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“superb bush experience”
Review of Umlani Bushcamp

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Umlani Bushcamp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 8, 2012

We had 3 great nights at Umlani - the place is magical and the staff exceptional - knowledgable and friendly. What you get is a real bush experience right on your doorstep - sometimes literally. If you want electric/internet and phone - stay away!! If you want to get to know the african bush, get spoilt on views, fresh food and staff that really care about the animals and our footprint in the area, then this place is for you!!!

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Chris N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2012

Thank you for your great review of Umlani Bushcamp.Please take note that we do normally provide telephone and wireless internet at the office behind the Boma which burned down on 11 December 2011. We are waiting for insurance pay out before we rebuild and once built we will have a near by telephone and free internet hot spot for guests to use once again.
In the mean time we have phone and internet a little walk from the main facilities up at the temporary office for urgent communication.

Marco Schiess

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326 - 332 of 453 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2012

Umlani Bushcamp was the perfect place for our once in a lifetime family vacation. My wife, two grown daughters, and 3 other family members spent 4 unforgettable nights at this authentic bush lodge. The rooms as well as the dining and gathering facilities were comfortable and welcoming, even without electricity. As a matter of fact, the experience was even better because we could hear the nearby animals as we lay in bed at night rather than the thrum of air conditioners.

David and Thembi, the managers, and the rest of the camp staff were excellent hosts and took care of every need. The food was great and plentiful and prepared and presented with pride. The rooms (actually thatch roofed huts) and the camp grounds were very clean and well maintained.

But the real treasures of our time at Umlani were our twice daily game drives. Starting with coffee at 5:30 am and then a three hour drive through the Timbavati bush with our Ranger, Colbert and our Tracker, Shadrack, we were overwhelmed by the variety and number of wild animals that we saw. It is more than looking, it's experiencing the wild. Along with local expert Wayne Donaldson of Timbavati Safaris, who did a great job arranging our trip and joined us as our guide, Colbert and Shadrack brought us to visit every one of the "big 5" and then some. We saw a leopard with a "kill" in a tree and a cub, a black mamba snake, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras; you name it, we saw it. And after an afternoon resting at the camp, it's back into the Land Rovers for the evening game drive to see even more animals and to have a few "sundowners" as the sun sets over the bush.

Umlani is a tremendous value, but the people make it special.

Room Tip: Room 8 is farthest out and we heard lots of animals.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank agh275
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2012

Thank your review of Umlani Bushcamp . The Umlani team appreciates your kind words and hope to see you again one day. We print letters and Trip Advisor reviews and pin them on the Staff notice board to celebrate our successes.

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Reviewed March 23, 2012

From the outset, our stay in the 3 rondavels was sheer pleasure. The staff were always helpful and cheerful and the food was excellent. David, the manager, had arranged a birthday party in the dry river bed and this was outstanding with singing and dancing by the staff. The female staff were dressed in their new schweschwe uniforms and looked really beautiful. The other guests joined in the occasion and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely.
Our stay with the family was my second visit and the third for my wife, although the first for my sons and their partners. The main business, the twice daily safaris, was well done by an expert ranger and tracker whose knowledge of the flora and fauna was both impressive and encyclopaedic. We would certainly visit again because the experience was so rewarding

Room Tip: There are two family rondavels with extra beds and the remainder of the accommodation is similar, th...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank bookman_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2012

I am happy to hear that your Birthday river bed dinner was a success , thank you for the kind words and hope to see you again for a third and fourth visit.

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Reviewed February 14, 2012

We stayed in Umlani for 3 nights and it was a really wonderful experience. It's great to hear the nature's sounds at night, to have rangers who are very driven, a real bush experience. Don't hesitate and just go, you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Wendy373
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2012

Thank you I appreciate your review and encouragement to readers to visit Umlani Bushcamp

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Reviewed February 4, 2012

Amazing staff and loved the game drives. Staff all very friendly and will do anything for you... Such a positive experience and cant wait to return one day... Thank you Elvis and Shaddy Moses for the game drives and David / tembi for hospitality... And Marco for making it all happen....

  • Stayed: January 2012
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1  Thank Tanlou9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2012

thank you very much and to you..... for visiting

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Reviewed February 2, 2012

This review is a bit late as I was lucky to spend a weekend at this wonderful camp In September. As a South African it might seem strange but this was the first time me and 3 others was on a safari or at a bush camp. For our first experience it was wonderful from beginning to end , The camp arranged a shuttle to pick and drop at Airport which was comfortable , the food was excellent with a variety of meals and cooldrinks to choose from , the service by the staff excellent , the huts we slept in were cosy,accommodating and peaceful. The game drives were the highlight undoubtedly and we were lucky to see the Big 5 over the weekend , The game drivers were knowledgable , entertaining and courteous at all times , there was not one complaint we had over the weekend. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Thank you to the staff and owners. Regards Nizaam.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank NizaamC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded April 11, 2012

Thank you for your review of Umlani Bushcamp I appreciate you taking the time to reflect and giving me and others your positive feed back.

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Reviewed January 26, 2012

I researched Umlani as I was deciding between various lodges. The combination of one as the few safari lodges Fair Trade Tourism South Africa certified and the positive reviews about quality of experience settled it.

I have not much to add to other 5 star reviews. This is a place that has the comfort you need, without the unnecessary luxury that does not improve your experience (and augments your impact). Great location, wonderful staff (rangers, housekeeping, managers), tasty and healthy food and of course great wildlife experiences. And the friendly atmosphere means you go away with new friends.

We came at a difficult time. Right after the record floods, which destroyed roads, washed away bridges and made logistics a big hassle. They were the only lodge operational in the Timbavati Reserve for the first few days, showing a real commitment and good improvisation. They operated very smoothly considering the circumstances. And despite the hampered logistics, the rangers went out of their way to show us the icons and the nice surprises (like a monitor lizard in a tree).

Umlani has an unique sense of place and you go away very refreshed and thinking about when you will be able to go back.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Vanezza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Umlani Bushcamp

Address: 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 Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range: $433 - $635 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Umlani Bushcamp 3*
Number of rooms: 10
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

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