Timbavati: place of magic & wonder…
The Timbavati Game Reserve borders the Kruger National Park to the north and east. The name Timbavati was derived from a Shangaan expression meaning ‘the place where something sacred came down to earth from the heavens’. This sums up the magical spirit of the Timbavati reserve which has a tangible sense of wilderness. It has no fences so animals are able to move freely, in search of fresh grasses and water.
The Timbavati private game reserve has a vast array of wildlife which includes the Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino) thriving amongst giraffe, zebra, warthogs, hyena and many antelope species. It also protects sustainable populations of many endangered species such as black and white rhinoceros, pangolins, and many others. All in all there are over 40 mammal species in the Timbavati as well as 360 species of bird life.
Why we love it
Open, fenceless borders with the Kruger National Park
Big Five Reserve & frequent sightings of wild dogs
Pervasive sense of wilderness with low vehicle density
Great chance of seeing leopard given the terrain
Getting to the Timbavati…
The Timbavati Private Game Reserve lies approx 495km north-east from Johannesburg. The closest airport is Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport, which is about 1 hour from most camps. There are direct flights from both Cape Town and Johannesburg into Hoedspruit. From there you enjoy a complimentary transfer to our Timbavati lodges.
If you stay in the Hazyview area, the drive is approx 2½ hours to most camps. However you could enjoy scenic tour of the Panorama route via the majestic Blyde River Canyon. This takes much longer, but you can easily arrive in time for afternoon tea prior to safari activities.
Johannesburg to the Timbavati safari lodges takes at least 6½ hours (as the final stretch is slow driving once you are IN the reserve). For specific driving directions, look at How to Get There on each of our Timbavati safari lodge pages and download the directions.
Drive time from Hoedspruit
to most camps
Best Time to visit the Timbavati Private Game Reserve
The Timbavati has a typical sub-tropical climate with warm, wet summer and dry, but sunny winters. It is in the summer rainfall region of South Africa.
Birding in the Timbavati
Bird watching in the Timbavati Game Reserve is very rewarding. As well as the frequently-spotted lilac breasted roller, there is a wide array of owls, eagles, kingfishers and other water-birds amongst the 360 species found here. . It also protects sustainable populations of many endangered birds such as saddle-billed storks and southern ground hornbills.
There are comparatively few Timbavati safari lodges. So this pristine wildlife reserve has a low vehicle density as well as strict, ecologically sensitive game-viewing protocols. This ensures that there are no more than two vehicles at any sighting. So as to leave the wildlife as undisturbed as possible.
Drives are in the early morning and late afternoon when wildlife is most likely to be active. Due to a long history of sensitive game-viewing, the animals are quite relaxed allowing for superb viewing from open-topped game vehicles. Your ranger and tracker work as a team to find the wildlife. Being a private reserve, you can also enjoy night drives and follow wildlife off road.
After sundowners, you may be lucky to spot nocturnal animals on the night drive, including many smaller cat species, including African wild cat.
OUR COLLECTION OF
Romantic Luxurious tented lodge.
Hilltop Lodge has one of the finest settings in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, an unfenced but private part of the Kruger Park. It’s perched on the hillside with wide angle views over the bush and views to the distant mountains of the Drakensberg escarpment. Below lie the expansive Mbali Dam and the Nhlaralumi River, where you may be lucky to see elephant, and other wildlife, come to quench their thirst.
Enjoy game-viewing experience from our deck…
Simbavati River Lodge enjoys a unique setting on the banks of the Kruger Park’s Nhlaralumi River in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve. This lodge has a broad appeal, with a traditional safari ambience but with a relaxed contemporary twist in terms of décor.
Opulent and Spacious Two Bedroomed Villa
River Sands Villa is a combination of luxury and opulence with exceptional private views overlooking a watering hole, in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve. It is positioned alongside a dry river bed running through the Timbavati. The waterfall pool feature overlooks the watering hole that attracts a variety of wildlife throughout the day.