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“Big 5, Fantastic Hospitality and cuddly hot water bottles!”
Review of Umlani Bushcamp

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Umlani Bushcamp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 30, 2014

We were delighted to be part of the Umlani family for 3 nights from July16th 2014. From the first moment in the camp, we felt welcomed and were able to enjoy the hospitality offered.

The game drives were incredible, we saw the Big 5 (Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Buffalo & Elephant) but also zebra, giraffe, hippo and so many other animals and birds. The setting is wonderful, the food delicious and the staff all go out of their way to ensure that your stay is magical.

I could go on for ever, but just book and experience it for yourselves.

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank madsw6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded August 5, 2014

thank you for the great review we appreciate it and I am especially happy to hear you felt welcome and the experience magical

best regards Marco

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212 - 218 of 446 reviews

Reviewed July 25, 2014

Wow, we're just back from three days at Umlani Bushcamp. Huge thanks to the Schiess family for sharing their piece of paradise. I loved the laid back atmosphere and nothing was too much trouble. No mobile phone reception; no power but you can charge camera batteries should you need to. It's a break from technology. This is my second visit to Umlani and it's well worth the visit.

Room Tip: This is a bush camp - all the rooms are fantastic!!
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  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Renee K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded August 5, 2014

Thank you for your review I appreciate the kind words hope to see you back for a third visit
all the best Marco

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Reviewed June 26, 2014

My husband and I just visited Umlani for the first time to celebrate our 30th anniversary. What an amazing trip! There is nothing that I would have changed. We saw so many animals and got so very close to them. Every game drive was a new experience and brought new excitement. We saw the big five by the end of the third game drive and saw so many more animals than I could have imagined. Sinhle our ranger was awesome. He found so many sightings and was very knowledgeable about all the animals. We especially enjoyed our afternoon walk with him one day as he taught us about tracking animals. Andrew was our tracker and he has great eyes!! He found so many animals even in the dark!

The accommodations were very comfortable. Rustic yet elegant. Even though we were there during the winter and it was chilly the blankets were more than enough for a comfortable nights sleep. Eating dinner by oil lamps was wonderful especially since the food was so good and fresh.

The entire staff at Umlani was so helpful and hospitable. They think of everything to make your stay comfortable and memorable. The blankets and hot water bottles for the chilly morning game drives were wonderful! We totally enjoyed our 6 nights. Will definitely recommend Umlani for anyone looking for an awesome safari experience.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank debwelsch5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2014

wow.... thank you .... we are happy you chose Umlani to celebrate your 30th wedding anniversary 'Congratulations". We the Umlani team are super pleased you had an amazing experience and we truely appreciate your recommendation of Umlani to others. Best wishes for the future and we hope to host you for your 40th wedding anniversary . regards Marco

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Reviewed June 26, 2014

Wow, we're just back from three days at Umlani Bushcamp. Such thanks to the Schiess family for sharing their gem of a place. I loved the chilled-out family feel. Some private game lodges tend towards the plush, insulated-from-the bush 5-star feel - this is not that. No cell reception; no power (though you can charge phones/cameras on a multi plug linked up to a power line.) You're in an ungated part of the reserve, so animals wander past at night (fall asleep to yowling hyenas and other crazy noises) - if you're feeling intrepid, you can sleep in a treehouse and look out for nighttime prowlers.

We had 2 kids with us - 6-year-old and baby, and the staff went out of their way to help with the children.

The accommodation is rustic but lovely - your hut is lit by little paraffin lamps at night, as there's no electricity. We were glad to have head torches and a camping light (as advised when we made our booking), although with the early game drives and early winter sunsets, we were asleep pretty early anyway.

Special moments for us included trailing a leopard, and lazing at the pretty rock pool near the riverbed. I also loved the communal fire before breakfast and after dinner... and the view of the stars.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank littlelisaZA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded August 5, 2014

thank you .... I appreciatte your review and happy to hear it worked out well and you were able to enjoy your stay

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Reviewed June 26, 2014

We would like to thank the wonderful Schiess family and their warm, welcoming staff, for a fantastic 3-night stay at Umlani Bush Camp.

This was our first time traveling as a family of four - we had a 9-month-old baby and 6-year-old child with us, and the staff could not have been more helpful or accommodating. The bush camp has a very intimate, laid-back atmosphere.

The daily game drives were extraordinary, with the trackers carefully trailing different parts of the reserve on each drive. We took turns going on game drives with our older child (although the lovely staff were also more than happy to babysit the little one whenever we needed a break), and were amazed that in 3 days, we saw ALL of the Big Five. A highlight was a heartstopping hour-and-a-half spent trailing a leopard who was stalking some nearby impala.

The huts do not have electricity, and when you book you'll be advised to bring head torches and/or camping lights - really worthwhile for a bit of extra light at night. I especially appreciated the extra touch of hot water bottles supplied at night and on the early morning game drives.

The food was simple and delicious, and the staff went to every extra effort to accommodate our somewhat picky child. They also went to careful lengths to accommodate vegetarians and guests with other special meal requirements.

During the day, make sure you sneak down to the pool and laze for a while in the lovely hammock as you watch the riverbed.

Altogether a lovely, relaxed stay.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank DavidEShaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2014

hey David thank you for your review of Umlani we appreciate it .........I am happy to hear that you had a lovely relaxed stay. best regards Marco

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Reviewed June 25, 2014

We stayed we family and friends at Umlani camp already for the second time. Enjoyed good food, friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere. You can forget your watch, everything is planed and taken care of, just relax and enjoy all of it.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank anoppi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2014

Thank you for your review on tripadvisor I am happy to hear it was your second visit also that you approved of the relaxed atmosphere we hope to welcome you back for a third visit .
best regards Marco

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Reviewed June 15, 2014

Have just returned from Umlani Bushcamp. (11-15 Jun) We stayed there on photographic safari for 4 nights and it was absolutely wonderful. The camp is located deep in the bush on a river bank. Staff are friendly, relaxed and attentive to one's needs. The rooms are special from the point of view that there is no glass... the windows are mozzie nets which are covered with roll down blinds at night. The shower is open and there is no door between the show and the room - so one feels really close to nature. While you'd expect it to be freezing in winter, the beds are warm and comfortable. The food is fantastic considering the absence of electricity!

The camp is host to a wide variety of wildlife at night so no movement around after dark is allowed except with guidance from the staff. A leopard passed right in front of my room one night (we saw the tracks in the morning)

Game drives with Elvis and Maurice were entertaining although it can be frustrating when the animal being tracked crosses into another property and can't be followed there. Fortunately our facilitator from Wild-Eye was able to guide the driver in terms of good vehicle positioning for photography.

There is no cell signal which is a blessing!
All in all, a wonderful escape at a very reasonably priced lodge. Will definitely return

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled solo
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1  Thank Mike B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded June 18, 2014

Thank you for your detailed review of Umlani it was good to hear that your Wild Eye photo graphic safari was a success. I am glad to hear that it was a wonderful escape and that you found us reasonably priced and would return which we look forward to.
best regards Marco

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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 #4 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range: $459 - $659 (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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