Rhulani Safaris Sabi Sand Photo Safari at Elephant Plains Game Lodge has been our best-selling photographic safari experience in Africa for several years, and during one of our latest tours I questioned our returning guests to find out why they persistently choose this safari.

It starts with the name – Sabi Sands. This location is world renowned for its unprecedented volume of Africa’s big cats, in particularly the leopard. On average our guests encounter no less than 5 different leopard individuals across the 4 night/ 5 day safari, which is something few other places on the continent offer. The maximum individual leopards we have photographed on a photographic safari was a staggering 11 individuals including 2 males, several females and cubs and the minimum was 3 across a week plagued by rain and windy weather.

People might argue that by driving through Kruger National Park all day you may encounter even more, especially in the southern regions around Skukuza and Lower Sabie which is famous for its leopard density, but here’s the key difference: consistent quality.


The Sabi Sand Game Reserve have strict regulations that control the quality of guest experience and animal welfare. Sightings are limited to 3 vehicles with a rotation cycle allowing a gradual flow of vehicles to experience the sighting, also ensuring that guests get to spend quality time with the animal. Those that want to stay longer can simply fall back into the line-up and experience the sighting once again. Many other reserves including KNP have no regulation on how many vehicles are allowed on a sighting, and don’t be surprised at sharing your leopard sighting with 20 odd other vehicles.

Besides sighting control, there is also the case of off-roading. Guides are permitted to off-road in the Sabi Sands, following an animal as it wanders through the bush. Open safari vehicles without a roof makes this easier and provides guests with a unique and authentic experience. It is by following the animal at a safe distance that you can truly experience a rare look into their lives, as they hunt, patrol territory or simple re-unite with cubs, family members or mates. The positive relationships between guide and animal allows us to get close to the cats as they do not feel threatened.

pangolin photo

Photographic safaris are also about spending as much valuable time with your subject as possible. This may be a leopard, elephant, giraffe or simply sitting at a water hole waiting for birds or hippo’s to arrive. You can read more about what a photo safari entails here.

On our recent photo safari (June 5 – 9) our guests enjoyed the opportunity to sit alone with a huge bull elephant who approached our vehicle, stopping no more than 30cm away to investigate us. We also encountered 7 different leopard (including 2 young cubs), 12 lions, buffalo, rhino and lastly an aardvark that graced us with its presence for a brief moment. It was truly a magical experience for our guests who enjoyed every moment on drive, bush walks or just relaxing around the lodge with a coffee or Amarula.

However it is not only the quality of sightings that make our Sabi Sand Photo Safari’s so popular, but also the comfortable and luxurious rooms and accommodation, delicious cuisine and very importantly, the friendly staff that make you feel at home. It is important to us that our guests’ experience to Africa is a memorable, enjoyable and educational, and our attention to detail is critical when assessing various locations to host safaris.

Combining these key elements of quality with affordability is what makes our Sabi Sand Big Cat Photo Safariso popular. At only ZAR 23 450 per person (approximately USD$ 1260) you can experience 5 days with some of Africa’s best wildlife viewing with me (Armand Grobler) hosting you as a professional photographic guide to make your experience more educational and enjoyable. Learn creative photography skills during the daily Art of Wildlife Photography Workshops and see nature through an artistic lens.

Learn Creative Photography Skills

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bar and lounge sabi sands

rondavels sabi sand

Should you be interested in booking a photographic safari with us, please enquire at bookings@rhulanisafaris.com for available dates and current specials. You can also follow our social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter as well as Armand Grobler Photography on current projects, exhibitions and more!

We look forward to introducing an exciting and exclusive new location for 2024 where we will be hosting private photo safaris and hope to enjoy a magical African experience with you soon!

Article by Armand Grobler

Owner of Rhulani Safaris

Rhulani Safaris
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