Timbavati Reserve

The Timbavati & Manyeleti reserves share open borders with the Kruger and offer Big Five game-viewing with large herds of elephant and buffalo often seen.


The superb Timbavati Wildlife Reserve borders the Kruger National Park to the north-east. It is 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 mopani forest, and the rest of the Big 5 – elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino. There are also 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.

Timbavati Safaris

The Timbavati Game Reserve offers several private safari lodges and 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. This allows for an exclusive game-viewing experience.

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Gloria Darvall

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.


Why you may love it

  • Timbavati Wildlife Reserve has open fences with the Kruger National Park which allows the animals to roam freely and traverse across boundaries
  • Great variety of moderately priced lodges makes this reserve exceptional value for money
  • Good alternative to the very popular Sabi Sands or great combination option if you would like to experience both. We suggest you spend a night or two at a country lodge between the safaris and visit the Blyde River Canyon region for some contrast and spectacular views

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"The Drakensberg mountains were spectacular. We most enjoyed Victoria Falls that literally took your breath away.  The river boat cruises at Livingstone were well worth it.  Also getting so close to the animals at Umlani in the Timbavati, even the lions and leopards." Mr Martin Butler, UK
Did you know
  • HistoryEstablished in 1956
  • Sizeover 53 000 hectares