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Sabi Sands luxury and budget option?

Jaipur, India
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19 posts
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Sabi Sands luxury and budget option?

Hi firends!

We are booked to visit KNP in September for two nights.

As this is our first visit we are very excited and have decided on Sabi Sands.

We are a family of three adults. I am traveling with my elderly parents.

As i am looking for lodges i realize the really luxurious ones are too expensive and completely out of budget.

Since i have elderly parents traveling, i would want to make it a mix of wildlife and luxury, so i have been trying to strike a balance.

I have three options.

1) Stretch the budget and take a mid tier lodge.

Any info on which mid tier lodge has been renovated recently and offers a good balance of food, luxury and wildlife viewing?

2) Stay in a good hotel in Hazyview/Outside Sabi sands and Game drive in Sabi sands?

Is this possible/advisable? Traversing rights? Any names of safari companies to look for this option?

3) Give up on Sabi Sands and choose slightly luxurious lodge at Timbavati/or any other reserve that you all would suggest?

Any suggestions to make this a better trip for the parents is most appreciated.

Thanks

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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8,811 posts
58 reviews
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11. Re: Sabi Sands luxury and budget option?

I know all 3 and have stayed in both Kambaku and Lukimbi in the past few months. That's a tough one. Lukimbi is a spectacular lodge - no other word for it. Warning - Lukimbi anecdote coming - The Ranger and I were sitting, close to a leopard.. watching him while he mostly didn't watch us. Then, he stood up, sort of hustled about 100 meters to a big tree and clambered up it. Then he went higher. Then he went higher yet, and stretched out on a branch to go to sleep. Magic. Great staff and energy at Lukimbi, too.

Kambaku's strength is its amazing staff and hospitality. Very good wildlife, too - enhanced by the addition of another large reserve the owners bought last year. I know you are going for just two nights so getting to and from the lodge as quickly as possible is important.

For accessibility from Nelspruit airport.. it should be Lukimbi. But - the reconstruction of the N4 between the airport and where you will turn to go to Lukimbi poses an unpredictable chance of delay. I was stopped for about 20 minutes there in February. But it wasn't too bad. You will love it.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

Gold Coast...
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
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5,094 posts
24 reviews
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12. Re: Sabi Sands luxury and budget option?

Lukimbi is the only one of these lodges to be actually located inside Kruger Park itself, rather than a private reserve so the experience will be a bit different. You should only see the Lukimbi safari jeeps on the game drives rather than sharing with vehicles from other lodges.

Certainly it will give you luxury if that is what you are after, maybe check if the vehicles also drive outside the concession to increase wildlife sightings. However they seem to be well located for game.

With only two days, the main concern is going to be maximizing game viewing in a short time.

Jaipur, India
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19 posts
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13. Re: Sabi Sands luxury and budget option?

Thanks a lot for all your help and replies! Really appreciate it.

In terms of accessibility from Nelspruit and rates on offer Lukimbi looks superb but

My main concern being wildlife game viewing?

I know Sabi sand and Timbavati are know for the abundance of game, specially leopards.

But is the game viewing at Lukimbi as good or close to sabi ?

You are correct since its just a 2 night thing, i cant really do 2 lodges so its a tough choice.

I am trying for Arathusa and Thonrybush game lodge as well. Will get to know final status today. Will have to take a call by tonight i assume.

Regards

Gold Coast...
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
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5,094 posts
24 reviews
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14. Re: Sabi Sands luxury and budget option?

The amount of wildlife in each reserve varies but it also depends on the size of each lodges traversing area. For example reserves like Sabi Sand and Timbavati may be some 60,000 hectares but you may be in a lodge that only traverses say 10000 hectares or even less. On any particular day you may see a whole lot of animals even in a small area, another day they may be more spread out. All private concessions are small compared to Kruger which means the wildlife numbers are obviously a lot lower, you will not get masses or huge numbers. However what you should get is intimate and often close up viewing of the wildlife, and often an emphasis on showing guests the big 5, if that’s what you like. If the lodge shares with other lodges, you may be in a 'queue' type system when out on a game drive, where you take it in turns to view the animals. [if your ranger finds the animal, sometimes you get to stay longer]. Plus of course these lodges are generally fully inclusive and have varying degrees of luxury. In Lukimbi there is also an emphasis on luxury, [butlers, private pools etc], and in comparison to some others you should not see any other game vehicles.

As for the wildlife numbers in Lukimbis traversing area, I have no idea, but as I said before if they use the Kruger roads as well, this would provide almost unlimited game viewing. I doubt they are fenced, if not that is good as the animals have free reign in the area, and can wander in, this would also mean that the numbers should be higher as it would be part of Kruger itself. If it is fenced that is good and bad. Bad as the numbers will be very limited, good as in like many private lodges, they will have an idea in which areas to find particular animals.

You must also remember what you will see all comes down to luck on the day, and the longer you stay naturally the more you will see.

Have a look here to get an idea of what you may see and experience, the reviews are certainly pretty good. …..

tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g312618-d615…

Also check if they have a rangers or wildlife diary or blog on their site.

Melbourne, Australia
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15. Re: Sabi Sands luxury and budget option?

Lukimbi is not fenced and the animals wander in from Kruger freely. The vehicles have the benefit of being able to go off-road in the Lukimbi concession as opposed to in a Kruger itself.

To be honest I don't believe that you the have time on your side to still be doing the research. I think the time may have come for you to simply book something instead of perhaps holding out for some perfect solution that may mean you miss out completely. At some point you just need to take the plunge....

16. Re: Sabi Sands luxury and budget option?

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