sabi sabi ranger stories


Sabi Sabi's objective is to give guests "the ultimate bush experience", including close safari encounters with Africa's prolific wildlife. Where else can you get such a close up view of a majestic lion on the prowl, an elegant giraffe stretching its neck to nibble on an out of reach leaf high in up the trees, or a skittish zebra prancing across the open bush. Read stories written by the rangers of our four luxury safari lodges, who will accompany you on open Land Rover game drives and guided walks during your stay at Sabi Sabi.


For the most recent and up to date ranger stories view the Sabi Sabi Blog written by Rangers out on safari on a daily basis with guests experiencing first hand the excitement and beauty of luxury safaris at Sabi Sabi


  • the ultimate walk

    It was a sunny morning at Selati Camp when we started off on a walking safari.  My guests, Ian and Heather MacPherson (father and daughter), as well as a honeymoon couple, Neil and Tracy Bantleman, who had been staying with us for 3 nights, were unaware of the extraordinary walk they were about to experience.
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  • death of an elephant

    On the 20th of July, a huge dead bull elephant was found close to Bush Lodge.  The carcass had been commandeered by a large pride of opportunistic lions.  This particular pride had not been seen as a group for a while and we were pleased to see them together once again, with the pride numbers been increased by the addition of 10 healthy cubs.
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  • leopard kill in front of bush lodge

    After an incredible morning safari, topped by the spectacular sighting of a male cheetah hunting on the open plains, I arrived back at Bush Lodge with my very happy and excited guests.  Me and my fellow rangers had just put our rifles away and were making our way to breakfast, when one of the guests shouted "Leopard!"
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  • two leopards in a tree

    The encounter described below occurred at the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in South Africa on June 17, 2008.  Our Ranger and driver was Marlize and our Tracker was Doc, a twenty-year veteran at Sabi Sabi.  It was winter in South Africa and the temperature on this clear day was about 19ºC (76ºF).
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  • eternal enemies

    22 April 2008, a cool and misty early autumn morning was about to turn into the most unbelievable experience for both guests and rangers. Predator tension and competition between different species are something you tell guests about and occasionally observe yourself, but what was about to take place was something amazing...
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  • rhino rescue

    At Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, strict conservation policies dictate a policy of non-intervention when animals are hurt or injured in their natural habitat.
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  • a frightening experience

    Probably the most frightening experience in my time as a Field Guide here at Sabi Sabi has to have been the time that I walked right into the middle of a lion hunt and watched a kill on foot!
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  • thats my impala

    Gentle, intermittent rain had been falling most of the day and had continued into the evening. I was feeling a little frustrated as we headed back to Earth Lodge for dinner.
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  • take a walk on the wild side

    This is the experience one feels when taking to the African bushveld on foot!
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  • awesome

    As one of the newer Rangers at Sabi Sabi, I often find myself wondering will I ever see some of the things I hear rangers that have been here longer telling their guests or discussing among themselves when they’re comparing sightings of a particular leopard or pride of lions.
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  • painted dogs

    As we left Bush Lodge, on a crisp Spring morning, the sense of the bush coming magically to life was overwhelming!
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  • roar, tracks, kill

    It was three o'clock in the morning; the tranquility was shattered by the territorial calls of what appeared to be three or more male Lions. This gave me something to search for at five thirty on Safari.
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  • it's raining cats

    The rangers at Sabi Sabi always meet prior to going on safari, the aim, to strategize and discuss how to locate as much general game and "higher profile game species" as possible. Whilst the game rangers are discussing their tactics, the guests are indulging in a morning cup of tea. In the afternoon high tea is celebrated on the deck where the guests normally stand and overlook the water hole and open plain situated just in front of Bush Lodge. As per usual there is a buzz of excitement in the air prior to the departure of a game drive at Sabi Sabi. The discussion amongst the rangers concerns the possible movement of the game that was located during the previous safari.
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  • male leopard takes impala up a tree

    The winter mornings in the lowveld are a special time of the year in the African bush, one never knows what the morning will bring. The nights are long and the temperature cool.
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  • ranger teamwork saves the life of a male lion

    On the morning of the seventh of January 2001 one of the Sabi Sabi rangers tracked and found a male lion. It was an incredibly hot day so she assumed that the lion was escaping the sun by lying in a dense thicket.
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  • lion prides clash

    It was a cold winters evening at Sabi Sabi, we were on safari and had just finished sundowners.
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  • macho, macho man

    "OK folks, shall we walk down to the river and see if we can see any hippos?" I asked as I pulled my Land Rover off the road, close to a spot where a group of hippopotamus had been seen the day before.
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  • leopard encounter

    The sun was scorching hot! One could see heat waves being radiated from the dusty dirt roads. I was returning from Skukuza Airport after dropping off guests for their return flight to Johhanesburg.
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  • wounded elephant bull

    I received a call on radio one early morning...
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  • a learning curve

    Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to witness a female leopard go through one of the many learning curves in life
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  • an awesome safari

    The South African Lowveld area is certainly one of the most awesome and diverse areas in the world
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  • finally what we were waiting for

    It was one of the hottest days I had experienced at Sabi Sabi since arriving nearly three years previously.
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  • a prized sighting

    It was a beautiful morning when we spotted the female cheetah and her two cubs making their way across an open area.
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  • what an introduction

    Heading out of the lodge for an afternoon safari, my tracker, Richard Ndubane, and I found the fresh track of 18 lions - two males, six females and ten cubs.
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  • hippo, rhino & elephant on foot

    Morning drives at Sabi Sabi hold a mysterious entry into what is inevitably going to be another fun-filled and exciting day in the bush.
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  • leopard gets revenge

    The morning drive started at around 06h15 after guests had warmed themselves with a hot cup of coffee.
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  • trainee rangers get a taste for life in the bush

    Sabi Sabi is recognised as having one of the industry's most comprehensive and successful training programmes for all staff members, and ranger training is particularly thorough.
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  • days of pleasure

    One of the best moments in a ranger's day is not the hype of seeing a lion stride past the vehicle, or a leopard draped over a branch of a tree...
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  • be careful what you wish for

    It was a great evening as the sun was setting, creating a sky full of beautiful colours. My guests, watching this and sipping sundowners, had no idea what they were about to witness.
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  • when the unexpected happens

    A few times in one's life you can expect to have a moment where things happen that are so totally against what one believed, that you might begin to doubt everything that you have been told. Unless you have experienced it yourself. Which in a way, I suppose, good because it forces us to discover things for ourselves and possibly stumble onto new things in the process.
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  • my experience at 'nkombi camp'

    At Sabi Sabi, all aspiring game rangers have to undergo a "pre-selection" camp where they face a series of physical and mental challenges. Those candidates who display the attributes that make a top class ranger go into Sabi Sabi's training programme - an intense course that equips them to take care of guests. Kelly Mullen reflects on her days at Nkombi Camp.
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  • rhino death

    On the 16th of June 2003 a female rhino and her calf were spotted just west of Klipspringer koppie. It was noticed that the female was struggling to walk and was staying mostly in the same area.
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  • it's never a surprise

    It's never a surprise to see game at Xivambelane, our staff village about one kilometre from the lodge. Unfenced, we often have an elephant drinking from our pool or lions walking past our doors.
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  • cheetah cub

    It was roughly 08h15 on a very rainy morning when we eventually found the female Cheetah and her 8-month-old cub on open area Nkonkoni plains.
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  • cheetah kill

    For most people, one of the highlights in the bush must be to witness a kill.
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