Idube Game Reserve safari | Travel guide

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Idube Game Reserve is located within the greater Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which shares open borders with the world-famous Kruger National Park.

This set-up makes for a completely authentic wilderness experience and there is an emphasis on seeing the Big Five with  excellent wildlife viewing to be had. All the big cats are easily seen, including the secretive leopard.

This world renowned reserve is known for conservation efforts, particularly in protecting rhinos. The reserve is also extending its efforts to the community on the borders of the Sabi Sands, Mpumalanga, in uplifting and improving their conditions, as well as their understanding of the value of the reserve for the future.

Why visit Idube Game Reserve?

Idube safari

Off-road driving allows close up observation of wildlife for safari-goers to this beautiful reserve with incredible viewing and the Big Five are easily seen.

Skilled guides offer both day and night drives as well as walking safaris to view not just the Big Five, but most other large safari animals. This is one of the places to easily spot the secretive leopard as they feel very at ease throughout Sabi Sands.

Different antelope species are always around, but due to the emphasis on flagship species, they are often ignored. Night drives are great for spotting nocturnal animals such as lesser galago and large-spotted genet.

Idube safaris also have links to local communities who have put together a fascinating village tour. Included in the tour is the local school and pre-school, choir and dancers, watching local food being prepared and trying it afterwards and ending up with the little cultural museum.

Animals

As South African safaris go, visitors to the park are in for a treat with all of the Big Five present including the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and African buffalo as well as Nyala antelope.

A great draw card for guests is the leopards, which are seen frequently. Visitors will have the chance to come close to all the animals with male and female lions with their cubs and leopards watching the nearby impala attentively.

Big buffalo herds and elephants wander mere meters away from your safari vehicle. Apart from the Big Five, visitors can also find crocodiles, hippos, giraffes, wild dogs and much more.

Animals such as Nyalas and warthogs walk freely by the accommodation lodges, adding to the incredible atmosphere guests can expect to experience. .

Birds

With Sabi Sabi reserve located next door, Idube GR will find this area to be a bird watcher’s paradise with over 350 bird species found. Studying the resident birdlife adds a special dimension to any safari and skilled rangers will provide insight into their fascinating world.

Guides tend to be very knowledgeable about birds and everything else. The combination of walking and driving safaris in the private reserves is also very suitable for birding.

Migratory birds are present from November to April and birds known in the area include the Bateleur, Comb duck and the Black-bellied bustard.

Trees

Idube’s terrain is woodland savannah and is thick with vegetation. This rarely affects your safari due to the ability to drive off-road and having skilled guides and trackers.

There are thousands of varieties of plants in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. All plants, whether grasses or others, vary in their attraction as food depending on how tasty they are, or how high the actual food value is. There are two types of plants that offer food to the animals. Grasses and non-grasses.

Wooded bush areas cannot feed as many animals as the same size grassland. Trees on view at Sabi Sands include the Scented Thorn, the Delagoa Thorn, the Fever Tree and the Brack Thorn.

Other activities at Idube Game Reserve

Other South African activities that visitors to Idube Game Reserve can look forward to on their trip:

  • Game drive: Explore the incredible Idube Game Reserve wildlife with spectacular views of large concentrations of wildlife and watch out for the Big Five in the open wild.
  • Bush walks: Walk with professional guides at a peaceful, relaxed pace through the extraordinary Idube Game Reserve where you can see birds, wildlife and beautiful tree species.
  • Boma dinners: Returning to your camp after a successful evening game drive, you are greeted with the enticing sight of beautifully presented dining tables all encircling a roaring fire. Sitting down next to the crackling fire, you’ll be warmed by its dancing heat.
  • Amani Spa at Bush Lodge: The Spa offers a comprehensive range of beauty and wellness treatments against the backdrop of the bushveld, including massages, facials and classic or deluxe pedicures and manicures, as well as body wraps and scrubs.

How to get to Idube Game Reserve?

By Plane

Getting to South Africa and indeed to the park, visitors can fly to one of two airports: Cape Town International (CPT) or O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. A South Africa visa will likely also be required per the latest entry requirements.

After that, you can take the twice-daily scheduled flight to Sabi Sand, run by Federal Air.

Alternatively, you can take a connecting flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) near Mbombela or to Skukuza Airport (SZK) in Kruger National Park. A transfer from Nelspruit or Skukuza to your Sabi Sands safari accommodation can be arranged and takes about two hours.

By Road

It is possible to hire a car in Johannesburg and drive to the park via the N4 to Nelspruit. The park has three entrance gates for access to different lodges within the reserve. The distance is about 500km/310mi, and the drive takes about 5.5 hours.

Carrying a small amount of South Africa currency, the rand (ZAR) is advised for smaller purchases.

Tariffs & Regulations

Entrance fee

All Idube Game Reserve fees are payable at the gate at time of entrance. Park fees are valid for 24 hours.

  • Entrance fees R340 ($USD 20) per vehicle per stay
  • R160 (USD $10) per person per stay
  • Guest Conservation Contribution of R151

Regulations

If you keep to park rules, you can stay with the animals as long as they are not disturbed by your presence.

Accommodation at Idube Game Reserve

Tourists at Idube Game Reserve can choose from a number of different options when deciding where to sleep with accommodation ranging from luxury safari lodges to lower budget camping.

Lodges

The unpretentious lodge has 10 chalets set among green lawns and shady trees. Perhaps less stylish than some of its competitors, Idube’s atmosphere is relaxed, and prices are reasonable. Nyala antelope have become very used to people and walk around the gardens.

There are seven small properties in the west of Sabi Sands, including Idube. These properties have traversing rights onto each other’s land.

Idube Game Lodge is set in an indigenous garden of tall trees and cool, green lawns watered only with recycled water. Originally designed to blend into the bush with rough, natural coloured bricks, plastered walls round the outside showers have been added creating a pleasing contrast.

Tiled roofs create a clean, cool interior. The thatched bar and entertainment areas have an immediate appeal and are the focal areas for guests to gather. The open lounge is a glorious place to relax, whilst waiting to see what animals will come wandering in front of the lodge.

The eight individual suites are built at some distance from each other among Knobthorn and Jackalberry trees. The extensive lawns are home to a variety of animals. Although these tolerate the presence of humans, they remain wild and free.

The lodge accommodates a maximum of 20 guests. The suites are all individually decorated in a modern African theme.

Bars/restaurants/amenities

Lodges will typically have all meals and drinks included in the lodge package.

Useful information

Geography

Idube Game is located on 10,000 hectares of wildlife land in the Sabi Sand Reserve, adjoining the Kruger National Park in the north-east of South Africa.

Safaris here can be combined with trips to Kruger National Park or Phinda Game Reserve.

Weather

Idube GR experiences winter and summer at opposite times to those seasons in Europe and North America. October to April are the hot, wet summer months while the mild, dry winter occurs from May to September.

Although winter days are pleasant, it is cold in the mornings, so warm clothes are advisable for game drives. In the Dry Season from May to September, it mostly doesn’t rain during this winter period and humidity is low. Permanent water sources become a place for animals to gather, making them easier to spot.

Best time to go

Understanding the best time to visit South Africa is important as this will impact accommodation, flight prices, availability and the weather that visitors can expect on their safari vacation. A South Africa visa for entry may also be required.

The best time to visit Sabi Sands is during winter, which is also considered the ‘low season’. This is the Dry season which lasts from May to September.

Animals are easy to spot during the dry months as foliage becomes less abundant and they gather around rivers and waterholes. September is a lovely month to visit. It is also the least cold of the winter months.

Health

As malaria is present in Sabi Sand, the wet summer months pose a very slight risk of catching malaria.

Antimalarials and other vaccines for South Africa are advised, as well as covering up in the evening and using mosquito repellent (those containing DEET are most effective).

It is recommended to visit a travel clinic before coming to South Africa. Several South Africa vaccinations are recommended and usually administered before your departure.

FAQs

Where is the Idube Game Reserve located?

Idube Game Reserve is located on 10,000 hectares of wildlife land in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, adjoining the Kruger National Park in the north-east of South Africa.

What animals will visitors see at Idube Game Reserve?

Visitors to Idube Game Reserve will find the Big Five including the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and African buffalo as well as Nyala antelope.