Lodge styleSystainable and down to earth
Your affordable safari home away from home
Umlani Bush Camp is the work of a close-knit family; and that permeates every detail and activity. The fresh pastries for breakfast – prepared by chef Goodness (yes, her real name), the stories rangers and trackers share during game drives, the way the camp is subtlety lit by countless candles and lanterns every night, and how managers Morné en Melissa Hamlyn know you by name, before you even arrive. Your safari home is a simple, yet comfortable one, in the heart of the Timbavati Game Reserve. With limited cell phone or WiFi service for guests, tell people at home you will be in sync with the elephants - instead of your Instagram account. For real wildlife-seekers: climb the ladder of the Umlani Treehouse. High up in the wriggly branches, it is just you and the bush. Stay for a couple of hours (with cold drinks, soft pillows and warm blankets in reach), or spend the night while elephants rumble underneath. Overlook endless treetops, and fall in love with this land in a heartbeat.
Besides the Treehouse, you can stay in one of the eight thatched traditional African huts in Umlani Bush Camp. There are three of which sleep four guests, and one that sleeps three. You will notice how the traditional huts blend in with the surrounding environment: they are inspired by architecture of the local Shangaan tribe. Each hut features en-suite facilities that include an outdoor shower - nothing like a morning shower in fresh air -, mosquito nets, soft and cool sheets, bathroom amenities, insect repellant and bottled water. The camp operates with hardly any electricity (there is a power outlet for every room in the main area) and is entirely lit by candlelight and oil lamps when it gets dark. Don’t be alarmed, this sure adds to the warmth, truly African ambience. Meandering sandy paths lead to the main area, which includes a bush bar and deck overlooking a nearby waterhole – a bustling place for local wildlife. Enjoy dinner under the stars in the traditional African boma restaurant, dive in the swimming pool, or look for souvenirs in the gift shop. The Treehouse is more tucked away, about 1,5 miles from the main lodge.
Activities at Umlani Bushcamp
Wake up at dawn, have a warm cup of tea or coffee, and get ready for the first game drive; mornings and afternoons are when wildlife is most active. At Umlani Bush Camp, trackers and rangers are dedicated to not just showing you the wildlife, but painting a complete picture of local flora and fauna. They are sincere and truly passionate about the heritage of this region. Rangers are always on stand-by for an additional bush walk between morning and afternoon game drives. Small discoveries unveil bigger secrets of the bush; let an experienced ranger guide you and you will leave with a deeper understanding of this unique world. In the afternoon, venture out again to take in stunning mauve skies, painted with a palette of warm African colours. Wildlife wakes up when the sun goes down, making the afternoon drive a treat for your senses. After the drive, let the staff pamper you with another delight that will suit your being: one of their award-winning meals.
Tripadvisor comments Umlani Bushcamp
We stayed for 5 nights and had the most brilliant time imaginable. Everything was just perfect, including a riverbed dinner that was beyond words. The whole team at Umlani is at your service and you really feel like you are part of a family. The rustic camp makes you feel like you are part of the African bush with something happening all the time and new animal arrivals to and around the camp. This is a place of pure magic. Our ranger and trackers passed on so much information that was new and interesting, again making the whole game drives fabulous. We saw rhino, white lions and leopard and her cub on a kill and the wide range of buck that are part of the bush. With each drive we learned more and experienced such wonders. Then to be welcomed back to camp after such adventures with superb food and friendly staff. How can you not fall in love with this beautiful, unique place. A sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this magic with us. The whole experience was faultless and I hope to return back to you in the future. This is a 5 star place and REAL Africa.Tatjana K from Haywards Heath, UK
Beyond the friendliness and hospitality of the whole staff, we appreciated how the two rangers who were showing us around (Amos and Andrew) were experts at finding the animals to watch. We spent 3 fantastic days observing elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, or rhinos... Absolutely loved it.Ardavan B from Paris, France