Safaris & stories
Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel
Africa Geographic Travel

Famed for its white lions and being part of the Greater Kruger National Park, the 53,392 hectare Timbavati Private Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s most loved wilderness areas. It’s also home to two of Fair Trade Tourism‘s most popular certified safari lodges – Umlani Bushcamp and Motswari. And here’s a rundown of the best experiences that these lodges have to offer…

1. An afternoon delight

It’s called “high tea” and Motswari has developed it into a form of art thanks to their fabulous pastries, cakes and savoury snacks designed to keep rumbling tummies at bay on afternoon game drives.


2. Coffee on the go

The best stop of the morning on a game drive at Umlani is when your guide and tracker become baristas extraordinaire, giving you the ultimate pick-me-up after a pre-dawn expedition.


3. Cool pools

Motswari and Umlani share a penchant for natural looking rock pools, each with its own unique outlook. These are the coolest place to escape the heat and dust of the Timbavati bush in summertime.


4. Elephants

They’re everywhere and the elephants at Motswari just love lowering the level of the pool in the midday heat! Whether it’s big breeding herds, chilled bachelor groups or solitary bulls, the Timbavati ellies are truly special.


5. Sunny smiles

Nothing beats the happy, friendly staff at Motswari and Umlani who go the extra mile to make your safari experience the best it can be.


6. Guides with gusto

If your guides and trackers are having fun then you know your game drives and walks are going to be fabulous. The Umlani “crew” members, Adam Mohr (student guide), Andrew Khoza (tracker) and Ephraim Makukule, just love their jobs!


7. Luscious lunches

Umlani’s midday spreads have become the stuff of legend with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients lovingly transformed by chef, Goodness Manghane, into a variety of mouthwatering dishes.

8. Sleeping dogs

Catching a glimpse of the Timbavati’s wild dogs is a special treat for even the most well-travelled safari aficionado. And watching them settle down for an afternoon nap is simply sublime!


9. A treehouse like no other

Umlani’s treehouse overlooks a waterhole and is one of the best spots in the reserve to spend a morning or afternoon relaxing on mattresses with a supply of refreshing drinks, while waiting to see what comes down to drink or cool off.


10. White lions

The Timbavati is where it all started for the legendary white lions. Caused by recessive genes that give rise to leucism, a condition that reduces pigmentation resulting in white, pale or patchy colouration of skin and hair, as well as blue eyes.


For more information on Motswari and Umlani, and other Fair Trade Tourism safari lodges throughout South Africa, visit

Fair Trade Tourism

Fair Trade Tourism is pioneering the development of sustainable and responsible tourism in southern Africa and beyond. A non-profit organisation, it grows awareness about responsible tourism, helps tourism businesses operate more sustainably and facilitates the Fair Trade Tourism certification programme.