The Globetrotting Diaries: First Time’s the Charm at Sabi Sabi

Africa

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve - Elephants at Sunset Safari

Firstly, I feel like I need to give some background info. This was my first time to Africa. It had been on my to do list for a long time and given the opportunity to extend after the Indaba Tourism Conference in April, we jumped at the chance. The itinerary was amazing and I wanted to do what our Goway customers do, so the trip also included Cape Town and Victoria Falls.

On arrival at the renovated bush airport, we were greeted by the safari vehicles and our friendly driver and guide. It’s not long out of the airport before the thrill of your first animal sighting happens. Impala cross and fringe the road and I have to say my wife and I were like school kids spotting them and other animals including nyala and kudu. 

Giddy at the sight of the animals. (Credit: John Feenaghty)

Fast forward and by the end we had seen all these animals and more: bateleur eagle, brown snake eagle, cape buffalo, chameleon, duiker, elephant, genet, giraffe, hoopoe bird, hyena, impala, jackal, kudu, leopard, mongoose, nyala, steenbuck, turtle, vervet monkey, warthog, waterbuck, white rhino, wildebeest, and zebra. I’m not sure I’ve listed them all—certainly none of the vast bird varieties and smaller insects and the like. One of the amazing things about the region is how many species live and thrive there. Careful conservation ensures these animals have a safe and healthy environment to live in and it’s demonstrated and explained by the skilled guides.

The most treasured experience was the first afternoon safari on the day of our arrival. My wife and I hopped in the vehicle all giddy and asked the guide “What sort of animals do you think we’ll see on the safari today?” to which he replied “Sometimes we see none. Sometimes we see some.” Well, we were a little deflated. But the reason he said this was to highlight that these animals are in a natural environment and there was no guarantee we’d see them. Of course, his warnings quickly fell away when about 15 minutes into the drive we came across two leopards walking by the track. It was an amazing, rare, and special sight. 

Spotting a tall neighbour. (Credit: John Feenaghty)

It also set the scene for our Sabi Sabi adventure. For the next few days we were treated to so many unique and special encounters. The icing on the cake was that each day we would return to be treated to the amazing hospitality at the lodge. For us, Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge was amazing, but I also managed to see Little Bush and Earth Lodge whilst there, and each offers a unique environment and a very special experience, while all still being within one lodge family. 

The lodgings were sensational and we enjoyed some visits from vervet monkeys outside our cabin. Also, from across the ravine we could see the elephants gather by the watering hole. Last but not least, the food was simple, well presented, ample, and offered great choices each evening as you gathered around the table to share the day’s experiences with the other guests. 

I can only describe my Sabi Sabi experience as unique, memorable, and altogether flawless. It has set a substantial bar for what I hope will be the first of many such safaris.