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2021 in Photos | Kambaku Lodges Timbavati Nature Reserve

Family Travel to South Africa

We may be biased but we think South Africa is an incredible family destination. There is so much to see and do as a family in South Africa that it will take a few trips for you to really experience it all.

South Africans are a very family friendly nation so you will not be wanting to find activities for the kids to see and do during your stay. From the world-class beaches of the Western Cape to the nature reserves spread across the country, your children will not utter the words “I am bored.”

There are a few other reasons why South Africa needs to be on your family travel bucket list.

1. Travel from Europe means not jetlag

The time difference between Europe and South Africa is an hour in winter and 2 hours in summer which means that there is no jetlag. This is a big consideration when travelling with children – it means no tired or cranky kids and no time spent trying to adjust, you can land and start enjoying everything South Africa has to offer…

2. The list of family friendly activities is endless

South Africans enjoy a lot of time outdoors because the weather is fantastic pretty much all year round. Even the winters are mild and outdoor activities are still popular. There are incredible beaches running along the entire coast of South Africa, perfect to enjoy some beach time. Hiking can also be enjoyed across the country with trails available suitable for all ages. And of course, no family trip to South Africa is complete without a visit to one of the countries nature reserves, like the Timbavati Nature Reserve. All of the reserves in South Africa cater for children and many have swimming pools and other family-friendly activities. Kambaku Lodges offer visiting children the option to join Kambaku Kubs where they can learn more about the flora and fauna of the area.

3. There are malaria free options

If you are visiting South Africa as a family to enjoy a safari holiday it is possible to avoid malaria areas. The Timbavati Nature Reserve is a low-risk malaria area but lodges in the Western and Eastern Capes are also malaria free.

4. South Africa is a budget friendly

The exchange rates make travel to South Africa really affordable, especially when travelling as a family. Accommodation, even luxury accommodation, like Kambaku River Sands is reasonably priced when you consider the exchange rate and eating out is also very affordable. This makes South Africa very attractive as a family friendly holiday destination.

5. Escape the cold

If you want to escape the icy, snowy winters of the Northern Hemisphere then South Africa is perfect. If you are looking to head to South Africa, the best time weather wise is between November and March but if you are heading on safari, then you can visit at any time of the year, the winters in South Africa are relatively mild. The reason this is a benefit to families travelling means you can pack light and avoid thick jackets and boots.

6. South Africa has a diverse landscape

The flora and fauna of South Africa is so diverse, you can expose your family to a range of different types of topography. The coastline is spectacular and has an abundance of birdlife, the mountain ranges of the Drakensberg, Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window are breath-taking, the Karoo dessert has more to often than you might think.

7. World class beaches

Nothing says family holiday like a beach holiday, right? South Africa has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world for you to choose from. Camps Bay in Cape Town is one of the most popular beaches and it is definitely spectacular, even if the water is a little cold. The beaches along the Garden Route are quieter than the main beaches but just as stunning.

8. There is a great selection of world class food.

South Africans enjoy good food which means you will find a wide range of different types of cuisines, ranging from fresh from the ocean seafood to traditional South African meals like pap and wors. You will not have to look hard for family-friendly restaurants, most wine farms are accommodating of children, and many have special alcohol-free tastings for children. Even if you are travelling with the fussiest of eaters, you will find meals easily for them when travelling as a family to South Africa.

9. South Africa are a friendly people

When you travel to South Africa with your children you will find the people very welcoming and accommodating of children. South Africans in general appreciate tourists and as such are very friendly to tourists.

10. English is the main language

South Africa has 11 official languages, but English is the most widely spoken which means that communication is fairly easy. Travelling to a country where you understand the language does make it a little easier when you have children with you.

Book your next family holiday at Kambaku and SAVE!

Download our family holiday deals here.

A Safari in South Africa | Kambaku Lodges

Safari in South Africa

When is the best time to travel to South Africa for a safari holiday?

There really is no right or wrong time to travel. The Timbavati really is beautiful all year round (but we might be biased).

If you spotting wildlife is your main focus, then winter (June to September) is ideal. During winter the bush is less dense as most of the trees and shrubs have lost their leaves, so spotting animals is a little easier.

Summer in South Africa (December to February) is when the bush is at its most dense and lush which makes seeing animals a little more challenging but not impossible, especially when you have an experienced tracker.

What to pack when going on safari in South Africa? 

  • Lightweight, cool, and comfortable clothes made of a natural, “breathable” fabric.
  • A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen – even in the winter months.
  • Walking shoes.
  • Binoculars
  • Camera and accessories
  • Lip balm and insect repellent

What is the best time for a game drive?

While the wildlife of the Timbavati don’t stick to a schedule, generally the best time for a game drive is in the early morning.

So be prepared for a few early mornings during your stay with Kambaku, but we promise that the early mornings will, without a doubt, be worth it.

Be Open-Minded

A safari in South Africa is never predictable.

If you are visiting for the time, be open-minded and flexible.

You might see all of the big 5 in one drive but you also might be out for a few hours and spot some impala.

While we do our best to show you the best of the Timbavati, sometimes the animals have other ideas. Sometimes it is equally special to shift focus from the big animals to the smaller, but equally special animals like the abundance of birds.

Game Drive Etiquette

Game viewing is one of the biggest reasons you visit the bush which makes game drives the highlight of each day.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are on your daily game drives.

  • Do not stand up in the game drive vehicle.
  • Do not hang over the side of the vehicle.
  • Do not call, whistle or throw things at the animals in an attempt to get them to react.
  • Noise level on the vehicle is to be kept to a minimum, this is for the benefit of both the animals and any other vehicles.
  • Never hang out of the vehicle while it is moving.
  • Respect the environment you are in.

Expect the unexpected. 

Book a safari in South Africa and explore the Timbavati Nature Reserve with a stay at Kambaku Lodges. You can book your adventure at Kambaku Lodges or Kambaku River Sands – both offer luxury accommodation.

Travelling to South Africa | Kambaku Lodges Timbavati Nature Reserve

Travelling to South Africa : What You Need to Know

South Africa is a beautiful country to visit, there is so much diversity – from the beautiful oceans of the Western Cape to the bushveld of Mpumalanga to the bustling city of Johannesburg. You can plan the adventure of a lifetime while travelling South Africa. 

English is Widely Understood

South Africa has 11 official languages including English and it is the most widely spoken and understood language across the country. If you can communicate in English, even as your second language, you will be easily understood. 

South Africa is Large

South Africa is a large country – roughly double size of France. You won’t be able to explore it in a week – in fact, you may need a few trips to really experience everything that South Africa has to offer. When you are planning your trip decide what type of holiday you would like and which cities you would like to see. At Kambaku Lodges, we can help you plan your trip to make sure you get the most out of your time in South Africa. 

South Africa Has What You Need

When you land at any one of South Africa’s international airports, you will notice similarities to airports around the world. You will find shopping malls and familiar retail outlets all over the country. This means if you need electronics, toiletries or clothing, you will easily find them. 

Budget Travel is Easy in South Africa

The South African Rand is the monetary unit used in South Africa and you will find that food and accommodation are very affordable – even luxury accommodation can be enjoyed at a reasonable price. You will also find a diverse selection of restaurants in South Africa including fine dining to markets.

It is Safe if You Are Aware

South Africa is a tourist-friendly, but it is important to stay aware and look after your belongings especially when travelling through larger, busy cities as pickpockets and scammers will try their luck. 

Rent A Car

While South Africa has a pretty decent transport system, it does not have a great public transport system. Renting a car is the best way to explore the country, especially if you are exploring different cities. A road trip through South Africa is an adventure in itself. That said you will find ridesharing services in the major cities and the Gautrain runs through Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Water is Safe to Drink

When you are in the bigger cities of South Africa, the water is safe to drink. It is advisable to check with the smaller towns whether or not you drink the water.

Bird of the Year | Cape Rockjumper

Bird of the Year 2021: Cape Rockjumper

The Cape Rockjumper was chosen, by BirdLife South Africa as the Bird of the Year 2021. The main goal of this initiative is to raise awareness about this interesting little bird and in doing so contributing the conservation of the rockjumper. 

The Cape Rockjumper is endemic to the mountain fynbos region of South Africa. This medium-sized bird is aptly named and can often be seen jumping across both rocks and grassland. The black and orange rockjumper seldom actually takes flight. 

They are facing some challenges and are particularly vulnerable to climate change and habitat loss and are currently classified as ‘Near Threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Cape Rockjumpers forage on mountains and slopes for insects like caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers and beetles. They will also eat geckos, scorpions and spiders. 

You can find the Cape Rockjumpers in family groups consisting of a breeding pair and one or two of the offspring from the previous season. The breeding pair build the nest together and share incubation responsibilities. They generally build their nests on the ground under rocky overhangs.

While you are not likely to spot this pretty little bird at Kambaku Lodges, if you are in the Western Cape are, be on the look out for them!

Kambaku@Sea Wins Prestigious Awards

“Before you, the mountains. Behind you, the forest. On this expanse of forty hectares, our boutique hotel waits to envelop you in the beauty of this rich, natural environment.”

At Kambaku @Sea you are not simply a guest, rather you are family we are proud to host.

Located in Sedgefield along the Garden Route, Kambaku @Sea is the perfect getaway for anyone look to escape the madness.

We are so proud of our team at Kambaku @Sea who have won a few prestigious awards over the last 2 years.

We won in 2019:

Kambaku At Seahas won an Haute Grandeur Excellence Award for:

  • Best Boutique Honeymoon Hotel in Africa
  • Most Luxurious Suite in Africa (Honeymoon/Family Room 5)

And in 2020:

Kambaku @ Sea has won an Haute Grandeur Global Excellence Award for:

  • Best Bed and Breakfast Hotel on a Global level
  • Best Boutique Hotel in Africa
  • Best Romantic Hotel in Africa
  • Best Boutique Honeymoon Hotel in South Africa 

There really is so much to do when you stay at Kambaku @Sea. From sunset cruises to adventures on kayaks – there is something for both the adventure seeker and those who need to rewind and relax.

There is also an abundance of things you can do in Sedgefield.

Gerick’s Point beach walk 

Sedgefield Beaches – there are five of them to explore, each one as beautiful as the next.

Boating – the Swartvlei and other waterways – from Kambaku @Sea

Cloud 9 Paragliding – Soar with eagles and get a bird’s eye view of the Garden Route

Horse  Riding –  riding opportunities

Wild Oats Farmers Market

Scarab market

Timberlake

OystersRUs Restaurant

Sedgefield’s Slow Festival in March / April every year

Oudtshoorn – ostrich farms and vineyards

Knysna Oyster festival

George Transport Museum

Wilderness –  Eden Adventures :  Kloofing, Kayaking, canoeing  

Acrobranch Tree Adventures

Dolphin Point

If you want to experience this award winning accommodation, book here.

Kambaku Lodges are Covid Travel Ready

Kambaku Lodges are Covid Travel Ready

The world is opening for travel again and we are so excited! We know that COVID-19 is still very much a concern for everyone which is why we have put all the safety measures in place to make sure your stay with us is safe and memorable.

Kambaku is an exclusive game lodge

Kambaku River Sands has only 10 luxury thatched chalets, each with its own private en-suite with a bath and both an indoor and outdoor shower, offering you the perfect place to relax and unwind in between game drives. This means that even if we are fully booked, we keep to a max of only 16 people in the camp at any one time, affording you an exclusive getaway in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. Exclusive use rates are also available and affordable.

Kambaku Lodges are Covid Travel Ready

We have a remote location

The Timbavati really is far from the maddening crowd. Kambaku Lodges are located in the Timbavati Nature Private Nature Reserve which is around 450km from Johannesburg. Not only are we far from the big cities in South Africa but because we are a private reserve, we are able to limit the number of people who enter the reserve. Further ensuring your safety and guaranteeing a wonderful safari experience.

We have wide open spaces

One thing we have in abundance at Kambaku Lodges is wide open spaces. Our lodges are unfenced which means the animals are free to come and go as they please – it is possible for you to view some of the big 5 without even leaving the comfort of the lodge. The Timbavati covers an area of 53 392 hectares of land which is a lot of wide-open space that can be enjoyed and explored. 

Kambaku Lodges are Covid Travel Ready

We have strict COVID-19 protocols in place

We have all the necessary COVID-19 protocols in place to ensure your safety. Our staff have all been fully vaccinated. Masks are worn at all times. Our game drives are limited to 6 people per vehicle and all the tables in our dining areas are the correct distance apart. We have been given the TBCSA’s certificate of approval that we comply with the recommended industry protocols.

Less people means better sightings

Due to the months of lockdown, the Timbavati has been a lot quieter than normal. This does have some advantages in that we have been treated to some incredible sightings. 

Remote working is possible

We have wi-fi at our lodges which means you are able to work remotely during your stay with us. You can really have the best of both worlds – gorgeous early morning and evening game drives, lazy afternoons at the spa and some work in between. 

If you are looking for your next adventure, book a stay with Kambaku River Sands or Kambaku Safari Lodge.

Kambaku Lodges are Covid Travel Ready

The Elephants of the Timbavati

Elephants are a huge part of life at Kambaku Lodges. They spend a lot of time using our swimming pool at Kambaku River Sands as their local watering hole which is always such a treat to experience.

Elephants are a keystone species. This means that they create and maintain the ecosystems that they live in which makes it possible for other plants and animal species to live in those environments. The loss of elephants to an ecosystem has a deep impact and can cause lasting chaos to the habitat, weakening the structure and the diversity of the ecosystem. 

The focus of World Elephant Day is raise the awareness around the plight of the elephants around the world. Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% over the last decade. An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat and body parts. If more is not done to protect these gentle giants, they are at risk.

Today we celebrate these incredible creatures and the joy that they bring to life in the Timbavati.

“You know… they say an elephant never forgets. What they don’t tell you is, you never forget an elephant.”

– Bill Murray.

The Origins of Kambaku

Kambaku is a Tsonga word for Great Tusker or Old Elephant Bull. It was also the name given to one of the Magnificent Seven. These seven elephants all had tusks weighing over 50kg.

Kambaku moved over a large area ranging from Satara, the Timbavati and Crocodile bridge but he was most commonly spotted around the Kingfisherspruit area, always alone.

It was easy to identify Kambaku, he had a perfectly round hole in his ear, close to the outer edge. His trunk was also unique in that it had markings that looked like round patches of smooth skin.

You can view Kambaku’s tusks in a display at the Letaba Elephant Hall.

Kambaku’s spirit and history 1
The Lions of the Timbavati | Kambaku Lodges

The Lions of the Timbavati

Lions in South Africa

Lions used to naturally occur all throughout South Africa but due mainly to hunting and other human associated behaviours, they are now largely restricted to protected areas. Lions can now be found in the greater Kruger National Park and the surrounding farms and reserves that border the park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi in KwaZulu/Natal.

For any species to survive, genetic diversity is essential for survival but in some reserves in South Africa there is evidence of inbreeding, which reduces genetic diversity. Inbreeding has been shown to not only impact on reproductive success but also increases the susceptibility to disease.

In large, open wildlife systems, such as the Greater Kruger National Park, young males leave their prides to find new mating partners and in doing so prevent inbreeding. The main reason that conservation genetics is important is because it involves conserving the maximum genetic diversity which in turn preserves the evolutionary potential of the species. If a population does not have the necessary genetic diversity it needs, it runs the risk of not being able to adapt and survive environmental changes.  

Genetic analysis jas been conducted on the lions of the Timbavati  by Dr Desire Dalton and Susan Miller. Their analysis found that the lion population in the Timbavati has a high genetic diversity and the risk of inbreeding is low, due largely to the high number of lions available in the Greater Kruger National Park open system.

The Lions of the Timbavati

The Timbavati Private Nature reserve is the only reserve in the world where white lions occur naturally. These beautiful lions have intrigued people for many years with some believing they have mythical powers. Many also assume that these lions are albinos but this this not the case. You can read more about the genetic makeup of White Lions here.

Today, on World Lion Day, we take a look back on some of the Legends of the Timbavati.


Our beautiful Blue Eyes white lioness. Her territory extended through Kambaku Lodges. We were privileged enough to follow her journey from a young cub through to a very confident and successful lioness.

Unfortunately she met her end whilst defending her cubs against two male lions during a pride take over.

Black Dam, a big male lion who owned the territory which makes up our area of Timbavati. He successfully defended his territory on his own for almost two years, which in this area is no mean feat, given that most territories are owned by coalitions of two or more males.

Unfortunately he was mortally wounded in a buffalo hunt. Isn’t he absolutely magnificent.

The life of a lion cub is tough. This little one got a short glimpse of what life held in store for him. Unfortunately this young male cub did not make it to maturity.

Younger sister to Blue Eyes – another stunning white lioness with hazelnut eyes. We also had the pleasure of watching her grow from a cub into a beautiful lioness.

She was unfortunately killed by rogue males who surprised the pride on a buffalo kill. It was a devastating loss of a very promising lioness.

Another legend of the Timbavati known as the Timbavati male. He was one of the areas dominant males for many years with many war stories, evident by the scars on his face.

This was one of the last images we have of him before he disappeared!!

World Ranger Day

Today we are celebrating World Ranger Day.

There are an estimated 100,000 reserves, parks and protected areas around the world, most of these are being protected tirelessly by rangers. World Ranger Day was created by the International Ranger Federation and was first held in 2007 as a way to honor these brave men and women who are committed to preserve the nature they are surrounded by.

We have decided to turn the spotlight onto Gideon Marvin Khosa, one of the long standing professional field guides at Kambaku Lodges.

Bryce sat down with Gideon and had a chat to help you get to know him a little better.

Q: Gideon how long have you been a professional guide and where did it all begin for you?

A: I started my career as a professional field guide over 20 years ago now in Kruger National Park under Dion Pienaar as my mentor.

Q: So your career started in Kruger – where else has it taken you?

A: After working in Kruger for a few years I spent some time in the North West of the country in Madikwe but returned to the Kruger region and found my home at Kambaku in the Timbavati.

Q: What’s your favourite part of guiding?

A: I have a passion for walking and sharing knowledge on trees, plants, birds and the smaller things that make up the bush.

Q: If you could choose a favourite animal to view which would it be?

A: A tough decision but it would be a close call between elephant & leopard.

Q: I am sure you have had some amazing sightings in your career which one stands out for you as one of the best?

A: We had a sighting not so long ago not far from camp which really stands out.

We came across two large male lions known as the Maposa males on a young buffalo carcass surrounded by 18-20 hyenas. The hyenas were continuously pestering the lions and the sounds from both where just as amazing as the sighting itself. When we thought it couldn’t get any better a pack of 16 wild dogs arrived obviously attracted by all the noise and everything went crazy, eventually the two male lions chased everyone off and returned to finish their meal.

Q: Obviously guiding is your passion but outside of guiding what else do you enjoy?

A: Soccer and traditional dancing.

Q: What’s your favourite team both locally and internationally?

A: Kaizer Chiefs and Barcelona.

Q: Who’s your favourite players?

A: Locally Siphiwe Shabalala and internationally Messi and Ronaldo.

Q: The traditional dancing what is that all about?

A: It’s a tradition of my family the Khoza’s known as muchongolo. Every Sunday we dress in traditional clothing, animal skins, sandals, head bands etc. and perform traditional dances past down from generation to generation. We also do it as a life celebration of a family member at funerals.

Q: You are a proud Shongaan man tell us about your family?

A: My wife Tembe is also in the industry and works as a chef. I have three daughters, Pardon who is 24 and a nurse in Johannesburg, Trinity who is 18 and studying human resource management and Imbali who is 10 and still at school.

Q: Finally Gideon is there anyone you look up to in life?

A: Yes my uncle Nelson Theko he is a famer in Buffelshoek and has always been there for me.

We not only honor and celebrate Gideon and all the other rangers who form a part of our team at Kambaku Lodges but also those rangers who work throughout the Timbavati Reserve.

Happy National Bee Day !

A bee feeding in a purple flower

National Bee Day coincides with the birthday of Anton Jansa, a Slovenian born in 1734 and widely recognized as the pioneer of modern beekeeping.

National Bee Day gives us an opportunity to appreciate the critical role that bees play not only in nature but also in our everyday lives.

These small often ill-treated insects are critically important for our own survival. But unfortunately like so many species across the world their numbers are rapidly declining due to climate change, pollution and intensive agriculture.

Bees, butterflies and bats are responsible for the pollination of about 90% of the world’s wild flowering plants and at least 75% of the world’s food crops. As pollinators, they are therefore responsible for about a third of the food we eat.

Sadly due to human impact about 35% of these incredible pollinators are now facing global extinction. This ripple effect will be catastrophic for a host of other species that rely on these valuable pollinators for their very existence. This includes us.

The Renowned Honey Badger

In our area the honey badger, also known as the “Ratel”, is a tenacious small carnivore with a reputation for being completely fearless.

A Honey badger eating honey comb recently extracted from a hive.
Honey Badger after honey

The Guinness Book of Records even recognizes this small mammal as the “most fearless animal in the world”. The honey badger gets it’s name from their love for honey and honeybee larvae. These fearless badgers have also developed a symbiotic relationship with the Honeyguide bird.

African Honeyguide eating honey comb taken by a honey badger from a hive
African Honeyguide

The honeyguide bird guides the badger to a hive. Unable to retrieve the honeycomb itself, the bird makes use of the tenacious badger. He can tolerate multiple stings whilst attaining the sweet prize. Once retrieved, the Honeyguide can feed to his heart’s content.

The honeyguide bird is also known to use man for the very same reason: something only a fortunate few have had the opportunity to experience.

5 Fun Facts About Bees

*Bees put the honey in Honeymoon 

Honey was used in the earliest known alcoholic beverage – mead. Mead played an important role in Nordic marriage rites as early as the 5th century. Newlywed couples would consume copious amounts of mead during the first full moon cycle, or month, of marriage (the now known “honeymoon”).  

*Bees can remember human faces

Although bees may have a brain the size of a poppy seed, they’re able to pick out individual features on human faces. This keen perception helps these highly social creatures recognize each other. It also helps them recognize and return to their favorite pollen producing flowers.

*Scientists use bees to study serial killers

Bees avoid detection by predators and parasites by creating a distraction zone — they leave flowers closest to their nest entrance untouched and feed further away from the hive. In 2008, a team team of researchers found that bees’ foraging patterns were as reliable and predictable as humans. Using insights from bee patterns, criminology experts can now refine geographic profiling methods. That’s because in general, repeat offenders avoid committing crimes close to where they live so they can avoid detection. 

*There are bees that can age backwards

Older bees have the ability to revert back to their more energetic, younger selves. This occurs when there is a lack of young worker bees to take on tasks. In fact, these bees end up living longer to pick up the slack. This incredible phenomenon is currently under investigation by researchers to better understand the underlying mechanisms and potential applications for age-related dementia in humans. 

*Bees are cold blooded but can defend their hives with giant balls of heat

Like all insects, bees are cold-blooded. But using their wings, they can fan hot air out of the hive to cool an area, or vibrate their flight muscles to heat it.  Using this technique, they can defend their hives by creating a giant ball around an invading hornet and use the same hive-heating techniques to cook the invader alive

So next time you hear the signature buzzing of bees around you – replace fear and the swatting frenzy with appreciation. Come on safari with us to celebrate National Bee Day and the blessing that bees are still here!!

Multi-generational Travel opportunities at Kambaku!

multi-generation travel

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is how quickly things can change.  We have all experienced the loss of quality time with family and loved ones. I personally feel that my children have had precious memories “stolen” from them. Time with grandparents was down to a minimum last year – and 1 year in the life of a 6 year old is an eternity’s worth of change, development and memories. Ryan Doncsecz of VIP Vacations said that since the onset of the pandemic “family members have lost out on many potential memories and experiences with their loved ones.” Multi-generational Travel or intergenerational travel is the answer and fast becoming the new norm.

Eager for the day when we can all head off on a family vacation to the bush?

We are all experiencing a deeper desire to connect on a more meaningful level with family, and have realized that now is the time to take that bucket list trip – every moment is precious.

The benefits of Multi-generational Travel are endless and include quality bonding time and babysitting on tap. These experiences are often the strongest childhood memories that kids have. What better way to build memories than to travel together?

A common theme across each generation seems to be the desire for experiential travel: authentic, unique travel experiences in a destination that has a ‘little something for everyone’. The goal – to create a spark, a passion, and inspire a sense of wonder in all levels of the family structure. It also gives the opportunity to celebrate a life event (milestone birthday or anniversary, family reunion etc) that might have been missed in 2020.

With mass vaccination programs underway across the world there is a genuine light at the end of the tunnel. Now is the time to seize the opportunity and travel to Kambaku Safari Lodge.

What Matters: Reputation and Connectivity

As much as some of us need to get away from Wi-Fi and the demands of always being available, Wi-Fi is one of the most important parts of the guest experience. 65% of guests jump online within seven minutes of checking in and a third request the Wi-Fi password as soon as they arrive. At Kambaku Safari Lodge, Wi-Fi is no issue. It is free of charge and available in all the main lodge areas as well as near the pool. This makes it easy for those wishing to upload their exciting game drive encounters, or needing to check in with the office.

When it comes to reputation – you are in excellent hands at Kambaku Safari Lodge. For many years we have been at the top of the rankings on Trip Advisor. Many reviews mention their multi-generational family holiday in an amazing lodge.

For many, the emotional benefits of multi-generational travel and the anticipated connection with family members far outweigh the risks of contracting the virus.

multi-generational travel

Exclusive use of the lodge for multi-generational travel includes benefits such as sole use of the facilities, minimizing interactions with people outside of your social bubble and maximizing your safety. That’s something that every generation can feel good about! Spacious main lodge areas, large dining spaces, and individual bedrooms allow every family member to stay in comfort.

TravelSafeEatSafe

We follow an enhanced cleaning protocol, and have signed the Tourism Board Council of South Africa’s pledge. This means that we are compliant with COVID-19 Industry protocols.

This includes the use of disinfecting products approved by the TBCSA, thoroughly sanitizing all rooms before and after occupancy. This ensures maximum safety for you and your family.

Multi-generational Travel is the answer

As Kambaku Safari Lodge is family owned and operated, we understand that each member of your family has different needs. There is something for every generation at Kambaku Safari Lodge. For the kids, we offer a Kambaku Kubs program that is included in the child rate. This is a comprehensive children’s program that will educate and inspire them during their stay. Bush walks are a must to appreciate the wild from another angle.

Mom and Dad will love the space to relax and put their feet up while the kids are being entertained. And grandparents will appreciate the extra space and private rooms for a peaceful retreat. A trip to the Timbavati’s renowned Graeme Naylor Museum is highly recommended, and dinner under the stars will just be the cherry on top.

Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.

Michael J Fox
multi-generational travel
kids on Safari

Kids on Safari – an unbelievable experience.

Living the vast majority of your adult life, meeting your life partner and raising your two kids all in the bush, somehow gives this lifestyle a new meaning. An alternative perspective and an unrelenting passion for your environment and all that co-exists within it. It was the culmination of all these events and celebrations that coerced us towards something more – a yearning to share the splendid wonders of the natural environment with genuine thought and passion. Something you are continuously reminded of and get the opportunity to reappreciate when experiencing it through the eyes of your own children. Kids on safari show us their amazement and wonder that we as grown ups too often take for granted or simply overlook.

Back to Basics

Seeing through the eyes of our children became the basis of our Kambaku Kubs Program. The program became a means by which to impart an vast amount of information in an interactive and fun way. This also opened an avenue into the developing minds of our future generations in the hope that in some way and by some means they may be gently reminded of the importance of sustainability. The understanding of co-existence, and ultimately the importance of our natural world not only for its sake but for that of their own too became the main principles.

Our hope is that every child who gets to experience the Kambaku Kubs Program takes from it a genuine care and passion for the natural environment. This combined with substance, strong integrity and a quest to share the knowledge gained in an ultimate bid not to repeat the many selfish mistakes of previous and current generations.

Kids on safari

The Kambaku Kubs Program can loosely be compared to a bush version of cub, scouts or brownies. Shared are the same driving forces of creativity, love of the outdoors, self-realization and the ability to test one’s self and newly acquired knowledge. Broken up over the length of your stay, the program is not only designed to educate, but also tests your child’s ability within the various facets of this amazing environment. This all whilst working through interactive manuals and participating in fun, practical activities under the watchful eyes of professional guides with years of experience, knowledge, and passion to share. Each field of achievement be it orientation, crafts, identification, making moulds and so forth, receives a merit badge of achievement. This ultimately leads to the awarding of a junior ranger certificate adorned with the various merit badges achieved.

kids on Safari
Kids on safari

Parents can relax

With a program that has a little for everyone embraced in an environment of such natural beauty and abundance, we are proud to be able to offer this to our guests both big and small. Not to mention that is also comes with a complimentary midday time out for weary travelling parents. Time to explore their new found surroundings including the spa, gym, pool or bar, whilst your children explore, interact and expand their minds.

Read more about the Safari lodge experience

Book now for an unbelievable kids on safari adventure holiday.

Kids on safari
Making Plaster of paris moulds

Fantastic Ways to be a Responsible Tourist at Kambaku Lodges

Responsible, eco-conscious tourism is a buzz world you’ll hear a lot. It also sounds like a drag, right? Wrong! Being an eco-friendly tourist in South Africa is pretty simple, and won’t need you to do anything except enjoy the trip. Here’s the Kambaku Lodges top tips on ethical, responsible tourism – no hassle!

Know and say no… that’s all it takes

Knowing what eco matters matter most to the country you’re visiting is the first step to eco-conscious tourism. Game Reserves in Timbavati have concerns that may be different than your own hometown or country. Here, water can often be in short supply, so responsible water usage during your time here is critical. Take shorter showers, don’t leave taps dripping, and let us know if you spot a problem.

Likewise, it’s time to say ‘no’ to junk. From a lid on your coffee to the plastic straw in your soda, junk intruding on natural environments is becoming a serious issue worldwide. Do your part to keep unnecessary rubbish out of the landfills, and make sure to dispose of your own waste responsibly- that casually dropped bottle could choke and kill local wildlife or destroy their environment, after all.

In protected areas, it can also be illegal to pick or gather plants. As well as making sure to take your litter and waste with you, make sure you don’t disturb the natural environment too much- as the famous saying goes, take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints. Lastly, remember that- as exciting as your time on safari will be- this is a truly wild African experience. From the roaring lion to the tiniest Dwarf mongoose, these are not tame animals, and are always best left alone.

Supporting the locals responsibly

Modern tourism has evolved from an entity that only takes, to a supportive way to help grow local communities and support local development. If you can help contribute in a meaningful way, be it through safari activities that pay back to the community, or through local purchases, it’s always great. Sadly, however, there are always those who will make a living through preying on tourist empathy. Sometimes it’s a mere nuisance, as with touts, and other times it can outright bring crime to the local communities. Rather opt to support local artists, craftspeople and food vendors, and otherwise direct your money to positive upliftment programs for the area, if you wish to.

Lastly, you can always take a little care with your splurge purchases for the (unlucky) folks back home. Sustainable and eco-friendly crafts and mementoes are easy to find. Steer away from dubious or unethical products, or trophies from endangered and illegal wildlife poaching.

These actions may seem small, but being an eco-conscious tourist doesn’t take much at all. Added together, however, each of our small actions will have a huge impact on preserving the beauties of the Timbavati Game Reserve for future generations.

Keen to know more about responsible tourism? The team at the Kambaku Game Lodges are always happy to help visitors learn more about our beautiful corner of Africa.

5 Fascinating Facts You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know About the South African Bird of the Year 2020

South Africa’s Bird of the Year for 2020 is the Southern Ground-hornbill. This may be the very first time you’re hearing of this remarkable species, but for safari lodges in the Timbavati Game Reserve it’s long been a spectacular sighting. Here’s everything you didn’t know you needed to know about this fascinating bird.

1.  Precious and treasured…

Sometimes called the ‘Lightning’ or ‘Thunder’ bird, it’s the belief of many indigenous SA cultures that the Southern Ground-hornbill is a symbol of the coming of life-giving rains. This worked very much in the Hornbills favour over many centuries, as it was sacrilege to kill them. However, this has not been the case for all cultures, and in some, they are seen as an unlucky bird instead.

2.  …Yet sadly endangered

As society has changed, and mankind expanded like never before, however, this hallowed status has begun to fade. Today, it’s estimated that there are less than 1500 individuals remaining. They’re rarely spotted outside the confines of protected areas like the Timbavati Game Reserve and the Greater Kruger. Deforestation, grassland reduction, poisoning and electrocution have decimated the species, as has the loss of large trees throughout the ‘urban jungle’.

3.  Socially active

The Southern Ground-hornbill, surprisingly, operates more like a pack than a flock. They’re very slow breeders, and only one ‘alpha’ pair will breed in the flock, but they will work together cooperatively in groups of 2-9. They will produce 2 chicks, only one of which will live to maturity, and the breeding cycle takes 9 years. They have lived up to 70 years in captivity.

4.  A ferocious consumer

This is no harmless seedeater! Smaller animals run for cover when the Southern Ground-hornbill is around, as they’ll eat almost anything that crosses their path- including small lizards, insects, rodents, tortoises and even weighty snakes like the puff adder!

5.  Hear the dawn chorus

The flock will gather before dawn for a ‘chorus’ of repeated low grunting that sounds almost like a far-away lion. The big red wattle under the male’s bill helps amplify this across wide distances, easily carrying 3km or more. In females, the wattle is violet. It’s thought that this chorus helps establish and maintain their territory.

Keen to see more of this fascinating bird? With the Southern Ground-hornbill declared Bird of the Year, there’s no better time to visit the Greater Kruger National Park. With the Kambaku Lodges as your perfect accommodation for the stay, there’s no better time than the present to come and enjoy!

African Wild Dog

Myth or Misunderstood? Unique facts you need to know about the African Wild Dog

Safari Lodges near the Kruger Park may be best known for their Big 5 populations, but there’s many other unique animals that call these areas home. Of these, none is perhaps as mysterious (and often misunderstood) as the critically endangered African Wild Dog. This utterly unique canid species calls the area home, and here at the Kambaku Lodges your chances of a Wild Dog encounter are high as you safari with us, yet many fascinating facts about these unique animals remain unknown to our visitors. Here’s a few scintillating titbits about these iconic mammals.

Unique teeth, unique tempers

Life in the bush may be beautiful to behold, but it’s a do-or-die race for many of the animals that call it home. The African Wild Dog is no different. Despite being full predators, each individual dog is only a small mammal, so it’s no surprise they retain a canine-like tendency to hunt in packs. This cooperative effort makes hunting even pretty large prey easy- but with many larger and more dominant predators in the bush, doesn’t mean they’ll get to keep what they kill!

Nature has thus provided them with teeth very different from your (larger) average canid. These specially adapted teeth shred the carcasses of their kill rapidly, ensuring everyone gets a chance to eat before the risk of being driven off by other animals. This especially benefits the pups, who, as soon as they are able to eat solid food, are given priority over every other pack member to eat.

Home is where the family is

As with most members of the dog family, the African Wild Dog hunts in a pack led by a dominant pair. As younger members mature, however, it is the female offspring that leave the nest to seek out a pack of their own, not the males as with other species. Males thus form the nucleus of the pack. In a very human-like twist, wild dogs lose their coats as they age, leaving the oldest pack members almost naked. This fur is very unlike typical canine hair, comprising mostly of stiff bristles with no underlying undercoat, a unique adaptation to the African climate.

The Wild Dog pack is a democracy, with pack members voting before heading out on the kill. Their method of doing so, however, may surprise you- as it’s done through sneezing! While pack elders and leaders have more say in what the pack does, it’s perfectly possible for the ‘leadership’ to be outvoted by other members. Sneeze voting is a strange idea, but hey…. If it works, it works!

The African Wild Dog is a complex (and sadly, often misunderstood) animal as iconic to the game lodges of the Timbavati as our elephants and larger animals. During your stay at the Kambaku Lodges, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these uniquely wonderful animals- and maybe, just maybe, your ears too, in case a fit of sneezes announces the pack’s new hunt!

Image credit: Ryno Vosloo (IG @rynovosloo_safari)

An Elephant Experience

An elephant experience like no other awaits at the Kambaku Lodges

Elephants are some of the most intelligent creatures to walk the face of the earth. Their complex consciousnesses feel strong emotions, bond like humans, and even grieve their dead. No matter where you turn in Africa, you’ll find an ingrained respect for these unique beings, and they play a significant role in many cultures because of it. For many of the overseas visitors to the Kambaku Lodges, they’re also a huge drawcard, evoking an immediate sense of Africa at it’s very best. If you want to know a little more about what Elephant experiences to expect here, as a game lodge in the Timbavati, keep reading- delights await you!

The allure of the African Elephant

Elephants are known for their intelligence, loyalty and gentle natures. As a keystone African species, they also play a huge part in maintaining the biodiversity of the unique environments in which they live. They are also undeniably tourism magnets, and few feel a trip to Africa is complete without an Elephant sighting or two. These charismatic animals float slowly over the landscape. Young ones remain with their mothers (and herds) for up to five years, and orphans are nursed within the herd too. These highly social creatures have remarkable memories, and are generally peaceable creatures who don’t seek trouble or pick fights. That’s not to say that a threatened Elephant won’t defend themselves, and many a disrespectful tourist has found their vehicle chased by an angry 7-ton Elephant trumpeting loudly!

Ensuring that man and elephant can coexist peacefully is a focus of many reputable wildlife programs, and the Elephants of the Timbavati are monitored through several projects, advancing our knowledge of these gentle giants and ensuring harmony between herds and local agricultural and cultural hubs.

GAME DRIVE 2

Kambaku: an Elephant legacy that endures

The Kambaku Lodge family is named, of course, after one of the Kruger’s original ‘Magnificent Seven’. While these awe-inspiring ‘big tusk’ bull Elephants may have passed on, their legacy remains in the modern herds spotted throughout the greater Timbavati area. And you’ll have ample opportunity to experience this legacy for yourself during your stay. Elephants are a keystone of the safari experience, and your chances of a unique Elephant encounter are extremely high.

That’s not the only Elephant experience you’re likely to have, however. With our gorgeous infinity pool looking out directly into the surrounding bush, it’s not unknown for guests to have a truly unique Elephant experience as they enjoy themselves by the pool!

Accommodation in the Timbavati Game Reserve is uniquely placed to allow visitors fascinating elephant sightings up close and personal. Our Kambaku Lodges are perfectly situated within the reserve to ensure you have optimal chances to experience these unique beings first-hand, including a chance of an exciting poolside experience, too.

Book an incredible elephant experience at Kambaku Lodges today. We guarantee every encounter with these gentle giants will change your life.

African photographic safaris- the can’t-miss safari experience you need in your life

The iconic image of an African safari wouldn’t be complete without the camera around your neck. Despite that, it can be tough to accurately capture the majesty of the bush on a standard tourism safari drive. Enter the photographic safari. Whether you’re an amateur hoping to capture some breathtaking moments, or a seasoned pro who lives through their lens, a photographic safari is the perfect way to ensure you get that shot that will immortalize your experience in the bush

What is a photographic safari?

Sometimes called ‘the only ethical wildlife hunts’, photographic safaris are specifically structured around ensuring you capture only the very best wildlife moments on camera. It’s not just a game drive, but an experience specifically constructed around capturing images of the trip that will ensnare the heart of any viewer.

This means that it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the animals in the bush if you want to get the right moment the right way. That’s why our expert guides are also trained in the art of photography as well as bushveld lore. They’ll guide you to understand more about the art of wildlife photography and the wildlife itself, helping you craft memories that will last a lifetime and showcase your skills.

Game Lodges in the Timbavati like Kambaku Lodges are perfectly placed for photographic safaris. With our fenceless borders allowing animals to free roam from the Kruger, and ample opportunity to spot the Big 5, there can be no better photographic safari experience.

What’s the best season for a photographic safari?

In honesty, if it’s the magic of the camera you’re looking to weave, there’s no peak season. Traditionally, the dry season has been seen as the best safari weather. Without rain to replenish water sources, animals are more likely to congregate together in larger numbers at waterholes. Meanwhile, the bush die-off over the dry season makes spotting animals a little easier.

However, when the rains sweep in and rejuvenate the bush, we’re gifted with an explosion of green to delight any heart. Spring brings wobbly baby animals begging to be immortalised, and winter sunsets that will capture your heart forever. Differing seasons allow you to capture different moments, but everyone will delight your heart.

At Kambaku lodges we offer premier photographic safari opportunities year-round. With luxury accommodation in the Timbavati to look forward to each evening, an experienced guide to help you make the very best of your gear, and small groups to ensure only the very best experience, you’ll fall in love with the bush all over again.

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Romance at Kambaku Lodge’s – Celebrate your wedding in style

February is the month of love, and you may well have wedding bells on your mind. If you’re looking to plan the bushveld wedding experience of a lifetime, it’s time to let the experts at Kambaku Lodges help you make your bridal dreams come true.

Allow the beauty of the bush to woo you both

Destination weddings may be the rising wedding trend for 2020, but the magic of the African bushveld has been ensnaring happy couples for far longer than that. One night spent under the glittering stars, one crisp morning under achingly blue skies, or one heart-capturing sunset as the sky is painted in magical colours and you’ll understand why. Once you’ve fallen in love with the bush, there’s no destination that compares.

There’s a magic to the veld difficult to describe, but it will be tangible to your guests almost immediately. Soft rustles and low calls fill the bush with life, and yet the quiet serenity allows mundane cares to melt away. Animals play, birds soar, and nature weaves her spell no matter where you turn. Heart-stopping views create the perfect backdrop to celebrate your love and allow you to capture the magic of the moment for perfect photographs you’ll treasure forever.

There’s no better wedding experience than a bush wedding, and Kambaku Lodges is happy to help you create your dream day.

Kambaku Lodge’s wedding packages

One glimpse of our luxury accommodation in the Timbavati Game Reserve and you’ll understand why brides and grooms trust us to help them make their special day even more memorable. We know planning a wedding can be stressful, so we’ve made it our mission to help alleviate some of the strain. We offer 3 gorgeous wedding packages perfect for any budget, allowing you to pick the combo that best suits your needs.

Kick off the special day with a spa experience for the bride-to-be. Don’t worry, we’ll be handling the lodge’s setup for you! With an exclusive bridal suite, yours for the day, and delicious champagne and snack platters for the bridal party, you may be tempted to stay hidden away. Don’t forget, however, that you’ll also have access to private game vehicles for a safari! Should you desire, we can organise an officiant and witnesses at the lodge’s, too. Enjoy the splendours of an African tribal gift ceremony, and then let your guests tuck into a delicious plated dinner at the Boma.

Should you need a little more weight taken off your shoulders, we can add a spa day for him to the package and take the romance to the bush instead of the lodges. We can also see to it that your garments are pressed, organise flower arrangements, and offer a basic photography package.

Or go all-in and lets us handle the little details. Guests will enjoy their plated dinner in the bush, we’ll handle your bouquet and save-the-dates, and your hair and makeup too! Enjoy a special performance from the lodge’s choir to celebrate your union and take advantage of our professional photo team for a day that’s out of this world.

No matter what you dream for your special day, let Kambaku Lodges help you craft the African bush wedding experience that people will be talking about for years to come.

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The Big 5, the Timbavati and YOU: Everything you need to know

There’s one thing any safari lodge in the Greater Kruger National Park is familiar with, and that’s the Big 5. Although there’s tons of wildlife to be seen on any South African safari, it’s these iconic 5 land mammals that have caught the hearts and captured the imagination of everyone who visits here. The Kambaku Game Lodges in the Timbavati have the honour of living among these beautiful beings, and are proud to help our visitors experience their majesty for themselves. With that in mind, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about seeing the Big 5 in the Timbavati.

What are the ‘Big 5’, anyway?

The term ‘Big 5’ refers to 5 iconic African mammals. Namely the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Cape Buffalo. Of these famous 5, the Lion is perhaps the most famous of all, roaming the bush in their hunting prides. The Leopard is a more solitary and shy creature and can be harder to spot on game drives. It’s difficult to miss an Elephant herd, and the Timbavati are blessed with a fairly substantial population. The Rhino and Cape Buffalo are often found alongside each other in their own herds, too.

Will I definitely see the ‘Big 5’ in the Timbavati?

Here’s the thing about safaris. Their very beauty lies in the unconquered bush, spotting these amazing animals in their natural habitats, living lives as untouched by man as possible. This is the nearest we’ll come to experiencing life in the wild, as lived by these untamed beasts. A safari is truly an experience like no other… but it’s also one that can’t be scripted, for exactly the same reasons that make it so alluring.

So, no animal sighting can ever be ‘guaranteed’, as you’re viewing animals living natural lives in pristine bushland. Some days it will seem like everything is being thrown at you at once, some days you’ll capture a live hunt, and other days will be quieter. Time of day, seasons, water conditions and a lot more will all have an effect on the animals you see, and what they’re doing when you spot them.

That said, the Timbavati is home to every one of the Big 5 in natural population numbers. This means that your chances of a spectacular sighting (or 5) are very strong indeed.  Our guides here at the Kambaku Lodges are all knowledgeable, and spend much time out-and-about on the reserve. This means they know the natural patterns of these animals, as well as where sightings are commonly encountered on the reserve. This makes your chances of a wildlife moment you’ll never forget as high as possible. Rest assured, no safari drive is ever wasted.

How do I maximise my chances of seeing the Big 5 on my safari?

While you can’t do much about the random patterns of wildlife movement, there’s a lot you can do to maximise your chances of Big 5 sightings. As we mentioned, the depth of knowledge of our guides will ensure they know where to take you, when, and how best to maximise your chances of a spectacular sighting. Be sure to listen to them, especially if they ask you to do something during your safari drives.

It also helps to let your guide know what type of sightings you are most interested in. The shy Leopard is most often spotted on more nocturnal or late evening drives, when they slink down to hunt their prey. Rhino and Cape Buffalo are often found (together with Zebra) near water sources during the heat of summer. So don’t be shy- let us know which of the Big 5 you’re particularly hoping to spot, so we can help you pick the very best options for your wishes.

You can also do a few things to make your safari drives as rewarding as possible. Opt for muted clothing colours, so you blend into the vehicle and don’t spook wildlife. That doesn’t mean you need a full safari suit! Simple keep to neutral tones and avoid bright shirts and accessories that may mirror the light. Keep your voice low and try to minimize unnecessary noises- you don’t want your ringtone frightening away a marvellous sighting, after all!

Your accommodation in the Timbavati Nature Reserve means you’re perfectly placed to have a wealth of exciting ‘Big 5’ encounters during your stay at the Kambaku Game Lodges. While we can’t guarantee what you’ll experience, we can guarantee the experience will stay with you for a lifetime. Let the Timbavati touch your soul- come and experience the ‘Big 5’ in their natural habitat today.

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    Address

    Timbavati Game Reserve, Enkhulu Gate, Argyle Rd, Hoedspruit, 1380

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    reservations@kambakulodge.com

    Phone

    +27 15 004 0817

    +27 83 261 7091

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