Tented Safari Camp
Timbabvati Game Reserve, Western Greater Kruger National Park
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The Letaba Trail accommodation is a small tented bush camp. Here, they host a maximum of 16 guests and specialising on game drives in open 4×4 vehicles (day & night drives), and walking safaris. The bush walks and game drive safaris place an emphasis on understanding the wild environment, tracking and viewing animals in their natural surroundings. Game drives are in open safari vehicles, and are able to drive off road in search of African predators and Big Five animals.
The camp has no power – it runs on solar energy – with the tranquility undisturbed by modern conveniences such as television and cell phones, as you immerse yourself in the African wilderness
. There is a swimming pool and the camp overlooks a waterhole, from where you can watch animals come down to drink – particularly in the drier months of the year.
In an effort to offer an affordable safari in South Africa, they have deliberately chosen to forego some of the features that add to the costs of running some other safari camps.
There is no African spa, thinking that fresh air and the sights and sounds of the bush constitute a spa experience second to none anyway. There is a low staff-guest ratio. If you fancy some tea or coffee, please help yourself at the tea station in the dining room. The menus don’t feature dishes with culinary terms like “jus”, “compote” or “lightly seared”. Meals are tasty and homemade, with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and salads. Enjoy a traditional South African braai (BBQ) with freshly baked safari bread, or a potjie (stew), cooked slowly over the fire.
The camp is not a luxury safari lodge built by an award winning architect, nor is it furnished by an interior designer. What you will find though, is a comfy bed, freshly laundered linen, and decor from local crafters and artists. It is a comfortable tented bush camp, where you can relax and enjoy the hospitality in an informal, relaxed atmosphere.
On walks your safari guide will give you a thorough safety briefing beforehand so that you are comfortable with the rules and safety instructions pertaining to you walking trail. Feel free to ask questions at any time and please do remember that you are walking in a wild environment, and it is important to listen to your guide at all times.
There is ample opportunity to stop along the trail to examine interesting features of the bush, to observe animals and learn more about the African wilderness. Photography is allowed on the walking safari, but under the guidance of your safari guide.
Guests choosing a walking safari activity should be prepared to walk anywhere from 2 – 3 hours on a trail. All walking trails are led by an experienced armed trails guide. (A maximum of 8 guests on a walk).
Twice daily game drives are conducted in 10-seater 4-wheel drive Landrovers. Game drives are taken by experienced Ranger’s who have had extensive experience guiding in the bush – they share their passion and knowledge of all fauna and flora. Each game drive is an exploration of the wilderness – to witness nature at it’s best.
Safaris generally begin early in the morning with a wake up call at 05h30. Enjoy tea and coffee before departing on a safari drive. Return to camp mid morning for brunch. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to relax in camp, and perhaps have a nap! After lunch, we go out on an afternoon safari drive and stop at a spot in the Reserve for sundowner drinks. The game drive then becomes a night safari drive, in search of nocturnal creatures with the aid of a spotlight.
The best times to view game on your African safari, are the early hours of the morning and during the late afternoon. This is when most game is active – during the heat of the day, many animals tend to seek shade and are less active. Night game drives with a spotlight bring you in to contact with nocturnal animals such as Bush babies, Civets, Genets, African wild cats, Porcupines and so forth.
Whilst every effort is made to seek out the “Big Five” animals (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino), the focus on the whole safari environment, showing appreciation for all aspects of the wilderness – animal behaviour and habitat, trees, insect and plant life, as well as viewing all the other species of game found in the bush. Safari activities and timetable is generally planned around the movements of game in the area – this allows us to be flexible, and to maximize your safari experience.
Open Landrovers are used on game drives – no roof and no windows. This gives you superb visibility. Guides carry a rifle on each vehicle. There is 1 seat in front next to the Ranger, and three rows of 3 seats each at the back. In most cases, it’s 8 guests to a Landrover, but we cannot guarantee any minimum / maximum guests on a Landrover. If you would like to guarantee a vehicle for your sole use, please enquire about rates for a private Landrover and Guide. Blankets are supplied on the vehicles in winter, and ponchos in summer in case of rain on a game drive.
Your Ranger will give you a safety briefing for your game drive. Whilst you will be afforded the best opportunity to view game, they will ensure that wild animals are respected at all times, and are not caused any concern or intruded upon. Please do not stand up on the vehicle during game drives.
What to bring on a game drive: camera, sun block, insect repellent (summer only), hat, sunglasses, binoculars and fleece/jumper for evenings. If you need to take any emergency medication (such as for bee stings, asthma pumps etc) please make sure you carry the medication on your person on game drives. We do have a small medical kit on the vehicle to attend to minor injuries, but if you have any medical conditions that may cause an emergency, please carry your own medication.
Refreshments: In the mornings, you will stop for tea/coffee and biscuits, and in the evenings there is a stop at sun down for drinks and snacks.
Special Interests: Let your guide know if any special interests, or concerns – flora or fauna. (birdlife, trees, photography, specific interests in a particular species).
Sleep Out at the Hide
There is an opportunity to book a Sleep Out experience at the hide overlooking the main dam. This is a “back to basics”, adventurous experience, and ideal for those who are dedicated nature enthusiasts.
Guests who have booked a night at the Sleep Out hide will return to camp after the normal afternoon and night safari game drive, and have dinner in the dining room. After dinner you’ll depart with your guide on a short night drive to the dam, and settle in at the hide for the night.
The hide is covered in thatch (traditional grass roof), and has a wooden interior deck. It has a 1.2 metre wooden wall railing along all sides. The Hide can accommodate a maximum of 6 guests (plus your armed Ranger who will accompany you and stay with you at the Hide overnight). It is furnished with single mattresses, with linen and each person has a mosquito net. Please note you may share the Hide with other like-minded guests, unless you have booked exclusive use. There is a simple bush loo.
Spend the night at the hide, simply soaking up the magic of the African night – look out for game coming to drink at the dam, marvel at the stars and listen to the calls of wild animals. The hide does have a spotlight for night time game viewing, and your guide will be with you at all times. The Landrover Game Viewer vehicle is also stationed at the hide overnight.
The next morning, pack up and depart by Landrover to camp where you will have tea/coffee and biscuits, before joining other guests on the normal morning game drive.
VAT, SA Tourism Board Levy, accommodation, all meals, game drive snacks, tea/coffee, complimentary soft drinks, and two safari activities daily (game drives, and / or walking safaris, night game drives with spotlight).
Timbabvati entrance fees (R150 per person and R120 per vehicle) and all drinks.
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