Luxury Africa Safari at Sabi Sabi: Pristine African Wilderness

A 5 day trip to South Africa 
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The Sabi Sands Reserve ranks as one of the premier wildlife viewing destinations in the world, where incredible encounters with the Big 5 and other animals are all but guaranteed. Little Bush Camp offers an intimate and exclusive safari lodge experience where no detail or luxury is spared to make your stay as memorable as possible. Superior cuisine, luxurious accommodation, attentive service and highly experienced guides come together to create a safari experience par excellence.

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General Information

Photos
Zebras in the grasslands of Africa.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Sabi Sabi

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to Africa

On arrival at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your charter flight to Sabi Sabi airfield. 

Your guide will meet you there, and take you on the short game drive to Little Bush Camp. As you go along, keep your eyes peeled for any wildlife you may encounter along the way, and most likely by the time you arrive at the lodge you would already have ticked off a few antelope species at least, and maybe spotted a giraffe or two peering curiously at you over an acacia bush. 

Little Bush Camp is nestled in a grove of trees along a bend of the Msuthlu River, and its earthy tones of stone, thatch and wood blend in organically with the surrounding bush, making it feel a part of the environment. The main building is tastefully decorated with a blend of styles ranging from African objet d’art to inviting colonial furniture and fabrics. With high ceilings and flowing open spaces, your eyes are led to the front deck with its sweeping view of the river and bushveld beyond. 

Discovering your suite, you find it tucked away in a secluded grove of trees, with its viewing deck boasting a spa bath and a view of the river to die for. The interior is similarly eclectic, with African and European influences, and an enormous four-poster bed, romantically swathed in mosquito netting, dominates the room. 

After you have settled in, you wander over to the main building in the mid afternoon for an English high tea. A selection of delicacies is on display to tempt your taste buds while you discuss your afternoon’s adventure with your guide.

You set off with your expert tracker and guide team, riding in an open Land Rover in order to maximize your field of view. With the light of the late afternoon giving the grasses swaying in the breeze a golden tinge, your sense of anticipation heightens as your eyes scan the surrounding bush. 

The Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is a huge tract of land that shares a fenceless border with the Kruger National Park to the east. This creates an area of almost three million hectares of pristine wildlife habitat where animals roam freely. The abundance of wildlife here is astonishing, and apart from the signature Big 5 species of lion, leopard, elephant buffalo and rhino, there are many more species of mammals and birds here to encounter. This is also the home range of the critically endangered African wild dog, the supreme hunters of this untrammeled wilderness. Highly social by nature, to encounter a pack of these predators on a high-speed hunt must rank as one of the most thrilling wildlife experiences you could possibly imagine. The dynamics of the group dictate that they kill quickly and silently, feed their youngest members first, and depart from the carcass before it attracts other larger predators such as lions and hyenas. 

As the afternoon draws to a close, your guide will select a spot to stretch your legs and take in the scenery. He produces a hamper packed with drinks and snacks, and you find yourself sipping on a glass of your favorite beverage while the sun sets the sky on fire in a pyrotechnic display of color. As the first stars begin to appear, you drive back to camp with a spotlight, seeking out the reflected eyes of nocturnal species as they emerge into the night. Civets, honey badgers and genets are often seen, while the loping stride of a hyena off on his nightly hunt, is a thrilling sight. 

Returning to camp, you will find a welcoming fire blazing on the viewing deck, and delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen. A sumptuous meal is served in the dining room, bathed in soft lantern light, and after a final drink at the fire, you slip back to your suite and slide between the covers, serenaded by the sounds of the African night outside. 

Day 2: Experience the pulse of Africa

You arise at dawn with a gentle knock on your door, and soon you find yourself sipping a freshly brewed hot drink on the terrace, watching the sun bring the world to life. Setting off on your game drive, the dew sparkles on the grasses and the air has a fresh tang to it that enlivens your senses. 

Scanning the ground intensely for spoor, your guide and tracker use their vast experience and skills to interpret every facet of their surroundings. By looking at tracks in the sand, they can tell the story of the night’s events- which animal went in which direction, and why they might have done so. Listening to the morning chorus of birds uplifts you as they welcome the day, and your guide knows the call of every one of them, and has a fascinating story to tell about each. Smaller birds like starlings will make a ruckus if they spot a snake; larger birds like francolins and grey go-away birds will tell you if there is a big cat nearby.

A drag-mark on the ground reveals where a leopard made his kill, then took it to safety in the fork of a tree, and the overlaid pug-marks of a male lion show his intention of stealing the leopard’s prize. 

Every aspect of the bush has a story to tell, and if you look hard enough, the magic of this ecosystem will reveal itself to you. From the tiniest insect to the largest elephant bull, your guide will inform and educate you as to how they all fit into, and function, within this incredible mosaic of life.  

After a few hours, you return to the camp for a well-earned and hearty breakfast. After breakfast, if you so choose, you can take a safari walk with your guide, and it is well worth it. 

Nothing can compare to being on foot in the African wilderness. Walking along game paths that might never have felt a human tread, you feel your senses become heightened and more engaged. With this sharpening comes the sensation of being fully in the moment, alive and breathing in the warm air of this ancient land. Your guide will point out things that you might not notice from a vehicle- hoofmarks around a salt lick, a dung beetle rolling his enormous ball, the various uses of the plants you encounter: which are medicinal, which are edible, and which leaves make the softest toilet paper! 

Return to the lodge uplifted and energized, and after enjoying a delicious lunch, you retire to the shade for a well-earned rest. What could be a better place to while away a warm afternoon than in the spa bath on your deck, a chilled glass in hand, looking out over the African wilderness? 

Eventually as the sun begins to lower, you feel yourself compelled to venture out again to see what nature has in store for you. 

In the golden light of the late afternoon, you are once again moving through the bush, eyes peeled for any signs. Coming to a waterhole, you watch a herd of elephants lumber to the water’s edge to drink and observe the intricate family dynamics as they do so, watched over by the matriarch; the youngsters jostle and shove each other until their exuberance is quelled by a sharp trumpet from an elder member of the family. The tiny calves are not yet able to fully control their trunks and are comical in their attempts to mimic their mothers, while a teenage bull might try and challenge a larger cousin in an attempt at dominance. It is easy to spend hours watching the behavior of these amazing pachyderms as they interact among each other, but after a short while they turn and melt back into the forest as silently as ghosts. 

The Sabi Sabi Reserve is well known for its population of leopards, and sightings here have been consistent over the years. If you are lucky enough to encounter one of these spotted beauties, you will be struck by their incredible grace and ease of movement, and the explosive power rippling in their muscles, just below the surface of their gorgeously dappled coats. Having become habituated to vehicles from an early age, these cats disdainfully ignore the clicking of cameras and excited gasps as they regally go about their daily lives, patrolling their territories, raising young and hunting with astonishing efficiency and stealth. Finding one on the move in the beam of a spotlight as you are on the return journey to camp is probably the most thrilling encounter there is. 

Returning to the lodge, you find the welcoming glow of campfire and lantern light. After another culinary experience conjured up out here in the middle of the wilderness, the excitement of the day comes to an end as you gratefully slip between the covers. Listening to the far off giggles of a hyena, you drift off into deep slumber in a moment. 

Days 3 – 4: Feel the rhythms of the wilderness

Settle into the rhythm that nature dictates for you- where the wilderness makes the calls, and you follow to discover its secrets. Rising with the sun, you set out into the bush with your guide and tracker each day, never knowing what will happen next. Each day is completely different from the last, and even your guide will say, after years in the wild, that you can never see it all. Nature will always hold surprises for us, which is one of the reasons why we visit these wild places.  Walking in the bush makes you feel more alive than ever, and when you return to the lodge the cuisine tastes better than anything; lazy afternoons in the shade come as a welcome break, but then again you feel the urge pulling you to get out there again. 

You spend your evenings at the campfire, sharing stories and hearing your guide’s thrilling tales of life in the wild. The cozy atmosphere of the lodge lends itself to the feeling that you are among family here, and you will be sorry to depart. Under the blaze of the Milky Way, you sit back and soak it all in, the convivial fireside group, the tales getting taller as the evening wears on, and beyond the circle of light, the wild pulse of Africa throbs like a primal drumbeat that connects you to your soul. 

Day 5: Homeward bound

After a final morning game drive and another hearty meal, the moment comes to wish Little Bush Camp farewell. Driving back to the airfield, you allow yourself the last few moments to absorb the air, the smells of dust and sage, and the light playing on the acacia trees. These impressions, and others, will remain with you forever, and compel you to return to Africa again. 

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized South Africa safari tour packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $600 - $1,000+ per person per day

The customized package will include hotels, airport transfers and other transportation within South Africa, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.