Timbavati Game Reserve in Limpopo province, north of the Sabi Sand, was formed 50 years ago when the owners of private ‘game farms’ adjacent to the central area of Kruger Park joined together and pulled down their fences. Then in the 1990s, the boundary fence with Kruger Park was removed so that Timbavati became part of the Great Kruger Park Conservancy, a single area of three million hectares of protected land where wildlife can wander freely.
We love Timbavati as it feels much wilder than Sabi Sand, it is more undulating and has a broader range of game. Game is plentiful, but sightings can be a little more difficult than in Sabi Sand because of the hilly ground and because of the thickness of the bush. Bird watching is also excellent here, with approximately 400 recorded species.
We especially like two camps that offer exceptional value and service: Umlani Bush Camp gives guests a real 'close to the bush' experience, excellent game viewing and is a great affordable option for families. Secluded Tanda Tula is the only truly five-star tented camp in Timbavati and the food here is legendary.
The Timbavati entrance fee (a conservation levy) of R100 (about £8) has to be paid locally.
Beyond Timabavati, moving north through Limpopo, there are several other wildlife reserves. These areas were once the preserve of hunters, but are now restricted to photographic safaris. One of these is the Greater Makalali Game Reserve, the setting for the stunning Garonga Safari Camp.
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