Tucked between Limpopo and Mpumalanga, the Timbavati Game Reserve was founded in 1956 by like-minded game farmers on a mission to conserve the area. Altogether, the reserve spans 53, 392ha, and hosts multiple luxury lodges and camps all offering immersive experiences in nature.
It’s a magical place; here, the sweet fragrance of the bushveld greets the nose, and sweeping views of the savannahs invade the eyes. The famed floodplain’s lush mopane forests attract numerous species of mammals and birds, with prey keeping nervous eyes alert for predators. These predators include leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, and – Timbavati’s most enigmatic inhabitants – its rare white lions, the ghostly kings of the land. Aside from the Big 5, the region is home to over 360 bird species, so birders will be in a feathery paradise.
It’s easy to get to Timbavati – three regional airports surround the reserve, with Hoedspruit’s Eastgate Airport a mere 30 minutes away. It’s harder to decide where to stay. The region has multiple lovely accommodation options including the Tanda Tula Field Camp, which is resurrected and deconstructed especially for each safari, leaving no trace on the land. The height of eco-friendly options, the camp only hosts two to eight guests at a time, making it a wonderfully intimate option for couples and families.
If Tanda’s ‘glamping’ isn’t your style, you may prefer Ngala Safari Lodge’s grandiose colonial-style establishment – especially as this private safari reserve was incorporated into Kruger National Park and has exclusive traversing rights over 19,485km2. Live like royalty at Kings Camp, where old-world hospitality prevails; or opt for the hidden gem that is Motswari Private Game Reserve – a diamond tucked away deep within Timbavati, that shares an open border with Kruger Park. Aside from the luxurious lodge and bungalows, Motswari also offers the Giraffe Nest Sleep-out option – elevated to five metres above the ground (the height of a male giraffe), this private nook is lit up by lanterns and overlooks the Xanatsi Dam – perfect for a romantic sleepover under the stars.
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Tanda Tula Field Camp
Tanda Tula Field Camp is a temporary explorer-styled tented camp with an onus on being environmentally friendly. Exclusivity and the guided walks are the main attractions here.
Ngala Safari Lodge
Ngala Safari Lodge is a gracious, colonial-style safari lodge set on the very edge of the Kruger National Park in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve. It is renowned for its superb accommodation and provides an unbeatable family safari experience.
Tanda Tula Safari Camp
Tanda Tula is an intimate camp, renowned for its charming service and passionate well informed staff. Delicious meals are served in a variety of venues from private dinners to lively evenings in the Boma.
Kings Camp commits itself to creating a safari experience that is both enlightening and relaxing. They are dedicated to a gracious style of hospitality from a bygone era, combined with a flexibility that puts guests first.
Ngala Tented Camp
Stylish and sophisticated camping at its best, the 9 Luxurious Safari Tents at Ngala exude elegance and comfort under the romance of canvas. Enjoy Big 5 game drives, bush walks, poolside Pan-African cuisine, alfresco dinners in the bush and more.
Motswari Private Game Reserve
As part of the Greater Kruger National Park Conservancy and traversing close on 150 square kilometres of pristine habitat, Motswari offers visitors the best of Africa.
Simbavati River Lodge
Family-friendly lodge within the teeming Timbavati Private Nature Reserve that has great game viewing from the private deck of your luxury safari Tent or thatched Chalet.
With a distinct personal touch and plenty of enthusiasm, the staff at Umlani Bushcamp makes this classic safari lodge a cut above. Accommodation is in rustic huts and the game viewing is excellent.
Machaton Private Camp
Machaton Private Camp is located on the western edge of Kruger National Park, in Timbavati Game Reserve. A safari in this area offers an array of wildlife viewing while experiencing camping at its most private.
Kambaku Safari Lodge
Enjoy morning and evening game drives (Big 5 can be spotted), walking safaris, and bird-watching at Kambaku Safari Lodge. Guides and trackers at Kambaku are experienced and love what they do.
Kambaku River Sands
Situated on the banks of a dried-out river bed and lacking physical fences to obstruct animal movement, Kambaku River Sands is the perfect spot to witness an abundance of big and small game.
Simbavati Hilltop Lodge
Simbavati Hilltop Lodge promises prime game-viewing opportunities in the iconic Timbavati Nature Reserve. The lodge boasts a game-viewing deck, infinity pool, curio shop, 360-degree-view bar, and lounge with a selection of board games and books.
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