October 10

Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge – Smiles All The Way!

October 10, 2022

Last month, on the 24th of September 2022, eight members of our Rhino Crash embarked on a mission with a cause. We participated in The Extra Mile Run through Huntington Village just outside the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The charitable race was super rewarding for the soul, however, what made it even more spectacular was our “home base” at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge.

The whole rhino crash sitting and smiling on the open-game drive vehicle

Smiles for days on our first safari at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, Image Credit: Monique Vally

A Roadtrip to Remember!

Our journey begins before sunrise, in the early hours of a Friday morning, with a short flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg. We land in Jozi and make our way to our rental vehicle. With excitement in the air – as well as a collaborative Spotify song list and padkos (road food) prearranged – songs, jiggles and jokes fill the cramped kombi (minibus) as we set off on an eventful road trip to the wilder side of South Africa, the Kruger National Park.

The eight members of the Rhino Crash huddled in a mini van smiling

All ready for an adventure in the Greater Kruger National Park, Image Credit: Brad Mitchell

Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

There are many ways to get to Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge. However, the easiest and most convenient is flying directly to the Sabi Sabi Airstrip from O.R. Tambo International Airport. We opted for the longish drive from Joburg, but hey… nothing bonds or breaks colleagues better than the long open road! (FYI: we bonded!!!)

Arriving at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge we are warmly welcomed by friendly staff sporting bright, authentic smiles. We each receive a warm towel – to wipe off any “road-trip remnants” – and are served icy-cold beverages as we settle in our beautiful surroundings.

Two members of the crash seated and enjoying welcome drinks served in Champaign glasses

Welcome drinks are welcomed after a long road trip, Image Credit: Luke Lalin

Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge is located deep in the bushveld overlooking a massive waterhole and vast open plain. It is quite hot this afternoon, but we’re seated beneath a towering thatch roof that provides ample shade. I sip my frosty refreshment as I admire the unobstructed waterhole-view and observe an elephant herd ambling about – ready to replenish their thirst too. 

View from the lodge's main area looking out at the waterhole and surrounding elephants

Viewing deck overlooks a vast plain and busy waterhole, Image Credit: Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

Looking around, I can see that the design of Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge is steeped in classic safari tradition. Lofty thatch roofs abound, dark wooden decks dressed with Persian rugs, gigantic leather ottomans and an eclectic mix of furnishings and décor collected from all corners of the African continent adorn the interior of the boundless main area.

Main area adorned with African-inspired decor beneath thatch roof

Beautiful thatch and African-inspired décor, Image Credit: Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

Sumptuous Suites and Steenbok Visitors

After unwinding a bit, we make our way to our rooms. To preserve ultimate privacy, Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge’s suites, luxury villas and Mandleve Deluxe Suite are sparsely spaced along a non-perennial river. Each suite boasts a BIG and beautiful en-suite bathroom equipped with al-fresco, glass-fronted showers, with spectacular views of the bushveld. The open-plan bedroom and living area are clothed in earthy colours and feature sumptuous linen, classic leather, wood furnishings and African-inspired embellishments.

King sized draped four-poster bed leads onto an en-suite bathroom

Villas exude luxury and comfort in the contemporary Bush Lodge style, Image Credit: Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

Lounge area with two reclining chairs and elaborate stick chandelier

Every space at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge embodies an elegant safari feel, Image Credit: Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge 

Before heading off for high tea and the upcoming afternoon game drive, my roommate, Chantal, and I help ourselves to a crisp, cold beer from the minibar and relax on the patio. But we are not alone, an unperturbed steenbok decides to join us – munching on some sweet grass just metres away.

Close-up of a female steenbok

An unperturbed Steenbok visitor, Image Credit: Martin Perea

Bundu Bashing and Boma Dinners

Spruced up and safari-ready, my colleagues and I congregate at the lodge’s main viewing-deck to sample some delectable high tea treats. Once fueled up on sweet and savoury snacks, our safari guide, Jason, escorts us to the game drive vehicle. Jason takes our “animal sighting order” from our “wildlife wish-list” and we’re off!

Young elephant calf coated in mud

One of our first sightings is a young elephant calf coated in mud, Image Credit: Brad Mitchell

Leaving Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, we make our way through bountiful bushveld and encounter a number of animals within minutes. The Sabi Sand Reserve is blessed with diverse landscapes which are home to various animal species including the Big Five – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard – as well as wild dogs and cheetah. But that's not all...
Close up at sunset of a young male cheetah

We were privileged to see two cheetah in one day, Image Credit: Brad Mitchell

The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. With no fences between the Reserve and the Kruger Park, wildlife, big and small, meander freely through this pristine part of South Africa. 

Before returning to the lodge for a bountiful boma dinner, we honour the traditional safari-sun-downer-stop. Stretching our legs and sipping G&Ts as the sun slips behind the horizon, we cheers to a day well spent! 

Silhouette of a number of people toasting to the golden horizon

Toasting at sunset during our sun downer safari stop, Image Credit: Jason Street

A Tough Trail at Torrid Temperatures 

Early the next morning we gather in the thatched indoor dining area. Aromas of buttered toast, bacon, and freshly baked pastries fill the air. Alas, no breakfast buffet for us today. Today is race day and only bananas and black coffee are on our menu this morning. Nevertheless, our spirits aren’t dampened, for the lodge’s Amani Spa’s therapists are ready with a different menu, one filled with rejuvenating massages and soothing treatments for after our run.

Double treatment room

Sabi Sabi offers the ultimate African Spa experience, Image Credit: Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

Seven of the eight of us took part in the 10km trail, whereas our more robust and aerodynamic Head of Marketing & Communications, Luke Lalin, opted for the 21km. Both routes were tough, but we prevailed and all made it to the finish line! Oh! And our ranger, Jason, joined us too!

Standing at the finish line with medals around our necks

Still smiling!, Image Credit: Justine Ryan

Down Time Well Deserved

Once back at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge we kick off our shoes and wallow in luxury – we’ve earned this! Some of us indulge in deep-tissue massages, others cool off in the swimming pools, and a few simply shower and swoon in their air-conditioned rooms. 

All in all, it was a trip replete with lengthy drives, endless laughter and an impeccable lodge that exceeded all expectations!

Photograph of the team sitting on a termite mound

More safari and moments at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, Image Credit: Luke Lalin

Book Your Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge and Kruger Visit

Enjoy your own Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge experience! Contact our team of seasoned Travel Experts to book your luxury safari in the iconic Kruger National Park today. We look forward to welcoming you to South Africa!

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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