When the city starts becoming claustrophobic, then you know it’s time to make your way to nature for a few days. Which is exactly what we did this holiday. We headed for the natural splendour and scenic surroundings of Sabi River Sun in the Mpumalanga Lowveld. It had been many years since we had last visited the resort and we were looking forward to visiting again.
The renowned 4-star resort is situated in Hazyview on the banks of the Sabi River, just 13km from the Phabeni Gate of the Kruger National Park – one of my favourite places in the whole world. Many other Mpumalanga attractions are also within close proximity. It first opened in 1932 as one of the first hotels in the Kruger National Park region and became part of the Tsogo Sun group (then Southern Sun) in 1969. On entering the resort, a precautionary sign welcomed us. “Beware of flying golf balls, crocodiles, hippos etc” assuring us that we were now close to nature.
Sabi River Sun is spread over 200 hectares of bushveld. I was given a tour of the vast property by golf cart. The lush landscaped gardens are dotted with little wooden bridges and benches where one can stop and enjoy the picturesque scenery. The resort is peaceful and serene, with the only sounds coming from some of the 200 different species of birds that inhabit the property and the occasional grunting of the hippos in the river.
The Sabi River Sun golf course, is one of only four 18-hole courses in Mpumalanga. It was designed by Peter Matkovitch, one of South Africa’s most prominent golf course designers. Many of the holes have water hazards and the 16th hole even boasts hippos and crocodiles. This of course adds to the excitement. My husband really enjoyed playing this course, even though he did lose more than a few balls.
Apart from the golf, there are other recreational facilities, like tennis, squash, volleyball, a bowling green and a jogging trail. My kids loved all the wide open space they had to run around in. There are also 5 swimming pools scattered around the vast property – along with a few jungle gyms. The kids were spoilt for choice and couldn’t get enough of them.
Eden Spa offers a range of decadent spa treatments for adults and children. I didn’t get an opportunity to visit it this time but I plan to on my next visit. A convenience store on the premises caters for essential and not-so-essential requirements. Game drives at Kruger National Park can also be arranged.
The accommodation consists of 60 hotel rooms and 104 timeshare chalets, with stunning views of the golf course, the gardens or the mountains. The hotel rooms have just been refurbished and sport a chic, modern look. They feature two double beds and an en-suite bathroom with all the modern conveniences and amenities, making them ideal for families of 2 adults and 2 children. Room rates include breakfast. Kids under 18 stay and eat breakfast free as at all Tsogo Sun hotels.
The chalets sleep up to 6 people, with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and a private loft with two single beds. An open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area and a private patio with a braai area complete the chalet.
Sesonke Restaurant serves hearty breakfast and dinner buffets with sufficient variety to suit varied dietary requirements. The chefs were quite helpful in accommodating ours. A clay oven served up pizzas, ensuring that the kids are taken care of too. Light meals and drinks are served on the pool terrace where one can admire the beautiful views while eating.
Sabi River Sun is one of Tsogo Sun’s favourite family resorts although it also caters for conferences and small weddings. The accommodation and facilities are great, the staff are friendly and the location makes the hotel a great base for exploring the Lowveld. During our stay, we met a British guest who has been to resorts all over Africa but he rates this one as his favourite - to such an extent that he even bought a timeshare unit on the resort, spending weeks there every year. I guess that says it all.
Find out more about Private Kruger Safaris .
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Things you must do in South Africa