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Why did we hand pick Umlani Bushcamp?

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  • Traditional African safari adventure with reed chalets overlooking a waterhole
  • Fantastic Big 5 game drives and guided walks on offer
  • Situated on the beautiful and wild Timbavati Private Nature Reserve bordering the Kruger

Umlani Bushcamp

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

43km from Hoedspruit


-24.3319, 31.3094


Everything about Umlani Bushcamp is geared towards giving guests a true taste of Africa, in line with the owners’ vision to capture the spirit of a safari adventure. Accordingly, the lodge is nestled under large indigenous trees deep in the bush and has been built purely from natural materials.

In the traditional style of the local Shangaans, the comfortable accommodation units have reed walls and thatched roofs and aim to be as open air as possible, with half the wall separated from the bush only by gauze and flaps. Although they look rustic from the outside, the huts provide all the luxuries you need, including comfortable double and single beds, mosquito nets and repellent, bathroom amenities and bottled water. In keeping with the overall vision, no electricity is available at the camp, and lighting throughout is provided by the romantic glow of candles and oil lamps. To further enhance this truly wild feel, the en-suite bathrooms have outdoor bush showers.

The huts come in various configurations, comprising five double huts, four family huts and a triple hut, and can accommodate adults and children of all ages. 

The openness of the camp extends to the main lodge, a huge open-air hut decorated in African style and held up by gnarled tree trunks. A vibrant centre point of the camp, the lodge houses the dining-room table, bar and seating areas along the walls. An absorbing wildlife book can be picked from the small library to be enjoyed alongside the fireplace. The lodge acts as a perfect hide from which to view wildlife coming down to the waterhole to drink.

Speaking of wildlife, the Timbavati reserve offers game viewing and bird watching second to none, and you are in expert hands at Umlani Bushcamp. Two daily game drives are included in the accommodation rates and are conducted by friendly Shangaan rangers renowned for their tracking skills and knowledge of the bush. You are bound to encounter at least one of the members of the Big Five during your stay, and have a better than average chance of seeing all five. A ranger is also on standby for an optional morning bush walk. 

In between a hearty breakfast and light lunch, guests can kick back with a drink in the double hammocks, take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool or do some bird watching.

After your evening drive, you return to enjoy pre-dinner drinks around the fire, where you can cajole your hosts into telling you some exciting stories of their times in the bush. The supper that follows is an award-wining, delicious showcase of African cuisine, served in the candlelit dining room or in the riverbed, surrounded by flares, cauldron fires and the incredible night sky.

Retiring to your room with a full belly, you could well fall asleep to the sound of a lion laughing, a leopard barking or a hyena laughing.

For the ultimate bush experience, you can be taken to a treehouse a fair way from camp, where you are left for a few hours with blankets, soft pillows and a cooler box with your preferred drinks.

Rates & Summary

4 Double Huts

Each sleeps 2 in double bed
En-suite outdoor shower

4 Family Huts

Each sleeps 4 in double and twin beds
En-suite outdoor shower

Triple Hut

Sleeps 3 in double and single bed
En-suite outdoor shower

Eco Hut

Enhanced thermal retention
Sleeps 2 in double bed
En-suite outdoor shower


  • For pricing detail, click on CHECK AVAILABILITY & BOOK ONLINE above


Breakfast, lunch and dinner included


Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Umlani Bushcamp is on the edge of a waterhole deep in the bushveld of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, bordering the Kruger National Park and home to the Big Five and a huge variety of other wildlife. The camp’s traditional reed and thatch huts provide an authentic and intimate connection with Africa. Along with two game drives a day, the camp allows guests to enjoy superb cuisine in beautiful outdoor settings or go for a sleep-out in a treehouse in the middle of the bush.


  • Traditional African safari adventure with reed chalets overlooking a waterhole
  • Fantastic Big 5 game drives and guided walks on offer
  • Situated on the beautiful and wild Timbavati Private Nature Reserve bordering the Kruger

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, binoculars for bird watching/game viewing.

Road Conditions

Slow driving is required on the gravel approach road.

Activities & Attractions

  • Swimming pool
  • Gift shop
  • Game drives
  • Bush sleepouts

Nearby: micro-lighting, balloon safaris, elephant-back safaris, wildlife rehabilitation centre, white lion research centre, horse riding, cultural village tours.


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Dining table
  • Covered verandah / patio
  • Fireplace
  • Limited firewood provided
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Swimming towels supplied
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Laundry service available
  • Ironing service available
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Full board
  • Restaurant
  • Licensed


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Gas geysers
  • 12V electricity only from solar

Leisure Amenities

  • Swimming pool
  • No television
  • Library
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • No Wi-Fi
  • No cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Babysitting available
  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops further than 10km
  • Nearest fuel further than 50km
  • Shuttle service available


  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted







The Mopani region is a heady mix of mountain and bushveld, history and culture. Mopani includes the towns of Tzaneen, Giyani, Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit. It also includes sections of the northern Drakensberg mountains, parts of the Kruger National Park and an eastern chunk of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon. Think dramatic mountain scenery, ancient rivers and unspoiled wilderness reserves.

Mopani is named after an edible worm, of all things. The best way to discover the delights of the region is by exploring the Valley of the Olifants self-drive tourism route. This takes you through wilderness areas with excellent mountain views. It is this combination of mountain and bush that gives the Mopani region its special charm.

The route is named after the Olifants (Lepelle) River, which cuts its way through steep mountains and then flows through the Kruger National Park to join the Limpopo River.

From the quaint hamlet of Haenertsburg, north-east of Polokwane, the panoramic 40km-long Magoebaskloof Pass descends 600m in a series of dizzying bends to the subtropical town of Tzaneen. Every bend greets you with a different surprise: waterfalls, historic bluegum trees, lookout points, nurseries and roadside stalls.

Surrounded by blue-green mountains, Tzaneen is a laid-back centre of agriculture and farming. From here you can explore wilderness and mountains, visit the realm of the legendary Rain Queen, and see the country’s biggest baobab tree.

From Tzaneen it’s a pleasant drive through scenic bushveld to the towns of Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit. Phalaborwa was established in 1958 after the discovery of huge mineral deposits. It is the central gateway to the Kruger National Park via the Phalaborwa Gate. It’s a small but busy town that reaches scorching summer temperatures.

Apart from having the biggest opencast mine in the world, Phalaborwa’s other claim to fame is that it’s the closest town to the Kruger National Park. It’s a five-minute drive from the centre of town to the Phalaborwa Gate. Residents are used to the ‘Hippo Crossing’ signs and the odd warthog trundling down the high street.

Hoedspruit is a centre for surrounding wildlife reserves, private reserves, game reserves and conservation centres. The town is known for its bushveld beauty and conservation ethos and is a stepping stone to assorted bush adventures. These include game viewing, birding, hiking, river rafting and mountain climbing.

The Mopani region also includes the eastern part of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon, offering the essential ‘Kruger to Canyon’ experience that combines mountains and bush. Travellers from Mpumalanga to Hoedspruit will arrive via the scenic Abel Erasmus Pass, which descends 800m in its 24km length.

The highlight is the 133,5m-long Strijdom Tunnel where you emerge from cool darkness into bright sunlight nearly a thousand metres above the Olifants River valley.

Look out for

The northern Drakensberg & Wolkberg wilderness areas - he mountainous heart of Mopani is the Wolkberg Wilderness and Magoebaskloof. This is hiking, birding, fishing, strolling, rambling and botanising territory. If you’re into extreme stuff and adrenalin rushes, you can take a canopy tour, go kloofing, abseiling, river rafting, white water tubing and mountain biking.

The Realm of the Rain Queen - This is set in the village of Modjadji, in mountain foothills, near Tzaneen. It is said that Queen Modjadji settled here after fleeing Zimbabwe in the late 17th century. She brought with her special rain summoning powers, and started the matriarchal Bolobedu tribe. Modjadji is also home to the Modjadji Cycad Reserve, which has thousands of species of the rare endemic cycad (Transvenosus encephalartos) that dates back to the time of the dinosaur.

The country’s biggest baobab - The Sunland Baobab, as it’s officially known, is named after the farm where it has grown for over 4 000 years. This gentle giant is 22m high and has a 47m circumference. Get up close and personal with this giant at Sunland Farm, near Tzaneen. You’ll discover why the surreal baobab is a source of great legend, and the symbol of Limpopo province.

Kruger to canyon trip - The Mopani region’s hallmark is the combination of mountain and bush. The area between the central Kruger National Park and the eastern reaches of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon offers amazing nature and adventure opportunities. These include gentle sundowner cruises and tranquil bushveld walks, adrenalin-charged river rafting and gorge swinging. This part of Mopani has excellent views of lichen-clad cliff faces and dramatic kloofs and canyons.

The Lowveld and the Kruger Park - The Mopani region offers direct access to the central and northern parts of the Kruger National Park. It also leads to the Mpumalanga Lowveld, famed for its game-rich reserves. Just inside the Phalaborwa Gate is the Masorini Museum, a Late Iron Age archaeological site showing smelting furnaces, homesteads and historic implements. Another highlight is the Elephant Museum at Letaba Camp, which is an easy drive from Phalaborwa. Letaba is a pretty camp overlooking the river, where elephant sightings are practically guaranteed. In the northern Kruger Park, near Punda Maria, is Thulamela National Heritage Site. A significant archaeological site, with hillsides that are filled with stone ruins that tell the story of an ancient culture that settled here in the 15th century.

Bush to beach - It is now possible to take this route from the Phalaborwa gate all the way to the beaches of the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. Travellers drive through the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which includes the Kruger National Park and Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. The border post is a Giriyondo, near the Massingir Dam.

Kruger to Canyon Birding Route - This route starts at the beginning of the Blyde (Motlatse) River Canyon at God’s Window. It follows Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route and enters Limpopo via the dramatic Abel Erasmus Pass. From there it leads to Hoedspruit and into the central Kruger Park.

Hans Merensky Golf Course - Undoubtedly the best golfing experience in Mopani. This famous course, designed by Bob Grimsdell, is adjacent to the Kruger National Park. It offers players a unique opportunity to tee off amongst the wildlife.

Wildlife and conservation - Apart from being part of a massive transfrontier park, the Mopani region offers incredible opportunities for viewing wildlife. It’s also a conservation centre. In and around Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa are a variety of wildlife breeding and rehabilitation centres. There are also ranger training camps and guided wilderness experiences.

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