Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guide to Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

I'm proud to say I have another notch on my belt and a check on my bucket list.  Traveling to Africa was a dream come true and it cannot be complete without a safari.  Now that I've got a taste, I'm left craving more.    Sabi Sabi went beyond my expectations and took my ideas of a safari to a luxurious level.
How to Get There:  Federal Air runs two flights per day directly to Sabi Sabi's air strip from Johannesburg. (1 hour).  The tickets are pretty pricey, but if you have a tight schedule, it beats spending a day in the car driving there.  The other option is to fly into Kruger (Nelspruit Airport) and arrange a car to take you to Sabi Sabi.  The drive to/from Kruger takes about an hour and a half from Sabi Sabi.
Coffee and Snack Break during our morning drive.

5h00:  Wake-up and Morning Coffee/Tea
5h30:  Morning safari
9h30:  Breakfast (AKA "breakie")
Leisure time to nap, relax in the pool, check out the spa, go on a bush walk, etc.
13h30:  Lunch
16h00:  Afternoon tea
16h30:  Evening safari
19h30:  Return from evening game drive
20h00:  Dinner and drinks
The Earth Lodge:  The Earth Lodge is sculpted into the hillside and blends into the surroundings.  (Even the lions don't notice.  Guests found one hanging out on their rooftop a couple weeks ago.)  
There are twelve suites in addition to the luxurious Amber Room.  We started our stay in Suite 7, but were later upgraded.
Each suite features a glass fronted bathroom with an over-sized stone tub.  
The back yards are complete with private plunge pools (upon arrival, we relaxed in ours while reading some of Ernest Hemmingway's Snows of Kilimanjaro).  
You won't find fences here so there's always a chance to meet new animal friends (we found a hyena in our back yard one night when we got back from a drive and a curious elephant trotted through the dining area.)
The Amber Room:  The Amber Room will leave you feeling like absolute royalty.  This suite is at least double the size of my DC condo.  The wooden carved headboard made of drift wood is beautiful.  

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve has three other luxury lodges near Kruger Park in South Africa: Selati Camp, Bush Lodge and Little Bush Camp.  
Lamb Chops
Food:  Get ready to loosen your belt.  There is no going hungry at Sabi Sabi.  The mornings before breakfast the Earth Lodge offers fresh fruit and coffee.  After the morning game drive, a full breakfast is served complete with a buffet as well as hot egg options from the menu.  Lunch is served at 1:30 p.m. with a full menu as well as daily specials.  The gazpacho soup and grilled sea bass were our favorite.  The dinners are a treat.  The first night we had a boma dinner under the stars.  The outdoor Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge boma is sculpted from tree roots and features a dining area that overlooks a waterhole and unending bush-veld.   The second night we dined with our ranger, Joe, in the wine cellar and the last night in the dining room.  Each night the chef prepared a five course gourmet set.
Sunset in the bush
Safari:  Land Rovers dive deep into the bush off road when a member of the Big 5 appears (rhinos, elephants, lions, Cape buffalo and leopard).  We were accompanied by our A+ Ranger, Joe, (also a Forrest Whitaker look-alike) as well as Richie "Eagle Eye" Richard the Shangaan tracker.  We went on six game drives during our stay.

Sightings:  We saw rhinos, 
African elephants, 
impala, water bucks, 
many owls and 
birds, hyenas, zebra, genet, wart hogs, kudu and more.  Each drive brought a fresh and unexpected adventure.  

What to Bring:  Sunscreen, neutral colored safari gear, sun glasses, a good camera with a big zoom lens, video camera, a jacket, swim suit, and malaria pills.  Binoculars and bug spray are unnecessary as Sabi Sabi provides them.

Service:  The service at Sabi Sabi is impeccable.  At the lodge, the staff remembers your name and you are constantly surrounded by smiling faces.

Sabi Sabi offers a truly unique experience and memories that cannot be replaced.  More details about our game drives coming soon... then off to Zambia and Cape Town.

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