Umlani provided us with the perfect end to our honeymoon in South Africa. We stayed 4 nights in January, having spend 8 lively nights in Cape Town and 2 more refined nights in Stellenbosch. I arrived trying to have low expectations about the animals we'd see on safari so as not to be disappointed. However, we left with all our expectations exceeded!
We were greeted with a bottle of honeymoon fizz in our bedroom which is always a great way to start :) And from there on in, the warmth and hospitality of Christie and her staff was just amazing. The rooms are all stand alone huts and the outdoor showers are actually brilliant! Despite scare stories from other guests about spiders and bugs, our room remained bug free except for the odd gecko which was great.
The food is fantastic and meal times are a real ritual, we left several kilos heavier than when we arrived! The days begin early, but despite not being a morning person, they are exhilarating and time just flies. Our morning game drives were followed by breakfast and usually a return to bed. We'd then head down to the pool for a bit and lie in the sun before having lunch and complimentary beers on the deck overlooking the water hole where you can see the animals come to have a swim and a drink. You then go out for the evening game drives which end with a drink of your choice from the 'mobile bar' in the landrover, watching the sun go down at a scenic point out in the bush. Probably my favourite time of day :) The social dinners are then followed by drinks around the fire and all I can say is, you must have at least one glass of Amarula before you leave!
We saw the 'Big 5' and so much more - our Ranger, Ginger, and Tracker, Shads, were amazing and go to great lengths to find good sightings and inform you about what you are seeing. The female leopard was just beautiful, we loved the baby warthogs but the highlight has to be seeing the wild dog with a kill on our last morning (thanks Sean!) - all I can say is, sleeping in and missing a drive isn't a good idea as you never know what you might miss.
I can't recommend Umlani enough, it's a real experience and one which, especially as the last trip on our honeymoon, will stay with us forever.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Umlani Bushcamp, a rustic yet exclusive lodge, accommodates guests in cozy en-suite reed and thatch rondavels. Early morning and evening game drives are in open four wheel drive vehicles accompanied by experienced rangers and trackers offers exceptional game viewing opportunitys. Umlani makes the whole event personalized and specializes in escorted walks into this unspoiled wilderness. Umlani, meaning Place of Rest, was established in 1990 by Marco and Marie-Louise Schiess, in the central section of the Timbavati Nature Reserve, which is part of the greater Kruger National Park. Umlani is the perfect nature lovers choice. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Umlani Bushcamp Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
- Umlani Bushcamp South Africa/Timbavati Private Nature Reserve