Timbavati Game drives take place in the early morning and late afternoon when the animals are naturally most active.
Key to the experience is your English-speaking guide who works closely with a tracker from the local Shangaan community. This duo pool their knowledge, experience and fresh observations to maximise your wildlife sightings. Their passion is in seeking out a variety of wildlife for guests to see as well as ensuring a rewarding, informative and invigorating overall experience. Your guide is often a keen photographer and will be conscious and considerate if your mission is to capture sightings on camera.
The afternoon drive often ends after the sun sets, offering guest a glimpse into nocturnal bush life. With the help of a spotlight, guests may spot a hunter on the prowl, or one of the shy animals which only operate after dark.
Open-sided 4×4 game vehicle
Your mode of transport, (or chariot as one of our guides likes to call it), is an open-sided 4×4 game vehicle with 3 rows of comfortable bucket seats in tiers. You generally head out with a maximum of 8 guests. This offers safe, yet close wildlife encounters. Guests sit up high for the best ‘spotting’ of birds and animals. There are no sides to inhibit your views and you naturally feel more in tune with nature. In the summer month, a shade top is added to protect against the African sun, but in winter it is open to the skies for the best bird-viewing and for stargazing.
Your guide helps you to interpret what you see. They also communicate with other vehicles by radio in order to keep in touch with sightings nearby.
Tune into the sounds of the bush…
The tracker, seated in the hot seat at the front of the vehicle, tunes into clues offered by the bush. It may be the spoor of a big cat on the hunt. Perhaps a fresh scent mark on a shrub, a muddy patch on a tree left by an itchy rhino, or a tell-tale sign where a kill has been dragged into the bush.
But it is not just about game-viewing. You’ll start to tune into the sights and sounds of the bush, traversing the land and soaking it all in whilst you stop for a morning coffee or a sundowner in a beautiful spot.
Our vehicles come equipped with blankets, bird books, binoculars, water and refreshments. However, we do recommend that you bring your own binoculars for maximum enjoyment.
The Timbavati Private Game Reserve offers an exclusive safari wilderness. There are never more than two vehicles at a sighting. So you don’t have to jostle for position as you may do in a national park.
Guides are also allowed to take the vehicles off road on occasion, to follow some of the Big Seven (for example rhino, lion, leopard or wild dog). This allows you to enjoy up close and personal encounters.
Currently over 40 mammal species are to be found in the Greater Kruger, including the Big 5 of Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. The Timbavati is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, as many as 360 species of bird life have been documented here.