Situated in the upper-south section of Sabie Sands Game Reserve; closest entrance is Shaw’s Gate or Newington Gate
Umkumbe Safari Lodge is an owner managed and run establishment offering guests an authentic African safari experience. Guests have the choice of 10 luxury chalets which overlook the Sand River. Sightings of the Big 5 from the deck at Umkumbe Safari Lodge are common.
Children over 5 years are welcome at Umkumbe Safari Lodge.
Mala Mala Private Game Reserve lies within the boundaries of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve but is not a member of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin Association.
Mala Mala is the largest an oldest private game reserve in South Africa. It covers some 15 000 hectares and is home to the Big 5 and an abundance of valuable fauna and flora. It borders the Kruger National Park and falls within the Greater Kruger National Park. Mala Mala is the Tsonga name for Kudu, a large antelope with majestic curved horns.
The Tsonga people occupied the land before it was established as a private game reserve and were forcibly removed in the creation of the wildlife sanctuary. The Nwandlamhlarhi Community successfully reclaimed Mala Mala game reserve as their own land in 2015. A negotiated settlement saw the community receive a massive payment in lieu of the private game reserve remaining in the hands of the current operators.
Guests staying at Mala Mala have the choice of three safari camps: Mala Mala main camp, Mala Mala Sable Camp and Mala Mala Rattray’s Camp.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE GREATER KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Sabi Sand Game Reserve falls within the Greater Kruger National Park which, in turn, falls within the internationally-declared Kruger2Canyons UNESCO Man and Biosphere and within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation area (GLTP Treaty of 2002).
The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It is situated across the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa, and its borders stretch up to Zimbabwe in the north and Mozambique in the east. It was known in 1898 as the Government Wildlife Park; later became known as Sabi Game Reserve and then the Kruger National Park in 1926.
Kruger National Park is the core of the Kruger 2 Canyons and Vhembe UNESCO Man and Biospheres, and the core of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTP Treaty, 2002).
The Kruger to Canyons (K2C) Biosphere Reserve was registered in September 2001 in Paris by UNESCO. It became the 411thBiosphere Reserve site to be registered in 94 countries worldwide and acknowledged for its global significance. The K2C Biosphere Programme is an extensive community-driven initiative that bridges the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces in South Africa. It is also the interface of the Eastern Transvaal Drakensberg Escarpment and the Central Lowveld.
K2C has 1.4 million hectares dedicated to long-term conservation; 989 000 of the formally protected area (state-owned reserves) and 400 000 hectares of private-owned conservation land (privately-owned game farms). The entire registered Biosphere Reserve spans some 2.5 million hectares.
Vhembe Biosphere Reserve is located in the north-east of South Africa near the border with Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The reserve includes the northern part of Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage site, several Provincial Nature Reserves, two recognised centres of biodiversity and endemism (Soutpansberg and Blouberg), and the Makgabeng Plateau, which contains more than 1 000 rock art sites.
The area has a relatively large and rapidly growing human population with a high unemployment rate. This has a severe negative impact on natural resources, which are harvested in an unsustainable manner. The role of the conservation programmes is to manage the needs of communities living adjacent to the wildlife sanctuaries and the protection of South Africa’s valuable natural resources.
The luxury safari lodges of Sabi Sands are committed to ‘Responsible Tourism’ which is about ‘making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit’. Responsible Tourism requires Sabi Sands operators to make tourism more sustainable where both people and natural resources in the region benefit.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT SABI SAND GAME RESERVE
SABI SANDS WEATHER
The weather in the Sabi Sands is opposite to Europe and North America where our winter is your summer, and our summer is your winter. October to April is hot with summer rainfall, mostly in the afternoons. The Lowveld rains come in short and often hectic bursts but they don’t last long. It’s very rare that you’ll get a full day of wet, rainy weather as the sun usually comes out shortly after a cloudburst.
Winters in the Lowveld bushveld is between May and September. They’re mild but can get nippy on the early morning and evening game drives. Bring along a warm, preferably windproof jacket as well as warm socks, beanies and closed.
Mosquito season is in summer; bring long pants, socks and long-sleeved shirts to put on before the sun sets. This is the time mozzies come out to bite.
The dry season in the bushveld is between May and September which is winter in the Lowveld. Temperatures rarely drop below 9°C (54°F) on the coldest evenings of winter in the bush.
The wet season in the bushveld is between October and April. Temperatures at night typically sit at around 12°C (79°F).
December to February is the hottest period in the bush with temperatures averaging about 31°C (88°F) and reaching 40°C (104°F) on the hottest days. These months experience the most precipitation, coupled with intense humidity.
March and April are the two best summer months in the bush. High temperatures have eased off, the rain decreases and the days cool off considerably. There is less humidity and most days are sunny and beautiful. Day temperatures sit at a comfortable 29°C (84°F) and nights rarely drop below 18°C (64°F).
October – April
The weather is warm during the day and cooler in the morning and evenings. Pack lightweight summer clothes (shorts and cool shirts) and a warm jersey/sweater for the cooler times of day.
May – September
The Fall months are mild during the day but colder in the mornings and evenings. Pack lightweight casual summer clothing and a very warm parka/jacket for the cold mornings and nights.
The Sabi Sand region is considered a low-risk malaria area but it still needs to be taken seriously as malaria can be fatal if not treated immediately. Consult your GP or a travel clinic for advice on taking anti-malaria tablets. Mosquitos are more prevalent in the warm, raining season between October and April.
In addition to taking anti-malaria tablets, precautionary measures include using a good mosquito/insect repellent (spray your room and car), sleeping under mosquito nets, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants as well as socks and closed shoes in the evening.
ACCESS TO WI-FI
The luxury lodges in Sabi Sands have internet connectivity. Usually, it is available in the main lodge and the private rooms. However, check with the lodge you’re staying at if Wi-Fi is available in the room as a few operate on the basis that guests need to put away their mobile devices and completely relax without outside distractions.
ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE
Sabi Sands is within an hour’s drive from the nearest medical facility which is a medical clinic in Skukuza in the Kruger National Park. The on-call doctor at Skukuza will treat minor ailments and stabilise more serious conditions. Patients who need emergency medical treatment will be sent through to one of two big private hospitals in Nelspruit.
GETTING TO SABI SAND GAME RESERVE
GETTING TO SABI SAND GAME RESERVE BY AIR
The most convenient mode of travel to the Sabi Sands from Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport is by making use of a flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport or Skukuza Airport.
GETTING TO SABI SAND GAME RESERVE BY ROAD
Visitors to Sabi Sand Game Reserve have the option of renting a hired car on arrival at OR Tambo International and driving to the game reserve via Mpumalanga Province.
Tydon Safaris has daily return transfers from Johannesburg with their own fleet of well-maintained vehicles.
- OR Tambo International Airport to Shaw’s Gate:
4 hours 50 minutes (438kms) via N12 and N4 from OR Tambo International Airport
- OR Tambo International Airport to Gowrie Gate:
5 hours 40 minutes (470kms) via N4 from OR Tambo International Airport
SABI SANDS ACCESS GATES
The Sabi Sands has three access gates:
|Shaw’s Gate||Open from 05H00 to 22H00|
|Newington Gate||Open from 05H00 to 22H00|
|Gowrie Gate||Open from 05H00 to 22H00|
Check with the safari lodge you are staying at to find out which access gate you must use.
SABI SANDS GATE FEES
Visitors staying at a safari lodge in Sabi Sands Game Reserve are required to pay a vehicle entry fee as well as a per person fee. Credit cards are accepted at all Sabi Sand entrance gates. Only South African Rand is accepted if paying in cash.