Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa

  • Date
  • 6 July 2000

Sabi Sand Private Reserve and its neighbor Kruger National Park are home to 500 bird species, 114 reptile, 49 fish, 33 amphibians, 146 mammals and over 23,000 plant species. Back in 1898, President Paul Kruger founded Kruger Park, which grew over the decades with the addition of purchased and donated surrounding land.

Game drives begin early, so at 6 a.m. we were already departing the swanky Sinita Lodge in Sabi Sand. A dull sunrise led to a cloudy, four-hour game drive, where we watched and photographed graceful giraffe, hundreds of impala, petite duiker, hippos immersed in a small lake, tired hyena, kudu, scores of warthog, waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra – the most beautiful creature in my mind – and various birds including African Hoopoe, yellow-billed Hornbill, black-headed Oriole, long-tailed Shrike, Burchell’s Starling and a red billed Woodhoopoe. The climax: a cheetah mother and her cubs, who loved our attention. After half an hour of gazing at these magnificent creatures, we went in search of more game, but found none as thrilling as the cheetahs.