More Than Just A Safari

News update: 29th May

Sabi Sabi is a magical experience. The exciting up close open vehicle safaris, exquisite accommodation and mouth watering meals offer enough exhilaration, splendour and breath taking moments to delight the most discerning of guests. There are, however, additional activities on offer for those who feel the need for something a little different.

The vast majority of the employees at Sabi Sabi are Shangaan, hailing from the villages neighbouring Sabi Sabi – Huntingdon, Justicia and Lillydale. For decades local and international guests, have, during their interactions with these wonderful, warm and hospitable people, become intrigued by the local Shangaan culture and customs and want to delve deeper to find out more about Shangaan life and history. Their rich heritage, in-depth knowledge and love of the bushveld and ancient rituals are accessible to those staying at Sabi Sabi by joining daily community tours.

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The community tours provide an authentic look at everyday village life, starting with a visit to the local sangoma (herbalist) and moving through schools listening to the beautiful children’s choirs, stopping at community, health and adult learning centres and other places of interest. Guests are happy to discover Sabi Sabi’s commitment to the development and support of the schools, learning centres and sports activities in the villages. Elders and residents have opened their very homes to welcome Sabi Sabi visitors, all of whom leave enlightened and enriched. The small fee levied for the tour goes directly to the participating community.

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Then there are those guests who want to capture their magnificent wildlife sightings on camera and need a helping hand to ensure the best possible photographic opportunities. For this, Sabi Sabi offers “hands-on” photographic tuition with professional photographers. The photographer tailors each programme according to the experience of his “apprentices”; there is the opportunity to use professional cameras and lenses, and important themes such as camera set up, photography in the field, working with wildlife and light sources are taught. At the end of the safari the images are reviewed and the instructor explains various methods of post-processing. The results are breathtaking and add immeasurably to the lifelong memories captured on safari.

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For the somewhat more adventurous there is always the opportunity of discovering ones adrenaline – by leaving behind the safari vehicle and experiencing an environmental awareness safari on foot. A walking safari adds a completely different perspective to the bushveld. One feels the pulse of Africa through the soles of ones feet as the ranger takes the safari to ground level. Walking silently through the bush there is always the possibility of getting close to a giraffe which may approach to satisfy its insatiable curiosity – suddenly it seems so very much taller! A herd of zebra or impala may stop grazing for a moment to watch these strange creatures standing in the shadows, or one may encounter something larger and stand silently in wonder, or under the ranger’s guidance, slowly and safely retreat. The ranger will introduce at close range the incredible insect world and its influence on the bush; the vital role of certain grass species in the cycle of life; how to recognise different animal tracks and the alarm calls of birds following your progress during the walk. No two walking safaris are ever the same, but they all get the adrenaline pumping. Some good walking shoes, a sun hat and a camera are all that’s needed to make the most of this experience. A high level of fitness is not a necessity for the walking safari – the ranger will tailor each walk to the ability of his guests.

There are many more specialised activities such as bird-watching, tree identification, medicinal uses of indigenous plants etc. The few mentioned above are merely to whet the bushveld appetite!