Cape Town to Sabi Sabi Selati Camp – A Traveller’s Review
It has been 4 years since I made a trip to the Kruger National Park region of South Africa, so an invitation to visit the newly refurbished Sabi Sabi Selati Camp in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve was well timed and very well received.
We flew straight to Skukuza Airport on SA Airlink from Cape Town International Airport – super convenient and only just over 2 hours. The camp is only 30 – 40 minutes away from the airport with our comfortable transfer and Shaws Gate which gives one access into the Sabi Sands game reserve.
Arriving in this beautiful green, lush African bush after leaving a drought stricken Cape Town was like flying into an oasis. It was fantastic to see so much water everywhere. So much so that 10 minutes into our transfer from Skukuza Airport to Sabi Sabi Selati Camp, we came across an elephant having a mud bath. I have been travelling to the bush since I was a kid, and I have NEVER seen anything this cute before (if an elephant can be called cute) – it was really amazing to see..not a care in the world, just splashing away in the water and mud.
On arrival, we were met by Taryn, Assistant Lodge Manager and Ashley, the Lodge Manager. Contrary to the norm, we were checked in outside in one of the seating areas, overlooking the watering hole. It was HOT, like African bush hot, and to relieve us a little we were all given an amazing refreshing drink and cold cloth to get us into the mood for some down time in the bush. What struck me most about their very warm and friendly welcome was that they made a point of calling us by our first names, a great way to make new friends.
Breakfast and lunch is served on the deck overlooking the watering hole. This long lazy lunch was a precursor to our game drive and sundowners in the bush. Dinner is served in the outside Boma, with a fire going and the open heavens, it is hard to think you are a few hours from “civilisation”.
Our game drives were phenomenal, we saw Lion, Leopard (mating pair),Hyena, Elephant, Black Rhino, 8 White Rhino with a baby, Wildebeest, Giraffe and plenty of plains game. The birdlife is really good for “Twitters”, and plenty of little interesting animals and insects.
What struck me most was the great camaraderie between all the staff, rangers and trackers works as team – their aim is to please and best of all was when we saw a Black Rhino, they were as stoked as we were as they have not seen one up north in years. A good sign that these guys love what they do, giving us the experience of a lifetime.
The rooms at Sabi Selati have all just been revamped. They have not skimped on luxury, the small things caught my eye, like mosquito sprays in the rooms and bathrooms, complimentary water and of course wi-fi :)
The history of the lodge goes back to the early 1900’s and the Selati Railways. The lodge has some beautiful historic railway memorabilia all over the open areas and the rooms. Very classic and nostalgic of a bygone era.
Wakeup call was at 5 am (we asked for 30min earlier as our checkout needed to be by 9 20 to catch our 1130 fight). We were served coffee and tea with some rusks and fruit. The rangers are very aware of the heat, so there is ice cold water on board the game drive vehicle at all times.
We were back in time for a quick breakfast and a change to depart at 9 20, we were at the airport by 10am. The airport is so cute, very comfortable with a good coffee and snack kiosk. Staff are very friendly and the waiting areas are cool and comfy.