Notten’ Bush Lodge: the Sabi Sands’ Best Kept Secret

Down towards the south-east corner of South Africa’s world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve lies one of its hidden gems.

Unobtrusively nestled between the old bed of the Selati railway line to the west and the Sand River to the east lies Notten’s Camp, a small, family-run bush lodge that redefines what it means to feel at home in the wild.

Owned by the Notten family since 1963 and open as a commercial lodge since 1986, this land has seen almost four decades of conservation-focused safaris conducted upon it, and the experience of the staff reflects that.

Like the rest of the Sabi Sand Reserve, Notten’s is a leopard paradise, and the greater area boasts the highest density of these magnificent cats yet recorded on the African continent. It is not at all uncommon to spot a leopard sauntering past the deck of your chalet, or even to catch a glimpse of one ducking off the camp walkways. Sightings are common out on game drive, and the Notten’s guides are well practiced in getting photographers into the right position for the shot.

Two young leopards spar playfully. Despite already possessing fiercely sharp claws, their play sessions generally cause no harm, and are important in developing the skills they will need in later life.

The rest of the Big 5 are sure to fill your frame just as fast, and elephant, buffalo, rhino and lion are also plentiful in the area. The waterhole situated in the open clearing directly in front of the lodge’s main area attracts a plethora of wildlife throughout the day, particularly during the dry winter months, and one simply has to glance up during breakfast to see herds of impala, stately kudu or the resident bull waterbuck sauntering by.

Lions are regularly encountered on safari at Notten’s…

It’s certainly not only about the larger stuff though, and it is the sheer diversity of life here that will astound you. Over 2000 species of mammals, birds, trees, insects, reptiles and amphibians have been recorded on the reserve; an incredible amount of biodiversity which makes game drives, bush walks, or even a simple stroll through the camp a constant stimulation.

The Notten’s camp is unfenced, and wildlife is regularly encountered on the lawns around the swimming pool in particular.

The rooms at Notten’s are what make the place truly special. Lit by candlelight and paraffin lanterns, they retain the feel and charm of an old-school bush camp, whilst sacrificing none of the comfort. The rooms are air-conditioned and charging facilities are available, so there’s no danger of running out of power for your battery or cellphone.

Whether it’s a romantic getaway you are after or a Big 5 photographic experience, Notten’s ticks all the boxes, and with their current specials there is no better time to visit. The winter months offer some of the best game viewing on the continent, and when summer starts rolling around again, visitors will be treated to the most remarkable changes as the bush flushes green once more, the migrants return, and the lodge comes alive with the buzz of cicadas and the galavanting of newborn antelope.

Click here to find out more about Notten’s Bush Lodge or to make a booking…


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