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“Elusive Leopards, Gertie's 'MMMMMMM' and Eagle Eyed Sam - Don't bother looking anywhere else!”

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Shindzela Tented Camp
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Elusive Leopards, Gertie's 'MMMMMMM' and Eagle Eyed Sam - Don't bother looking anywhere else!”
Reviewed June 29, 2011

How does one summarise and review the experience you get from Dave and his team at Shindzela?.......Well....Special

5 days undisturbed peace, tranquility and on the odd occasion - an elephant induced adrenaline rush! This is a wonderful place to really experience life in the bush. There are no personal butlers, spa treatments and flatscreen TV's; instead you get Dave and his 2 rangers (Mike and Sam) overloading you with a staggering amount of knowledge on their surroundings, some very tuneful bird calling and the ability to spot game amongst the thickets with deadly accuracy ( I on the other hand was very good at pointing out those very common rhino shaped rocks and lion shaped trees).

With no perimeter fence, the camp was prone to the odd elephant strolling past our tents and big buffalo bulls coming down to quench their thirst in the midday sun. I would like to say this drew my full attention but Shindzela's secret weapon had just served lunch.........Gertie and Malita's food could distract you from any David Attenbrough event that was occuring - the beaming smile and introduction to every meal was a joy to behold and the quality of the food cannot be put into words.

There is no other place that I would like to return to so quickly, mostly because the crafty leopards ran us around in circles following their very fresh tracks and then hiding at the last minute.....oh the excitement and the heartache!

Thanks for a brilliant time and I look forward to heading back their as soon as possible.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
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1 Thank chrisemery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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423 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (76)
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English first
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed June 26, 2011

We split our stay at Shindzela Tented Safari Camp with a more luxurious safari camp in Sabi Sands. By the time we had spent just a few days in Sabi Sands we could not wait to get back to Shindzela!
Shindzela gives you the experience of a real bush safari. We would sometimes abandon the Land Rover to track for example, Rhino or Eagle Owl on foot - quite spontaneously. Tracking the animals by spurs, alarm calls and the expert knowledge of the fabulous guides, Dave, Mike and Sam, gave a real sense of achievement when we eventually found the wildlife.
We saw everything from leopards, lions rhino and many birds of prey. On our last night we had over 200 buffalo and three lions literally in the camp.
We've been on several safaris in different countries but this is the best by far. The staff have a genuine passion and regard for the wildlife and for you. Food is great too!
Tony and Susan Yeomans, Worcester, UK.

Room Tip: Tents 5 and 6 overlook watering hole.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank YoYo182
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isle of Man, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
340 reviews
235 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 415 helpful votes
Reviewed June 19, 2011

We chose this place as it was small and comfortable and from the Website we saw there was little risk of small children which is a big plus. We were not disappointed on any factor.
A game packed drive in from the gate following clear directions had us there in 30 minutes or so. Our Tent was one of the new ones and was comfortable. A little more elbow room in the sleeping area would not go amiss although the spacious Washroom annexe out back made up for this. A nice raised balcony faced the setting sun but as activity levels were high we seldom had time to make use of it. Hot water by Gas heaters but plans are afoot to change over to the old fashioned Kampala Boilers. Lighting was Solar only and some bulbs were a bit temperamental. Who cares?
Food was hot and wholesome and we found out later that the resident cook/chef "Gertie" was famous amongst regular visitors for her culinary skills.
It may sound demeaning to say that this Lodge was a fairly standard layout of Tents and central bar and dining area but that is all it basically is. However it shines head and shoulders over its rivals by its ambience and friendly atmosphere coupled with adequate wildlife and friendly staff. There is a dried up river just by some tents and this was used by Elephant while we were there. No doubt other creatures arrive in this unfenced camp from time to time but we were quite happy with the Elephants. You are escorted to/from your tents after dark so you are quite safe.
A great place and whilst an oft used phrase, we really would have liked to stay here longer.
Masses of Buffalo, we had herds of 500+ stop our truck, Giraffe, Kudu, Zebra and Wildebeeste etc, Game drives were rewarding both early morning and later after sundowners. Guides knew their jobs well.
First afternoon we found two Leopards and a family of five White Rhino. As the Rhino were a tad shy and ran off we thought "That's it!" However we were invited off the car to follow on foot. An invitation we did not turn down. Testing the wind we set off and soon caught up with some relaxed animals at a safe distance. Then to everyone's surprise the Rhino gently but purposefully moved towards us. We kept thinking they will see us soon but no, they must have known we were there but they came on to almost touching distance. Eventually clapped hands by our guide suggested they move back and we all breathed again. Five three ton animals that close was thrilling. I think even the guides had not expected that as there were "high fives" all round.
Then after Gertie's cuisine, washed down with wine as an optional extra, the Elephant came down to drink in camp within metres of our tent. Follow that!

Room Tip: Ask for the one by the river bed.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
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3 Thank mfuwe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
76 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
Reviewed June 16, 2011

We stayed here for three nights in May, and enjoyed it very much! The owner Dave and tracker Sam were excellent sources of information, and worked tirelessly to track down animals by observing their tracks, and plotting out their routes, etc. On our last day, Sam and the two of us were in the jeep and Sam tracked a huge herd of elephants sleeping in the bush! It was quite an experience to see babies lying down protected by standing sleeping adults.

We also did exciting bush walks accompanied by Dave and Sam, who held rifles the entire time. I (a woman) felt very safe at all times - and I knew we were with a highly competent tracker and gudie as we tramped through the bush with Dave and Sam. We spotted rhino and cape buffalo from a distance - and it was a thrill to see them outside of the protection of the jeep! We also needed the walk, since we had been sitting in a car driving for days in Kruger prior to coming here.

The Safari tents were comfortable - small but with excellent linens and duvets and very clean. The toilet, sink and shower are in an outdoorsy attached patio with bamboo walls - very nice and comfortable and clean! We were there in autumn, so it was not too hot in the tent. In the heat of the summer, however, it might get hot in the tent, but there is a small plunge pool to cool off in.

We weren't expecting to have down time in the middle of the day - where we could relax and do nothing in the camp - but we got into that rhythm once we realized that it would be unproductive to search for animals in the middle of the day.

When we were there, there weren't too many animals in Timbavati. By chance there had been lots of rain, so water sources were everywhere - therefore, the usual place for sighting animals did not have any animals show up! That was a suprise to us - but no fault of Shindzelas!

Dave and Sam are completely committed to showing you as much of the wildlife as possible - I would recommend this camp without hesitation. We just had bad luck with few sightings on 2 of the 3 days we were there. That was quite unusual.

The food was excellent - they accommodated my vegetarian request easily and we were very well fed! Wonderful kitchen staff.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ajb6335
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Juan Capistrano, California
Level Contributor
90 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed June 14, 2011

We loved our stay at Shindzela! Dave, the owner and Sam, our tracker were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the whole bush experience and worked very hard to ensure that everyone had a good time. Unfortunately, the animals were a little more scarce than we had hoped due to the amount of rain they got a month earlier...grass taller and shrubs greener than normal in May made it harder to spot them. We still did pretty well seeing a leopard on our first drive and plenty of rhino, buffalo, hippo, zebra, hyenas and more!
Food was very good and there was plenty of it. Our tent was comfortable and the attached bathroom facilities were good.
Overall, a really good bush experience and very attentive and helpful staff made our stay very enjoyable.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JaneSJC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 1, 2011

I stayed at Shindzela with my boyfriend and another couple for 4 days as we were looking to do a safari adventure in South Africa. All of us couldn't be happier with our stay and experience.
The staff is fantastic. Mike and Dave are very knowledgeable rangers who will go above and beyond to make sure that you see the animals that you want to see. Sam is an amazing tracker who lead us to great elephant, rhino and buffalo signings. Finally, Gerdie is one of the best cooks you will ever meet, making each meal delicious with extra 'mmmmm'.
The accommodations are very clean and simple, which we thought was perfect for a true authentic stay in the bush. Our beds were made for us when we came back from the morning safari and again when we came back from our night safari. The meals were always healthy and delicious.
The resort itself is very big and there's plenty of opportunity to see the animals. We saw everything more than once, except for the big cats that seem to have disappeared from the whole area in the period that we were there. The rangers and the trackers are also very experienced at finding the animals.
All in all, we had a fantastic stay and are already making plans to come back in September when there's less vegetation and one can see even more animals. We all would highly recommend!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank mp1505
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2011

This non-fenched camp is a must have experience. One we will never forget. Dave and his staff are very professional but sure in for a joke. They threat the guests, each other and all so the wild animals with respect. The camp lies in a private reserve, so Shindzela is the only game driver around. No traffic jams near the wildlife and definitely no chasing wildlife. This we found very appealing. It’s not a zoo you’re in, you’re in their habitat.
Joop & Annet, the Netherlands

The tent is accompanied with basic shower and toilet and is very clean. Nice to have crisp linen in the bush. That’s all you need when you are lying awake during the night because of the bush noises (or wildlife standing next to your tent).

Let's not forget Gertie's food! After the excellent game drivers or walks, Gertie is waiting with a big smile to tell you about all the mmmmmm she and Melita cooked. And we must say: mmmmm it is!

Dave and staff, thumbs up! Keep up the good work. We had all the faith in you guys when it came to encounters with wildlife! We enjoyed our stay at camp and the story about the walk to the sleeping lioness will be told for many years to come.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank JK_en_AU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shindzela Tented Camp

Property: Shindzela Tented Camp
Address: Johnniesdale Farm | Hoedspruit, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Shindzela Tented Camp 3*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shindzela is an authentic tented bush camp situated in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, greater Kruger National Park. The camp accommodates a maximum of 16 guests and is unfenced, making it very much part of the wilderness. Shindzela is not built by an award winning architect, nor is it furnished by an interior designer. What you will find though, is a comfy bed, freshly laundered linen, and décor from local crafters and artists. Shindzela is a comfortable/rustic tented bush camp, where you can relax, enjoy our warm hospitality and immerse yourself in the African wilderness. We love our informal, relaxed atmosphere. Each safari tent is built on wooden decks, and has their own en-suite shower/toilet and hand basin. The camp also has a swimming pool and overlooks our little watering hole, from where you can watch animals come down to drink. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shindzela Tented Safari Camp Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Shindzela Tented Camp South Africa/Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

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