48 hours in the Timbavati

Johan van Zyl All Authors, Johan 1 Comment

A few days ago I returned from an incredible 48 hours in the Timbavati.  We stayed at Umlani Bushcamp, who some of you that have been on our Exclusive Timbavati Safari, might be familiar with.


  On Safari with Shadreck and Cabinet, a great combo!

It was so refreshing to go to a camp that is plain and simple, no fuss, no overboard luxury and no electricity! (There is a charging station in the curio shop to charge batteries).   It blends in perfectly with the environment and has minimal impact on it.   The camp is beautifully laid out along a dry riverbed, with only a top strain fence (basically just to keep bigger animals like Elephants etc out) around it, which means that Leopards, Lion, Hyaenas etc can move through camp freely.


A big herd of Buffalo viewed from the Hide.


Although this is not your “5 Star” lodge, it does have amazing “5Star” touches.  During the cold nights and early morning game drives you are a given a hot water bottle, a real lifesaver during those cold morning!   The beds are more comfortable than a lot of luxurious lodges I’ve stayed at, and the food, presented buffet style, is delicious and compliments the style of the camp beautifully.  (Trust me we definitely were not roughing it).


No electricity in camp means you have crystal clear evenings with no light pollution.


It is the activities however, when we are on photographic safaris, that we are most interested in and I was pleasantly surprised at how busy one is kept whilst at the camp.   Not only do you have your 2 game drives per day (morning and afternoon) but there are several options for “in between drive” activities.  There is a beautiful hide overlooking a waterhole situated close to the camp, where you could go to after breakfast, after lunch or even after dinner, giving you some alone time in the Wilderness.

There are also walking safaris available after the morning game drives, which is a brilliant add on.  Not only does it give you the opportunity to get a bit of exercise in, but it also opens a whole new world of exploration, seeing things that we often miss whilst in a vehicle.


Most of the Leopards in this area are extremely relaxed, making for some great photographic opportunities.


We heard Lions from camp on both evenings.

The Game viewing we had during the 48 hours was just incredible.  In 4 Game Drives we had 2 Lion sightings (didn’t see the White Lions this time though, next time, next time), 3 Leopard sightings and numerous Elephant, Buffalo, and White Rhino sightings.  The area in general is also great for photography, with plenty of big trees and open areas present.  With abundant birdlife and decent general game, there is enough to view and photography in between big sightings.






Our next Exclusive Timbavati Photo Safari will be from the 27 November 2016 – 1 December 2016 and I can’t wait to return to the beautiful place.

Get in touch if you would like some more info on this trip.

Till next time.


About the Author

Johan van Zyl


The opportunity of visiting some of the wildest, undisturbed areas and sharing my passion for wildlife, conservation and photography with like minded people is a privilege that I am forever grateful.

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