Wednesday, March 23, 2011

South African Safari

A safari is on a lot of bucket lists - it was certainly on mine! - but by the time we have the money to take one, many of us fear we won't be physically up to the challenge. Sabi Sabi, where I went, may mean "fear fear" in Zulu, but don't: YOU CAN DO IT.

You just have to choose your safari camp more carefully. Safaris come in all styles - horse or elephant back, by plane or boat, with camps as portable as large mobile homes but that move each day or so and those that are permanent from which you venture out on "game drives". None are cheap but it is a trip of a lifetime.

There are four camps within the Sabi Sabi family and each caters to different tastes. Bush Lodge is the largest, has an EleFun Centre and program for children and is virtually step free.

The only ones you have to navigate are up to the "mounting block" to make getting into and out of a Land Rover easier. Each of these comes with a ranger and tracker who are accustomed to helping guests handle the high-off-the-ground vehicle. Bush is designed to reflect the Africa of today and features a great deck overlooking a popular watering hole where you can sip a good South African wine while watching the wild ones - including a pair of Cape buffalo - sip their beverage of choice.

Little Bush Camp is the smallest and most intimate but comes with a few more steps, especially across a river to the pool.

Selati Camp is designed for the Africa of yesterday experience. Romantic paraffin lamps and lanterns sub for electricity whenever possible and the aura is one of fin de siecle Out of Africa. Steps are relatively few here.

Earth Lodge, where I stayed, is the safari camp of the future, so ecologically harmonious with its surroundings you don't see anything but bush and hillocks when you drive up.

Evening lighting is motion-sensitive, decor is African contemporary with wondrous furniture made by a South African artist from trees washed up by the river or pushed down and killed by elephants. It also has one of the best wine cellars in the bush.

Tip: There are no steps here either unless you count the few down to your suite and the one into your private splash pool.

All camps are in a large private reserve that abuts the Kruger National Preserve. We saw four of the "big five" during our first game drive.

You can set your own schedule, but morning begins before dawn if you want to see the most wildlife. Return late morning, lunch, leisure, perhaps a nap or spa treatment and then it's tea and the afternoon drive.

Tip: Except for a coffee break in the morning, sundowners (cocktails) in the afternoon and an occasional dinner in the bush, you will stay inside the Land Rover, so strenuous walking is not a problem.

The food is so good and comes so frequently you will think you are being fattened up for the animals' dining enjoyment. Not to worry. Your only problem will be not wanting to leave.

Find out more about the Sabi Sabi camps at

For more about South Africa go to


Jordan Hood said...

“A safari is on a lot of bucket lists - it was certainly on mine! “ – You are not alone in this! I always dreamt of making a trip to Africa to see the wilderness. And when I was given a chance, I did not hesitate and immediately packed my bags! And I think I made the right decision. :-)

January 10, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Kimbla-Mantana said...

The place looks nice! Can't wait to go on a safari adventure anytime in the future. Thanks for sharing this article of yours. :)

April 21, 2013 at 11:31 PM
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October 31, 2017 at 9:59 AM

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