Umlani Bush Camp
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Umlani Bush Camp is one of the last family-owned camps in the Greater Kruger National Park and offers a sense of authenticity and good value that is great for photographers. The simplicity of accommodation is part of its great appeal and so is the guiding and the opportunities to see all of the Big Five with little competition from other vehicles.
How we rate Umlani camp
Umlani camp at a glance
- Umlani at a glance
- The camp has traditional reed and thatch huts with open air bush showers.
- There is a choice between double huts and family huts with 4 beds.
- The Eco huts accommodates two people and is designed to regulate temperatures.
- There is a swimming pool, dining area and viewing deck overlooking the waterhole
- There is also a star gazing platform for sleep outs at a nearby waterhole.
Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is located on the Western edge of Kruger National Park. It was established in 1956 by likeminded game farmers who wanted to protect the area from overgrazing. It now has 50 members who are all committed to conservation and protection of the wildlife which includes all of the Big Five. In 1994 the fences between Kruger National Park and Timbavati came down to encourage natural migration. It is now part of a conservation area of more than 20 000 square kilometres.
Umlani shares traversing with Tanda Tula Game Reserve and guides have access to more than 10 000 hectares of traversing. The area has spectacular sandy river beds and undulating bushveld interspersed with dams which encourage animals to come and drink at all times of the year.
Generally, sightings are very carefully controlled so there are not more than two or three vehicles at a sighting. The area is much less pressured than the Sabi Sands and Big Five sightings are common.
- June to October (winter) is the dry season and best for wildlife viewing.
- November to May (summer) offers wonderful birding, moody skies and lush vegetation. The peak of summer can be extremely hot, however.
The camp can be reached via Hoedspruit which has regular flights to and from Cape Town and Johannesburg. The camp is about 40 minutes away from the airport along dirt roads.
Photographers need to know
The camp has solar power, however there are convenient plug points in all of the rooms. The camp does take kids of all ages.
The good news
Umlani is a family run camp and it’s popularity shows with repeat guests that come back year after year. Some thoughts about Umlani that I wrote some years ago on my first trip may help you understand its special appeal.