Lodge of the Month – Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

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Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve forms part of the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve which in turn is part of the Greater Kruger National Park.  Sabi Sabi offers four completely separate luxurious, all-suite, award-winning lodges with very distinct characters and atmosphers – those of “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” which is encapsulated in the “Yesterday” experience at the romantic Selati Camp;  “Today” at the more contemporary lodges of Bush Lodge and Little Bush Camp and “Tomorrow” at the ground-breaking Earth Lodge.

In this edition of our newsletter, we will focus on Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge.  With 25 luxury suites, Bush Lodge is one of the largest lodges in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.  Many prospective travellers do not want to go to a large safari lodge and I do understand this, however, in my more than 30 visits to Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, I have never felt that this lodge is too “busy” or even too big!  While on game drive, you are only in the company of your fellow game viewers (at Bush Lodge they try to limit the number of guests per game viewing vehicle to maximum 6), and as for meal times – breakfast and lunch is served in the dining area, with all tables set in individual group sizes.  These meal times are thus only shared with whoever your travel companions are.  Dinners are usually served in the outdoor boma, and these meals are enjoyed in the company of your fellow game viewers as well as your ranger.

I have often referred to the food served at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge as being “the best in the industry”, and I am yet to find a lodge that offers a larger selection of choices at all 3 meal times!  The food is exceptionally tasty and beautifully presented.  All meals are served buffet style, which is great and allows for a wider selection.

The lodge offers beautiful spacious accommodation.  The luxury suites are tastefully decorated in beautiful natural colours and textures.  Bush Lodge is one of the few lodges that caters for families, and even with triple accommodation, the suites remain spacious.  Comfortable viewing decks overlook a large plain with a waterhole that attracts a variety of wildlife, especially during the winter months (dry season).  Unfortunately all of the suites don’t have views of the plain and/or waterhole, but the lodge also has a large, very comfortable viewing deck in the public area, which is for everyone’s enjoyment, and this deck has a wonderful view of any animal activity that may happen on the plain.  For honeymooners the spacious Mandleve Suite, with its private plunge pool and the luxury of a private game viewing vehicle for your game drives, is a must!

Children have always been welcomed at Bush Lodge, and the family experience has now reached a whole new level with the opening of the Elefun Centre, a beautiful facility where your child can spend some time in between game viewing activities, and learn more about Africa and its wildlife!  The Amani Spa is the perfect place in which to relax in between meal times and safari activities.

As for the extremely high level in service, as well as the consistency thereof  – not many other safari lodges come close to the standard of service offered at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge.  I would not hesitate to recommend Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge to anyone planning a Big 5 safari – from the youngest to the oldest member of your group – everyone will have a magical time at this very special place in Africa!

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Birding weekend at Berg en Dal Kruger National Park – By Mike Karantonis

I have just returned from a birding weekend with 50 plus birding enthusiasts from Swaziland hosted by the West Rand Honorary Rangers.

Berg en Dal is a relatively difficult region to bird watch in, as the mountainous terrain makes access limited leaving us with vast tracts of land that are inaccessible. However, as mountains always do, they supply us with wonderful surprizes. For example, on a separate birding safari in December around Berg en Dal, we found two Sooty Falcons. I have not seen this rare and uncommon summer visitor for over 8 years, so this was an unbelievable treat! With this recent find in mind, it created amazing optimism for the birding weekend with the Swazi’s and the Honorary Rangers. Every drive we went out on I encouraged all to keep it in mind that there are some special jewels out there; we just need to look and get lucky!

The bird watching is actually a side-line event to what is actually happening over the weekend. It is a fund razing event where all the funds generated from the weekend are funnelled straight back into conservation. I was blind to the efforts of the honorary rangers for many years until I accepted their invitation as a birding expert to host the group. On the first evening on all of the trips, there is a short video for all to see of what has been achieved and where the donor’s money is being spent. It is absolutely remarkable to see the dedication and passion the honorary rangers have for their environment and their Africa. If all of us just put in a tenth of the effort to conserve through awareness and giving back like they do, our world would be a better place.  So I encourage all to have a deeper look into what they do in order for us to support the soldiers that fight our wildlife battles while we are too busy with our own lives.

The total number of birds seen on the 2 drives and one social drive was 122 which could have been better but included an Osprey, Eurasian Golden Oriole and nesting ground hornbills as highlights. We did however bump into a cheetah with her sub adult cub, a lioness and a big bull black rhino to add to the experience! The weekend had a wonderful wholesome feel to it as it had all the elements needed for a perfect 2 days in the bush. There was bird watching, photography, big game sightings, active conservation, eating and drinking, laughing, beautiful places, wonderful people who believe in our wildlife as true naturalists, rain, sunshine, stars and plans for another trip!

Join us next time as it is a lot more fulfilling than just bird watching 😉