​Expert Reviews – Sabi Sabi GR

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Expert
Emma Gregg   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: September

Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.

4 people found this review helpful.

Impeccable responsible tourism credentials, breathtaking design
Overall rating
5/5

Sabi Sabi, in the far southwest of the Sabi Sand Reserve, is classic Big Five safari territory – with excellent trackers and guides and acres of gorgeous, well-watered woodland and bush to explore, memorable sightings are guaranteed.

But no matter how diverting the wildlife action, you may still find yourself itching to get back to base, especially if you’re staying at Earth Lodge. The accommodation at Sabi Sabi – especially the Earth Lodge – is quite simply a work of art. Traditionalists mistrust its hard-edged, uncompromisingly modern architecture and subterranean feel, but it’s breathtakingly original, and I love it. Knowing, presumably, that many guests are creative types, artists’ materials are provided in each room – one of many thoughtful touches. Those who prefer colonial trappings such as vintage trunks and framed prints will feel more at home at Sabi Sabi’s other lodges, Bush Lodge, Little Bush Camp and Selati Camp, which are equally modern but slightly softer on the senses.

Expert
Anthony Ham   –  
Australia AU
Visited: November-December

Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.

2 people found this review helpful.

Sabi Sand: Kruger’s Leopard Heartland
Overall rating
4/5

Sabi Sand is one of the best places to watch wildlife in Africa. It’s also one of the most exclusive. Coming here can be an expensive undertaking, with per-person, per-night costs rarely below US$1000. But if you can afford it, it is so worth it. The lodges here begin at luxurious and climb towards the lavish, the extravagant. Sabi Sand is renowned, too, for the quality of its guides – getting a job here is the pinnacle in the industry, thanks to the exacting standards and well-earned reputation for bush knowledge and wildlife nous. And, of course, it helps that the wildlife here is outstanding. Sabi Sand is known for its leopards and rightly so. It’s not that other species are not regularly seen – all of the key species are present and in abundance. It’s just that leopards can be so difficult to see elsewhere, whereas here they’re the daily currency of life on safari.

Expert
Philip Briggs   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Multiple times

Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.

2 people found this review helpful.

Stark sophistication in the bush
Overall rating
3/5

The largest property within Sabi Sands, this runs as little mini-reserve in its own right, boasting half a dozen camps, each with its own character. Its upmarket showpiece Earth Lodge gets mixed reviews, and tends to appeal more to the chic European market than to people seeking the classic safari experience offered by other lodges on the property. Game viewing is reliably superb, guiding is not quite up to the standard of some other lodges, and although it denies traversing rights to any of its neighbors, the bed density for property size is gar higher than in MalaMala or Singita, so it feels less exclusive. Very good, but in a market dominated by exceptional properties, it wouldn’t be my first choice.

Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Multiple times

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

2 people found this review helpful.

Stark sophistication in the bush
Overall rating
4/5

Sabi Sabi has several lodges on their property within Sabi Sands. Selati, Bush Camp and Little Bush Camp all fall within the category of luxury classic safari camp. A style mostly used by this kind of exclusive bush lodges. Earth Lodge is a different affair. As the name suggests, the whole lodge seems to be sculpted out of earth. Stark sophistication is the theme throughout and although the lodge is in total harmony with the surrounding bush, it somehow feels like you could be on a ‘bush-set’ in Paris or Milan. I love the design, but talking to other guests, this isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. The food is innovative and possibly complicated. One of the things I don’t like about these kinds of lodges is the late dinners. When I’m on safari for a couple of weeks with pre-sunrise wake-up calls every day, an uncomplicated light dinner straight after the evening game drive would be more my thing.

Average Expert Rating

  • 4.0/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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