Kruger accommodation review – Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Posted on 17 May 2013

I’m in the Kruger National Park on assignment for Getaway visiting all the campsites, lodges and accommodation options in the park. It’s a big job, but by the end of it I’ll have a list of all them (see them all here: Kruger accommodation reviews) and, more importantly, an idea of what you can expect to find there in terms of accommodation, food, amenities, animals, mobile reception and highlights. Next, I find out why Lower Sabie Rest Camp is one of the park’s most popular places to stay.

Lower Sabie Rest Camp

I couldn’t help but wonder why it is so difficult to get a booking at Lower Sabie Rest Camp. Turns out, it’s a combination of things. You see, Lower Sabie seems to have it all. You have the flat plains characteristic of the central region, but at places these plains are stretched out over hills and ridges, affording the most impressive views I’ve had of the park to date. But the area also has water, mostly in the form of the rather impressive Lower Sabie River, on which banks the camp is built. So game viewing essentially begins at home, with a walk on the boardwalks that run along the river or a coffee on the restaurant’s very large wooden deck.

The Lower Sabie River is one of the main reasons why the rest camp is so popular. Take a moment and stop at the river crossing to spot hippos and crocs baking on the river banks.

The accommodation at Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Lower Sabie’s accommodation has a slightly different feel to it than your classic Kruger camps. For one, you won’t find any round bungalows here, and for another, it is possible to stay in a place that has a kitchen and dining table on the inside of the unit. You do, however, still have the units with the large porches that double as a cooking area. Lower Sabie’s safari tents are also very popular. They’re built on wooden platforms and have their own kitchens attached.

River-facing bungalows are just far apart enough to allow you the maximum amount of privacy.

The traditional camping area at Lower Sabie gets second place, as it’s placed in the middle of the camp with no fence-side spots. The spots are also quite close together, but this creates a feeling of living in a small village, so share the experience with your neighbours by befriending them.

The inside of a bungalow at Lower Sabie

The best spots

A lot of the bungalows and safari tents run along the fence and are connected to the restaurant area either by wooden walkway or an expansive stretch of grass. When you book, request units 3-22 or 74-94 and safari tents 17, 21 and 27 or just ask for a perimeter unit.

Although the campsites are quite close together, they have natural dividers to see to your privacy.

The animals at Lower Sabie

This might be one of the best places in the park to be if you want to tick the Big Five off your list. Naturally, leopards are always tricky to find, but you’ve got a better chance if you hang around here. Lions, buffalo, elephant and rhino are all found in the surroundings. Other animals worth looking out for are genet, serval, porcupine, kudu, giraffe and warthog. The best roads to drive to see these animals are the S28 heading to Crocodile Bridge and the S29 or Mlondozi Loop.

Sunset Dam at sunset. A great place to enjoy the peace and quiet at any time of day though.

The food

You’ll find the standard Kruger menu at Lower Sabie’s restaurant, as well as the takeaway area that has some muffins and readymade sandwiches. What singles this restaurant out, though, is that it’s built on a massive wooden deck on the banks of the Lower Sabie River. You’re bound to see hippos and crocs lazing here while you enjoy your lunch. As with all the other camps, you’ll have your own braai area wherever you stay and if you don’t have a kitchen, there’ll be communal two-plate stoves and boiling water that you can use.

Even if you decide to spend the day in camp, you’ll definitely be able to spot some animals along the Lower Sabie River, thanks to the restaurant’s large wooden deck.


Sunset Dam lays only 500m from the Lower Sabie gate and has a geat reputation for wildlife sightings. Hippo and croc are standard, and you might get to see buffalo or even lion come to drink here in the early mornings and late afternoons.

Although Tshokwane Picnic Spot is a much larger gathering place (with a takeaway restaurant) it might be a little far – 36km. Mlondozi Picnic Spot, 18km away, is much smaller, but also has gasbraais to hire and a magnificent view over the dam below.

The S28 that leads to Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp is said to be the best road to take for wildlife sightings. You’ll also find the beautiful Nthandanyathi Bird Hide and Nhlanganzwani Dam along this road – both worth a quick stop off.

The camp, reflecting on the river, as seen from the Lower Sabie bridge at night.

Getting to Lower Sabie Rest Camp

The easiest way to get to Lower Sabie is to enter at the Crocodile Bridge Gate and drive north. You can take the H4-2, a tar road, that will bring you there the quickest, or follow the S28 and make a game drive out of it.

This board walk connects the safari tents and some of the bungalows to the restaurant and is probably the most scenic walk you’ll find around camp.

Winning the award for picnic spot with the best view is Mlondozi. Nothing wrong with some fried bacon and this to look over, is there?

Nitty gritty

ATMs: No
Credit card facilities: Yes
Mobile reception: Good at most places

Book a stay at Lower Sabie Rest Camp

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