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MORE GREAT TIMBAVATI VALUE: Relaxed rustic Lodge in a private game-rich Timbavati plains location

Shindzela is an excellent owner-run tented Camp located hard on the border of the Timbavati Private Game Reserve and the public Kruger National Park, with which it is unfenced. This 53,400ha (132,000 acre) tract of private land shares over 40 mammal species with the Kruger including the Big Five: lion, leopard, rhino, Cape buffalo and elephant, as well as more than 360 species of birds.

Shindzela's rustic tents surround its own waterhole which acts as a magnet for game, especially in the dry winter months when water is otherwise relatively scarce in the area. The Camp is unfenced with its surroundings and designed to get you as close to nature as possible.

Relatively recently refurbished, Shindzela boasts a swimming pool and a thatched bar and dining area. The tents are elegant Meru-style constructions raised on wooden platforms with ensuite shower and washroom facilities at the rear. They are simple and comfortable. The elevation and the thatched roofs help cool the rooms in the hot summer months, also the time when mosquito nets are fitted to the beds.

The Camp accommodates a maximum of sixteen guests in either twin or double bed tents housed within wooden and thatch structures. Staying under canvas in the middle of the bush evokes the magic of Safari from a bygone era when Africa was still being explored, and you will find yourself attuning acutely to your senses of sight, sound and smell here in the wild.

The Camp has no power – it runs on solar energy. As a visitor you are undisturbed by modern interruptions such as television and cell phones and can rather immerse yourself in the African wilderness. It is rustic and charmingly simple and the experience focuses on getting you in touch with the wild.

Shindzela is much loved by staff and visitors alike. The levels of passion and knowledge exhibited by the Guides are unbeaten, even in the most expensive five star Lodges. They pride ehemselves on offering a relaxed, informal atmosphere: a trademark of genuine South African hospitality.

Safaris here are best described as "mixed-mode". Whilst it is no longer exclusively a walking operation and you will spend plenty of time on drive, Shindzela's Guides are unusual in their appetite to leap off vehicles mid-drive to lead you off in to the bush in pursuit of something their intuition and insight tells them from the sights, sounds and smells that envelop you. The vehicles used are open 10 seater four wheel drive Land Rovers which give you an excellent open view around you.

You can opt for a walk from Camp as a morning activity, or you might be dropped somewhere in the middle of the bush with your armed Guide and Tracker and collected later. 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 bush. You should be prepared to walk for 2–3 hours. All walking trails are led by an experienced armed Trails Guide and there is a maximum of 8 guests on a walk.

The emphasis here both on drives and bush walks is on understanding the wild environment, and tracking and viewing animals in their natural surroundings.



Shindzela is a wonderfully authentic place to Safari from. The place has a genuine sense of fun about it and the staff and Guides there have a laid back approach to your holiday which rubs off on everyone.

The accommodation area itself is relatively basic but does have all you need and showering in the outside bathrooms is an experience no one should miss.

But the real fun about Shindzela and the thing that sets it apart from other places is the camaraderie that it engenders between residential staff, the Guides, guests and even the owners. At the heart of the Camp is a large open dining and socialising area with a big open table encouraging all the guests to get to know each other and share stories from what they saw on game drives to the latest sports matches back home.

Food at Shindzela is homely and you are well catered for with the cooks announcing the latest meal to be served with an infectious smile and laugh. There is an honesty bar for those wanting to spend the afternoon indulging by the pool which from time to time doubles up as an elephant watering hole.

The Game Drives start early and are longer than we’ve seen in other places maximising the chances you have to see the local wildlife. We also found the Guides there to be amongst the friendliest we’ve encountered in our travels and they work well together as a team.

Overall, we would thoroughly recommend Shindzela as a place to spend some wonderful time in the bush.

Mike R and Bree K travelled to Shindzela as part of their Kruger2Canyons Safari

Thank you to Bree K for her kind permission to use her photographs from their trip

Highly recommended

  • An excellent, affordable authentic Safari destination where the emphasis is on nature rather than the trappings of luxury
  • A large, exclusive traversing area deep in the Timbavati adds to the tranquility of the wilderness with vehicles a rare sighting in the vicinity

Don't miss

  • Stepping off the vehicle and following your Guide and Tracker into the wilderness to share their enthusiasm in reading the signs of the bush.
  • Big five sightings on foot