Honeymoon Secrets: Safari in South Africa with Sabi Sabi

Honeymoon Secrets: Safari in South Africa with Sabi Sabi

Take a safari with a twist down in South Africa. The experts at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve share their Insider Secrets on what makes a South African safari so special

From bridal braais and close encounters with elephants to the 'Big 6' and award-winning wines, South Africa is no ordinary safari destination. Read on to find out why…

Secret 1: Beat around the bushveld

Shh… The landscape in South Africa differs from that which you find in Eastern African safari hotspots. In Kenya's Maasai Mara, for example, you can see vast swathes of wildlife during the migration as the low plains and vistas stretch for miles. In the Kruger National Park in South Africa, there is dense scrub and the land is less flat than further north. This landscape (bushveld) makes for really thrilling safari experiences, as you never know quite what is around the corner.

Tell me more… We've designed our Earth Lodge so it's sculpted into a slope of earth, in order to have as little impact on the environment and surrounding landscape as possible. It appears almost invisible, and wildlife continues to roam around freely... it's not unusual for guests to find elephants having a cheeky drink from their plunge pools... or should we say 'water holes'!

Secret 2: Twitch the Big 6

Shh… South Africa is famous for the 'Big Five' mammals (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and particularly leopard) but not many people realise that the region is home to an incredible array of birdlife. The Sabi Sabi reserve, for example, is home to close to 350 bird species, many of them rare or endangered. Some of our favourite birds are the brightly coloured bee-eaters, orioles and starlings, which flit through the acacia thornveld.

Tell me more… Find the Big 6, a grouping of birds that are easily identifiable even by the most inexperienced birdwatchers. These are the Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Saddle Billed Stork, Pel's Fishing Owl, Kori Bustard and Lappet Faced Vulture.

Secret 3: Take advantage of the vintage

Shh... Previously unknown and little recognised cellars from areas such as Elgin, Elim and Stanford in the Cape winegrowing areas have begun producing top class wines, and are creating a buzz among those in the know. Our top picks from these new wineries include Glen Carlou Pinot Noir, from a boutique winery in Paarl valley, and Bouchard Finlayson "Missionvale" Chardonnay. In our opinion, it's one of the best whites being produced in SA at the moment. Many bottles from boutique wineries are not available outside South Africa, so a South African safari is the perfect time to savour the flavours.

Tell me more… Have a 'secret' dinner in our beautiful underground wine cellar; it's home to arguably the finest collection of wine in the bush. There are over 6,000 bottles to choose from, including wines from some of the smaller up and coming South African estates.

Secret 4: Braai for the bride

Shh... A South African braai is a (delicious) barbeque, traditionally eaten at weddings. In fact braais are not reserved exclusively for weddings any more, and 'Bring and Braais' are incredibly popular in South Africa. Head out into the bush for a romantic dinner - the highlight of a Sabi Sabi braai is our delicious fresh venison prepared the local way with a sticky marinade peppered with juniper berries and served with coal-roasted vegetables.

Tell me more… A Braai is all about cooking the very best meat over an open fire, and flavours tend to be more delicate than a usual BBQ. Typical dishes include sosaties (small skewers of meat marinated in Cape Malay spices), chili infused Peri-Peri chicken and Boerewors - a local SA sausage - served with Pap (a little like polenta) and tomato and onion sauce.

Secret 5: Get to know the locals

Shh... Meet the warm and hospitable local tribal chiefs. In the traditional Shangaan villages of the Limpopo Province (where many of the Sabi Sabi team were born and live) the chief remains an important figure, and meeting them is a wonderful way to experience South Africa's rural communities. Lodrick Manyathele, Sabi Sabi's local guide, is a mine of information on the architecture, agriculture, religion, arts and crafts and food of the Shangaan communities.

Tell me more… Visit local schools and homes and also meet some of the children who are benefiting from the Swa Vana Centres, which are supported by Sabi Sabi. Swa Vana means 'for the children', and provides vulnerable children with access to education, future opportunities for employment and basic healthcare. At present the four centres care for over 400 children.


More about the experts:

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is set within the 65,000 hectares Sabi Sand Reserve in the south-western section of the Kruger National Park. It is a haven of unspoilt African wilderness, bordering South Africa's world-renowned Kruger National Park, and famous for its diverse habitat and wildlife, including the Big 5.

Sabi Sabi offers four completely separate luxurious, all-suite, award-winning lodges with very distinct characters and atmospheres, themed "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." Experience "Yesterday" at the romantic Selati Camp; "Today" at the more contemporary Bush Lodge and Little Bush Camp, and "Tomorrow" at the ground-breaking Earth Lodge. Sabi Sabi is a one-hour flight from O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg) directly to the Sabi Sabi airstrip.


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