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.
There are only twelve lodges in the area, ensuring that your safari experience remains exclusive, with more animal than human sightings!
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 less humans!
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.
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 antelope 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.
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!
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!
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 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!
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.
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).
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!
Use the Google map to explore Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Feel free to Print the Street Map when you're ready.