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Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
White Lion, Timbavati P. N. R., South Africa
Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Leopard, Timbavati P. N. R., South Africa
Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Elephant, Timbavati P. N. R., South Africa
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Timbavati Private Nature Reserve


Embark on an African Safari through Big Five territory, with the added thrill of possibly spotting one of the rarest creatures in the world.  This Reserve is the home of the world famous, almost mythical White Lions which occur nowhere else in the world.  Besides the famous White Lion, the Reserve is teeming with many other species of game to enchant you.  Welcome to Timbavat!


Best Time to Visit:

Winter (June to August) is always the best time for game viewing.

Average Visitor Rating:

5 out of 5 'Pawprints' Based on 0 Review(s)
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Timeless Africa at Timbavati

Step away from the rat race and get in tune with the timeless rhythm of Africa here in the heart of Big Cat country.  From the moment you arrive you will feel the peace and tranquillity of the unspoilt wilderness envelope you and sooth you; listen to sounds of the bush and thrill to the roar of the Lion as you move silently among the creatures who call this Reserve their home. Sit back and relax as your ranger and trackers take you right up close to an amazing diversity of wildlife, including all of the Big Five and several other rare or endangered species.


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White Lions, Wild Dogs, Leopard and other Highlights

White Lions

No one can guarantee that you will see the elusive white Lions, but just knowing that they are there and could be spotted is very enticing!  Currently it is estimated there are only about 3 of these stunning animals with their piercing blue eyes and snow-white coats in the Reserve, but this is where the gene-pool responsible for this miracle of Nature is found, and future litters could occur at any time.  The reason that these animals are so rare is that both parents need to carry the recessive gene needed to produce white offspring.  In addition, many white cubs are lost in the wild due to their lack of camouflage which makes them very vulnerable to attacks by other predators and rival adult males.  Spotting one would be the thrill of a lifetime, but even if you are unlucky, you are bound to see some of their tawny relatives instead – there are regular good Lion sightings at this Reserve, and because it is a private Reserve the guides can take you off-road and right up to the animals, who are very relaxed around the game-viewing vehicles.


Wild Dogs 

The critically endangered Wild Dog (aka African Painted Dog) is also a frequent visitor to Timbavati, and you could be lucky enough to encounter a large pack of them resting, playing or even on the hunt. Both the white Lions and the Wild Dogs are most commonly spotted in the northern parts of the Reserve, and have been known to come right into some of the camps.



Although this Big Cat has a reputation for being extremely elusive in the wild, there are often extremely good sightings of Leopard at Timbavati, as mentioned in their Blog.  In addition, the Reserve is also currently undertaking a Leopard Research program to identify the factors that contribute to the status of this animal, which is “near threatened”.  To this end the Reserve has set up several still and video cameras around known haunts and this leads to more accurate pin-pointing of the areas where you are most likely to come across a Leopard while on your game drive.


Elephant, Rhino and More

Timbavati is home to large herds of Elephant, which are also closely monitored to establish their ranging habits and behaviour.  There are at least 11 separate breeding herds and you have a really excellent chance to see them up close.  There are also both Black and White Rhino as well as the final member of the Big Five team, the mighty African Buffalo.



Safaris in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

A Safari in this Reserve will undoubtedly be a most rewarding experience that will live on in your memory.  The rangers and guides at each of the Lodges and Rest Camps are dedicated and experienced, and know all there is to know about the region and its inhabitants.  There are several different Safari options available here, ranging from 3 – 4 days and sometimes combining stays at a couple of different camps.  All Safaris include dawn and dusk game drives, walking trails and much more.


Other Activities in and around Timbavati 

Bird Watching

There are large numbers of both resident and migrant bird species to be seen in Timbavati.  Central African migrants visit from around October to March, but there are more than enough endemic species to satisfy the most ardent twitchers all year round.


Horse Trails

Just imagine how unique it would be to go game viewing on horse-back!  Horse trails are available near-by which can include a night stopover in one of the tented camps at Timbavati.  The horses are all habituated to the game, and vice versa, and you get the opportunity of getting really close to some of the wildlife while enjoying an out ride with a difference.


Adventure Activities 

Several other adventure activities can be arranged, including micro-light flights, hot air ballooning, white-water rafting, a boat cruise or visits to various animal rehabilitation centres and a reptile park.



Accommodation at Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

There are several Lodges and Bush Camps in the Reserve offering you a wide choice of accommodation options.  The various tented camps are very popular and offer a real “bush” experience, ranging from luxury to rustic.  Kings Camp stands out as a romantic lodge and has two wonderful honeymoon suites, while at the Waterbuck Private Camp a group of 8 can enjoy their own private 4 bedroom villa with a personal butler and game ranger!  There are even more options at the surrounding other private reserves that make up the Associated Private Nature Reserves, including  Klaserie, Umbabat and Balulu Nature Reserves.



How to Get There

You can drive to Timbavati from Johannesburg in about 5 hours, or choose to fly into one of the regional airports located near the Reserve and then drive in from there.  There are scheduled daily flights from Johannesburg or Cape Town and your lodge will generally arrange an airport pick-up.  Some of the lodges also have private airstrips and air charters can be organised directly to these lodges.



Best Time to Visit

Come during the dry winter months if you can (June to August); the grass is shorter and the game congregate around the river beds and water holes, making viewing a whole lot easier.  September is probably the very best month, towards the end of winter and the start of the “baby” season, when the most new-born animals will be observed.


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