Timbavati Game Reserve shares a common unfenced border with the Kruger National Park allowing animals free range, ensuring that visitors have an opportunity to view the greatest diversity of wildlife that South Africa tours has to offer. Here, game viewing is exceptional, with an abundance of elephant, buffalo, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, waterbuck and warthog, together with predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena.

Conservation Levies apply at each fully-inclusive lodge and can be included in the cost of your accommodation. A Private Road levy also applies and payable at the control gate.

These levies are used to fund the operational activities and increased conservation initiatives as well as community developments within the Timbavati Game Reserve park.

Timbavati region is approximately 7 hours’ drive from Johannesburg and regular scheduled daily flights are available from Johannesburg and Cape Town to local airports.

There are several exclusive game lodges within the park that provide guests with unforgettable safari holidays. Meanwhile, a few of the lodges that we visited recently are described below. In short, each lodge has an individual character and offers a completely different experience.

Buffalo Head

&Beyond Ngala Tented Camp

It is a fabulous 5-Star lodge on the banks of the Timbavati River. Camp built around nature, with neutral colours and contemporary furnishings that add to an overall sense of tranquillity. Luxury tents, one with views across the riverbed and others tucked away in the Timbavati Game Reserve bush, offer outdoor showers, wooden viewing decks, air-conditioning, well-stocked mini-bar, yoga mat and electric blankets for colder nights as well as free Wi-Fi.  Guides and trackers are well-qualified, and you are almost guaranteed to see the Big 5 during your stay, whether on a safari vehicle or bush walking experience. We were most fortunate to encounter a male leopard lying under a tree, guarding his carcass from lurking hyenas, a truly special moment.

Here David, our personal butler took care of our every need and chef prepared three delicious, hearty meals daily, focussing on local produce.

Ngala Tented Camp is ideal for couples and recommend that families with children consider stays at the Ngala Safari Lodge where family suites and the WILDchild kid’s programme are available.

Ngala Tents
Ngala Breakfast
Ngala Dining room
Ngala Leopard
Ngala Elephants

The Umlani Bushcamp

It is truly for guests who would prefer a more rustic, yet exclusive, bush getaway, without the trappings of modern lifestyles. Thatched Eco Huts are comfortable, with lighting provided by solar power and oil lamps, with only outdoor showers available. Great for couples and honeymooners who would like a charming and romantic bush experience. Also, good value for money.

Wi-Fi is accessible in a designated spot, but not guaranteed and mobile reception is limited. The cosy bush bar, overlooking the river bed makes for a beautiful place for socialising. Pre-dinner drinks are served in the evening in the African style boma around the fire which is followed by hearty meals served in the candlelit dining venue.

For peace and tranquillity, try the exclusive tree house, 1.5 kms away from camp for a romantic Timbavati Game Reserve bush sleepout under African skies.

Umlani Views
Umlani Views
Umlani Fire
Umlani Swimming pool
Umlani Sleepout
Umlani Bedroom

Simbavati River Lodge

It is a friendly family lodge, shaded by age old Jackalberry and Leadwood trees, built on the Nhlaralumi river at Timbavati Game Reserve. Luxury tented rooms or thatched chalets are comfortably furnished complete with air conditioning, further enhancing your tranquil African Bush experience.

During the summer rainy season, the river is in full flow, whereas in winter the camp overlooks a dry riverbed, where animals are often seen crossing.

Meals are served outside on a wooden deck and combines African and Western cuisine, and dinners are often served around the campfire in an open-air boma.

During the mid-day heat, guests can relax in the comfortable lounge area or take a dip in the swimming pool.

Morning and afternoon game drives are included as well as complimentary scheduled transfers to and from Eastgate airport. Wi-Fi is available in the lounge and deck areas, with limited mobile reception.

Simbavati River Lodge is an intimate and child friendly Timbavati Game Reserve camp and places emphasis on excellent game viewing experiences as well as relaxation.

Simbavati River Lodge - tents, bedroom view, outside
Simbavati River Lodge - outside view
Simbavati River Lodge - Lodge

Simbavati Hill Top

It is a gorgeous fully-inclusive Timbavati Game Reserve lodge with private, individual pavilion-style luxury tents. Hill Top situated on a slope and accessible by steep wooden pathways and enjoys magnificent views of the bush and the Nhlaralumi River, host to a couple of hippos with babies. This lodge is not suitable for mobility impaired and children under 12 years. Free Wi-Fi is limited to the reception and deck area of the lodge.

Enjoy two game drives daily or choose to explore the bush on foot with experienced guides. The lodge has an infinity pool where you can spend the afternoon at leisure and indulge in traditional African meals around the boma or the exquisite dining tent.

Simbavati Hilltop Tent
Simbavati Hilltop Tent
Simbavati Hill Top is a gorgeous fully-inclusive lodge
Simbavati Hilltop Tent - Bedroom

Machaton Private Camp, Timbavati Game Reserve

It is an intimate and exclusive camp offering a secluded and private safari experience with only three individual luxury suites that may be booked either on a sole-use basis or individually.

Nicole is not only a superb host but a gutsy guide and did a great job tracking the lions for us. The staff are attentive, and Thompson ensured for superb dining experiences. The housekeeper, Doreen kept the rooms in top notch shape and surprised us with her beautiful, creative floral arrangements.

This Timbavati Game Reserve lodge truly does not disappoint!

Machaton Private Camp
Machaton - Vusi
Machaton Tree
Machaton - Thompson
Machaton - Dining
Machaton - Bedroom
Machaton - Bathroom
Machaton Game Drive
Machaton - Doreen
Machaton - Italians

Motswari Game Lodge

At Motswari Game Lodge, great emphasis is placed on personal attention, ensuring that guests feel at home. The family-owned lodge has 15 beautifully decorated, luxury bungalows with bush views and animals roam freely around the gardens.

There are two fully licensed bars, a swimming pool and a curio shop as well as a library and an interesting art gallery.

Meals are served in the outdoor enclosure, the reception area or in the traditional boma and for your safety. Staff escorts you to and from the rooms to the dining area during dinner time. Morning and afternoon game drives can last up to three and a half hours at a time or there is a chance to experience a guided walking safari with one of the armed trail-guides.

Your stay at Motswari is not complete until you spend a night at Giraffe’s Nest in Timbavati Game Reserve, a raised hide out in the bush, with magnificent views over a watering hole. Here you even enjoy luxury, with dinner and drinks served in a private and tranquil setting. Absolutely loved this lodge and highly recommend!

The exclusive Geiger’s Camp, just a few kilometres away from Motswari Lodge, is the ultimate in luxury and privacy which is ideal for small groups or individual guests. It offers a rustic charm and homely atmosphere, without any compromise on elegance. Guests can enjoy the communal lounge and swimmingpool area with breathtaking views of the Nhlaralumi River. Two daily game drives with a professional ranger is included or alternatively, take a guided trail walk for the ultimate bush experience. An absolute must do!

Motswari - Ronel
Motswari - Bar
Motswari - Pool
Motswari - Warthogs
Motswari Reception
Motswari Lunch
Motswari - Lounge
Motswari - Bedroom
Geiger’s Camp
Geiger Camp - Lodge
Geiger Camp