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.
Garonga Safari Camp has recently undergone a three-month makeover to celebrate it's 20th birthday.The stunning, exclusive and romantic luxury camp set to the west of Kruger National Park has been compeltely redesigned to set new standards stylish living that blend seamlessly into the native surrounding bush.Owner, Bernardo Smith, has created a lodge where you can unwind and have an unhurried w...
Gomo Gomo Game Lodge is a well-priced safari lodge set under huge Jackalberry trees on the bank of the Nhlaralumi River, on the northern boundary of the wild and scenic Timbavati Game Reserve.Game is plentiful, and you don’t need to go far to see it. Elephant, buffalo and other animals often graze within the bounds of the camp and leopard are frequently sighted in this reserve, which shares ...
Set under shady trees along the seasonal Monwana River, this 5-star owner-managed lodge is situated in Thornybush Game Reserve, to the west of the Kruger National Park with a 14,000 hectares traversing area. The area is known for good all-round game viewing.AccommodationThere are only four sumptuous suites at Shumbalala, all constructed with natural stone and thatch, each with a private deck overl...
Motswari Private Game Reserve a privately owned game lodge situated deep in the ‘Big Five’ Timbavati Private Game Reserve of 150 square kilometres which forms part of the Great Kruger National Park.The main area is stone building with a thatch roof with African feel decor offering views onto the banks of the perennial Sohebele River. The bar area opens onto the deck and rock lined pool...
&Beyond Ngala provides excellent game-viewing in the Timbavati Reserve which is part of the world-famous Greater Kruger National Park.The reserve is unfenced, allowing for the free movement of game, but Ngala has exclusive traversing rights over nearly 15,000 hectares of the legendary Kruger Park.This is 'Big Five' country, with both black and white rhino, breeding herds of elephant and bu...
Tanda Tula is situated in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve which is adjacent to the Kruger National Park, sharing an unfenced border allowing for free game movement between the two. Built on the shady banks of the Nharalumi riverbed, the lodge overlooks an active waterhole. The main area has an open plan thatched lounge with fireplace, bar area, and infinity pool overlooking the waterhole. Eveni...
Umlani Bushcamp is different from other lodges in that it aims to give guests a real 'close to the bush' experience. The chalets are simply constructed with reed walls and thatched roofs, for an African look and feel.Umlani (meaning 'Place of Rest' in Shangaan) is a privately owned camp managed by Dave King and deputy-manager Foreman Mathebula, a local Shangaan who started at Umlan...
- Game Drives And Walks At Garonga
- Romantic Open-Air Bush Baths
- Optional Tree House Sleep Outs On Safari
- Relaxing Beaches Of Mauritius
Looking for inspiration?
You'll find expert travel guides, holiday ideas and insider tips now on the Rainbow blog
Why Choose Us?
Passionate travel experts
- We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
- Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
- We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences
Personal & tailor-made
- You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
- We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
- Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love
Responsible by nature
- We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
- For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
- We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours