MIRINDA suggests!- All you need to know about Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Kruger

10th July, 2017

Hello friends!

After spending three adventurous days in Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Kruger we headed to Johannesburg for a halt before heading home, but before that we would like to share a few recommendations, reviews and suggestions to make your SABI SANDS GAME RESERVE, KRUGER trip memorable as well !

Here are a few suggestions by MIRINDA to make your Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Kruger experience totally WORTH IT!

Kruger National Park vs Private Game Reserve

After a lot of research on where to stay, we came up with this list. Hope this helps!

Before going to Kruger, we had done a lot of internet research and also consulted a lot of people about the best place to stay in Kruger. However, the Kruger Safari experience does not come cheap. Depending on where and in which lodge one stays, the expense varies. Plus, there was also a question of whether to stay in Kruger National Park or in a Private game reserve. While staying in the Kruger National park would be much cheaper as compared to staying at a private game reserve inside the park, there are big differences in terms of the game viewing experience.

Kruger National Park – The public rest camps at Kruger national park offer less expensive and less luxurious accommodation, and generally most visitors arrive in their own car and drive themselves (unless they have booked through a tour operator who will include game drives on an open safari vehicle). Vehicles have to stay on the road at all times and need to be back in camp by sunset. There are no limit on the number of vehicles per sighting so you can sometimes encounter traffic jams (especially when the big cats have been sighted).

Private Game Reserves (Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Manyeleti, etc) – The private game lodges in the greater Kruger Park and the private reserves surrounding the park share an unfenced boundary with Kruger offer more expensive accommodation with all meals and game drives included. In addition to the greater level of service and luxury (including things like spas and private plunge pools), there are several key differences from a game-viewing standpoint:

  • Game drives are conducted by teams of professional rangers and trackers in open Land Rovers (in Kruger, operators that use open safari vehicles also use professional guides but no trackers).
  • Vehicles can drive off-road while tracking animals, so it is possible to track down the “Big 5” and get great close-up sightings of leopard and lion, for example. In some reserves like the Sabi Sand, your chances of seeing a leopard up close are much better at a private game lodge.
  • Some of the more expensive lodges limit the number of people per vehicle to 6 so everyone gets an outside seat for optimal viewing.
  • Night drives enable you to see nocturnal species and offer the best chance of seeing the big cats on the hunt
  • Sightings are generally limited to 3 vehicles at any time. The upside of this is that you won’t have a crowded sighting. The downside is that other vehicles may be waiting just around the corner to enter the sighting, so your viewing time at the sighting may be limited to 15 or 20 minutes (or you may be in the vehicle around the corner, waiting to enter the sighting which can also be frustrating).

General Points before booking your stay at Kruger

  1. Carefully check the weather forecast before you end up going to Kruger National Park. In rains, sightings are tough as water is available to animals in abundance. In dryer seasons, sightings are easy as animals often visit the limited water bodies in the forest. One big advantage of choosing a private game reserves is that even if it is pouring, the management tries to conduct game drives by handing over ponchos to the guests. While inside the Kruger National Park, safaris are not allowed during rains.
  2. We strongly suggest that you do a good research about the rangers and trekkers in whatever lodge you choose to stay in Kruger. Having knowledgeable and wildlife enthusiasts around you will take the safari experience to a different level.
  3. Although most lodges offer their in-house mosquito repellant, we would advise you to carry “Tabard” mosquito repellant. It is very effective and the odor is also not that bad.
  4. Even in the summers, it can get a little cold in the morning. But most lodges provide blankets in the vehicle. At our Camp, we didn’t have to worry about the cold, as the vehicles were always well equipped with fresh blankets.  We recommended you check out with the lodge for provision of blankets and make arrangements of warm clothes accordingly.
  5. Incase if you are planning to do the bush walk in the jungle, we were asked by the Ranger to wear full pants and clothes which camouflaged with the jungle. We suggest you also carry all necessary mosquito repellents, sun glasses, camera and binoculars.
  6. We strongly recommend doing minimum 3 days in Kruger which will give you 6 game drives – that will be enough to get an overall experience of the jungle. Lot of people just do 2 days in Kruger, but we feel it’s too cramped and you also might end up not seeing all the Big 5. Personally, I would have easily done 2 more days in Kruger. I was in love with the overall jungle experience, the people and the hospitality.


  1. Food & Drinks is the most important element of your trip, but in Kruger you don’t need to worry about the amazing food and drinks which are generally a part of the overall package.
  2. Most lodges in the private game reserves in Kruger are on an “All-inclusive basis”, which means that the price is inclusive of game drives, breakfast, lunch, dinner and selected alcoholic spirits.
  3. Incase if you are a vegetarian, we would recommend that you inform the hotel in advance as majority of their meals include some kind of meats, game meats or eggs.

General Points and suggestions (Food & Drinks):

  • Throughout South Africa, when we ordered meat, we had to specifically instruct the restaurants to cook through the meat – as it is a general norm in South Africa to cook the meat medium rare.
  • PLEASE TRY ALL THE LOCAL BEERS OF SOUTH AFRICA (my personal favourite was the Peroni & Hansa)


For all you friends out there, if you want to experience the best of Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Kruger in three nights, please go through our itinerary – We assure you will not regret it!

February 27th 2017

7:30 a.m. Left from Knysna to George Airport

11:00 a.m Flight from George to Skukuza via Johannesburg

1:00 p.m. Reached Skukuza Airport – Was greeted by our tracker – Robert

2:00 p.m. Reached the our Hotel – Kirkman’s Kamp – Sabi Sands Game Reserve

3:00 p.m. Lunch at the Hotel outdoor deck

4:30 p.m. High Tea (was greeted by our Ranger – Joel)

5:00 p.m. First evening Game Drive

7:30 p.m. Back to the Kamp

9:00 p.m. Boma Dinner

February 28th 2017

5:00 a.m. Wake up Call

5:30 a.m Morning Coffee

6:00 a.m. Morning Game Drive

8:00 a.m. Breakfast in the Jungle

10:00 a.m. Back to the Camp

1:00 p.m. Lunch

4:00 p.m. Evening Tea

4:30 p.m. Evening Game Drive

9:00 p.m. Candle Light dinner at the Kamp

March 1st 2017

5:00 a.m. Wake up Call

5:30 a.m Morning Coffee

6:00 a.m. Morning Game Drive

9:00 a.m. Breakfast at the Camp

11:00 a.m. Bush walk in the jungle with Joel

12:30 p.m. Back to the Camp

1:00 p.m. Lunch

4:00 p.m. Evening Tea

4:30 p.m. Evening Game Drive

9:00 p.m. Boma Dinner and dancing!

March 2nd 2017

5:00 a.m. Wake up Call

5:30 a.m Morning Coffee

6:00 a.m. Morning Game Drive

10:00 a.m. Breakfast at the Camp

12:30 p.m. Check out

2:00 p.m. Flight to Johannesburg from Skukuza Airport

Coming up next…. MIRINDA fun facts…All you need to know about Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Kruger !!

Keep following www.mirindatravels.com to know all about it !!

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