Timbavati Game Reserve – South Africa
The superb Timbavati Wildlife Reserve borders the Kruger National Park to the north-east. Easily accessed via Hoedspruit Airport with direct flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town. The Timbavati was originally famous for its rare white lions, the product of a recessive gene. These are still seen, but tend to move between the Timbavati and the nearby Klaserie reserve, so there is no guarantee. You are likely to see large herds of elephant, who love the mopane forest, and the rest of the Big 5 – elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino. There’s plenty of smaller mammals like the spotted hyena, zebra and giraffe. Timbavati safaris range over wide areas of bush and vehicle density is low leading to an exclusive safari experience.
The Timbavati Game Reserve offers several private safari lodges such as Simbavati River Lodge, Hilltop Lodge and Machaton Private Camp.
Timbavati safaris tend to be more moderate in price than the Sabi Sands. They pride themselves on their relaxed atmosphere and a holistic approach to game-viewing. The emphasis is placed on an overall quality safari experience rather than ticking off the game seen as quickly as possible.
Manyeleti Game Reserve
The Manyeleti Game Reserve lies just north of the Sabi Sands. It borders the Kruger National Park to the east. So diverse is its habitat and wildlife that you have an good chance of spotting many of the Big 5 – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. Leopard are less frequently seen at close range. But the Manyeleti is unusual in that it only has three private safari concessions, including Tintswalo Safari Lodge . This allows for an exclusive game-viewing experience.
If you’d like to experience two different game lodges we recommend spending 2-3 nights in both the Sabi Sands and the Timbavati. Ideally you would a night or two at a luxurious country retreat in between.