Kruger National Park
The Timbavati is the largest private game reserve bordering the Kruger National Park.
There are no fences between the Kruger National Park and The Timbavati Private Game Reserve – and as the animals roam freely – the game viewing is superb.
The Timbavati Private Game Reserve is less populated with Private Game Lodges, making this area quite unique and special.
Spend your time at Timbavati enjoying Game Drives in open Safari vehicles with experienced rangers and trackers, or perhaps partake in a Bush Walk.
Relax outside your lodge suite, sipping a cocktail and watching the game from the comfort of your lodge – or perhaps sip on a cocktail watching the sunset over the African Bush.
Timbavati hosts only a few small luxury lodges – being highly personalised and perfect for couples or Honeymooners !
Our favourite Timbavati Private Game Lodges include:
When the White Lions of the Timbavati were discovered in the mid-1970s, they became the subject of much interest and debate. The story of the “White Lions of the Timbavati” has been told by several people, most notable of whom was Mr. Chris McBride, who published two books about the phenomenon: ‘The White Lions of the Timbavati’ and ‘Operation White Lion’.
Chris was the son of Timbavati member Cyril McBride who at the time, together with his brother Robert , owned the farm Vlakgezicht. The famous white lions of the Timbavati were first sighted by Cyril McBride’s daughter Lanice van den Heever in October of 1975.
McBride relied heavily on the expertise and knowledge of two local trackers, Jack Mathebula and Mandaban Hlongo, in his efforts to track the white cubs. These men had grown up in the bush and had intimate knowledge of the behaviour of lions. There have been various “spiritual” powers attributed to the White lions and many people were and still are of the opinion that the lions are a different species. The truth is that this is a natural phenomenon that occurs due to “leucism” as detailed below. Every so often we are treated to glimpses of these incredible animals.
The white coats possessed by the “White Lions of the Timbavati” were not the product of “albinism” (a relatively common condition resulting from a failure to develop pigment), but from another condition called “leucism”, in which the pelt is white but eyes and skin are pigmented. This rare event (also termed a “chinchilla mutation”) is thought to represent an evolutionary stage in the progressive loss of pigmentation. The white mutation, which affects two of the pigments involved in coat colouration, is expressed only when two conditions pertain:
Both parents carry the recessive “white gene”; and the offspring inherit the recessive gene of each parent. If a cub receives a dominant “tawny” gene from either parent, its pelt will be tawny. Thus a litter may be comprised of both tawny and white cubs.
How to Get There:
There are direct flights on a daily basis on South African Airways – SA Express from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit.
From Hoedspruit Airport, you can enjoy a road transfer of approximately 45 mins to your lodge of choice.
Alternatively, if you fly into Nelspruit Airport, you can enjoy a Federal Air flight transfer to the Timbavati Private Game Reserve.
If you prefer Self-drive in a hire car – you are looking at an approximate 5 hour drive from Johannesburg.