- Stylish owner-run safari camp
- Tranquil location in private reserve
- Pool, spa, gym, and wine cellar
- Good game viewing including Big 5
Kambaku River Sands is an upmarket safari camp in the private Timbavati Reserve within the greater Kruger National Park area of northeast South Africa. This owner run establishment sits in a tranquil spot by a sandy riverbed, shaded by jackelberry and leadwood trees. The camp offers strong hosting and guiding, along with ten well-appointed thatched suites, a swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, and spa. The Timbavati offers good year-round game viewing, and is home to the big five, plus hippo, hyena, wild dog and more.
The main lodge comprises open-sided and spacious lounge, dining, and bar areas, with vaulted ceilings and open fireplaces for cooler evenings. Outside, a decked terrace overlooks a nearby waterhole popular with wildlife. A cosy ‘boma’ area is great for sundowners and alfresco dining, whilst the camp’s inviting infinity pool provides respite from the heat and is often visited by passing elephants and buffalo! The onsite spa offers an indoor pool along with sauna and steam rooms. There is a fully equipped gym, a wine cellar, and a gift shop on site. Wi-Fi is available in communal areas.
Activities focus on morning and afternoon game drives and guided walks with informed and enthusiastic guides, whilst keen ornithologists will enjoy spotting the abundant birdlife from a nearby bird hide. Back in camp, enjoy a workout in the gym, indulge in a massage or beauty treatment at the spa, or just relax in the pool.
The accommodation comprises ten spacious suites with high, thatched ceilings. Each tastefully designed unit has a king or twin beds and a generous ensuite bathroom with WC, twin basins, a spa bath, and double walk in shower, plus an indulgent outdoor shower. All suites have air conditioning, a minibar, and hot drink facilities. Sliding doors lead onto a private veranda with seating and tranquil views of the surrounding bush.
Children aged 12 years and older are warmly welcome at Kambaku, and extra beds can be provided upon request. Note that the camp is unfenced and wild animals do roam through. Although it is unlikely that wildlife would approach people or accommodation, parents are reminded to supervise children at all times.
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019
Hi, just back home now as stayed in London last night. It was fab! We loved it! Amazing all round- Thankyou. Best holiday ever!!!
Accommodation great at both places, guides lovely, staff great. We saw more animals than ever expected: giraffes, lion, elephants, water hog, wilder beast, impala, white rhino, crocodiles, hippos in lake Sybia, monkeys in trees at Tonga.
Beach beautiful, but a bit windy, waves v rough but didn’t deter my boys. We snorkeled which was fab but too rough on day we booked to do ocean experience.
My boys swam in all pools!!!
Weather better than we expected!
Must go and do some laundry, but hope that helps?
Nicola B reviewing South Africa Luxury Safari & Beach Holiday on 24 July 2019