Top 5 Reasons to go to Timbavati Game Reserve in South Africa
Regarded as a piece of unspoiled Africa, the world-renowned Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, is a combination of the Timbavati, Klaserie and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve, forming one large expanse of pristine wilderness.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should go to Timbavati Game Reserve in South Africa.
#1 Wildlife roam freely between Timbavati Game Reserve & the Kruger National Park
Located in the heart of the Lowveld region of South Africa, Timbavati Game Reserve shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park (South Africa’s flagship National Park).
As there are no restricting fences between Timbavati Game Reserve and the Kruger it allows wildlife to migrate and roam freely between the reserves, ensuring high-quality, exciting, and exceptional wildlife sightings and an unforgettable and unbelievable African safari experience.
#2 Timbavati Game Reserve is home to a vast diversity of wildlife species & endangered animals
When it comes to wildlife sightings & encounters – Timbavati Game Reserve is truly unmatched. Home to the Timbavati ‘Magnificent 7’, which includes the lion, leopard (Timbavati Reserve boasts a large leopard population), elephant, rhino, African wild dog, buffalo, and cheetah, Timbavati Game Reserve has loudly and proudly established itself as one of the top and most highly sought-after African wildlife and Big 5 safari destinations in both Africa and South Africa for local and global wildlife lovers alike.
On average, Timbavati is home to approximately 40 species of mammals, including various endangered animals, such as the Honey Badger, Bat, Oxpecker, and the Ground Hornbill. An abundance of plains game like kudu, giraffe, wildebeest, and waterbuck (to mention merely a few) can frequently be spotted roaming around the reserve, as well as several fascinating nocturnal species such as Porcupine, Serval, Genet, and Civet, amongst many others, when embarking on an exciting Timbavati Game Reserve night drive safari adventure.
#3 Home of the White Lion!
Undoubtedly one of Timbavati’s top wildlife highlights is its white lions! Timbavati Game Reserve is home to one of nature’s most magnificent wildlife species, the remarkable, rare, and highly endangered white lion. White lions are indigenous to the Timbavati Game Reserve, with the earliest records of white lion sightings in this region dating back to 1938. Born with a crème-coloured – snow white coat, and ice blue eyes, the sheer beauty of this extraordinary animal is beyond captivating.
**Interesting Fact: While the magnificent white lion has been the target of countless trophy hunters and poachers over the last few decades, several anti-poaching organisations and wildlife protection initiatives have made it their mission to preserve and protect this beloved species. In fact, The Global White Lion Protection Trust (GWLPT) reintroduced white lions into their natural habitat in 2009, and they have been breeding successfully ever since.
Here’s another interesting fact – Due to the continuous hunting and poaching efforts of these rare and remarkable white lions, as well as their endangered status and small numbers, white lion offspring have been known to be born by ‘normal coloured’ lion parents. This phenomenon is known as Leucism. This has resulted in a ‘new’ very pale species of lion (as they carry the pure white lion gene) which can frequently be spotted roaming the vast Timbavati Game Reserve.
#4 Timbavati Game Reserve boasts exceptional birdlife
Boasting a vast and vibrant array of birdlife, with more than 360 species of birds recorded, including endangered species like the Oxpecker and Ground Hornbill, Timbavati Game Reserve is a bird lover’s paradise. In fact, it is estimated that visitors can see more species of birds in one day at Timbavati than what is typically possible in a lifetime.
As the emphasis of a safari game drive is primarily focused on wildlife sightings and game viewing, avid birders sharing a safari experience with non-birders may be left disappointed. Instead of a traditional wildlife centered game drive, serious birders should opt for more private activities and experiences to get their desired birding fix. The combination of open vehicle drives and walking safaris in the Timbavati Game Reserve are ideal for passionate birding enthusiasts to check as many bird species off their birding bucket-list as possible. Night drives also offer birders the opportunity to spot a few nightjars, coursers, and owls.
While Timbavati’s bird watching is good all year round, the incredible migration of birds from Eurasia and elsewhere in Africa, which takes place from November – April, is by far the most premier birding experience. The wet summer Timbavati months therefore makes for the most exceptional birdlife sightings.
Some of the most notable birds in the Timbavati Nature Reserve include:
- African spoonbill
- Chinspot batis
- Dideric cuckoo
- Grey-headed Kingfisher
- Southern carmine bee-eater
Some real birding specials and treats for avid birders in Timbavati include:
- Collared pratincole
- Harlequin quail
- Horus swift
- Kurrichane buttonquail
- Little bittern
- Montagu’s harrier
- Pallid harrier
- Plain-backed sunbird
- Southern black flycatcher
- Southern carmine bee-eater
- White-headed lapwing
#5 Great year-round wildlife & safari destination & exciting seasonal highlights
Similar to the Kruger National Park, Timbavati Game Reserve is a great year-round wildlife and safari destination with people travelling from across the world to experience everything it has to offer. However it remains seasonal, boasting two distinct seasons: The wet summer season (October – March) and dry winter season (April – September).
Timbavati Game Reserve dry season highlights:
- Prime time for wildlife sightings
- Optimal visibility due to sparse vegetation
- Lovely days with mild – moderate day-time temperatures
- Rain is rare with little – no humidity
- Malaria risk is low
Timbavati Game Reserve wet season highlights:
- Lush greenery and lovely fresh landscapes due to high rainfall
- The park is filled with newborn wildlife
- Exceptional time for bird watching as migrant birds are present
- Wildlife are in excellent condition