Tourists in a safari vehicle observing an African leopard in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, South Africa.

© Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

Kruger National Park

Timbavati abuts Kruger National Park's western boundary and has an excellent mix of wildlife, conservation and good accommodation. Its accommodation settings are less sumptuous than those at Sabi Sand, so it tends to be more reasonably priced, without forgoing too many amenities. The reserve was once known for its population of white lions. Far more reliably, we saw the Big Five on a single game drive.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kruger National Park attractions

1. Klaserie Private Nature Reserve

3.64 MILES

A 600-sq-km (or 60,000 hectare) private wildlife reserve in the greater Kruger area, Klaserie has strong conservation credentials.

2. Thornybush Private Game Reserve

10.37 MILES

This 13,816-hectare reserve is a collaboration between 12 lodges (the number keeps going up every year), with a focus on high-end comforts and excellent…

3. Kapama Private Game Reserve

17.17 MILES

With four luxury lodges and the Big Five in residence (as well as occasional passing wild dogs and great birding), 13,000-hectare Kapama gets all of the…

4. Bobbejaankrans

17.93 MILES

This overlooks a section of the Timbavati River that animals often visit to slake their thirst. It's especially good early morning or late afternoon.

5. Timbavati Picnic Area

20.76 MILES

One of Kruger's designated picnic spots. Northwest of Satara. Have a late lunch here as a prelude to a loop along the S127 and S39.

6. Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

22.14 MILES

A few clicks south of Hoedspruit along the R40 and attached to the Kapama Private Game Reserve, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre was set up to…

7. Manyeleti Game Reserve

22.19 MILES

During the apartheid era, the 23,000-hectare Manyeleti was the only wildlife reserve that blacks were permitted to visit. Due to its unfenced boundary…

8. Nsemani Dam

25.89 MILES

Nsemani is always worth a stop between Satara and Orpen. Hippos, birds and elephants are often present.