original landowners were excised from the area when in 1926 the National Parks Act was passed. In turn, the former land owners created the Sabi Private Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in 1934. Of these pioneering land owners, six families still own land in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, they are now third and fourth generation owners. In 1948 the landowners formally formed what now is the Sabi Sand Reserve.
Many of the land surface of what now is the Sabi Sand Game Reserve used to be agricultural land. As cattle farms occurred in the area, a reliable source of water was needed on the farms. To provide this water many boreholes were drilled providing a steady supply of water. After the establishment of Sabi Sand as a game reserve these waterholes and dams were kept intact and still function. It is now not cattle that drinks this water, but the many wild animals in the game reserve. As the waterholes provide an abundance of water throughout the year (and seasonal influences are not much of a factor) Sabi Sands proves to be a very popular place for large herds of animals.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve is home to many different lodges that all have something unique to offer. Some are ultra luxurious, and some are quite affordable. Staying in such a lodge implies that meals are included in your stay. Also the most important thing, safari activities, are included in the rate. This is the quintessential advantage of staying in a private game reserve: You will be guided by highly trained guides that can tell you everything about the reserve and the animals. Day visitors are not allowed in the reserve, so you can only stay here when booked into one of the lodges. You are also not allowed to drive around the reserve on your own. This guarantees the park’s exclusivity. One of the other major advantages is that when on safari with one of the rangers, they are allowed to drive off road (something that is strictly prohibited in Kruger National Park). So, when following a leopard, you ranger is allowed to follow it in the bush. An amazing experience and worth a trip to the bush on its own.
Most of the leopard photographs on this website were made in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. I have stayed in a number of lodges in the Sabi Sand, but my favourite lodge is Elephant Plains Game Lodge in the Northern section of the park. This lodge is one of the less expensive lodges in the Sabi Sand and I really like the relaxed laid back atmosphere. Leopard sightings in this area of the park are outstanding. You will literally see leopard on almost every game drive.