Lovers of the great outdoors will find many reasons to visit Timbavati, an area in the Mpumbalanga Lowveld where 20 private game reserves have been incorporated into South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park. This occurred when the owners decided to drop their boundary fences to facilitate wildlife migration in 1993. And if you like the idea of a luxurious home base for your next bush adventure, Ngala Safari Lodge certainly hits the spot. The lodge boasts 20 luxury thatched cottages, shaded by Tamboti trees, which are designed to accommodate 42 guests at most, so exclusivity is key.
The air-conditioned suites, with their classic interior design, en suite bathrooms and comfortable beds dressed in linen, have a romantic ambience that’s accentuated at night by strategically placed candles and lanterns.
Guests stand a good chance to view the Big Five while staying here, and they’re also bound to spot a good selection of some 40 other mammal species, like the endangered wild dog, and 360 different birds. The prospect of glimpsing Timbavati’s famous white lions is yet another incentive to visit this exclusive property, and not surprisingly, they’ve been the fodder for two books by Chris McBride since they were first seen in 1975. Furthermore, exciting nighttime game drives with an experienced ranger offer the opportunity to see the nocturnal creatures at work.
Ngala means lion in Shangaan and July visitors were lucky enough to see lion and cheetah cubs with their respective mothers. What’s more, guests can enjoy great views of the nearby waterhole from the swimming pool and sun deck, and it’s a favorite stop-off point for elephants to boot.
Meals are served outdoors, weather permitting, allowing you to truly soak up the peace and quiet. And if you opt for a bush walk with a ranger or Shangaan tracker, they’ll enlighten you on the endemic flora, insects and reptiles.
Be sure you pack the right walking shoes (comfortable and with thick soles), and choose light cotton clothing in neutral shades. You’ll also need an extra layer or two in the evenings, when temperatures drop. Children are welcome and child-minding services are on offer.