Overview – Timbavati NR
Timbavati is a private nature reserve with open borders to the famous Kruger National Park. It is part of the Greater Kruger ecosystem, which offers an authentic wildlife experience. All of the Big Five animals are easily spotted including the elusive leopard. The park is famed for its rare white lion.
Pros and Cons
- Good wildlife viewing with all of the Big Five present
- Day and night drives and walking safaris available
- Off-road driving in open vehicles
- Part of a very large ecosystem
- Several lodges and self-catering camps to choose from
- Less busy than Sabi Sands
- Relatively far from Johannesburg compared to other private reserves in Greater Kruger
- Emphasis on ticking off the Big Five species
Game viewing tends to be very good – Timbavati boasts the Big Five and all other large safari animals including elephant, buffalo, kudu, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, waterbuck and their predators: lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. Big cats are easy to spot, but rhino is more hit and miss. African wild dog are regular visitors to the property. The white lion are very rare, but some lighter colored lions carrying the gene might be spotted.
The main habitats in the parks are grassy plains and mixed woodland. In the rainy season, the vegetation tends to be quite thick, but this doesn't interfere much with the wildlife viewing because of the off-road driving permits.
Weather & Climate
Cool mornings and warm afternoons characterize the Dry season (May to September), with its low-key winter climate. Don’t underestimate how cold it can get in the morning, though. You should remember to dress warmly, or you’ll struggle to enjoy an early game drive. The temperature starts building with the rainfall in September, with the humidity of summer (October to April) soon smothering the landscape.
Best Time to Visit
Timbavati offers impressive wildlife watching in the Dry season, from May to September, when animals share the local waterholes and rivers. Low-season prices and some gorgeous weather are two other reasons to visit at this time. The wetter months are great for birding, but the roads can get swamped by heavy showers and other tourists.
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Timbavati Safari Reviews
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Most Helpful Expert Review
Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.
Poor Cousin of the Sabi Sands
At 55,000ha this private game reserve is slightly smaller in size than the Sabi Sands and for some inexplicable reason it seems to always get rated in second place when compared to its more illustrious neighbour to the south. But I don’t...
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