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. Access is easy via Hoedspruit Airport (45 to 60 mins road transfer) with direct flights from both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The game-viewing in the Timbavati is excellent. 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. The Timbavati is extensive and so vehicle density is low. Thus a safari in the Timbavati is an exclusive safari experience.
The Timbavati Game Reserve offers several private safari lodges. These tend to be slightly more moderate in price than the Sabi Sands. Also 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 just ticking off the game seen as quickly as possible. Having said that, the game-viewing here is very good. Leopard sightings are common and you may be lucky to see wild dog as well.
The Manyeleti Game Reserve lies between the Timbavati Game Reserve and the Sabi Sands. It also borders the Kruger National Park to the east (with open borders). 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. But leopard are less frequently seen at close range. However the Manyeleti is unusual in that it only has three private safari concessions. So this allows for an exclusive game-viewing experience.
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