Tanda Tula, Timbavati: The Lowdown

Extraordinary Africa>South Africa>Kruger, Sabi Sands and Around>Tanda Tula

It’s funny – Tanda Tula certainly isn’t the swankiest safari camp in South Africa, but it’s certainly one of the ones our guests fall in love with the most. This wonderfully wild camp is one of our favourite spots in the Timbavati.

What’s Tanda Tula really like?

We tried to put our fingers on what was so special about Tanda Tula, and it comes down to that most intangible of luxuries- atmosphere. The unflappable positivity and friendliness of the team here left us feeling like part of the Tanda Tula family. This, combined with the sense of total immersion in the bush makes for a warm and unforgettable adventure.

Guests stay in one of Tanda Tula’s 12 luxury safari tents. And while they are very comfortable as tents go (we honestly wouldn’t change a thing) they certainly aren’t the sort of “hotel rooms in disguise” we’ve seen elsewhere. You need to unzip the tent to get in and out, and there’s a certain frisson that comes with lying in bed knowing there could be a herd of buffalo passing just outside. As a result, we think Tanda Tula is best suited to adult or older teenage guests. There is an ensuite bathroom at the rear of your tent, and there’s everything you need on hand, including a “gym in a basket” for guests who fancy a little yoga or skipping on their terrace.

Back over in the main lodge there’s a crackling fire to snuggle beside in winter, and a swimming pool overlooking the waterhole if you visit during summer months. Meals are fun and communal with a rotating cast of staff and guides joining guests at the table.

What can I do at Tanda Tula?

Game drives at Tanda Tula are normally in the mornings and late afternoons and we were really impressed by how well the guides knew their patch – and their wildlife! There are normally 6 guests on a vehicle here- a blessing in a country where we’ve sometimes seen 8 or 9 guests squeezed in. You can also take a bush walk, and, for something seriously special, try out the camp starbed- this last comes at an extra fee, but the romance is worth every penny.

Giving back at Tanda Tula:

A fee from each night you stay in the Timbavati goes toward supporting conservation, anti-poaching and community development projects. On top of this Tanda Tula sponsors a field guide to help fight rhino poaching and is involved in vulture, leopard, and ground-hornbill research. Support of the local community runs hand in hand with conservation, and Tanda Tula runs its own literacy and scholarship programme to support promising students and staff members with their education.

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