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Reviewed April 14, 2015

I stayed three nights at Umlani and really loved the experience. The camp has a wonderful setting amongst trees and native plants, and is perched along a river bed (dry in April when I was there) with a view of a permanent watering hole that is visited daily by herds of elephant, water buffalo and other animals. The staff was all so friendly and made sure everyone was happy and taken care of. Meals were delicious, simple and homemade, and I loved that lunch is served at the lodge overlooking the river and watering hole. Daily activities (at the guest's option) are the same each day: wake up call at 5am for a 5:30am departure for a game drive (includes a coffee/tea/snack break); back at 9/9:30 for a delicious and fully cooked breakfast; your own time from then until 4pm, when the afternoon/sundowner game drive (includes cocktails); back to the lodge around 7/7:15 for dinner; and then escorted to your room (due to the camp being open for animals to roam). Game drives were amazing, as guides get you to all animals (guides from all camps talk to one another to locate animals), including lion, leopard, rhino, giraffe, water buffalo, wart hog, impala, kudu, baboons, and we even saw a rare pack of wild dogs. Room was terrific with a large and very comfortable bed, toilet area, open shower, and enough rustic charm and functionality to be just right. Managers Nanette and Mike were terrific, and very attentive to guest needs and informative about the camp, Timbavati and the animals. NOTE ABOUT POWER: the camp has free wifi while you are located around their office; and there are power outlets for each room in the gift shop. I was concerned about people's comments that there is NO power...but there is, so bring along all of your electronics and enjoy. Pool on site is very "cool", but refreshing in the afternoon heat.

The experience was wonderful in all respects! I'm glad I stayed three nights for a maximum game drive experience, which felt just right (longer may become too routine, given the daily activities are the same).

Date of stay: April 2015
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Blondesteven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded May 26, 2015

Thank you for your detailed review of Umlani your review gives other travelers good info as to what to expect. I am happy it was a wonderful in all respects. hope you manage to visit again one day .
best regards Marco

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Reviewed April 13, 2015

Everything about our Umlani stay was superb! Nanette, Tambi and Mike are the consummate hosts. They got to know us by our first names instantly and worked tirelessly to ensure that we had the best experience possible. My son asked once if he could help himself to a beer and the response was, "of course you can! This is your home!"
Amos and Andrew, our guides, were dogged in making sure we saw as much of the animals of the bush as possible and they sure didn't disappoint! We saw all the Big 5 and multiple times, at that!
Look no further! Book your stay at Umlani!

Date of stay: April 2015
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Janet D
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 25, 2015

Thank you for reviewing Umlani and for the great recommendation . Nanette , Thembi , Mike,Amos and Andrew are all pleased to have been mentioned.

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Reviewed March 11, 2015

My husband and I stayed at Umlani Bush Camp from 3.-7. Oct 2014. We had an a amazing time. Service was outstanding, delicious meals, great guides and the hosts at Umlani went out of their way to make our stay the best!
There is no Wifi there or cell phone coverage there - so for 4 blissful days, we were disconnected from the rest of the world.
Accomodations: Huts are clean, beds and linning - so comfertable. Showers are in open air, but does not seem "scary" to anyone that is not use to that. The Camp is deilightfully situated by a river bank, and you can enjoy lunch overseing a waterhole were the animals come.
Food: You do not order food at Umlani - you are served whatever the chef has prepared - and belive me, it's all wonderful and tasty. Meals are usually very social at Umlani, were visitors all sit togheter araound large tables, so that you can talk about the days events, and get to know one another. In the evenings you can enjoy a drink around the camp fire - MAGIC.
Safari: The guides are pleasant and knowledable. The first drive is early in the morning aorund 6-6.30 after having a cup of coffee/tea and a bisquit by the fire. You are out for a couple of hours, usually stopping for another coffe/tea. Then home to the camp for a cooked breakfast! Then you have a few hours to yourself, before afternoon drive. This is of course were real magic happens - out in the bush learning about, and looking for the the animals. We saw them all ! You are in open cars, wich are quite comfetable, and makes spotting the animals easy.There are blankets avaiable if chilly. During the afternoon drive, you stop for a "sun-downer" drink. Umlani also has a tree-hut at a waterhole aprox 4 km from the camp. You can stay there overnight if you wish, or just for a few hours during the day. They also offer bush-walks, and as mentioned the guides really know their stuff.
Staff and hosts: Umlani must be the most friendly place... everbody is so helpful, pleasant and welcomming - a joy to be around.

I was not prepared for that my cellphone would be out of range there, and being a mom away from the kids I wanted to make sure that everything was going ok at home in Norway. I was afraid off being a nusance to the staff, by asking if there were any possibilities at all to reach home, of course they helped - gladly!

Be advised also to bring cash to Umlani for tipping the staff, if that's something you wish to do. Of course you can pay your stay with credit cards, but after you have driven in to Timbavati game reserve, you don't "see sivilasation", such as ATM's before you leave the resererve again.

October was nice and warm (not to hot), and comfertable in evenings with a fleece jacket.

A different and magical place, that captures the essence of Africa, even if you are a tourist!

Date of stay: October 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Heisle
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 10, 2015

Thank you very much for the detailed review and description of your stay at Umlani . It will be useful to other Trip Advisor users . best regards Marco

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Reviewed March 8, 2015

Ok.... One small negative is that our travel agent failed to tell Umlani that this was our honeymoon so we thought we had missed out on the extras. Umlani found out during our trip however and made sure we felt utterly spoiled. This is just a magical place of big skies, great people, great food, frightening night noises and unforgettable memories. We cant wait to find an excuse to return.

Date of stay: September 2014
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Rancidrick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded March 13, 2015

Thank you for your review .Sorry to hear of the mis-communication , I am happy to hear that the team made up for it and that you found Umlani to be a most magical place. Hope you find an excuse to return for an anniversary maybe ? best regards Marco

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Reviewed March 5, 2015

We highly recommend Umlani, the perfect place to visit if you only have a short time and want to see alot and get close by the mammals! We also think it's perfect to stay at even if you will be driving around by yourself in kruger before/after your stay at Umlani. At Umlani they can, and will, drive out in the bushes where no roads are, just to get you close to any of the big5. Also you can go there with kids! We have been there with a 6 years old and 8 years old.
It is a living without electricity and close to the wilderness and still feels safe. The staff is very, VERY friendly and will help you with everything you ask for; Own time in a tree-hut, walk by foot in the bush or extra morning sandwiches for the kids!
Umlani is very peaceful and quite place where you can enjoy the sounds from busches and look at the stars in the sky when you take a nice cooling or warminig shower in your private hut after sunset.
First time we visited Umlani we stayed 2 nights, but this time we stayed 3 nights and think it gives the ultimate value for money. You can learn alot from drivers and rangers, knowledge you can use if later driving yourself.
With 3 nights=6 game drivings you will see most of the animals that habitate the area at the moment... we even had the luck to see Wild dogs this time, but just the back of a rhino - and last time we saw a lot of rhinos and a lion, but this time no lion, but lot of buffalos as we didn't get to see last time... my point is, it's much about luck with what animals you will see, but a lot of them you will see, and close to the jeep too!
Hope you will be as satisfied as we are with our stay at Umalni Bushcamp.
Trevlig Resa! / Family from Sweden

Date of stay: February 2015
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank Family_MoMoP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded March 13, 2015

Thank you for your review of Umlani we appreciate it. Also thank you for recommending the 3 night stay which I agree 100 % gives you enough time to better experience the African Bush 2 nights is just too short . Thank you for returning for a second time hopefully you come for a third visit . best wishes Marco

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