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.

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Ngala Safari lodge has 20 air-conditioned thatched cottages with ensuite bathrooms including a shower, twin hand basins, wc, bath. Each cottage has an intimate veranda.

Family Suite

Situated in the shade of a weeping boerbean tree on the banks of the seasonal Maponi River, the family suite at andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge consists of two ensuite bedrooms, as well as a cosy dining area. The suite also entitles guests to the services of a dedicated butler, as well as a ranger and tracker team and a private safari vehicle. The only guest suite at the lodge with views of the river, each room boasts its own private deck overlooking the shaded riverbed and even the bathrooms look out onto the dense riverside thickets. The addition of a fully sized private swimming pool ensures that both children and adults have a secluded place to cool off from the African sun. The family suite can accommodate a maximum of two adults and two children.

Family Cottage

The lodge boasts three family cottages, each consisting of two suites that are conveniently interlinked via a door for easy access. The cottages exude a romantic colonial ambiance with nostalgic safari memorabilia throughout. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows make the most of sunny safari days and a private veranda offers the perfect setting for private dinners. Guests can also take advantage of spacious ensuite bathrooms as well as inviting al fresco showers. The cottages can accommodate two adults and two children.