Camp Jabulani at Timbavati

Camp Jabulani is a perfect translation of the African bush, seamlessly blending classic and elegant interiors (fit for princes and kings, but warm enough to make the most “down-to-earth” feel completely at home) with the natural bush beyond. A camp of and within the elements.

Rich textures of organic elements create a harmonious and pleasing balance between “designer” and “authentic”. Grass-pressed mud walls, stone floors and thatched roofs are but some of the natural features guests may expect to find.

An open flow of light and air allow for a communion with the African bush without forsaking optimum comfort. Rich woods, crystal glasses, silver service somehow seamlessly blend into an experience of genuine hospitality and sensory indulgence.

The camp is built along the bank of a seasonal stream. An open-plan dining room and lounge merge with the wooden deck which lies in the shade of gigantic leadwood trees (around which the main facility was constructed). An impressive suspension bridge connects these living areas with the suites which lie scattered beyond the river bed.

The sole objective of the team of professionally skilled and personable staff is to meet the needs of their valued guests. To indulge, spoil, pamper and entertain. But most importantly – to share with them the story and the experience of the elephants.


Each of the six luxury suites is remote and private. Massive wooden sliding doors present interiors which are a pure translation of style, comfort, elegance and overall – an appreciation of the natural environment.

Pure cotton sheets, massive stone tubs, an outdoor glass-enclosed shower, a fire-place with a separate lounge area, and a private plunge pool complement each of the rooms. Suites are also equipped with a mini-bar, safe, hairdryer and electric blankets. Comfort is ensured by the 24 hour temperature control and overhead ceiling fan.

During the day the “walls” of the suites are rolled away to bring the bush just that bit closer. In the evenings, cozy lighting, a blazing fire and a welcoming bed draw to a perfect close another day in Africa.

Camp Jabulani’s facilities include:

    • A wooden deck area overlooking the dry river bed, in the shade of a massive Jackalberry tree. The perfect spot from which to enjoy lunch!
    • An open-plan lounge area, with laptop computer with WI-FI Connectivity.
    • An open-plan dining room, for evening meals or rainy days.
    • A Therapy-Lapa (or Tsala/ bush spa).
    • A bush gymnasium.
    • A fully stocked curio shop with a range of clothing, jewellery, accessories etc


Meal times at Camp Jabulani truly are a celebration of the senses. Perfectly sized portions are arranged in an art form of colour, texture and balance. A fusion of tastes and ingredients thrill the palate. As course after course materialise from the magicians in the kitchen – culinary appreciation reaches altogether new heights.

Only fresh ingredients are used in each of the dishes prepared. Home baked muffins and tea time treats, as well as sundowner snacks are created each day.

Many would argue that no good meal is complete without a good bottle of fine South African wine. Camp Jabulani has a good selection of both red and white wines proudly produced in the rich and unique wine-lands of the Cape.

Prepare to feast like a king!

Therapy Lapa

Camp Jabulani’s Therapy Lapa lies tucked within the dense foliage of the reserve.

“Absolutely Natural and Absolutely Pure” finds no better expression than in an environment such as this. Whether the product of choice is a blend of natural aromatic oils, or something more extravagant from shores abroad, treatments administered by the expert therapist are relaxing and rejuvenating in equal measure.

Treat yourself in winter to a spa treatment in the comfort of your suite in front of a blazing fire.

The Therapy Selection includes body treatments, natural wraps, skin-care treatments and hand & foot treatments.

Elephant Safari

Nothing quite tops the first introduction to the Camp Jabulani elephants! Their sheer size and presence are humbling.

Paul bridges the gap between man and giant with an informative introduction and orientation into the personalities of the elephants – providing useful information that will no doubt both entertain and educate.

And so begins the elephant safari. Each participant is partnered with an elephant based on temperament. Guests mount their elephant via a specially constructed ramp. Saddles have been designed with comfort in mind – for both the elephants and riders. Made of high density foam (ensuring a light weight), they are built up laterally, and have both handles and stirrups.

Atop their mighty spines, guests soon become lulled by the step by step amble – the gentle “side to side” rocking motion. Moving in single file (with Jabulani in the lead), silence reigns. A silence with no words – but with beautiful harmonious communication of the bush and its inhabitants.

Share in the ultimate African experience. View tree tops, birds’ nests, and giraffes almost face to face. Sail high above the bushveld and feel part of the environment, instead of being just a passive observer. On elephant back, one is truly an integral part of the experience.

Afternoon safaris are conducted just before the sun sets – the elephants ultimately converge on the romantic setting of lanterns, a white linen table adorned with a selection of beverages, crystal glasses, fresh flowers and delectable canapés specially prepared by the chef.

It is not hard to feel that “Life is good” as a sundowner sees the end of another day at Camp Jabulani, and allows for quiet reflection of the effect that a walk with elephants has instilled on even the most hardened soul.

Camp Jabulani offers the only night safari on elephant back in the world! Under the stars amidst the night sounds and dwellers, each guest is able to create their own experience as the sole proprietors of potent battery-powered spotlights. They may choose between swaying through the inky dark; finding millions of glittering eyes in the surrounding bush; or observing the planetarium-like splendour of the milky-way above.

Guests have the opportunity of “tucking” the elephants into their stables for the evening ahead, and of witnessing firsthand the mutual respect and genuine fondness between the elephants and their tenders.

One thing is certain – one cannot help but be changed forever after sharing an experience with the Camp Jabulani elephants.

Game Drives

This private game reserve, situated in Limpopo Province, covers prime big-game territory and enjoys panoramic views of the nearby Drakensberg mountain range, and is only 40 km from the Kruger National Park. It is also central to the scenic areas of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces.

As a result of a successful animal relocation programme, the reserve now supports a wide variety of game including elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros, giraffe, zebra, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, kudu and many other species of antelope. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and many smaller species. Bird watching is most rewarding and more than 350 species have been recorded.

The reserve has gained a reputation as a centre for wildlife management and research. Although tourism features prominently, it is the aim of the owner and her team to maintain a balance between the demands of tourism and conservation.

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

Camp Jabulani guests are treated to a visit to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (about a 30 minute drive through the reserve in open safari vehicle).

Founded by Lente Roode, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre has established itself as one of the leading private research and breeding facilities for endangered species in the country.

Governed by a progressive and modern management approach, it concerns itself with the breeding and maintenance of several endangered indigenous wildlife species of Southern Africa. The Centre places particular emphasis on the breeding and maintenance of cheetah in captivity. The excellent condition of these animals and the premises on which they are maintained, reflect the attention to detail which has become the hallmark of this facility.

Visitors are able to witness feeding sessions of various rare African vultures, to touch cheetahs (providing a rare photographic opportunity) and to witness the projects undertaken by the centre’s veterinary staff who operate an animal hospital where injured or abandoned animals are cared for and eventually released back into the wild.