South Africa News
We are always asked when is the best time to visit Sabi Sabi and our answer is - any time. The bushveld is wonderful the whole year, each month having its own special characteristics and beauty.

January
The bush is usually lush, green and bursting with colour. There is the constant sound of birdsong and frogs croaking. Long hot days are followed by fiery sunsets and balmy evenings. The animals are sleek and well fed, and there is an abundance of water in pools and puddles and the perennial rivers.

February
The days remain long with very slightly cooler temperatures and the odd short-lived, exciting thunderstorm. Warm daybreaks are ideal for morning safaris, birds are still abundant and the latest crop of animal babies are a bit older and bolder and are much more visible.

March
Subtle changes start occurring; a hint of autumn is in the air and rainfall is experienced less frequently. Large herds of plains animals make the most of the still-green vegetation...and where there is prey there are always predators in close proximity!

April
Autumn makes its appearance. The trees starts changing to vibrant colours as the leaves become hues of red, brown and yellow. The rutting season begins and the animals prepare for winter. The days are shorter, and mornings and evenings are still comfortably warm. With little or no rain the skies are clear and bright.

May
The dry winter months have started. Water is becoming scarcer and as the grasses get drier and shorter, animal viewing is abundant. The migratory bird species start their long journeys northward - some travelling as far as India and China.

June
Winter is in full swing but in this region the mild climate makes for comfortably warm days with chilly early mornings and nights. Game viewing is superb as the animals venture out in search of water, gathering around the pans and watering holes.

July
Midday temperatures are still warm, but it is now necessary to layer clothing in the mornings and evenings. Dry conditions prevail and the big herds break up into smaller groups. The bare winter trees make exquisite silhouettes against the endless blue skies - any photographers dream.

August
There is a promise of Spring in the air as the days begin to lengthen. It is now a little warmer, but it is still dry and the vegetation is sparse. Wildlife is still easy to find as animals frequent the dams, pans and waterholes, which are by now the only water sources.

September
Spring arrives full of potential. The bushveld seems to hold its breath waiting for early rains. The days are noticeably longer, some green shoots appear in the dry bush and the dawn chorus of birds and insects escalates. Some of the female animals are showing signs of pregnancy.

October
The environment is bursting with colour, a myriad shades of green. The first animal babies are born and a few species of migratory birds arrive back filling the air with new sounds.

November
Summer rainfall starts with the onset of magnificent afternoon thunderstorms soaking the bushveld for a short time - then disappearing. The temperatures are much warmer, day and night. There are newborn animals everywhere. The vegetation is lusher and denser, bushveld flowers burst into bloom, dotting the landscape with their magnificent colours. With all the youngsters filling the reserve, predators abound to take their opportunities.

December
A festive air is evident as the year draws to a close. The long hot days of summer are here, and the fresh mornings and warm evenings are a welcome relief. The green bushveld teems with life and all the migrant birds are back. With an abundance of wildlife and predators on the prowl, game viewing is spectacular.

Month by month, year by year, the cycle of life continues in this unspoilt paradise that is the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 11 442 0728
Email: res@sabisabi.com
www.sabisabi.com
Published in News
Wednesday, 06 January 2016 14:27

Swaziland Achieves New Highs and Lows

The Kingdom of Swaziland is the perfect choice for adrenaline seekers. As the smallest country of Southern Africa, you can enjoy a wide range of adventure activities from the tree top canopy tour in Malolotaja Nature Reserve to caving the only major granite cave system known in Southern Africa.

The Malolotja zip wire is a heart-in-mouth experience that everyone should try. Situated in a gorge deep in the Malolotja Nature Reserve in northern Swaziland, 11 elevated forest platforms await.  The lines begin slow and short to provide a slight taste of what is to come then gradually become more intense, ranging from fast to high (almost 80m off the ground!) to a shaky (but secure) suspension bridge over the Majolamba River. It can take up to 3 hours to complete, with exceptional views of scenery and fascinating wildlife. Baboon Rock is a favourite for tourists to see the baboons that frequently use it as their sunning spot.

This tree top canopy tour provides an opportunity to combine adrenaline with appreciation of the natural environment. As well as being a family friendly activity, the zip wire is also environmentally friendly. The lines go through the trees, rather than cutting them down, proving to have a minimal impact on the surroundings. The bases between each zip blend into the surroundings, offering a wonderful bird’s eye view of Malolotja gorge.

From high up in the sky to deep underground, an 800m course of subterranean passages 90m below ground provide a unique cave system formed by the Kophola River that flows underground between Msunduza and Kophola mountains. This is the only major granite cave system known in Southern Africa, and comprises of a series of water-eroded chambers with names such as ‘Key Hole, ‘French Connectionand for the Harry Potter Fans, ‘Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Progress through the caves is slow and strenuous but also exhilarating - with belly crawls, body jams and fluttering bats! Swazilands highlands, mountains and gorges offer opportunities to both climb and descend a number of rock faces.

Swaziland has its fair share of offerings when it comes to an adrenaline rush, other examples include River Tubing down the beautiful Ngwempisi River, climbing and abseiling on Swazilands mountains and gorges, white water rafting on the Usutu river, Quad biking the ‘Devils Cauldron, mountain biking with wildlife at the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary or trekking at the largest exposed granite pluton in the world!


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Adele Cutler, Swaziland Tourism PR

Tel: +44 (0)1664 823750   M: +44 (0) 7976 578988    
adele@kamageo.com

Published in News
Newmark Hotels has been awarded the contract for the 46-apartment hotel that will take up 2 of the 15-stories that make up Hallmark House in the exciting Maboneng precinct in downtown Johannesburg. The hotel will offer unparalleled 360 degree views of the dynamic Jo'burg city skyline and is due to open in September 2016.  For the full story visit http://bit.ly/1HKtJ9s
Published in News
35 years ago at the inception of Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, a magnificent elephant bull roamed the reserve. With massive tusks and always surrounded by Askari (soldiers) - a group of up to 12 protective, strong and sometimes very aggressive young males - the elephant was called Mandleve, a Tsonga nickname for the tear in his ear. Mandleve was truly unmistakeable, with two massive tusks, one very long and fairly straight, and the other about the same length, but distinctly curved. Mandleve spent his years crossing the river between Sabi Sabi and the Kruger National Park, but as he grew older he spent most of his days at Sabi Sabi, eating the soft vegetation alongside the river. When he slept he rested his enormous curved tusk in the crook of a tree trunk, relieving the huge weight he constantly carried. A beautiful, gentle and patient elephant, Mandleve died in 1992 close to his beloved Sabie River. He was deeply mourned by the staff at Sabi Sabi who had watched and followed him over the years, as well as by the many guests who had the honour of viewing him on safari. His tusks which are on display at the Letaba Elephant Museum, were measured at 69 and 73.5 kgs apiece, the heaviest ivory on record at Kruger.

As a tribute to this magnificent elephant, the spectacular newly refurbished Presidential Suite at Sabi Sabi's Bush Lodge is named the Mandleve Suite. A fitting name for a truly exceptional and memorable accommodation experience. With huge rooms looking out onto the bushveld, the suite is, quite simply, stunning. Raw tree trunks support the interior walls and add a fascinating touch of the bushveld to the décor.

Chandeliers alongside the draped bed illuminate the expansive bedroom with its beautiful carved wooden furniture. The vast, surprisingly furnished and stylish bathroom has a temptingly deep bathtub, and includes both indoor and outdoor showers. A glorious lounge with plush chaise longues, handcrafted fixtures and furnishings and interesting artifacts, extends out to a relaxing covered patio and private pool. This is a definitely a suite to remember. And, of course, a private safari vehicle with personal guide and tracker complete the Mandleve Suite experience.

For those who desire only the very best, The Mandleve Presidential Suite and recently opened Villas are sensational additions to Bush Lodge's 5 star luxury accommodation.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 11 442 0728
Email: res@sabisabi.com
www.sabisabi.com
Published in News
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 15:37

The Blue Train Partners Sun International

Transnet's iconic BLUE TRAIN, which celebrates its 70th birthday next year, has this week signed an innovative partnership agreement with leading African hotel brand SUN INTERNATIONAL.

This 18-month pilot partnership is aimed at repositioning "Africa's Leading Luxury Train" at the centre of the global tourism market, adapting to growing competition and recapitalising, which may include the building of new state-of-the-art train sets and the development of new routes.

The partnership agreement was signed by Thulani Nzima, CEO of SA Tourism, Graeme Stephens, Chief Executive of Sun International, and Siyabonga Gama, Group Chief Executive of Transnet on 8 September 2015 at Pretoria Station.

Sun International's SunLux Collection properties include The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, The Maslow Hotel in Johannesburg, The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City and The Royal Livingstone at Victoria Falls - all of which are accessible by rail.

The award-winning Blue Train, which offers five-star accommodation, fine dining and personalised service, is a unique way of exploring Southern Africa's landscapes and landmarks on rail. The Blue Train has been synonymous with luxury rail travel and tourism since 1946 and enjoys an international reputation as one of the world's true luxury, heritage rail experiences.

To watch the full announcement on video please visit http://bit.ly/1LWXDp5

www.bluetrain.co.za
Published in News
Herbert Prinsloo has been working for The Blue Train for more than 25 years and lists the honour of being butler to Nelson Mandela among his career highlights.  We interview the popular Train Manager to find out more about the man behind the scenes …

http://www.ethosmarketing.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/Blue-Train-Herbert-Prinsloo.pdf
Published in News
Friday, 12 June 2015 17:32

Sabi Sabi Wine List Gets the Nod

Well known for the exceptional wine collections in each of its four lodges, Sabi Sabi is proud to be the only such establishment recognised by The World of Fine Wine Magazine as having one of the best wine lists in the world. This is a highly acclaimed publication targeting an international following of discerning individuals who each share a passion for wine. The well-known judges are some of the world's most renowned wine experts, writers and sommeliers, whose directive it is to acknowledge and make annual awards celebrating innovation and creativity in wine lists from far and wide. Kudos to Sabi Sabi for being the only lodge deemed worthy of being on the winner's list, earning one prestigious star for the depth, interest, and quality of its wine selection. All the other winners are top restaurants around the world.

Great thought, care and expertise came into play when designing the Lodges' wine lists which feature local and international wines, as well as wines from boutique estates and little-known vineyards. The selection, which varies from lodge to lodge, takes into account the bushveld setting, menu and climate.

In 2010, Sabi Sabi appointed the Stellenrust winery as the estate of choice for its house wine. Situated in the well-known Stellenbosch area of South Africa, an area from which many award wines originate, Stellenrust produces magnificent wines. During 2012, 300 litres of Stellenrust wines in huge oak wine barrels were housed in Earth Lodge's 6000-bottle cellar, waiting for the perfect time to be enjoyed. The estate vintner has already pronounced the wines - a Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz - as exceptional.

Eric Chavot, whose renowned Brasserie restaurant in London was also one of the award winners, visited Sabi Sabi in February, spending time in its kitchens with the executive chefs sharing ideas and providing valuable insight gained from his years in the industry and particularly his current Michelin-starred restaurant. Pairing wine with food was an integral part of the training and he plans to return in August for an ongoing culinary partnership.

There are many occasions to enjoy a delicious glass of wine while visiting Sabi Sabi. A light white or rosé with an al fresco lunch, chardonnay for sundowners in the bush, an award-winning red with a boma dinner. Whatever the choice the wine is sure to be exceptional.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 11 447 7172
Fax: +27 11 442 0728
Email: res@sabisabi.com
www.sabisabi.com
Published in News
Bush Lodge has long been known as a premier safari destination. Over the years the lodge has been evolving, renewing its exquisite African Style architecture and décor, rebuilding its guest accommodation to remain a magnificent luxury home in the bush.

As an extension of the philosophy of providing the ultimate in luxury, Sabi Sabi is proud to unveil the Bush Lodge Luxury Villas - lavish accommodation which includes 2 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, lounge, library, dressing room, patio and pool.

The two new Luxury Villas will become available next month, offering the epitome of opulence, space and magnificent design. The Villas are extraordinarily expansive, architecturally interesting and beautifully decorated in the eclectic Bush Lodge style.

Every detail of the new suites has been carefully planned to make guests feel spoiled and at one with the bushveld, while enjoying the highest standard of accommodation and service. They are indeed a superlative base for a memorable safari.

Within each suite a huge master bedroom with king size draped four-poster bed leads into a dressing area furnished with hide covered chairs and ottomans. A little further and one steps into a truly unique, palatial, floor to ceiling glass walled bathroom. The two enormous side-by-side baths have sliding windows opening to the outdoors. His and hers vanities, armchairs and an open 'rain' shower complete this incomparable room. But there is even more: an outside al-fresco shower, almost invisible, tucked away in an indigenous tree.

The second bedroom is also beautiful, with twin draped beds and comfortable cushioned window box seating to relax and watch the great outdoors. This bedroom features another private en-suite bathroom, which includes a bath and rain shower.
The suite has a sizeable, wonderfully furnished lounge/library, with beautiful chairs and couches upholstered in the calm, muted colours of the bushveld. In this room, as well as throughout the suite, there are a myriad interesting details and textures: raw grass wallpaper, smooth floor finishes, leadwood sculptures mirroring the natural environment, sisal rugs. Look up and there are fascinating chandeliers handmade from salvaged sticks, branches and twigs, with interspersed twinkling light bulbs.

Both bedrooms and the lounge open out onto a huge reed-covered patio, which includes a private plunge pool. With upholstered lounging chairs and couches the patios are a wonderful addition to the amenities of the suites.

Besides the wonderful in-suite conveniences which one expects in every Sabi Sabi suite, guests staying in the Luxury Villas have their own private game vehicle, ranger and tracker.

This is exclusivity and luxury at its idyllic best.

For high res images, please contact natalie@amgltd.biz
Published in News
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, South Africa (Jan. 08, 2015) - Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge today announced it is a founding member of National Geographic Society's newest foray in world-class travel experiences: National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a collection of boutique hotels in extraordinary places around the world with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, authenticity and excellence. Sabi Sabi is committed to conservation of not just the land, but also the culture and people that make our guest experience so unique and so memorable.

Selected through a rigorous evaluation process, each lodge offers an outstanding guest experience while supporting the protection of cultural and natural heritage and embracing sustainable tourism practices. The initial collection - numbering 24 properties on six continents - further builds National Geographic's travel portfolio, which includes National Geographic Expeditions, Traveler magazine, travel books, photography courses and the @NatGeoTravel digital and photography community.

"For years National Geographic has brought an authentic experience to all their readers and followers. Today we are proud to be part of that experience as we offer our guests unique and authentic experiences of South Africa under the umbrella of the National Geographic brand" said Jacques Smit, Marketing Director of Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge "Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge takes conservation, community and hospitality seriously and is proud to have these practices recognized through the National Geographic lodge program."

As part of a comprehensive vetting process, every lodge in the collection was judged on the following criteria:

The Property - The design and character are unique and authentic and the property provides guests with a true sense of place by celebrating the surrounding landscape and cultural heritage.

Guest Experience and Quality of Service - Guests are offered top-quality service and exceptional and inspiring experiences - from activities that enable them to engage with local people to wildlife encounters with seasoned naturalists.

Sustainable Tourism Best Practices - The property demonstrates a commitment to conservation and green operations; it actively supports the protection of cultural heritage; and it provides tangible benefits to local communities.

National Geographic deployed experts to each site to evaluate operations, meet staff at all levels, scrutinize the lodge's impact on the local environment and community and ensure that these criteria were met.

"By creating this carefully curated group of hotels, lodges and retreats that meet internationally recognized sustainable tourism criteria while providing top-notch guest experiences, National Geographic opens a new chapter in the power of travel to protect our planet," said Costas Christ, a world-renowned sustainable tourism expert and editor at large for National Geographic Traveler magazine, who coordinated an international team to inspect each of the lodges. "Travelers can feel confident when they stay in one of these lodges that they are helping to safeguard cultural and natural treasures in some of the world's most incredible places."

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is proud to offer guests who book their stay through National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World a special "National Geographic Exclusive" experience, which includes a wine cellar dinner complete with tasting vintages from around South Africa and learning about the country's thriving viniculture, a champagne breakfast in a surprise location, and - for a three night stay or longer - a complimentary spa treatment at the Amani Spa. This is all over and above the already all-inclusive experience of luxury accommodation in a uniquely designed lodge, including all meals and Sabi Sabi beverages topped with daily safari experiences in vehicles and on foot.

"The National Geographic brand is universally recognized for its commitment to exploring and protecting the planet, so we are uniquely positioned to unite and promote these exceptional properties and to set a new standard for tourism," said Lynn Cutter, National Geographic's executive vice president for Travel. "These lodges share the Society's vision of preserving the planet for future generations and they demonstrate that sustainability and a world-class guest experience can go hand-in-hand."

National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World charter members are:
  • Fogo Island Inn, Canada
  • Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
  • Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Peru
  • Kapari Natural Resort, Greece
  • Kasbah du Toubkal, Morocco
  • Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, Costa Rica
  • Lizard Island, Australia
  • Longitude 131°, Australia
  • Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
  • Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, Canada
  • Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
  • Rosalie Bay Resort, Dominica
  • Rubondo Island Camp, Tanzania
  • Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, South Africa
  • Sayari Camp, Tanzania
  • Southern Ocean Lodge, Australia
  • Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Malaysian Borneo
  • The Brando, French Polynesia
  • The Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana, United States
  • Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
  • Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, Chile
  • Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Chile
  • Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa
  • Zhiwa Ling Hotel, Bhutan
For more information about National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, visit www.nationalgeographiclodges.com.

Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
Reservations: +27 (011) 447-7172
Fax: +27 (011) 442-0728
Email: res@sabisabi.com
www.sabisabi.com

Published in News
Given the confusion surrounding the forthcoming changes to the immigration rules for children travelling to South Africa, we have prepared a handy printable guide for tour operators, travel agents, and holidaymakers which highlights the key requirements.

SATOA Guides to the new Regulations For Travelling To South Africa With Children from 1 June 2015:

     Printable Infographic Of Documents Required For Kids Travelling To South Africa

     Guide To Getting A Duplicate UK Birth Certificate

For full details of the new regulations, including important information for additional requirements for when children are travelling without both parents being present, see the following official websites:

      The South African High Commission In London 

      Department For Home Affairs In South Africa

      PDF Summary Of New Rules From South African High Commission



About the author:  Paul Campbell is a member of the SATOA Committee and Managing Director of Travel Butlers Ltd, a UK based company that specialises in holidays to South Africa.
Published in News
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