My first visit to Sabi Sands area, my first safari, and worth the extra costs and the super bumpy ride to the gate (i had been warned by my shuttle driver). I hadn't heard of Inyati, my travel agent uses them alot so i trusted her - its like the best kept secret place.
I was shown to the bar area to complete paperwork and offered a welcome drink as well as a lunch menu which would be made for me while i get settled in the room. I was booked into the Executive Chalet which was massive and is shown on the website - a king size bed which was very comfy, front/back lounge areas (saw impala), large bathroom. The room was hard to leave it was so very nice. The mini-fridge was stocked with free bottled water which was great. There were fresh flowers in the amenities basket which was a nice touch. A welcome pack was in the room and i was a bit disappointed it said "dear guest" rather than personalized.
You are warned to lock the door at all times as the monkeys and baboons are quite smart and can access the room - at night you are walked by security to the rooms as the property does not have a fence and animals may wander in - i saw monkeys and impala during my stay on the property but since the common areas overlook the water, you will see other animals from the lodge.
The game drives are nicely done with a guide and tracker. I was assigned to Kimbini and his brother Richard - they are so knowledgable. kimbini also manages the website and takes amazing photos. The vehicles are stocked with water & blankets (you will use them) and for coffee and sundowner breaks stocked with your drink of choice and snacks.
Going off road to get a closer look was absolutely well worth the stay at a Sabi Sands property - i liked that they shared the space and worked together to ensure that you see as much game as possible with a limit of three vehicles per sighting. During my time, i saw a few leopards in trees (very cool!), one wild dog and the elusive black rhino. I wasn't there for the mating earlier in the week or the buffalo kill but did get to see the lions eating the buffalo - circle of life! Each game drive was different and it was a fun thrill ride. One time a herd of elephants surrounded us eating the trees around us - there were about 20 of them and we shut the engines off and just enjoyed the view - this is what you go on safari for - to be in touching distance of such amazing animals.
I was surprised that nothing was offered in between the brunch and next game drive - i was not told of any walks or other activities - i did hear others talk about a village visit they arranged prior to their stay so i just returned to the room after brunch to read/nap before tea time/next game drive. I would have preferred to do something with this down time.
On my last day, the staff arranged to pick me up mid-drive to ensure that i could have breakfast and prepare to check out before my airport transfer arrived. A vehicle was sent to meet us and i tranferred over and had a great private ride back to the lodge, interrupted (of course) by a herd of elephants on the road blocking us so we waited for them to pass - i appreciated that they recognize that on the last day you really do want to do it all - no time to sleep in (you can do that on the plane!)
The staff was so friendlly and when i asked at tea time to save me a brownie for after the drive, i was presented three at dinner! when i went rogue (with the brownies) the chef reminded me that she had made me a special dairy free dessert due to my food issue. When i asked for a crunchie to take on the flight, i was given a few wrapped up for the flight. The dinners in the bbq area were such fun with the staff singing/dancing -wow are they talented and genuinely seemed like they were having fun too. i thought that the food was good and the breads were fantastic at brunch.
The guests during my visit were in the 40-60's age range with a diverse group of US, German, Brazilian and local SA travel agent on a site visit. Everyone was friendly and as i was traveling solo this mix worked out well for me, I met some great people and we all shared our travel stories and photos - I'd recommend Inyati to anyone traveling on their own.
You pay more to be in Sabi Sands and it is well worth it - this was my first safari experience in South Africa and Inyati made it so memorable it will be hard to top!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Inyati Game Lodge is situated in one of the world's largest and most prestigious private conservation areas, the Sabi Sand Reserve , adjoining the renowned Kruger National Park. View Africa's most impressive wildlife on morning and afternoon/evening game drives in open 4-wheel drive safari vehicles with expert guides and Shangaan trackers. The perennial Sand River with its golden African sunshine and cool, shady hideaways runs through Inyati. At night, wildlife sounds fill the star-studded sky. Lions roar, jackals howl and hyenas laugh. African drums respond. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Inyati Game Hotel Inyati Private Game Reserve