Memorable experiences and close encounters with Africa’s wildlife, amidst unhindered sights and sounds of the bushveld, are what Sabi Sabi safaris are renowned for.
Visitors can attest to the vast diversity of animals inhabiting our reserve, and when out in the bush, on open safari vehicles, there is the possibility of witnessing amazing sightings – a leopard scaling a tree with remarkable agility, a pride of lion feasting on a buffalo kill a stone’s throw away, rare black rhino reservedly moving into eye sight or close-up elephant dust-ups.
The relaxed behaviour of animals in the presence of game viewing vehicles is the result of our minimal impact on the environment over the last four decades. It is also due to our highly skilled ranger and tracker teams following strict and disciplined safari and vehicle etiquette.
Rangers and Shangaan trackers make for an outstanding team while out on safari, while they share their intimate knowledge and incomparable intuition of the African bush – often interpreted in hushed English and Shangaan. They ensure that guests are in the safest and most suitable position for spectacular wildlife sightings.
Trackers not only read the slight nuances of the bush, but also navigate rangers when driving off-road – pointing out branches, rocks and burrows. Off-road driving is restricted to high-profile sightings (the Big 5 plus cheetah and wild dog) where a limited number of vehicles are permitted at a time. Ecological etiquette is observed at all times by avoiding driving on seasonal roads and certain soil types, leaving sensitive vegetation and eco-systems intact.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is vast, therefore brief updates between rangers in the vicinity are exchanged over radio – out of earshot of guests – on nearby location and animal activity. Certain sightings are deemed sensitive and will not be approached, especially when there are very small cubs or pups around. We allow the animals to naturally gain confidence in all stages of their lives, with the ultimate result being completely normal demeanour in the presence of the safari vehicles. Minimum impact and absolute respect for wildlife at all times has been the secret to our success for the past 4 decades. Our ethos is that we are merely observers in their environment and we treat them accordingly.
Witnessing chance encounters in nature necessitates subdued speaking and no sudden movements, which potentially could impact on the quality of the sighting, by possibly agitating or disturbing animals. Carnivores stalking prey do so at a heightened sense of alertness, and the slightest disturbance can cause bewilderment. During night time safaris, we follow strict ethics not to interfere and we limit our presence, as well as the use of spotlights. Once the sighting evolves into a stalk or hunt, we switch off all forms of light and use only our sense of hearing to witness what is happening. Our rangers and trackers will interpret the bush, and only once safe, will they turn on lights to behold what has unfolded. Lowered voices, muted cameras and cellular phones switched to silent are required at all times, for once-in-a-lifetime sightings.
Later afternoon safaris continue into the night where spotlights are responsibly used as beacons of light and switched off upon noticing certain species, without potentially damaging their sight by shining directly in their eyes.
For those wanting to know suitable attire for their bushveld sojourn, we provide some tips on “What to Bring”. For example, a light sweater is recommended to keep warm during crisp and fresh early morning drives, as is a pair of sunglasses and hat to ward off the bright morning sun.
As guests of this unique part of South Africa, where wildlife roams free, we are invited to observe and learn from this fascinating and diverse habitat. Our commitment to the highest standards of etiquette and integrity is one of the many reasons Sabi Sabi is globally celebrated as a sustainable eco-tourism destination.
As part of our ongoing “meet our team behind the scenes” – this week we introduce you to Wendy Claase, who oversees all aspects of our social media, and ensures that our friends from all over the world are kept up to date on what is happening on our reserve on a daily basis. Wendy is proudly part of the Sabi Sabi family and manages this portfolio with absolute dedication and enthusiasm.