The Sabi Sand Game Reserve

The renowned Sabi Sand is one of the oldest and largest proclaimed private reserves in South Africa. It is well known for exciting leopard sightings – this fact alone being testimony to the incredible wildlife experience that this healthy, game-rich area has to offer.

Lion Sands River Lodge - Leopard
Lion Sands River Lodge – Leopard

History of the Sabi Sand Reserve

Already proclaimed in 1898, the original Sabie Reserve was a forerunner to the massive Kruger National Park. Former land owners, excised from the area when the 1926 National Parks Act was passed, created the Sabi Private Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in 1934. Six families who formed part of these pioneering land owners still own land in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve which was formally established as an association in 1948.

Location of the Game Reserve

Located in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve takes its name from the Sabi River and the Sand River which flow through the wilderness area. The Reserve spans across 65 000 hectares (650 square kilometers) of land.

Wildlife in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve

In addition to the Big Five, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is home to 145+ mammal species, 500+ bird species, 30+ amphibian species, 110+ reptile species and 45+ fish species.



Due to the threat of foot and mouth disease and the ever present threat of hunting, fences were erected between the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Reserve in 1961. The eastern border fence was removed after negotiations in 1993 allowing wildlife to roam freely between the two parks.

The Big Five ‘Born’

The name ‘Big Five’ was originally a name given by hunters to the five largest and most dangerous African mammals: rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard. In the 1970’s, when the birth of the luxury safari was gaining momentum, marketers ‘rebranded’ the concept of the Big Five and today, the Big Five are the most sought after wildlife to see while on a safari…., the ULTIMATE goal of any safari experience.


On Safari in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Accommodation varies from the absolute thrill of a luxury tented camp to the graciousness of award-winning deluxe lodges with the most sensational décor, health spas and gourmet cuisine.

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve - Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve – Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve

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