Timbavati Private Nature Reserve Budget Travel

As part of the unfenced Greater Kruger National Park, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve offers the safari-goer access to everything the Kruger Park offers, with fewer crowds. This area is renowned for its beautiful bush and spectacular game-viewing. It’s also known for its rare white lions.

Highlights of Timbavati

  • Part of the Greater Kruger National Park (20 million hectares of game reserve, unfenced)
  • Limited accommodation and, therefore, people: more animals, fewer humans
  • The white lions of Timbavati
  • Both driving and walking safaris offered
  • Night game drives
  • The Big Five
  • Abundant birdlife


There are only twelve lodges in the area, ensuring that your safari experience remains exclusive, with more animal than human sightings!

Animals of Timbavati

Due to the free migration between all the parks that form the Greater Kruger National Park, the area provides some of the best game-viewing in the world. The added bonus of taking a safari in Timbavati, is that numbers of people are limited in the area, allowing you to have a far more exclusive experience, with more animals and fewer humans!

Big Five

The game that’s on the top of many people’s Bucket Lists – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino – are found abundantly in the Timbavati.

The White Lions of Timbavati

Not only that, but the famous Timbavati white lions also call this area home. These incredibly beautiful animals are the result of leucism, a rare genetic or evolutionary trait that results in the lions having a white pelt, but skin and eyes that are pigmented.

Amazingly, a litter of cubs may be made up of both white and tawny cubs.


Timbavati does not only offer the chance to view the Big Five. Far from it! The area offers exceptional game-viewing with healthy populations of antelopes like kudu, impala and waterbuck, giraffe, zebra, warthogs, cheetah, leopard and hyena. As an added bonus, regular sightings of the highly-endangered African wild dog are regularly reported.

The Li’l Guys

Look a little closer and you’ll find a large array of reptiles in the area – tortoises, snakes, lizards, geckos and monitors. Around the waterholes, terrapins and numerous frog species abound.

Insects abound, so spend a couple of hours really looking at the small things. You’ll be surprised by how fascinating it is watching a dung beetle going about his business!

Our Feathered Friends

With over 250 bird species calling Timbavati home, this is a birdwatcher’s paradise. From the comical-looking ostrich to the brightly-coloured lilac-breasted roller, you can spend days just ‘twitching’!

Numerous birds of prey and owls also live in the Timbavati. There is nothing to beat the iconic cry of an African fish eagle breaking through the silence of the bush!

Geography of Timbavati

Timbavati is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa, approximately seven hours north-east of Johannesburg by car, or an hour by plane (closest airport: Hoedspruit).


Situated in the savannah biome, Timbavati landscape consists mainly of grassveld and trees. The types of grass and trees are largely dependent on the soil in the area. Granite and gneiss are the main geological formations and result in differing soils and nutrient characteristics and, therefore plant species.


Annual precipitation at Timbavati is between 550 and 600 mm each year. This falls mainly in the summer months, from November to March. The bush during this time is lush and green (making it a bit more of a challenge to spot game).

The bush is generally dry during the winter months (May to August), making game-viewing easier both in the bush and around the waterholes, where game gather to drink.


Summer (November to March) is hot to very hot, with an average day-time temperature of 38 degrees (Celsius) during the hottest months of January to April.

Winter (May to August) is cool to mild with sunny days. During June and July, night-time temperatures can drop to just under ten degrees, but daytime temperatures average in the mid-20’s (Celsius).

South Africa is amongst the countries of the world to be able to boast having the most hours of annual sunshine!

History of Timbavati

In 1956, a bunch of concerned landowners in the area got together with one thing in mind: conservation. The area was being over-farmed for crops and cattle, causing soil erosion, loss of indigenous bush and a resultant loss of the local wildlife.

Timbavati Association

The Timbavati Association now consists of over 50 privately-owned farms and the area included is over 52 000 hectares, bordered in the west by the Kruger National Park. The Timbavati Association forms part of the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR) with Klaserie and Umbabat Private Nature Reserves and Balule Nature Reserve.

In 1993, the fence between the Kruger Park and Timbavati was removed, allowing free migration of the animals throughout the area and incorporating it into the Greater Kruger National Park (covering 20-million hectares).

Conservation and Research

There are numerous research projects running in the area including ones on ground-hornbills, elephant, leopard and vultures. Huge efforts are being made to ensure that Africa’s animals remain for future generations!

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Tours Focused on Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

5 Day Kruger Park Lodge Safari

Duration 05 Days, Travel Style Lodge Safaris
Priced from pps R27722 $1962 £1533 €1737 A$2761 C$2609 NZ$2869 Full pricing info
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Shutterstock 57667633 Explore the world-famous Timbavati Private Game Reserve of Greater Kruger, staying at a comfortable lodge in the Big Five reserve - an excellent-value-for-money 5 day Kruger Park Lodge Safari.

Trip Style Timbavati Private Nature Reserve Budget Safari Packages

Greater Kruger Lodge Safari to Timbavati Game Reserve

Duration 04 Days, Travel Style Lodge Safaris
Priced from pps R11780 $834 £651 €738 A$1173 C$1109 NZ$1219 Full pricing info
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Bateleur walking safari An exceptional African bush experience offering comfortable safari accommodation and extended bush walks with professional guides and trackers, as well as guided open vehicle game drives in the Big Five Timbavati Private Game Reserve within Greater Kruger Park.

Trip Style Timbavati Private Nature Reserve Budget Safari Packages

3 Day Kruger Bush Camp Safari

Duration 03 Days, Travel Style Lodge Safaris
Priced from pps R10566 $748 £584 €662 A$1052 C$994 NZ$1094 Full pricing info
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Timbavati leopard close An authentic rare find - a truly wild African bush experience where you escape the modern world and reconnect with nature. Stay at an award-winning, fair trade certified eco-camp in the middle of the Big Five Timbavati Nature Reserve.

Trip Style Timbavati Private Nature Reserve Budget Safari Packages

3 Day Kruger Park Lodge Safari to Timbavati

Duration 03 Days, Travel Style Lodge Safaris
Priced from pps R15086 $1068 £834 €945 A$1502 C$1420 NZ$1561 Full pricing info
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Shutterstock 557192371 This budget Kruger Park Lodge Safari offers a rewarding African bush experience at an exclusive yet affordable safari lodge in the Big Five Timbavati Private Game Reserve sharing unfenced borders with Kruger National Park.

Trip Style Timbavati Private Nature Reserve Budget Safari Packages