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The Town of Sabie

sabieThe picturesque town of Sabie, which is  centrally situated on The Panorama Route, was  voted by its Citizens, The Rapport and Kwela Town of The Year for 2012, beating nine other contestants to be first over the finishing line! Some R2,000,000 of Advertising exposure helped put Sabie firmly on the Tourism Map!

Set amidst bluegum and pine plantations, timber is now Sabie's life blood. But the history of Sabie is the history of gold, as this was once a thriving gold mining town, where the first commercial quantities of gold were discovered in the then Transvaal Republic in 1871.

The gold was discovered on the Spitskop, which is situated 10 kilometres south east of Sabie. There is not much that remains to remind one that this was once a very busy mining town, as most signs have now been covered by vast plantations of pine and blue gum trees, which stretch for miles in all directions. These are said to be some of the largest man-made forests on our planet, which date back more than a hundred years to 1903. The supply of Pit props for the various mines had virtually stripped the slopes around Sabie of all the indigenous trees, and thus the need for the man -made forests arose. Gold Mining has returned to Sabie in the past year, and there are very visible signs of this in the Van Axe area, on the Hazyview Road.

sabie2The original village of Sabie dates back to the mid 19th century, when it was laid out on the farm Grootfontein. In 1880 the big game hunter H.T.Glynn bought the farm for a sum of £600. Legend has it that H T Glynn indulged in some shooting practice with friends near Little Sabie Falls in 1895. Using empty bottles as targets, they noticed that some of the bullets had chipped the rock behind the bottles, and had revealed traces of gold. The fun ended and immediately gold prospecting started in earnest. The Glynns- Lydenburg Gold Mining Company commenced operations straight away, and continued in production for 65 years until 1960. In this period 1,24 million ounces of gold were mined. As a result of this new found wealth, Sabie expanded. The branch railway arrived in 1913, at the same time as St Peters Anglican Church , designed by the renowned architect Sir Herbert Baker, was being built. Municipal status was granted in 1924.

H T Glynn himself was the first mayor of Sabie. He was known as the Squire of Sabie, and the H T Glynn house can be seen on your right as you enter Sabie from Lydenburg. In recent times it has been used for a number of commercial ventures, such as a  restaurant and then an art and curioshop. The importance of the timber industry to Sabie is illustrated by the fact that the only Forestry Museum in South Africa is situated here in Sabie.

sabie3Much of Sabie's domestic water is sourced from one of the abandoned shafts of the Glynns-Lydenburg Mine. At Wayfarers we recently had our water tested, and it was found to be purer than many of the bottled waters available in the shops. Waterfalls  abound in the vicinity around Sabie. One of the best is Lone Creek Falls, which is a mere 9 kms from Wayfarers, down the Old Lydenburg Road. A short paved walk through the woods brings you to the very foot of the falls. Nearby steps enable you to view the falls from an elevated position. Along the route to Lone Creek Falls are The Horseshoe Falls on the left, and Bridal Veil Falls away to the right. As you leave the town for Graskop, The Sabie Falls are hidden beneath the road bridge. A left turn into a parking area will reveal the falls, and a breathtaking view down the Sabie Gorge. 

Sabie has a number of fine restaurants, and a couple of excellent curio shops. Around the Market Square is to be found the Post Office , Municipal Offices, Standard Bank and First National Bank, a  Spar Supermarket, and a small Tourist Information Office,  Sabie 5, as well as a number of smaller retailers. Absa Bank has an ATM at the BP Garage, and there is an Internet Café at The Woodsman Restaurant .
Sabie is famous for its Mountain Bike races, being surrounded by forests, and mountains. If you want to find out what Mountain Bike riding is all about, call Cyclejunkies , where Jaco and Manus will organise MTB Trails, bike hire,and bike tours from their fully equipped Bike Shop and workshop.

Telephone: 0027 (0)13 764 1149
Web site:

There are a number of garages, where petrol and diesel is available around the clock. At Engen there is also a good Quickshop and  very good Wimpy.

The Shangaan word uluSaba, which means "river of fear" is thought to form the origins of the name of  both the town and the River Sabie.

From Sabie,roads lead in all directions to take the visitor to the many diverse and interesting places of great natural beauty.
If you would prefer to be taken on a guided tour to Kruger National Park, around the Panorama Route or to a number of other destinations, then contact Steve at What's On Tours, who are based in Sabie.

Telephone: 0027 (0) 13 741 2414
Web site: