Tag Archives: South Africa

Kaingo: Where Time Stands Still

Time doesn’t seem to exist here.

Out here in the bush, in the middle of the remote African wilderness, time seems to melt away. The wall clocks and wristwatches and phone screens that we use to chart our every activity become irrelevant. The sun’s movement across the sky becomes the gauge with which to measure time- the way nature intended.

Things move more slowly, more purposefully in the bush- time is stretched, somehow. Perhaps it’s the absence of tall buildings, of traffic, of crowds, of unpleasant smells, of rubbish strewn everywhere, of the endless tooting of car horns…

In the bush, you notice things you simply wouldn’t elsewhere. You feel the relentless beating down of the midday sun, you welcome the cooling breath of a breeze, you hear every strange call of birds and animals to each other. There’s no chaos, or rush, no inexplicable “go, go, go” mindset you always seem to find yourself in in a city. Here, you can relax. And the Kaingo team makes sure that you do just that.

Kaingo Game Reserve is located in South Africa’s Limpopo province, within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. This is a stunningly beautiful part of the country, made up of rolling hills, open plains, vegetated valleys, and montane grasslands. Kaingo is approximately 9000 hectares in size, and features massive cliffs, sandy beaches, natural causeways, and potholes and waterfalls. Over 50 mammal species call the reserve home, including 4 of the iconic African Big 5, as well as over 300 species of birds. Kaingo employs a genuine conservation-focused philosophy, and bases its management and operations on this ethos.

There is just one safari lodge found inside Kaingo Reserve. Elephant Lodge is designed in a style that is reminiscent of a traditional African safari camp, while still offering complete luxury and comfort. The lodge is built from natural stone with thatched roofs, with nature-inspired décor. Only 28 guests are accommodated at Elephant Lodge, ensuring personal attention and superb service.

The staff at Kaingo are incredible. It sounds clichéd, when describing a luxury establishment, but they genuinely go out of their way to make sure that you have everything you need. From the minute you step out of your car at reception to the minute that you leave, they are ready to pamper and spoil you. The chef will change her menu to suit your dietary requirements. The lodge manager will welcome and greet you personally. The reservations manager will show you around, make sure you have everything you need, and even accompany you on the game drive. And the guides and rangers are the stars of the show. Their knowledge of the bush and passion for what they do truly shines through.

The Safari Index team arrived at Elephant Lodge in the early afternoon. After a warm welcome, a refreshing dip in the pool after the long and dusty drive, and a refueling bite for lunch, we headed out for the afternoon game drive.

Don’t expect a typical safari experience when you go on a game drive at Kaingo. The reserve’s unique conservation policy means that the emphasis is on experiencing things as they are, instead of heading out on a crazy high-speed search mission to tick the Big 5 off a list. Instead, you drive through the reserve at a leisurely pace, stopping to appreciate whatever happens to cross your path. Andre, our guide, stopped frequently to point out interesting or unusual trees, take note of a rare bird-call, and relate stories about the animals we encountered. Since there are no other lodges in the reserve, you encounter no other vehicles when out on safari. This is a major plus- it’s something that is a rather frustrating problem in many other safari areas.

Andre drove expertly through the reserve’s maze of roads, appearing to know exactly where he was going, even though there wasn’t a single signpost in sight. At this point, the sun was sinking rapidly, and the bushveld was suffused with the magical light of “golden hour”.  We saw impalas and kudus aplenty as we drove- but it was as we arrived at a clearing that the most delightful sight greeted us- a baby giraffe and its mother! Andre moved the vehicle as close as was possible, warning that the protective mama giraffe could possibly charge if it detected any potential danger. We learnt with delight that the little one was just a week old, and spent some time watching as it went from tree to tree, stopping now and then to observe us curiously.

After spending a while with the baby giraffe, we headed on. We moved further downwards into a valley, towards the Mokolo River. Sunset had arrived as we stopped on the most beautiful spot on the riverbank. Andre set out the sundowner drinks and snacks, and we enjoyed them in the most magical setting imaginable: the myriad colours of the sunset sky and clouds reflected in the river, slowly darkening as the sounds of nocturnal creatures started to amplify.

It was fully dark by the time we started to head back to the lodge- so were treated to a nighttime safari en-route! Andre cast an enormous flashlight into the surrounding blackness as he drove, now and then catching the glowing eyes of various creatures in the beam. Back at Elephant Lodge, a delicious three-course dinner was waiting for us. The first course included warm bread baked in the shape of a crocodile- another quirky little touch!

After dinner, we enjoyed some time around the campfire. The campfire deck is wonderful place to sit and swap stories of the bush, out under a multitude of stars, which shine much more brightly without a harsh city glare to diminish them. We then retired gratefully to our luxurious rooms, where amenities like tea-and-coffee stations, bathtubs, and soft beds (with little chocolates on the pillow!) were most welcome after a thrilling day.

We were woken early the next day. Early mornings are one of the best times for going out on a game drive. The unpleasantness of an early morning is almost unnoticeable in a place like this- sunrise in the African bush is definitely something worth waking up for.

After tea/coffee and biscuits, we set out on safari once again.

An unexpected and wonderfully special treat awaited us on our safari today. After driving for a while, Andre stopped the vehicle in a small clearing. We were then asked to disembark. With excitement (and a little trepidation), we followed him along a path. He stopped to point out interesting plants and trees, and, thrillingly, some lion prints! A short way away, a spectacular view over a dry riverbed greeted us. We followed Andre down the path into the ravine, where, under an overhang, we came to a rock art site.

Many times, when you visit a famous or important historical place, the experience can sometimes be diminished by the presence of newer, more modern developments that have appeared or been built around it. This isn’t true of the rock art sites in Kaingo Reserve. Out here in the wilderness, surrounded by the pristine bushveld that has remained unchanged for thousands of years, you are easily transported back in time. You can see the Bushmen painting the art without even closing your eyes. You can imagine the Khoisan standing right in front of you, conducting a religious ritual.

We spent a long while at the site, Andre explaining the various stories and meanings behind the incredible artwork. We visited two beautiful sites on our drive, but Andre informed that us that these were just two of many on the reserve. Kaingo can arrange specialised rock art safari packages for anyone who is interested in this fascinating subject.

The second notable experience on our morning safari was seeing a large herd of sable antelope. These are stunningly graceful creatures, with rich black-and-brown coats and formidable horns. They are also endangered, and it’s a special privilege to be able to see them in the flesh. We were introduced to Prince, the patriarch of the herd, whose distinctly large horns and unmistakably self-important expression showed that he knew exactly who the boss was.

Much to our delight, a giraffe ambled over into the midst of the antelope, who were supremely unconcerned by the arrival of their tall visitor. As we sat in the vehicle with this extraordinary scene in front of us, it felt as though we were sitting at a drive-in theater watching a National Geographic documentary- with the smells of the bush as a bonus!

We returned to the lodge in time for a hearty breakfast out on the deck, before getting ready for a reluctant departure. The end of our stay had arrived all too quickly. Our bags were packed, our car was waiting. But Kaingo had one last parting gift for us. Just as we made our way through the garden to reception, our farewell party arrived: two enormous elephants, with a young bull in tow! The magnificent creatures had come right up to the lodge’s perimeter fence. We were able to stand just metres away from them as they munched away on the grass, completely oblivious to the awestruck humans ogling them. We were utterly delighted; there is nothing quite as breathtaking as being so close to such majestic animals. A truly wonderful send-off!

They say it’s the little things that make a big difference- and this is certainly true at Kaingo. From the fresh warm towels waiting for us when we arrived or returned from a game drive, to the personalized water flasks that we were allowed to keep, to the welcoming postcards with our names added by hand, to the adorable elephant-shaped towels on the beds- it was these original and personal touches that put the cherry on top of an already incredible experience.

As we got ready to start our journey back home, the sense of time being warped was palpable again. We had only arrived at Kaingo the previous day, but in less than 24 hours, we had been treated to a wealth of sights and experiences. And while it felt like we’d been there for ages, it also didn’t feel like enough.

Visit Kaingo. You won’t regret it.

In Search of Africa’s Ultimate Safari Destinations

In 2016, Jake Hoddinott and Donovan Rule set out on a mammoth overland trip through the wildest areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, with the goal of finding Africa’s ultimate safari destination. They visited South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. Their travels took them to many places off the beaten track. This was an unforgettable experience for them, and an inspiration for the rest of us. They were able to acquire a wealth of knowledge, so that we too can find the ultimate safari destination, without the trial and error they faced.

Here are some of the highlights from their unforgettable adventure.

Botswana

The Okavango Delta remains one of their all-time favourite places, not only in Africa, but in the world. The sheer bird and wildlife concentrations of the region is amazing. Here, one can watch elephants cross a crystal clear channel that’s just a little too deep for the youngest members of the herd, so that all that is visible are their wettened trunks. At the same time, you can enjoy a sundowner while casting a line for an African pike or a tackle-busting nembwe, all to the tune of the omnipresent African fish eagle. A truly unique experience!

Whilst Botswana has adopted a high-value, low-impact model with respect to tourism, making it a relatively expensive trip, the richness of its wildlife biodiversity is unrivalled, and the swamps are a truly special place.

Namibia

Namibia: Breathtaking landscapes, massive expanses of seeming nothingness… the rust-red sand dunes of the Namib, and oases of wildlife dotted throughout the country. Add in the feeling that, culturally and economically, you haven’t really left home, and Namibia becomes a very appealing option.

Zimbabwe

Chitake Springs is a truly wonderful Zambian destination. Unfenced camps, a real sense of wilderness, and one of the few wildlife parks that allow unguided walks make it a superb safari destination. And just 50km north, both the  Zambezi and the iconic Mana Pools can be found. Jake and Donovan didn’t see any other people during their stay, bar the Anti-Poaching Unit. This was possibly due to the time of the year that they visited, and a real sense of being in the wild pervaded. This made it a very special part of the trip, somewhat reminiscent of their time at Lake Tagalala in the Selous.

Zambia

Liuwa Plain National Park is unique, with rural communities continuing to exist within the park boundaries. It is a great example of a sustainable solution to Africa’s growing population and the potential human-wildlife conflicts that result. The local communities have a participatory stake in the park, and benefit directly from the tourism associated with the park, creating an ecosystem where people and wildlife co-exist. Liuwa is home to Africa’s second-largest wildebeest migration, and has been the site of many positive changes since African Parks began managing the park in 2003. These include a growing pride of lions, increasing cheetah numbers, and drastically-reduced poaching. Jake and Donovan enjoyed some incredibly special sunsets, observing massive lines of wildebeest, with thousands of black-winged pratincoles landing and taking-off in the ensuing dust cloud, all punctuated by the ubiquitous spotted hyena. The Zambian people were some of the friendliest they encountered, which added a wonderful warmth to the experience.

Tanzania

Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, and Selous Game Reserve offered up some truly incredible wildlife sightings, accompanied by a genuine sense of wilderness and solitude. Tanzania has some challenges- the traffic officials can become tiresome, and the park fees (USD denominated) are very high. When Jake and Donovan arrived, the parks had just added 18% VAT to all park fees under the premise that this would see an improvement in facilities. This was not something they could really attest to, as the facilities they encountered were extremely basic, if any were provided at all. However,  when it comes to a wilderness experience and wildlife densities, the parks of Tanzania’s southern circuit really are exceptional.

This is just a fraction of what Jake and Donovan experienced on their incredible expedition. The African continent has so much to offer, such wonders to see. Don’t you think it is worth your time to visit some of these spots for yourself?

What are the best Kruger Camps to visit?

 

Heading to the Kruger Park is super exciting but the planning can be both an exhilarating and daunting undertaking. With 12 main camps, 5 satellite camps, 5 bush camps, and 2 overnight hides, not to mention luxury lodges and wilderness trails, you are forgiven for not knowing which to choose and what to expect when staying in one of the Kruger camps.

Here are our 5 favourite Kruger Camps and what you can expect:

Punda Maria Rest Camp

The Northernmost Kruger Camp is first on our list and with good reason. Punda Maria is perhaps the best camp for birding in the whole of the Kruger. This lush green camp is known for sightings of Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied and Terrestrial Bulbul, Bearded Robin and Black Eagle, all this before even leaving the camp itself!
Running in a 25-kilometre course around the camp is the Mahonie loop, perhaps the most rewarding birding drives in the Kruger. A patient birder will be rewarded for taking their time on this trail by being able to spot Yellow Oxpecker, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Crested Guineafowl, Cape Parrot, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Stierling’s Barred Warbler and Dickinson’s Kestrel. A select few might even see the Narina Trogon, a shy and elusive species.

Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Lower Sabie is situated in the southern region of the Kruger Park and is a very popular family destination. With an abundance of foliage and watering holes, there is plenty of game, making Lower Sabie ideal for game drives.
There is always something to see in the region. Lions are quite common as well as Cheetah. Lower Sabie is also a great location for viewing White Rhino and there are large herds of Buffalo that roam the area. The watering holes and dams also make it an ideal place for birding as there is a variety of bird species close to the water’s edge.

Olifants Rest Camp

If panoramic Kruger views are what you are after look no further, Olifants is one of the best Kruger camps for breath taking vistas. Set on a hill, the camp overlooks the Olifants River and long stretches of bushveld.
Olifants offer a wide range of game due to the fact that it is a transitional zone, where one ecosystem flows into another. To the North Mopane trees provide cover for Zebra and Impala while the rolling plains to the south are home to Buffalo and Giraffe.
Ideally placed shaded lookout platforms along the Olifants River makes it easy to view the river’s edge and gives views of Hippopotamus, Crocodiles and the occasional Lion kill.

Letaba Rest Camp

Letaba is perhaps the best of the Kruger camps for first time visitors to the Kruger. It offer a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from air conditioned bungalows, safari tents, 2 guesthouses, rusting huts and camp sites, making it ideal for those on their first safari as well as experienced campers.
The camp is green and lush, known for its large trees and indigenous gardens. Bushbuck wander freely around the camp and other residents include Tree Squirrels, Fruit Bats and Vervet Monkeys.
Letaba is known for the large mammals that call the area home, particularly around the Letaba River’s sandy riverbed. Lion and Cheetah kills have been known to take place in the riverbed as well, a real treat for those visiting the restaurant which overlooks it.

Satara Rest Camp

Satara is one of the best Kruger camps to visit if seeing the big cats are on your itinerary. Lion, Leopard and Cheetah pray on the grazers that call the area home due to the fertile grazing lands that surround the camp.
The other members of Big 5 (Elephants, Buffalo and Rhino) are also spotted frequently in this part of the park. Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Waterbuck, Giraffe and Impala are also plentiful and Honey Badgers are a rare treat for those on safari.

Each of these Kruger camps are definitely worth a visit. Each has their own charm and attractions, making the Kruger the ideal safari destination. If you are still unsure which the ideal camp is for you, look no further; simply drop us a line and we will help you plan your ideal Kruger experience.

 

What to know about visiting South Africa

Heading to South Africa?  Need to know what to pack? Unsure about visas or malaria? Here is what you need to know:

Do you need a Visa to visit South Africa?

South Africa is a Visa-free country to a large number of countries and for those that are not on this list a Visa can easily be organised at your local South African embassy. The following countries are exempt from needing a Visa – but remember it is always a good idea just to contact the South African embassy to confirm.

Visas are NOT needed by the following nationals:

-Australia                 -Austria                                -Belgium

-Canada                    -Denmark                            -Finland

-France                      -Germany                            -Greece

-Iceland                     -Ireland                                 -Italy

-Monaco                   -Netherlands                     -Norway

-Portugal                 -Russian Federation       -Spain

-Sweden                 -Switzerland                       -United Kingdom

-United States of America

 Climate

South Africa has been described as having the best climate in the world. It’s an ideal holiday destination year round as the country enjoys warm, sunny days throughout the year and mildly chilly nights during the winter months. Rainfall occurs in the summer months, (November to March) except for the Cape region which has the bulk of its rainfall during the winter months of June to August.

When is the best time to visit? Although South Africa can be visited at any time of the year safaris best undertaken during the winter months of April to October while Cape Town and the Garden Route are great to head to in summer months from October to March.

 Malaria

There are some areas in South Africa where malaria occurs. Malaria is a common illness found in the Sub-Saharan areas of Africa and is transmitted via the female anopheles mosquito. Most of South Africa is malaria-free though.

The anopheles mosquito that carries the malaria disease are found in the far north and east of the country in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and northern Kwa-Zulu Natal areas.

Which areas are known for having malaria?

The following areas are known for being high risk Malaria areas; the Kruger National Park. the game parks and coastline in the northern half of KwaZulu-Natal and the northern and eastern parts of Limpopo.

The high risk months are the summer months of September to May when rainfall is at its highest.

What precautions to take?

– Speak to your local doctor about taking anti-malaria prophylactic medication.

– It is advisable to wear long-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved trousers at night (mosquitoes tend to be most active in the early evening).

– Make use of insect repellents on a regular basis, spraying any exposed skin every hour.

– If possible burn insecticide oils or candles in your bedroom.

– Sleep under a mosquito net. Nets are available in most upmarket safari lodges in malaria areas.

Crime

South Africa is a country of warm smiles, sun filled days and fascinating cultural diversity. It unfortunately also has a reputation for being a country with a high crime rate. While not completely inaccurate, statistics are high/ However most crime takes place in ‘crime hotspots’ which are mainly focused in inner city and some economically depressed urban areas. Although it is unlikely that one will experience crime first hand, it is advisable to always be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on belongings and do not flash them about and follow your guide or accommodation’s recommendations of which areas to avoid.

Exploring the Highlights of South Africa

South Africa is divided in to nine provinces, each with its own charm and attractions that you can choose to visit. From the hip and happening metropolis’s of Gauteng to the laid back ‘fairest Cape of them all’, to the game rich savannahs of Mpumalanga to the mountain kingdoms of KwaZulu Natal, there is so much on offer for everyone to experience and enjoy.

Western Cape

The Western Cape is home to Africa’s southernmost point and its heart is the Mother City – the stirring City of Cape Town. The iconic Table Mountain, The impressive Cape Point, Nelson Mandela’s prison on Robben Island and the beaches and thick forests of the Garden Route all have to be visited. Inland from the coast, which boarders both the Indian and Atlantic oceans, one will find the majestic Cape wine lands, which offer wine-tasting excursions of Cape Town. Table Mountain dominates the skyline of Cape Town. Set in a National park, great for hiking to enjoy the beautiful fynbos in its natural habitat.

Great for: Road-tripping, wining and dining, the incredible natural and cultural attractions.

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape frontier has an interesting climate ranging from the semi-desert Karoo to the lush rainforests of Alexandria. The province is generally flat and mountainous in sections with ranges such as the Stormberg and Drakensberg providing great hiking and biking trails. It home to the famous Addo Elephant National Park as well as several other well-known private game reserves such as Shamwari and Amakhala and is a no malaria area. For those looking at raw and rustic travel experiences, the Wild Coast awaits and is ever popular with backpackers.

Great for: Bush and beach combination holidays, malaria-free safaris, family holidays and hiking tours tours.

KwaZulu-Natal

Kwazulu-Natal, the home of the Zulu kingdom, stretches from the Drakensberg mountain range in the west, through the rolling hills of the natal midlands and the savannahs of northern Zululand to the tropical beaches on the Indian Ocean. This province is diverse in its offerings. Exotic beach resorts dot the coast while inland mountain retreats and quaint BnB’s allow one to relax and unwind. For good reason Kwazulu-Natal is a popular vacation destination for the locals of South Africa and is definitely worth a visit.

Great for: Battlefield tours, exceptional game parks such as Hluluwe-Imfolozi and Phinda, hiking the Berg, lazing about in beautiful warm oceans.

North West

The North West consists of rolling grassland and savannahs that rise slowly up into the Magaliesberg mountain range. Along the southern border of the province one will find the Vaal River, one of the largest rivers in South Africa and a watersports hotspot. The North West Provice is home to the gambling and golfing Mecca of Sun City and the Palace of the Lost City. Two of South Africa’s top malaria-free safari destinations are found here in the Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve.

Great for: Malaria free safaris, short-break safari holidays, hiking the Magaliesburg and hot-air balloon safaris.

Limpopo

Limpopo is South Africa’s northern most province and is named after the Limpopo River basin which flows along its boundary. Limpopo is South Africa’s gateway to Africa as it shares borders with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The province is home to several incredibly large Baobab trees, world heritage sites featuring bushmen rock art sites, iron age artifacts and fossilized dinosaur footprints. The province is home to fantastic safari parks such as Kruger, Mapungubwe and Marakele.

Great for: Big 5 safaris, malaria free safaris in the Waterberg, birding safaris, incredible landscapes and cultural heritage.

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest province in terms of ground area. It dominated by semi desert like landscape which comprises large tracts of the Karoo, Namaqualand and Kalahari. Wild daisies carpet the arid Namaqualand region in the springtime, drawing thousands to enjoy this natural phenomenon. The province is also known for its gemstones. The Big Hole in Kimberley which was dug by hand is of particular historical interest and where the largest diamonds have been unearthed.

Great for: Star-gazing in the Karoo, Kalahari big cat game viewing, Kimberley Big Hole, flowering Namaqualand, paddling the Orange River.

Free State

The Free State is locally known as South Africa’s breadbasket as it is situated on flat grassy plains which provides rich soil for farming the county’s grains. Towards the northern part of the province the flat lands arch in elevation as they lift to form the Maluti Mountains. This area plays host to the famous Golden Gate Highlands National Park which has some of the most beautiful vistas due to its higher elevation. The smaller towns such as Clarens are great stop overs on road trips and host interesting arts and crafts communities.

Great for: Hiking the Golden Gate Mountains, Clarens village tours, road tripping on open roads.

Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is well known for as South Africa’s premier safari destinations as it hosts the finest safari lodges and bush camps such as the Kruger camps, in and around the iconic Kruger National Park. This province is mainly made up of the Lowveld which forms the base of the Drakensberg Escarpment in the west and stretches out all the way to the Mozambique border in the east. This massive expanse of bushveld and wilderness is home to an awe-inspiring abundance of animal, plant, bird and reptile species. The area is also known for being one of the best places on the planet to see the Big 5 in the wild.

Great for: Classic big 5 safari hotspot, Kruger National Park, Kruger Camps, super luxury lodges, Blyde River Canyon.

Gauteng

The economic hub of South Africa, Gauteng (meaning place of gold due to its origins in the gold rush of the early 1900’s), plays host to the famous Cradle of Humankind where the oldest hominoid fossils have been discovered. It has breath-taking botanical gardens, sophisticated first-world cities, vibrant townships to explore and smaller game reserves great for day visits. Most of the province is on what is known as the Highveld, which is a high-altitude grasslands which slope down into the savannahs of the bordering provinces and rise into the Magalieberg Mountains and Witwatersrand.

Great for: Cradle of Humankind tours, Anti-apartheid and mining museums, superb restaurants and shopping malls.

The Kruger Park

South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park spans over 2 million unspoiled hectares and is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. The Kruger Park, as it is known locally, is one of the world’s most fertile and abundant wildlife sanctuaries, and famously hosts the majestic Big 5. The Kruger Park is a dream destination for anyone wishing for a safari getaway.

Kruger Park guided safari

There is plenty to see when out on a game drive while in the Kruger Park.  The park’s incredible diversity of life includes 336 tree species, 507 bird species and 147 mammal species. Whether you choose to do a self-drive safari or guided game drive, there are plenty of ways to see what the Kruger Park has to offer. When doing a self-drive safari, you need not be concerned about wear and tear on your vehicle, as the Kruger Park boasts a well-maintained road infrastructure.

 

RWS walking safari

Driving safaris are not the only type of safari on offer in the Kruger. Several camps, like Rhino Walking Safaris Plains Camp, offer walking safaris, where keen-eyed, well-informed guides are able to find even the most elusive animals.

The famous African Big 5- consisting of the lion, leopard, rhino (white and black), elephant and Cape buffalo- can be found in the Kruger Park. The highlight of any Kruger safari is spotting all 5 members out in their natural habitat. Imagine being on an early-morning walking tour, the sun rising above the plains, and spotting a family of elephants in the distance. Picture enjoying sundowner drinks with a view of a waterhole, where a pride of lions joins you in enjoying some refreshments after a hot day. The Kruger Park is a magical place where just such occurrences can take place.

The Kruger Park offers different accommodation options to suit anyone’s budget and taste. From the versatile accommodation types at Skukuza Rest Camp, to the rustic rondawels of Pretoriuskop Rest Camp, to the more luxurious lodges like Singita Lebombo, there is something to suit everyone.

Singita Lebombo
Pretoriuskop Rest Camp

No matter what your budget, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Let the experts at Safari Index help you find the best option for your pocket. Contact us today to book your dream safari getaway to the Kruger  Park.

Timbavati Lodges

Timbavati Nature Reserve is found in South Africa‘s Lowveld region, bordering the world-famous Kruger National Park. This private reserve comprises 53000 hectares of open woodlands, mopane tree belts, rocky outcrops and dry river beds that teem with an abundance of wildlife and birdlife species. The reserve is also home to the iconic African Big 5. Large herds of buffaloes and elephants are seen regularly, and it is a good place for spotting the elusive leopard. The Timbavati is also home to a rare and unique specie: the white lion. These stunning animals have been the subject of many books and documentaries.

A major advantage of visiting the Timbavati is that the reserve has a much lower density of lodges and camps than most other reserves and parks in the Lowveld. This means that there are much fewer safari vehicles on the roads, allowing for a more exclusive and less crowded safari experience, especially around game sightings.

The is a small selection of lodges found in the reserve, offering accommodation options to suit various budget types, from super luxury to mid-range to more affordable. These are some of the best lodges and camps to stay at when visiting the Timbavati:

Walker’s River Camp

This self-catering camp is set on the banks of the Klaserie River, and is the perfect option for families and groups. It accommodates a maximum of ten guests in en-suite chalets. Each chalet has its own private outdoor shower, as well as mosquito netting on the beds. The kitchen is fully-equipped and has a gas stove, fridge, freezer, oven and microwave. The lodge has to be booked out it its entirety by one group, making it perfect for those a budget. Guided game drives and bush walks are offered to guests, providing thrilling encounters with wildlife in the reserve. Relax with family and friends after an exciting day of game-viewing: enjoy a drink around the pool or a braai in the outdoor boma.

Umlani Bush Camp

Umlani Bush Camp is a charming, rustic safari camp set in the heart of the Timbavati. This delightful camp provides a genuine wilderness experience and the chance to truly reconnect with nature. The accommodation is made up of traditional-style round huts. Each hut is constructed from reed and thatch, helping them to blend wonderfully with the surrounding wilderness. The huts have en-suite bathrooms, open-air bush showers, comfortable beds with crisp white linen, draped mosquito netting, and soft towels- all ensuring comfort in the bush. Enjoy waterhole views from the bush bar and deck, cool down in the sparkling pool, end enjoy award-winning meals in the outdoor boma.

Kings Camp

This ultra-luxury lodge is the perfect destination for those who want to experience their African safari in the ultimate style and comfort. It is designed in a colonial style, with lavish decor and classic, antique-style furniture. The lodge is set among beautiful gardens and overlooks a busy waterhole- you can watch the wildlife come to drink while sitting back and enjoying a cold drink or reading a book. The service is exceptional and the staff cater to guests’ every need. The spacious rooms are air-conditioned with en-suite bathrooms, as well as secluded outdoor showers. Facilities include a pool, gym, spa, library, business centre and WiFi connectivity. There is also a private 4-bedroom luxury villa, where guests can enjoy the services of their own personal butler, chef, game ranger sand game-viewing vehicle.