Sabi River Sun Newsletter – Autumn 2018

GM’s Message

Greetings to you all from Sabi River Sun as we enjoy the last of the late summer heat. I hope your 2018 has got off to a healthy & happy start.

While reflecting on the very busy past twelve months I was reminded of a book that was very kindly leant to me by time-share owners and good friends of the Resort (many thanks Mick & Mary Healey!). Many of you may be familiar with the book, it is called “South African Eden” and it is the story of the beginnings of the Kruger National Park and covers the years 1902 to 1946. It is written by James Stevenson-Hamilton himself who was the first Warder of the Park. It is a fascinating account of the young Warders trials and triumphs where he fought an ongoing battle against the popular view, that land was for farming and wild animals were for hunting. The book details how he turned a worthless malaria infested wilderness into one of the world’s most important wildlife assets. He fondly refers to the park as his “Cinderella” that he was slowly (very slowly) developing into a world class Reserve. Towards the end of the book we find him reflecting back with immense pride on the journey that had turned his beloved Cinderella into the Princess that we all know and love today.

There are certainly similarities between the History of the Park and the History of this Resort – our very own Cinderella. Think back to the humble beginnings of the Resort in the mid 1930’s where it was just a scattering of thatched bungalows set in the Lowveld natural bush and how it slowly (very slowly) developed over the years. Sand roads were gradually paved. The Hotel was added in 1967, Lines of c

halets were added in the 80’s & 90’s, there was first one swimming pool, then two and now five. The rough nine-hole golf track developed over many years into the manicured 18 hole spread that we know today. The latest improvements that we completed a few months ago have raised the bar yet again. Looking at the elegant new golf club house and pro-shop, the extended main pool and deck area, the new bridges and main gate it is fair I think to say that our Cinderella has found her glass slipper and is transforming into the Princess that she was always destined to be. As a Resort team we often remark to each other how privileged we are to be the current custodians of this beautiful Resort and to have this opportunity to contribute towards its ongoing legacy.With this in mind, I trust you will enjoy the resort update we have provided below where we have included some pictures of the latest improvements. You will also hear from Gavin about the Golf news, Keith will update you on the birding, Mark has added a few pictures of the latest work in the gardens and Cindy is at her poetic best as she informs you of the introduction of the Park Run at Sabi River Sun.

All the best until we meet again
Wayne Wilson

Golf Report

Golf Club News
Greetings dear Golfers! It is amazing how big a difference a simple but cleverly designed building can make to the overall experience. The new club house facility has a light and fresh feel about it and has been very well received by all that have seen it. A bigger shop has allowed for additional items and an increase in the variety on offer, the golf shop now stocks a bigger variety of men’s and ladies apparel. Men’s brands include Nike, Cutter & Buck, Rhode Island, Ernie Els. Ladies brands include Golfing, Annika, Cutter & Buck, Birdi, Barron. There is also a large variety of hats and peaks. On the golf ball side our experienced balls are always popular thanks to the 14 water holes that come into play on the course

Course Rating: In 2019 the South African Golf Association, Royal and Ancient and the American Golf association are joining together and all three organisations will adopt the same course rating system. Golfers will be faced with a choice of three tee colours which will each carry their own course rating. At the moment we have 3 colours. Red 69 rating, Blue 65 rating and White 69 rating. We will be adding new tee boxes to each tee so as to create effectively three different courses in one.

Please remember: for your next chalet stay, the new club house offers 20 wire mesh lockers under the golf shop that can be hired for the week, this provides a convenient and safe storage facility for you which means you no longer have to lug your clubs to and from the chalet.

Club Championships: We completed our club Championships on the 11th & 12th of March, congratulations to the division winners as follows:

  • Ladies: Lynn Haken
  • C Division: Frank Theron
  • B Division: Foster Lekhuleni
  • A Division and Club Champion: Darron Lane

The Club Championship tournament was followed by a celebratory braai for the members, well done to all!

The Members also thanked Neil Waitt, as out-going Club Captain for his 5 years of fantastic service. Neil stepped down due to increased work demands – he will be fondly remembered as Captain for his colourful prize-giving speeches in his thick English Accent! Thanks Neil and Congratulations to Ryan Mackain for accepting the clubs’ nomination to take over the Captaincy – best of luck!

Mark’s Gardens & Grounds Report

Pathway Project
The Pathway Project commenced in May 2014 and will be completed in July this year. A distance of approximate 5km’s was constructed to minimize the damage to our golf cars and also to enhance the course. The paths are created to flow with the lay of the land are pleasing to the eye and have also provided the landscape team with opportunities to plant some feature gardens at the pathway junctions. The pathways have really enhanced the aesthetics of the course and have had the added benefit of paving portions of the running track that surrounds the Resort.

Tee Complex Project
Constructing additional Tee Complexes so that there will be eventually three sets of tee positions on each hole (as per Gavin’s explanation above). The Golf Course will then be well prepared with settled tee box complexes when the new rating system is introduced in 2019. We have completed three holes to date and need to do another 11 but some of the holes already have three separate tee-boxes.

Indigenous Gardens
We continue to re-plant the beds around the chalets with indigenous plants.

The use of indigenous plants such as Aloes, Euphorbias, Spek Boom etc. in our garden beds help saves on water and makes it easier to maintain. We hope to have the resort 90% indigenous by the year 2020.

Birding with Keith Howe

Birding report at Sabi River Sun
The Monday Bird walk has been well supported over the summer period. It has been a wonderful experience to have had the privilege of having experienced and novice birders on the walk.

The specie numbers have been in the 60 to 75 of birds during this period. Mainly due to the migratory however this week the numbers are down due to birds moving to the North. The shrill of the Woodlands Kingfishers disappeared all of a sudden last week. Other summer visitors like the Paradise Flycatchers, Black Headed Herons, Willow Warblers and Violet Backed Starlings have started their long journey to their summer homes.

The breeding period for the Western Cattle Egrets, African Darter, Grey and Black Herons in the Fever Trees at the Hippo Dam is almost over. A few squawking chicks remain. Trumpeter Hornbills have also been in the Fever Trees.

Exciting visuals this year was a pair of Ospreys, Yellow Billed Kite, European Honey Buzzard, Black Sparrowhawk, Long Crested Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Spotted Eagle Owls and Lizard Buzzards.

Birders have reported in that they have seen confirmed sightings of a Bat Hawk and African Finfoot.

Late in January we had a hatching of young crocodiles near the bird hide in the Hippo dam. There were about 47 of them and they were well cared for by a watchful mother. They were an attraction for about 3 weeks and then suddenly disappeared. We suppose they are somewhere in the in the Hippo Dam.

Attached wonderful bird photos taken by Colin Wood-Robinson and Jan van Es
In conclusion I would like to thank the management and staff of Sabi River Sun for the morning tea/coffee presentation that is very well appreciated after the walk.
Look for to seeing you when next you stay at Sabi. 7.00am every Monday.

Refurbishment Complete

Golf Clubhouse and Bar and Golf Shop
For those who have not yet stayed at the Resort since the completion of the refurbishments we have included a few pictures – something to look forward to! The new club house fits beautifully on the Resort and has an elegant presence. The improved change rooms & expanded Pro-shop have been very well received by all. The position of the pro-shop close to both the 1st & 10th tee box areas makes for a great flow and arrival experience.

The new facilities allow for large golf days to be easier managed


Main Swimming Pool
The main pool features a cocktail seat around the curved end and extended deck space.


Main Gate Upgrade
The new main gate has a distinctive Lowveld feel to it, almost similar in a way to some of the Kruger Park Gates. The idea behind the gate, besides boosting access control, was to move the gate away from the main road because, on busy check-in days, cars tend to back up into the main Road. The new position, which is located about 100m in from the road is now a much safer and attractive facility.


Golf Course Bridges Upgrade
The wooden bridges over the 17th (main hippo bridge) and the 14th were in need of repair. The new bridges are built to last and are maintenance friendly. The bridges were designed to be understated and not to take away from the scenery but rather to blend in with the environment as much as possible.

Mark has enhanced the garden displays at each end of the bridges in his usual way and they have evolved into very attractive features on the Resort.



The Hazyview Parkrun at Sabi River Sun

Parkrun is the name given to a collection of five-kilometre events that take place every Saturday morning in eighteen countries across five continents. Each Parkrun has its own sponsor. Events are run by volunteers and participation is free of charge. Runners are required to register on-line for a unique athlete number and to print their own identification barcode for use when taking part. Runner’s results in each event are processed and uploaded online after the run by volunteers so each runner can track their own times, compare to their age group around the country and keep record of their personal progress.

The Parkrun is linked to Discovery where points can be earned for participation. There are over six hundred thousand Parkrunners registered in South Africa. South Africa has approximately 115 Parkrun venues registered with the number growing steadily.

We are very proud to have been appointed the Parkrun sponsors for Hazyview. Bruce & Gill Fordyce head up the South African Chapter of Parkrun and we had the privilege of Hosting them when they came to inspect the route back in July 2017. Being avid game & bird lovers they absolutely loved the venue and we were appointed as the official venue shortly after that.

Since our first event in July 2017 the participation of the event has grown from 30 runners to an average (on most Saturdays) of 110 – this number is still growing as the words spreads about our beautiful run. The parkrun is truly a wonderful asset to the Resort and we encourage you all to bring your takkies and join in! It is not necessary to run the event and many people chose to walk – the idea is to participate and have fun!

Times: Every Saturday: 07h00 (September to March) 08h00 from (April to August)

Where: next to the Tennis Courts.

See you there!

We would like to thank Cindy Thomas, Mark Pain and all the many volunteers for agreeing to champion the Parkrun event and for doing it with such energy, commitment & enjoyment.

Cindy Thomas, who many of you may know as Chef Cindy, has been promoted to the position of Deputy General Manager.

Cindy offers a wealth of experience which includes international training, game lodge experience as well as running her own successful Restaurant in the Hazyview area but it is her energy and commitment to guest satisfaction that has made her a favourite amongst our guests over the years.

Her appointment is well deserved and we wish her the best of luck
Here’s a poem that she wrote for this edition.


Writing for our second news letter ..Where do we start??
Working at Sabi it just comes straight from the heart
What a year it has been, One like seldom again will be seen.
Let’s start something different and really fun
We thought about it hard and decided on hosting the park run
What better idea to get out an about under the Lowveld sun
An event that suits all ages, from the more mature to the very young
5km every Saturday we will do
Where to start we had absolutely no clue
But then as luck will have it, out of the blue
We get a call from Mr. Fordyce, as if on cue..
So a decision to move the Park run here gets made
And with my team behind me I was never afraid
Paperwork gets done with the help of Mark
He’s our man for any event, always adds the much needed spark!
The route gets mapped out from start to finish
The excitement we feel you cannot relinquish
So the BIG day started with a happy “ENJOY!”
And off we all go in a big convoy
From beginning to end we all had such fun
And that was only our very first Hazyview Park run!!
And just as I thought the year was almost finished
Along came and opportunity filled with an excitement not easily extinguished
As I applied for a new opportunity
With my amazing Sabi resort community
I got offered the challenge to make a difference
And change people’s perceptions
That working is not much fun
Almost like having to run
But with team, Cindy, freedom and Caiphas
We threw that myth under the bus
Striving to be the best team ever
These ones are here to stay because they’re
oh so clever!
Theme evenings are making their mark
Watch out Sabi community this is but the start!

Thank You from the Sabi Team!











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