A dream safari in South Africa’s Timbavati

Dreaming of a luxury safari in a private reserve in South Africa? Well, look no further than the Timbavati which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park.

Last month, Karen, Senior Tour Consultant at Giltedge Africa, had the opportunity to visit the area and stay at the incredible andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp.

We chatted to her about her dreamy safari experience.

What was your first impression of Ngala Tented Camp?

Wow, this safari lodge in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is amazing! When I arrived at Ngala Tented Camp, there was an elephant drinking out of the pool … it was like an image you see in a magazine.

The staff too is amazing! And the game drives are great because you don’t see other game vehicles due to the traversing rights on the camp’s concession in the Timbavati.

I also didn’t expect my safari tent to be so spacious inside. The windows are made of mesh so when the canvas flaps are rolled up during the day you can feel the breeze. I thought that I would freeze at night but that wasn’t the case! The minute that I closed the curtains I could not feel any wind coming in.

The full-size bottles of complimentary alcohol, recipes to make my own cocktails in my room and yummy snacks were a lovely touch.


What stood out to you… in terms of the accommodation?

The chic tents are romantic with a refreshing colour palette. Each of the 9 tents has a luxurious bath, an outside shower and a spacious deck for relaxing. I could enjoy my dinner in the privacy of my tent or at the main lodge where guests sit at their own tables (perfect for couples and honeymooners!).

There are no plunge pools but there’s a large communal swimming pool.

What was your favourite game viewing experience?

I was on a morning game drive and I saw my favourite animal, the leopard. The male leopard was sitting in a tree eating a kill that had been dragged there by a female leopard. Two leopard cubs were trying to get a piece of the action. He kept growling at them to leave him below.  Below the tree, there was an eager hyena waiting for scraps. I’d never seen a kill before. Amazing!


At the moment, the Timbavati is quite dry so animals congregate around the waterholes. And I even saw rhinos.

What stood out to you in terms of the staff?

Our ranger Leanne stood out to me as the only woman at the lodge – and she was extremely informative on our game drives! What impressed me about the staff was that they remembered our names and where we all came from. They always addressed a guest by their name when they asked a question. I believe that the staff at a lodge can make or break the experience, and the Ngala Tented Camp staff made my stay even better.

What are 3 unique selling points for Ngala Tented Camp:

  • Intimate and romantic camp
  • Good game viewing & sensitive and careful off-road driving
  • Close to Hoedspruit (only about a 45-minute drive)


What type of client would you recommend this property to?

  • Adults and older kids
  • Small groups
  • Honeymooners

Why is this destination a great place for tourists to visit?

The sensitive off-road practices allow for close-up sightings.  It is a Big 5 game reserve that shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park.  Ngala Game Reserve does not share traversing rights with any other lodges, so you will only have one vehicle per sighting and you don’t have the feeling of being rushed.


Thank you, Karen, for sharing your trip with us! If you’d like to book Timbavati or South Africa safari, you can contact us directly.