A History of Sabi Sand

A History of Sabi Sand

Many of the owners of the blocks of land that would make up South Africa’s first privately owned nature reserve were “believers in the preservation of wilderness areas” – far-sighted men and women who could look beyond short-term gains.  They had the vision to foresee that areas like the Sabi Sand would only increase in importance over time. Ahead of their time, they began putting in place initiatives that would ensure a positive future for the people, wilderness and wildlife of the Sabi Sand.

From the very beginning, there has been an implicit recognition that the sustainable management of the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve requires both a world-class approach to conservation, and lasting partnerships with neighbouring communities.  Combining these two vital elements can bring the founders’ dreams to fruition and give their hopes the permanence they deserve.

Lessons learned here in the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve have proven to be equally relevant to other wilderness areas. By sharing our experiences, we can contribute to conservation success stories that extend far beyond the boundaries of the Greater Kruger National Park ecosystem.

Closer to home, a major breakthrough came in 1993 when the final game fences between the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve and the adjacent Kruger National Park were dropped. This restored the cohesiveness of the greater ecosystem, and permitted the free movement of wildlife between these two contiguous areas.

The symbolic importance of this moment was not lost on us: an eloquent testament to the power of working together for the common good, and to the positive change that can be achieved through patience and persistence.

Sabi Sand – Our Purpose

The Sabi Sand Nature Reserve exists to protect and conserve the Sabi Sand ecosystem.

By protection, we mean maintaining what is already here: a remarkably intact piece of Lowveld wilderness and the incredible biodiversity it supports.  This includes anti-poaching patrols, and environmental education outreach programmes that help more people to appreciate the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve.

Conserving what we’ve been able to protect is vital to our stated objective of creating and a sustainable legacy of conservation.  It is our hope that our actions today will resonate with, and inspire, future generations.

Carefully managed, the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve can be a resource and a sanctuary indefinitely – a powerful link to our shared past, and a beacon of hope for a brighter future.

By working together both locally and globally, we can help others to replicate the success of the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve and contribute to a growing collective consciousness of the importance of intact ecosystems for the people and wildlife that depend on them.

Sabi Sand Management

The Sabi Sand Management comprises five departments that ensure the safety, upkeep, maintenance and preservation of the Reserve as a whole:

  • Security
  • Conservation
  • Operations & Maintenance
  • Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust and Communities
  • Business Services


The Sabi Sand Nature Reserve Association is made up of landowners elected to represent the shared interests of all Sabi Sand landowners to further the aims of the Nature Reserve.

Executive Committee

The Sabi Sand Wildtuin Association Executive Committee (EXCO) consists of 11 board members who perform the functions and duties necessary for the proper functioning of the Association and the furthering the interests of members.

  • Current EXCO members: Vernon Cresswell (Chairman)
  • Mick Davis (Vice-Chairman)
  • Luke Bailes
  • Harold de Kock (Treasurer)
  • Hannes Feuth
  • Chris Fismer
  • Greg Macfarlane
  • Iain Mackenzie
  • Guy More
  • Allan Taylor
  • Bruce Watson