The Sabi Sands Game Reserve
The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is renowned world-wide for its excellent game viewing and luxurious lodges.
The park's name comes from the Sabie River on its southern boundary and the Sand River flowing through it. The area of the reserve is 62,308 hectares (623.08 km2) and Sabi Sands Game Reserve shares a non-fenced boundary of 50 km (31 mi) with the Kruger National Park to its east.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve is located adjacent to the Kruger National Park in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga, South Africa. Officially named Sabi Sand Wildtuin, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve consists of a group of private game reserves.
Even though there is a 50 kilometre unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park, wildlife in the Sabi Sands Reserve is well habituated resulting in extraordinary close encounters and prolific sightings, particularly of the elusive leopard. The Sabi and the Sand Rivers run through the reserve, which add further dimension to the bio-diversity of this area.
The original Sabie Reserve was already proclaimed in 1898. It turned out to be the forerunner of the massive Kruger National Park. Many of the original landowners were excised from the area when in 1926 the National Parks Act was passed. In turn, the former land owners created the Sabi Private Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in 1934. Of these pioneering land owners, six families still own land in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, they are now third and fourth generation owners. In 1948 the landowners formally formed what now is the Sabi Sand Reserve, the first game reserve in South Africa.
In 1961 fences were erected between the two game reserves; the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Reserve due to the threat of foot and mouth disease and the continued threat from hunters. The reserve then also erected fences on the western perimeter to prevent the wildlife from moving out of the area.The eastern border fences remained in place until 1993 when, after much discussion they were finally removed. The animals soon migrated across the border and now roam freely between the two reserves.
With the valuable resource, water, being supplied by both rivers, the Sabi Sands has one of the highest wildlife populations in Africa as well as the most bio-diverse in the country. Home to over 200 different species of game animals including the Big Five, Sabi Sands has become famous for their Leopard conservation project. In the 1970's and 1980's when the new concept of a luxury safari was being conceptualise and implemented at the Sabi Sands, the marketing teams played on the historical hunting concept of the Big Five; at the time, the five most dangerous animals to hunt, and altered it to become a list of the top, ultimate animals to see while on a safari.Today visitors embark on safaris with the goal of seeing the ultimate of game animals; Leopard, Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant and the hunting concept has been completely adapted for a more environmentally friendly ethos. Today the private game reserve is considered to be the birthplace of the luxury African safari and with so many years in the industry it is no wonder that it is renowned as one of the top locations for those discerning guests looking for top quality, 5 star luxury and service.
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