My husband and I just returned from our trip to South Africa where we had the privilege of staying three nights at the Kambaku Safari Lodge during our safari portion of the trip. The lodge truly exceeded our expectations! From the moment we arrived at the lodge we were treated like royalty, offering outstanding service, constant attention to all details and a homey feeling.
Upon our arrival in the early afternoon, the lodge staff welcomed us very warmly by the main entrance, offering us a delicious cocktail and great smiles. We met the owners, Bryce and Nicola, along with their daughter Paityn, who live right at the lodge. We were also introduced to Werner and Phillip (rangers), Albert (tracker), Clarisse (assistant manager) and some of the waiting staff. It turned out we were the only guests at the lodge during our stay (that week was part of the low tourist season) so we had all the staff attention to ourselves, talking about pampering!!
Clarisse kindly showed us to our chalet and briefed us in on the lodge logistics and schedule of activities. The lodge has 8 chalets in total. Our chalet (Joao, #8) was located towards the end and had a great view of the waterhole. Room decor was simple, colorful, clean and well appointed. Loved the poster bed with the draped mosquito net! All the rooms have an overhead fan to keep the room cool; they also provide mosquito repellent and bug spray. In the evening, we would find bed-time stories and some candies on our bed, which was a very nice touch to welcome us back to the room for a restful night.
Shortly after our arrival we were invited to enjoy afternoon tea and some snacks at the main area (lounge), then headed out to our first game drive with Werner and Albert. It was just an incredible and unforgettable experience for us, being our first safari trip. Shortly after the drive began, we ran into a very large (200+) herd of African buffalos, and Werner did not hesitate to drive off the road into the bush to get close (and I mean really close!) to the buffalos, what a great to start a safari!! Visitors are advised to stay sitting at all times in the jeep, that way the animals don't feel threatened and simply don't mind the vehicles.
We were paying close attention to all the information that Werner (the ranger) and Albert (the tracker) were exchanging during the drive; their dynamics were very enjoyable to watch. They both showed their professionalism, dedication, passion and knowledge throughout all the game drives. Werner was also in radio communication with other rangers in the area during the game drives in order to share reports of interesting animals (particularly any of the big 5) being spotted in the area.
The afternoon game drives also allowed us to spot animals that become more active after sunset (like wild cats, civets, hare, etc.). Albert would carry a big spotlight that we would sweep through (left to right) in the dark to try to spot animals in the bush, it was certainly an interesting a very unique experience. We spotted a honey badger one evening (a very rare sitting which excited our ranger very much!). Also, buffalo herds seek water to drink in the morning and late afternoons, so we were able to see them gathered in the waterholes in few occasions, great sights!
The game drives overall were quite productive and very rewarding, as we were able to spot 3 of the Big 5 (elephants, buffalos, and a female white rhino with its baby rhino) in addition to zebras, giraffes, Kudus, waterbeds, impalas, a hyaena, warthogs, baboons, jackals, wild cats, lizards, mongoose, bats, reedbucks, monkeys, eagles, and different species of birds (hornbill, Lilac Breasted Roller, guineafowl). Unfortunately, could not spot any lions or leopards even though our tracker and ranger found fresh tracks on the roads… that will be saved for the next safari trip.
The meals at the lodge were simply outstanding, and the staff always ensured we were properly fed. Before the morning game drives (which start at 6 am) they serve hot beverages and biscuits. There is always a snack stop during the game drives. After the the morning game drives a delicious and varied buffet style brunch was waiting us, which would really fill us up for the rest of the afternoon. There was also tea time before the afternoon game drive. After returning in the evening we were served a fabulous dinner, each evening having a different theme. One of the dinners was held in the Boma under a clear starry night and surrounding a nice bonfire. During the last evening of our stay we were pleasantly surprised with an intimate dinner for my husband and myself at our chalet's veranda, surrounded by lanterns, and the whole setting decorated with flowers, wow!! The staff offered this special dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary which had happened the week before. Terrance (a.k.a. Terry, the waiter) did a fabulous job waiting for us that evening, even sang for us, what an unforgettable evening indeed!!!!
The staff also went our of their way in trying to accommodate our clothing needs since my husband's luggage never made it to the Kambaku lodge from Johannesburg. They tried to track the luggage with the airport and other lodges, they took care of the laundry for us and even gave my husband a Kambaku polo-shirt as a gift. Can't thank them enough for all the attention and fabulous service they provided.
All in all, it was a truly memorable stay and would not hesitate to go back to Kambaku for another safari trip to Kruger area. Highly recommend this lodge to anyone considering to visit Kruger area and looking for comfortable, exclusive accommodations and exceptional service and setting. Thanks tot he whole staff for making this vacation a once in a lifetime experience!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kambaku Safari Lodge is nestled in the heart of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which can be found within the world renowned Greater Kruger National Park.The camp is well situated in this unspoilt natural wilderness area, home to an astonishing array of animals including the Big 5. Kambaku provides the ultimate escape from busy schedules, with eight well appointed thatched chalets overlooking our own private waterhole.Attracting guests from around the world, Kambaku offers superior standards in all of our facilities yet always maintaining a high level of environmental consciousness. Our dedicated staff will cater to the individual needs of our guests making for a truly memorable stay. With scrumptious bush cuisine in a relaxed, rustic setting our guests can truly unwind and immerse themselves in the restorative powers of nature. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Wotif.com, Expedia APAC, Hotels.com, South African Hotels, Hotelopia, Agoda and lastminute.com.au so you can book your Kambaku Safari Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Kambaku Safari Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
- Kambaku Safari Lodge South Africa/Timbavati Private Nature Reserve