General Information

Elephant Plains Game Lodge is situated in the northern part of the world famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The lodge is owner run and can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests. This ensures personal service and a warm, friendly atmosphere.


What to bring

  • A warm jacket for winter and night safaris
  • A raincoat/waterproof for summer months
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Swimming costume
  • Sun block & sunglasses
  • Binoculars and a camera / video camera
  • Please note that we are situated in a malaria area and recommend that you consult your physician for the necessary precautions before travelling


 How to get here

You can find all the information you need on getting here on our Contact page.

Our History

Elephant Plains Game Lodge is situated in the northern part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve was set up in the 1950’s, by a group of private landowners who dropped the fences between their properties in order to create a larger area for the animals to roam freely. The reserve is named after its two main rivers, the Sabi and Sand Rivers, which both flow to the south of Elephant Plains Game Lodge. In 1993 the fences between the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Game Reserve were dropped, to allow the animals an even bigger traversing area. Currently the Kruger National Park encompasses a protected area of around 2.2 million hectares.

Koot Steyn, his son, Dries Steyn (Etienne’s grandfather) and a third partner, Jannie Wilkens bought the farm Arathusa, from Mr. Tresford in 1962. At that time the only buildings on the property were the old Main Building and two Rondavels (2 and 3). More Rondavels (1, 4 & 5) were added and the camp was used as a winter holiday destination for family & friends.

The infamous Harry Kirkman became warden of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in 1958 and frequently visited the farm. After captivating friends with his incredible wildlife stories around the campfire, he would always sleep on the porch of Rondavel 2, despite a ready-made bed indoors.

Koot Steyn passed on and the northern section of the farm was sold to Mr Jackel. It has since been re-sold and is currently operated as Simbambili Game Lodge. Jannie Wilkens’s southern section was sold to Mr Abrahams. The farm is now owned by his daughters, Shirley and Joan. This is the private camp (Arathusa Private) one can see from the original pool deck. Thereafter, Dries Steyn divided his property in two – Elephant Plains Game Lodge and Arathusa Safari Lodge.

The Swart family decided to share their piece of paradise with visitors and on the 1st of October 1998 Elephant Plains Game Lodge opened its doors to the public. We initially only accommodated 10 guests in the Rondavels of the original family holiday camp. With Etienne’s vision, the construction of the new Main Lodge and Luxury Suites commenced during 2003.

Our Philosophy

Because our environment supports our livelihood, Elephant Plains Game Lodge realises the need to ensure that our presence here is as unobtrusive as possible. It is important that we look after our entrusted piece of paradise, in order to ensure that future generations will also be able to enjoy it.

Our main objectives are the sustainability of a healthy, balanced habitat, through certain conservation processes, as well as making a contribution to the socio-economic development of our surrounding communities. We believe that there is a fine balance between commercialization and the toll taken on the wildlife and its habitats. We have a conscientious land management program, which endeavours to maintain a naturally diverse ecosystem and to minimize the impact of man’s activities on the environment. In conjunction with the Sabi Sand Game Reserve’s ecological department, we have put certain conservation measures in place. These include projects like the regeneration of erosion sites, the removal of alien plant species, habitat management through carefully planned block burning and special off-roading precautions undertaken during game drives.

We believe that our biggest contribution to conservation is through education. Our guests are ambassadors for conservation in South Africa. If, during their stay with us, we can expand their knowledge and experiences, then we have achieved our goal. Amazing wildlife sightings, combined with the lessons learned about conservation, will remain with them and will be passed onto others through their reminiscences.

Our staff members are also educated in the sustainability of resources. Most of our staff members are from the local villages outside the Gowrie Gate. They are also our ambassadors, as conservation principles obtained through education are also shared with their families and different communities, spreading the word far beyond the lodge itself. We use local suppliers and services wherever possible, as this provides local businesses with a steady income.

At Elephant Plains Game Lodge, we work together as a team, combining different types of knowledge and expertise to create a product that is beneficial to everyone. This multicultural community provides the opportunity to learn from one another, as we strive to continually raise the standards and services we offer.

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