Sabi Sabi - 30 Years of Excellence
Sabi Sabi Newsletter - June 2009

Winter is approaching in the bushveld. The late rains have brought on chilly evenings at Sabi Sabi and the first migratory birds have started their long journey north. While winters here are moderate, with comfortably warm days and cool evenings - the bush takes on a completely different appearance at this time of the year. After the dense, lush, green vegetation of summer, the winter landscapes are more dramatic with the beautiful silhouettes of tree trunks highlighted against earthy tones of yellows, rusts and browns. Water sources become more isolated and sightings of animals at the waterholes increase. Each season holds its own magic: winter is special for its crisp mornings and clear starlit nights - the perfect conditions to view Sabi Sabi's enormous variety of wildlife.


Amani Spa - Massage Amani Spa - Jacuzzi

The beautiful new Amani Spas at Earth Lodge and Bush Lodge offer a full range of treatments and therapies. They complement Sabi Sabi's ethos of creating a space at one with nature, where all things exist in harmony. Just weeks after opening, the spa at Earth Lodge has been named as a finalist in the annual South African Spa Awards, presented by Les Nouvelles Esthetiques. Winners will be announced in July.

On offer are holistic body, skin and beauty rituals, rejuvenating massages and soothing treatments designed to relax, harmonise and heal body and soul.  Sessions are tailored to individual needs, and a popular option is a 'couple's package' where guests enjoy treatments simultaneously in a special suite. Amani means 'Peace' in Swahili, and the new spas reflect this throughout each treatment.

At Earth Lodge, the Pango Room ('cave' in Ki-Swahili) offers a fabulous 'rasul' treatment - a cleansing mud treatment combined with heat, steam and shower. All the other spa treatment rooms are beautifully crafted in Earth Lodge's distinctive style and offer a full range of spa therapies.

The Bush Lodge treatment suites all have breathtaking views of the unending bushveld. There is also an outdoor treatment area and shower.

Amani's philosophy is "to create the ultimate African Bush Spa experience that is pampering, unique and memorable, by creating an enchanting ambience of absolute tranquillity that reflects the soul of Africa with its natural elements & textures."

Amani Spa - Massage Rooms Amani Spa - Massage Rooms

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My first evening with a new group of guests started with a magnificent sighting of a leopard and her kill in the low lying branches of a Marula tree. After spending time watching this magnificent animal, we made our way out of the sighting, heading west. Just before turning onto the old Selati Railway Line road, we heard the unmistakeable cries of an animal in distress. We wasted no time in following the sound, with Doc (my Shangaan tracker) guiding us through the bush. Doc's excited exclamation came seconds before I saw a huge Southern African Python coiled around a fully grown male Duiker. I couldn't believe it!
Photo Strip - Snake eating Duiker

We watched in awe as the Duiker kicked and struggled in vain. The Python had caught the Duiker by its hind leg, locked its mouth shut and coiled its crushing body around the rest of it. Every time the Duiker breathed out we could see the Python tighten its hold, stopping the Duiker from re-inflating its lungs. I'd never before seen an animal killed in this way. Eventually the Duiker stopped struggling - the fight was over.

The Python eventually released its bite on the leg and unfolded a few of its coils so that we could see its head clearly. It was enormous! Doc and I estimate between three and three-and-a-half meters in length, and as wide as a man's thigh at its thickest point. The snake began to relax, constantly flicking its tongue over the prey to get a true feel of how big the catch was, and to rest after all the exertion.

This was an astonishing sighting and although it was gruesome to witness, it reminded us that we are in a wildlife area where nature takes its course.

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SPOTLIGHT ON … Shaniel Dinna - Earth Lodge Chef

The daily challenge of creating a perfect menu to enhance a dream safari is what motivates this renowned chef. Shaniel moved to Earth Lodge a year ago, after spending time perfecting his art in Johannesburg and Plettenburg Bay and at the same time notching up an impressive array of awards and accolades.

He competed in the Bocuse D'Or against 30 countries and won the provincial and national leg of the Jeune Commis Rotisseur Competition. The latter allowed him to represent South Africa at an international level in Australia.

Shaniel Dinna - Earth Lodge Chef

Shaniel describes his style as 'constantly evolving but always focusing on highlighting product flavours'. He does this to great effect at Earth Lodge, with his menus garnering praise from all who visit. Dishes are designed using fresh ingredients of the season and are served in the magnificent meal venues - the indoor/outdoor dining area, dramatic boma, Zen meditation garden or 6000-bottle underground wine cellar.

Crafting the perfect fusion between food and wine is also something that this creative head chef enjoys - he is responsible for planning the menus at all four Sabi Sabi lodges. Each lodge has a different character which lends itself to subtle differences in food and wine choice; giving Shaniel and his team the ability to create, innovate and design mouth watering foods to delight every guest.

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Earth Lodge - Room

From O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg) to Sabi Sabi return
Experience nature in privacy and exclusivity at the world-renowned Earth Lodge and we will fly you there and back for free.

Rates for the three night package (2010):
R24,300-00 per person sharing for three nights at Earth Lodge

This package includes return airfare on Federal Air (Johannesburg - Sabi Sabi - Johannesburg), 5-star luxury accommodation, daily open Land Rover safaris by day and at night to see Africa's big game accompanied by qualified rangers and Shangaan trackers, environmental awareness walking safaris, full breakfast, lunch and boma dinner, sundowner drinks, selected beverages, South African house wines and local taxes. Terms & Conditions apply.

For more information contact

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Sabi Sabi is situated in a prime photographic environment, and offers guests incredible close encounters with an astonishing array of wildlife including the Big Five. All photographers, from seasoned professionals to beginners are captivated by the magnificent backdrop that the reserve provides. Each day is different; every safari a photo opportunity. From the thrill of a predator hunt, to the stillness of the midday heat; from the breathtaking sunsets to the misty dawns - Sabi Sabi is the ultimate luxury destination and the ultimate setting for recording memories.

This year Sabi Sabi celebrates 30 years in the safari industry - an ideal opportunity to join with another icon: Nikon, in presenting a photographic competition. The brands are both known for excellence in their respective fields, and Sabi Sabi is proud to join Nikon as co-sponsor.

The winners of the competition can look forward to enhancing their skills at one of Sabi Sabi's four magnificent lodges and enjoying the safari of a lifetime.

A recent innovation at Sabi Sabi is the new photo safari.  A team of top-notch photographers provides instruction and practical tuition while out on game drives, also giving advice and training on getting the best results from photographs taken.

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