Human incursion into this part of the Lowveld has always been temporary and brief, from the stone age down to the early 20th century. Large tracts of land in the northern part of the Lowveld were never permanently settled by people. The lands now comprising the reserves were barely touched and are still only sparsely inhabited. This part of South Africa’s bushveld region may therefore be regarded as truly pristine and unspoiled; it is genuine wilderness, different from the “restored” and “restocked” lands commonly found elsewhere.

An important milestone in the history of the area was the dropping, in 1993, of the fences between itself and the Kruger National Park and other adjoining privately owned conservation areas. This expansion of the open system adding some 184,000 hectares to what is today referred to as the Greater Kruger National Park. More recently the fences between the Timbavati and its neighbour to the west, Thornybush, were also dropped, which opened an additional 14,500 hectares, further encouraging natural species migration.


Since its early start, the reserve has grown and now covers an area of 53,396 hectares with 47 landowners. Bound by a common constitution, the association is a non-profit body solely committed to preserving the fauna and flora of the area.

The Timbavati is home to a number of Safari lodges that cater to local and international tourists, bringing a thriving tourism economy to the region, and promoting employment within the reserve and in the neighbouring communities.


Thornybush Private Nature Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This is an area that covers a massive expanse of unfenced wilderness, allowing wildlife to roam freely between the Kruger National Park and a vast number of private concessions.  Thornybush has 4 lodges, 3 in the Thornybush Nature Reserve and 1 property situated in the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve.

At Thornybush our purpose is to open your heart and soul to the wonders of safari and the wild beauty of the Greater Kruger Park. You’ll wake with the birds and feel the sun warm the earth, and sleep to the sounds of nature as the night sky dances silently with the stars.

The Thornybush Collection of lodges is an owner-run business with warm and engaging staff, the Thornybush family is passionate about Africa and celebrating safari. 

Their community projects and conservation initiatives, run in conjunction with Thornybush Nature Reserve, have also played a vital role in our longevity and success as a globally recognised safari destination.


Spanning 15 000 hectares of the pristine African bush, Kapama offers the perfect sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife. Over 40 different species of mammals including the Big 5 – elephant, lion, leopard, African buffalo and rhinoceros – as well as 350 bird species, thrive in their natural habitat. Guests are privileged to be able to observe these magnificent creatures in the wild with twice-daily guided game drives and after-breakfast bush walks to be fully submerged in the African bush experience.

Kapama’s four luxury lodges each have a charm of their own – Buffalo Camp delights with its old-world feel, Southern Camp offers warmth and hospitality, River Lodge is vibrant year-round and Karula is breathtakingly elegant. The more adventurous can also choose to spend a night in their romantic sleep-out.


From self catering to fully catered be it in Hoedspruit town or on a Big 5 reserve there is a multitude of accommodation available to you.