The final leg of our odyssey has us packing our hiking boots away and pulling out our safari shirts as we bid farewell to the Drakensberg and head north towards the wonders of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Sharing a 31-mile unfenced border with the immense and wildlife-rich Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Reserve offers some of the best opportunities in Southern Africa to observe many of the continent's large predator and prey species, as well as a large variety of smaller mammals and birds, in their natural environment.
On the morning of Day 8, we return to Durban for our short flight to Nelspruit, followed by a 90-minute transfer to our deluxe safari camp located within the Sabi Sand Reserve. Our days begin before dawn as we want to be out and about at first light when wildlife activity is at its most intense. Each morning, after a hot cup of coffee or tea, muffin or croissant, we'll climb aboard our vehicles and head into the reserve in search of the "Big Five" (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo) as well as a host of additional species including hyena, zebra, warthog, hippo, giraffe and the critically endangered African wild dog. Birding is also outstanding here and may include sightings of the Lilac-breasted Roller, Red-backed Shrike, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Marabou Stork, Lappet-faced Vulture and raptors such as the Brown Snake Eagle and Martial Eagle, the largest eagle in Africa.
After each morning exploration, we return to camp for brunch and have the middle of the day to ourselves to read, swim, watch for wildlife gathering at the camp's waterhole or even take a short bushwalk with one of the lodge guides. Each afternoon, we gather again for lunch at approximately 3 p.m. and begin our late-day game drive shortly thereafter. As our game drives all take place within the borders of a private reserve, our rangers have the liberty of driving off-road allowing us to get closer to the animals we find (always, of course, making sure to maintain enough distance to avoid interfering with the animal's natural movement and behavior). Our open vehicles offer unobstructed views of the animals and the landscape ensuring we don't miss any exciting moments and allowing group members interested in photography to capture the best images possible. With almost 25,000 acres of accessible wilderness in its backyard, game drives from the lodge are always varied and generally filled with close-up wildlife encounters from start to finish. We spend three nights in the Sabi Sands Reserve, celebrating each day's extraordinary sightings with our guide and traveling companions. All meals included.
Meals: B, L, D