Since I began sharing our time in South Africa, the feedback I have consistently received is, “What a trip!”, “Trip of a lifetime!” and “Bucket List Trip!” All of these comments are so true! Today, I am sharing all the details of luxury safari at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge planned by Natural World Safaris.
After a quick flight from Cape Town, we landed in Skukuza, a small commercial airfield in Kruger National Park. A ranger from Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge greeted us and guided us through the bush airport. Lots of safari vehicles were lined up outside of baggage claim ready to take the guests to their lodges. The safari began quickly, with our first sighting, a giant bull elephant just outside the airport!
When we arrived at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, we were greeted by the Lodge Manager Alta Du Toit, and Assistant Manager along with our ranger for our stay, Ronald. The entrance to Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is almost invisible! It begins with a beautiful, hidden pathway down into the South African terrain and opens to an expansive view that overlooks the reserve. You can see the full walk-through of the lodge on my Instagram highlights.Once again, Natural World Safaris arranged for a fun greeting! The wonderful bartender, Louis, greeted us with our favorite margaritas! It was so fun to see the extra special touches they arrange for us at every turn!
We were then escorted to our 1,500 square-foot villa consisting of two sitting areas that opened up to the bedroom. The master bath was glamorous; it was larger than mine at home. It opened onto the outdoor living area with a plunge pool that had stunning views of the reserve. This property is truly gorgeous! Photos can’t convey even half of the beauty. My husband was blown away when we arrived!
The Lodge’s architecture blended seamlessly into the environment of the reserve. The interior was designed with earthy elements that were contrasted with transitional decor style. The walls were plastered with indigenous grasses and stones. These beautiful walls were contrasted with fine linen, silk and velvet finishes to create a truly stunning space.We had a fabulous lunch at and then went on a tour of the property. The property is open to Kruger National Park with no separating fences to Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge from the reserve, so we got to experience the animals roaming through the property. A warthog family at lunch was quite a sight!
We then met Rony and Patrick for afternoon tea before heading out on our first evening game drive. You can see what I wore on the safari here. Driving around the Sabi Sabi reserve was a breath-taking experience. The sun began to set as we saw impalas and zebras. Next, we found a pride of lions waking from their nap. This was followed by our first sundowners with gin and tonic in the bush. I love a good sunset and this trip provided them in spades! Rony is quite the astronomer, he spent time showing us the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere.
We returned to the Earth Lodge around 7 o’clock and quickly changed for dinner. We enjoyed dinner at the edge of the reserve with our Ranger, Rony, as well as another ranger along with his guests, a mother and daughter duo from Australia. The table was set with candles, beautiful crystal and silver and surrounded by blazing torches. It was a fabulous first night that we will always remember!
The next morning came early with a 5:15 wakeup call and a 6 o’clock safari game drive. The morning safari ends at 9 A.M. giving you plenty of time to enjoy a nice breakfast and then hit the spa or gym for a little relaxation time before lunch. After lunch, you are free to explore on a walking safari or relax until 3 o’clock, teatime. This is followed by a 4 o’clock evening game drive that will last until 7 o’clock. On our first morning game drive, we spotted kudu, elephants and tracked a leopard patiently stalking an impala. He got a bit impatient at one point and blew his own cover. It was amazing to watch!
Then at breakfast, we were again joined by a family of warthogs that were grazing on the lawn. After breakfast, we decided to go for a bush walk. This guide taught us about the vegetation, how to spot animal tracks and the small wildlife birds and reptiles. We did not see any large animals this particular morning because we were walking on foot. Thank goodness because I was not prepared for that but I know our guide was.
After lunch and such an eventful morning, Scott and I were ready to take advantage of the quiet spa. He had a massage and I took advantage of the facials, always my preferred treatment. The Amari Spa is small but beautiful and a relaxing environment. Then it was time for tea and the evening game drive. These three hours go by so quickly! Each outing is so different as you never know what you will see! We saw an enormous hippo in the watering hole just below the lodge. I’m amazed at this photo my husband took of it mid yawn! We also saw Cape Buffalo, kudu impala, zebra, wild cats and a Black Rhino.
After sundowners in the bush with a great gin and tonic, we returned to our room to change for dinner but to our surprise we were greeted by chocolates, rose petals and an anniversary note. It was the perfect way to start this special evening although we had no idea what the Earth Lodge staff and Natural World Safaris had in store for us.When we arrived for dinner, the head chef, Samuel Moshesh, greeted us and informed us of the special dinner prepared for us was in the wine cellar. To my surprise, he told us about the last couple he entertained there. It was Andrea Bocelli and his wife! The wine and dinner Chef Samuel prepared for us were second to none!
We ended the evening by heading back to our room to find candles and roses everywhere accompanied by a pre-drawn bubble bath and champagne. There was no better way to end this special day! We could not have been more honored to celebrate our anniversary here with the Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge family.
Quickly, it was 5 A.M. again and we were up for our last morning game drive at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge. I am NOT a morning person so typically this would be a no go for me, but I would not miss this for the world!
Before we knew it, we were watching a bull elephant enjoying a stroll. Once we passed the elephant, Rony and Patrick, spotted several giraffe across a ravine in a patch of trees. He suggested we get on foot to get closer. We jumped at the chance! Rony led the way with Patrick behind us. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by giraffe in front of us, a lost baby giraffe behind us to the left and the elephant across the ravine to the right! It was amazing! This encounter is hard to explain so you need to watch it on my Instagram stories under SA Sabi Sabi. Really…go watch it!
We returned to the truck and followed the giraffe and elephant for a bit before going to another area to track a leopard. We ended this exciting morning with a special breakfast guest, a beautiful elephant!
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is a truly amazing place that will always hold a special place in our hearts. It was hard to leave a place where we began to feel like family. We will certainly be returning in the future and bringing our daughters. Thank you to Natural World Safaris and the entire staff at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge for welcoming us into the Sabi Sabi family with open arms!
You can read posts on our other stops on this trip perfectly planned by Natural World Safaris: Three Days in Cape Town, Two Days in the South African Winelands and coming soon, Luxury Safari at Royal Malewane. Detailed packing lists can be found here for Cape Town & the Winelands and for our Safari. There are also posts with photos of What I Wore in Cape Town & the Winelands and What I Wore on Safari.
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