Timbavati waterhole setting
Umlani Bush Camp is a traditional rustic lodge in Timbavati, owner-run and with a lovely family welcome. It is quite quirky, relaxed and fun, and activities are flexible and responsive to your interests.
Relaxed pace of life
Umlani offers proper immersion in the bush. There are no modern distractions or indeed electricity (but you can charge cameras from solar batteries). There is a timeless, classic feel to the place.
A maximum of 16 guests are accommodated in well-spaced ensuite reed and thatch rondavels. Take a steaming hot shower under a blanket of stars in your own open-air reeded bathroom. The magic is complete when the haunting sounds of nearby hyena and lion lull you to sleep.
Umlani is most certainly in a Big Five area: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo are all here, along with cheetah, giraffe, zebra and many species of antelope.
Large traverse with superb walking
Game drives traverse more than 10,000 hectares, and can launch you on a walking excursion into the unspoilt wilderness. You may find yourselves tracking the Big Five on foot, accompanied by experienced (and armed) Guides and trackers.
Spectacular sleep-out treehouses
The highlight of an extended stay is a night spent in a double-storey treehouse. You are left on your own in an enclosed overnight shelter well away from camp (about 3.5km). This has great views over a busy waterhole. The sense of solitude and harmony with nature is hard to beat.
Hidden nocturnal activity
Enjoy the otherwise unseen and (generally) tranquil comings and goings of the nocturnal hours. Concessions to modernity are mosquito nets enclosing the bedding, some torches, a nice bottle of wine to calm the nerves, and a radio to summon the Guides if you change your minds or need help.
Rewarding day hides
It is worth spending the heat of the day on your deck or with a cool box of refreshments at one of the waterhole hides. Here you will be rewarded with birds swooping down to the water and mammals materialising out of the bush. Or laze in double hammocks around the splash pool.
Later evening drives
During your evening drive, watch the white light of the moon take over from the flame-coloured sun while enjoying sundowners surrounded by the unique sounds of the African wilderness. At the end of your spotlighted night drive, return to the welcoming comfort of old Africa. The romantic glow of paraffin lamps infuses the camp and lights your way.
Convivial dinner settings
Enjoy pre-dinner drinks in the convivial bar overlooking the Nshlaralumi river or around a roaring fire in the boma. Watch the chef put the finishing touches to the dinner prepared on an open fire. Enjoy it with your fellow guests, accompanied by fine South African wines and tall tales.