Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

A Wilderness Experience for the Discerning Traveller

The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger Conservation Area, located in Limpopo Province in South Africa. The reserve lies west of the Kruger National Park Boundary and north-east of Johannesburg. There are no fences between the Timbavati and Kruger, meaning game moves freely between the two reserves. Timbavati Game Reserve came into existence in 1956.

Aside from being Big 5 country, the Timbavati is home to over 40 species of mammal and 282 bird species. The reserve covers approximately 60 000 hectares of pristine African bushveld. The Kruger National Park itself is a further two million hectares in size, which is about the same size as Israel or Wales.

In the early 1990’s the boundary fence between the Kruger National Park and adjacent private game reserves including the Timbavati, Sabi Sand, Klaserie, Umbabat and Manyeleti was removed to create the Greater Kruger National Park. The fence was removed to allow ancient migration movements of wildlife from the Lebombo Mountains in the east to the Drakensberg in the west.

Kings Camp is situated in the northern corner of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and has been in operation as a game lodge since 1995. Kings Camp is committed to sharing an experience  of the Timbavati that is both enlightening and relaxing. But above all, Kings Camp pays careful attention to our surrounding environment, and strives for the camp to benefit our nearby community culturally, environmentally and economically.

Timbavati Map Timbavati History


The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is situated within the Savanna Biome of South Africa. The biome covers roughly a third of South Africa. Savanna is classified as a vegetation consisting of both a tree and grass layer. The region receives annual rainfall between about 550mm-600mm per annum. The wet season occurs between November and April and can be particularly hot and humid.

The terrain in the Timbavati is undulating, with altitudes ranging between 300 to 500 metres above sea level. Granite and Gneiss are the dominant geological formations in the Timbavati and thus sandy soils characterise the landscape for most of the region around Kings Camp. Game viewing in the Timbavati is exceptional. Elephant, buffalo, giraffe, kudu, zebra, impala, lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena are all regularly seen, as are larger antelope such as roan, eland and tsessebe.

The entire Greater Kruger National Park has been zoned into 35 basic landscape types. There are 3 different landscape types that are recognized at Kings Camp namely:

  • Olifants River Rugged Veld

    This landscape dominates the northern section of the traversing area at Kings Camp. An undulating terrain with steep slopes and a great number of drainage lines/creeks. Soils are shallow and stony. The altitude varies between 250-300 metres above sea level. The climate is relatively dry with an annual rainfall of between 450-500mm. High temperatures are experienced in the summer months with 40 degrees Celsius and higher not being uncommon.

    Due to the shallow soil and stony soils the grass layer is sparse with a relatively high density of woody plants that are usually not higher than 5 metres. The reason for this density is due to the absence of regular natural fires.

    Common tree types include Mopane, Knob thorn, Buffalo thorn, Russet bush willow, Red Bush willow and Common Corkwood. The dominant wildlife in this landscape includes Elephant, Impala, Kudu, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Lion, Leopard and Spotted Hyena.

  • Bush Willow/ Mopane Woodlands

    This landscape is the most dominant landscape type and includes the area where the camp is located. The substratum is mainly granite and gneiss intersected by numerous intrusions of dolerite. The altitude varies between 300 and 500 metres above sea level. Temperate climate with hot summers and cool winters (with frost in the low lying areas). Annual rainfall varies between 450-550 mm.

    Dominant Trees: Red Bush willow, Russet Bush willow Marula, False Marula, Knobthorn, Silver Cluster leaf and Mopane. This landscape is most suited to Elephant, Buffalo, Kudu, Giraffe, Bushbuck, Impala, Lion and Leopard.

  • Thornveld on Gabbro

    The southern area of Kings Camp’s traversing region comprises of this “Gabbro intrusion” and is characterized by thorn savannah and dense grass cover that is typically flat to slightly undulating.
    The landscape generally has a higher altitude than the surrounding granite areas of 550 and 600 metres above sea level. The rainfall varies greatly but is typically higher than the first two landscapes.

    Common tree types include Knob Thorn, Buffalo Thorn, Magic Guarri and Large-fruited Bushwillow. Animal species include Burchell’s zebra, Blue wildebeest, buffalo herds, warthog, giraffe, kudu, white rhino and cheetah.

Animal, Birds and Trees Checklist Mammals Checklist

Conservation Efforts

We are committed to defending the wilderness of the Timbavati.

Find Out More