Situated in Mpumalanga, South Africa, the Sabi Sands Game Reserve is a 65 000 hectare (153 000 acre) wildlife sanctuary which forms part of the greater 2,3 million hectare (5,7 million acre) Kruger National Park game preservation area. The Sabi Sand shares a common 50km (31 mile) unfenced eastern boundary with the world famous Kruger National Park. No fences exist within this area and animals are free to roam unhindered through the enormous conservancy with habitat types ranging from riverine thicket to open savannah.
The Sabi Sand is an association of freehold landowners, many of whom manage commercially active photographic safari operations. Sharing a common environmental management program, this association is administered by a warden reporting to an elected executive committee.
Two perennial rivers supply the game reserve with a valuable water source. The Sand River flows through the reserve for 50km (31 miles) from north west to south east whilst the Sabie River flows on the southern boundary. The sustenance of these rivers ensures that this area enjoys one of the highest and most bio-diverse wildlife populations of any area in Africa. Over two hundred different species occur in abundance whilst the ever changing bird life provides even the most experienced ornithologist with rare finds. Such is the environment that the wildlife, save for the migratory birds, remain in their territories all year round.
The Timbavati Game Reserve lies just north of Sabi Sand on the western edge of Kruger National Park and is considered to be one of South Africa’s prime game viewing areas. Within the reserve are a number of small privately owned game lodges and there are no fences between these lodges and the Kruger National Park, thus allowing for free movement of the wildlife. The Timbavati reserve is world famous for its white lions.
A safari to the Timbavati Reserve is unique in that we go off-road to track and find the animals and night safaris using a spotlight are also permitted. The safari vehicles used are open 4×4 vehicles which the animals have become accustomed to thus allowing us to get right up close to the wildlife. Daily walking safaris with an armed ranger is a highlight for one wanting to discover the smaller secrets of the bush veld. Sundowners are enjoyed in the bush whilst on safari and the days end with a mouth watering gourmet dinner in an open-air “Boma” around a huge glowing log-fire.
The terrain is undulating with altitudes varying between 300 and 500m above sea level. The area is characterised as ‘savanna bushveld’ with 6 different landscape types: acacia woodland, open woodland, mopane woodland, combretum woodland, mixed combretum woodland and mixed veld on Gabbro. Elephant, buffalo, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, waterbuck and warthog abound together with their attendant predators which include lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. The critically endangered African wild dog is also a regular visitor to the Timbavati Reserve. The larger and rarer antelopes such as Roan, Eland and Tsessebe have been slow to return to this area and their numbers are still critically low.
The Greater Kruger Park is a collection of all the Private Game Reserves on the western border of the Kruger National Park.
The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares, SANParks – Kruger National Park is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Man’s interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries – from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela – is very evident. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the Park and are conserved along with the park’s natural assets.
The park lies in the north-east of South Africa, in the eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. Phalaborwa, Limpopo is the only town in South Africa that borders the Kruger. It is one of the largest national parks in the world, with an area of 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) The park is approximately 360 kilometres (220 mi) long, and has an average width of 65 kilometres (40 mi). At its widest point, the park is 90 kilometres (56 mi) wide from east to west.
The Kruger Park lies between two rivers to the north and south, the Limpopo and the Crocodile respectively, and are its natural boundaries. To the east the Lebombo Mountains separate it from Mozambique. Its western boundary runs parallel with this range, roughly 65 km distant. The park varies in altitude between 200 m in the east and 840 m in the south-west near Berg-en-Dal. The highest point in the park is here, a hill called Khandzalive. Several rivers run through the park from west to east, including the Sabie, Olifants, Crocodile, Letaba, Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers.
The climate in Kruger Park is subtropical. Summer days are humid and hot with temperatures often soaring to above 38 °C (100 °F). The rainy season is from September until May. The dry winter season is the ideal time to visit this region for various reasons. There is less chance of contracting malaria and the days are milder. Viewing wildlife is more rewarding as the vegetation is more sparse and animals are drawn to the waterholes to drink every morning and evening.
A Kruger Park Safari offers one of the few opportunities in Africa to see Africa’s Big 5; the Leopard, Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. Sightings of all 5 in one day are rare, which is why a stay of at least two or three days is recommended. However, there are few days when you won’t be able to see at least 3 of the 5.
The Big 5 are by no means all that Kruger has to offer. With over 336 species of trees, 49 species of fish, 114 different kinds of reptiles, 507 varieties of birds and 147 mammal species, the Park has something for everyone.
The Madikwe Game Reserve is situated in the North West region of South Africa along the Botswana border. Madikwe is a Big Five game reserve covering some 75,000 hectares making it one of the largest game reserves in South Africa and it is also Malaria Free which is ideal for families with young children. The rich diversity of vegetation ensures a wide range of game and the topography offers ideal game viewing opportunities. Madikwe is home to 66 mammal species including the Big Five and approximately 300 resident and migrant bird species.
The reserve consists of vast plains of open woodlands and grasslands, dissected by the rugged Rant van Tweedepoort, and bordered in the south by the Dwarsberg Mountains. The entire reserve has been enclosed in a 150 km perimeter fence which has been electrified to prevent the escape of elephants and the larger predators. The reserve is divided into two main areas. The area north of the Molatedi Dam is fenced and stocked with all the historically indigenous wild animals including elephant, rhinoceros, lion, leopard and buffalo. As part of future developments for the park, the dam area will be fenced separately and stocked with smaller, non-dangerous animals – thus allowing free movement of tourists and maximum utilisation of the dam.
Madikwe functions through a system designed to benefit the three main stakeholders involved in the reserve. These are the North West Parks Board, the private sector and the local communities. All three work together in a mutually beneficial “partnership in conservation.” The Parks Board is responsible for setting up the necessary infrastructure and the management to run Madikwe as a major protected conservation area in the North West Province. It also identifies suitable sites within the reserve which are leased to the private sector for tourism-based developments and activities.
The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu/Natal – declared a World Heritage Site in late 1999 – is an aggregation of numerous, singular natural wonders deemed crucial to the future of the global community. Each offers its own unique features and activities for those in love with the Great Outdoors. Fringed by languid coral seas, a golden ribbon of sand sweeps northwards along the KwaZulu/Natal north coast, forming gentle bays and terraces of rock wedged between land and sea. On the eastern side of this coastal terrace, sand-dunes cloaked by stunted forests of green form a massive barrier of sand between the sea and the interior.
The Greater St Lucia Wetlands offers a number of walking trails where small antelope, mongoose and Samango monkeys can be seen. Birdwatchers are up for an exciting experience with around 450 recorded species to tick off. Not too far off is Mkuze, one of the best birding spots in South Africa. Also a long-time hangout for keen anglers, St Lucia has a good selection of tackle and bait shops. An assortment of seafood restaurants line the banks of the estuary.
Within this proclaimed area are a number of privately owned lodges such as Rocktail Bay, Ndumo and close by Phinda Game Reserve, each offering the guest something different from game drives and walking safaris to beach activities such as SCUBA diving, snorkeling, boating, fishing and canoeing. This is the ideal area to combine that secluded beach and bush experience.
The Eastern Cape, lying on the southeastern South African coast, is a region of great natural beauty, particularly the rugged cliffs, rough seas and dense green bush of the stretch known as the Wild Coast.
The province’s diverse climates and landscapes range from the dry and desolate Great Karoo to the lush forests of the Wild Coast and the Keiskamma Valley, the fertile Langkloof, renowned for its rich apple harvests, and the mountainous southern Drakensberg region around the town of Elliot.
The Eastern Cape’s main feature is its spectacular coastline, lapped by the temperate Indian Ocean. With long stretches of unspoilt sandy beaches, rocky coves, secluded lagoons and towering cliffs, the coast is the province’s main tourist attraction.
Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, now protecting over 110,000 hectares of spectacular grasslands and mountains. We take conservation as our absolute priority; our vision is to “restore the Kalahari to itself.” No more than 30 guests at a time can discover the beauty of this arid savannah, its diverse wildlife and the serenity of what may well be South Africa’s last great wilderness.
Sabi Sands | Timbavati | Greater Kruger | Kruger National Park | Madikwe | KwaZulu Natal | The Cape