New airstrip license

Sabi Sabi's private airstrip has been awarded a Category 4 (C4) Licence by the Civil Aviation Authority, after complying with all C4 requirements.

The new licence clears the way for large aircraft to land on the airstrip, allowing guests to charter flights directly into the reserve from anywhere in South Africa. The three daily Federal Air flights between Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo Airport) and Sabi Sabi will continue as scheduled.

All Civil Aviation requirements, including implementing comprehensive emergency evacuation and fire fighting procedures, are in place, with highly trained staff on site for all take offs and landings.

Sabi Sabi still maintains several stringent self-imposed restrictions. These include strict noise control levels and prescribed flight paths that least impact on guests and wildlife.

Since its inception in mid-2004, the Sabi Sabi airstrip has streamlined guest transfers to and from Sabi Sabi's four 5 star lodges and has ensured seamless travel for visitors. On arrival guests are treated to a traditional Sabi Sabi welcome directly on the airstrip, with refreshments and invigorating lemon-scented towels. A similar reception is arranged on departure, with minimal transfer time between the lodges and the airstrip.

Round the Clock on-site medical attention available

Guests at Sabi Sabi now have access to round the clock on-site medical assistance, thanks to the implementation of a programme by African SAFE-T (Safari and Adventure Emergency Team). Any medical complaints, from minor ailments to more serious conditions and injuries are dealt with by a fully trained medical team, one of which is based on the reserve, with the others at an off-site facility.

Dr. Simon King of SAFE-T explains: "Traditionally, medical complaints in relatively inaccessible area were dealt with by evacuation i.e. moving the patient to the nearest urban medical facility. Our programme ensures on site response, with evacuation only taking place if absolutely necessary. In serious cases, evacuation time is reduced to 30 minutes as opposed to several hours, which is usually the case on a game reserve."

Sabi Sabi operations director, Rod Wyndham says: "While we hope that we only have reason to make use of this facility on rare occasions, the reality is that having the SAFE-T team on site is very reassuring. We now have readily available resources for medical assistance, as opposed to being completely reliant on off-reserve resources."

Every day is different

Experienced ranger, Marco Tonoli, thought he had pretty much seen it all as far as animals in the reserve are concerned. However, during a safari drive in March, Marco and his guests came across the extremely unusual sight of two leopards in a tree with the partially-eaten carcass of a giraffe. Although no-one saw the actual kill, the theory is that the two leopards stalked and killed the giraffe with the male leopard then dragging it up into the tree. This is an amazing feat given that a fully grown leopard only weighs in the vicinity of 50kg and the giraffe about 250kg. It is also unusual to see adult leopards hunting and feeding together as, unless they are mating, they are generally solitary animals.

Selati Camp upgraded, receives praise

Selati Camp has long been a favourite with visitors from all over the world, and recent upgrades have seen the lodge becoming even more luxurious. A beautiful new thatched viewing deck on the banks of the Msuthlu Riverbed, refurbished farmhouse kitchen and sumptuous new soft furnishings all add up to a superb new look for Selati.

Guest feedback has been overwhelming. Debra Gray-Young and her husband, Gerald, recently visited South Africa from New Orleans and described Sabi Sabi as "the highlight of our two week trip to South Africa. From the well - appointed accommodation and delightful menu to the most exciting game drives, Sabi Sabi's Selati Camp provides its guests with an outstanding safari experience."

Selati Camp's upgrades were completed taking great care to preserve the gentle, romantic atmosphere for which the lodge is renowned and loved. The warm glow of lanterns still light the camp at night and suites are lavishly furnished with the finest fabrics. Artefacts and memorabilia from the early 1900's enhance Selati's 'Out of Africa' style, while carefully concealed modern amenities ensure that guests have the best of both worlds.

Owls everywhere

Guests visiting Sabi Sabi in February saw no less than seven different Giant Eagle Owls on a single safari drive. Sabi Sabi is home to 11 different owl species, from the tiny Scops Owl to the Giant Eagle Owl, and is currently involved in an owl release programme in conjunction with a rehabilitation centre.

National Geographic Kids to visit Sabi Sabi

This August Sabi Sabi will host the winners of a National Geographic Kids (U.S.A.) competition. Fifteen children have been chosen for having written the best conservation-orientated essays submitted to National Geographic Kids. As their prize they will travel to a conservation area in the Western Cape and then to the safari of a lifetime at Sabi Sabi. The winners will be accompanied by their parents and teachers, as well as a National Geographic editor and photographer. A fabulous safari experience and specially designed programme - including interaction with local children and tips on how to observe nature without disturbing the places they visit - has been compiled to allow the children to make the most of their trip to Africa.

Two new Awards for Sabi Sabi

This year, Sabi Sabi has already been named Best Lodge by Resorts Web Magazine (Italy); and received the ASATA/Diners Club Award for Outstanding Service to the hospitality Industry (Independent Accommodation). This adds to the already impressive list of awards and accolades that Sabi Sabi has accumulated over the years.

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