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Saba Sands, South Africa--Private Reserves--how to choose?

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Aug 10th, 2012, 12:49 PM
  #1
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Saba Sands, South Africa--Private Reserves--how to choose?

We are planning a three-day safari excursion for January, 2013. We are interesting in a luxury offering in the Saba Sands area.

Specifically, we are looking at Leopard Hills, Lion Sands, Londolozi, Malamala, and Sabi Sabi. (Singita is fully booked for our dates.)

Obviously, all read excellent, and I suspect they in fact are. I have no doubts of the luxury; but the safari experience is of prime importance as well. Any observation of differences would be appreciated—especially observations that relate to available wildlife, scenery differences, game drives and guides, etc. Observations related to accommodation and service would be welcome also.

Thanks!
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Aug 10th, 2012, 04:17 PM
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All those camps you mention are excellent. Of your list I have been only to Leopard Hills and MalaMala. MalaMala is unique in that it has the largest game drive territory and no other camp is permitted on it. Here is link to "pixelpower"s excellent map of the area. MalaMala is not named but it is the largest area on the right, next to Kruger. (MalaMala is not named because it is technically not a part of Sabi Sand reserve)
http://www.sabisand.co.za/ssw-map.html

You might consider having a private game drive vehicle and guide/ranger. Of course extra cost.

regards - tom
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Aug 10th, 2012, 05:01 PM
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Since they are all lovely, I'd choose one with a water hole. I like to sit on my porch and have a drink while watching visiting animals between game drives. You can't miss with any of them.
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Aug 11th, 2012, 12:39 PM
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Personal view .. I prefer the eastern section of sabi sands as less vehicle density. I am looking to visit later this year and considering a Mala Mala / Londolozi combination
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Aug 11th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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I would not be contradicting my 3,000+ posts on Trip Advisor and Fodors if I said if you only have three days for a safari in Southern Africa, then MalaMala will not disappoint. You should take a look at their animal viewing reports from 2011. You can ALMOST be guaranteed the big five in 3 days and very likely every day. I have seen the big five on every of the many days I have been to MalaMala. Cary999 provided a good map. The entire eastern boundary of MalaMala is the Kruger National Park and it has no fence. MalaMala does not need a water hole because it has a permanent river flowing through the property. You should also consider Lion Sands. Both MalaMala and Lion Sands have no fence on any side.

Enjoy!

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
2011 Travel & Leisure A-List agent - Africa
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Aug 12th, 2012, 03:45 AM
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I agree with the Mala Mala recommendation. And make your selection between their 3 camp options.
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Aug 14th, 2012, 04:08 AM
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I thought that Mala Mala did guarantee the big five.
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Aug 15th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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I would choose any of those you mentioned except for Mala Mala. While there is no guarantee you will see the big 5 in any of those locations, it is likely you will.

My personal favorites are Lion Sands and Londolozi.

Mike
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Aug 16th, 2012, 09:16 AM
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cobyblack

I just posted on your updated thread but here is some more advise from me.

I live in South Africa and the Sabi Sands and Kruger has been my playground since I was a young boy.

When choosing a lodge you must rather look at the level of accommodation you want rather than the safari experience as the game drives will be the same wherever you go.

Luck obviously being a factor.

Wishing You a Great Safari Experience
Mark
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Aug 17th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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I can not recommend Lion Sands highly enough. We had a wonderful experience there. I have since done a few safaris since but will always remember the expert guides Lion Sands provided. They have 2 lodges with 2 standards of accomodation. To be honest you spend so little time in your room I do not feel it is that important, I am more interested in location and guide quality. The river lodge is amazing as you can sit and have a drink and watch the hippos play in the river at your feet - Incredible. The food was wonderful and there was lots of little surprises along the way. I hope you have a wonderful experience.
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