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Kambaku River Sands

When To Visit Timbavati Private Game Reserve:
When To Visit Timbavati Private Game Reserve:
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"A lovely small classic-contemporary lodge situated in the heart of the Timbavati. Great value for money, as it balances comfort with an exceptionally good game-viewing experience. This lodge is suitable for everyone and offers a variety of activities – and not to forget to mention, a spa to treat yourself!"


This property is perfect for travellers seeking a deluxe base from which to explore the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve! As well as vehicle and walking safaris, activities include photographic safaris, museum visits, and a children’s programme.

Kambaku River Sands is privately owned and run. The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, game drives, walking safaris, daytime hide use, gym use, unlimited Wi-Fi, and a twice-daily turndown service. The property is open all year round.


The property can be accessed via road transfer from the airports of Hoedspruit, Kruger Mpumalanga, and Phalaborwa. It’s situated in the western region of the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, amidst beautiful jackalberry and leadwood trees on the banks of a seasonal river.


Guest accommodation consists of ten suites, each within a classic timber, stone, and thatch structure that’s spaced at least 10 metres apart from its neighbour/s. The total floor area within every suite is 36 square metres. Inside, you’ll find a king-size bed or twin beds with mosquito nets, bedside tables and lighting, a dresser and stool, and a seating area with plush sofa or armchairs and chunky coffee table. A triple room is available too. The décor features brightly coloured cushions, vibrantly patterned bedspreads, and all manner of intriguing artefacts on the surfaces and walls! Additional amenities include air conditioning, butler’s tray, mini-bar, safe, hairdryer, and Wi-Fi. The en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins with mirror over, walk-in shower, and bathtub with a view! Sliding doors from the bedroom area lead out onto a private deck – set with a couple of safari chairs and a small table, this is a great spot for relaxing while marvelling at the scenery.

Many of River Sands’ communal facilities occupy the property’s large lodge, another timber, stone, and thatch building. It’s raised above ground level on sturdy stilts, offering amazing views over a popular waterhole. The lounge features plenty of comfortable seating around coffee tables, in addition to numerous artefacts and a cosy fireplace. In the dining room, individual tables are flanked by safari chairs in readiness for delicious meals! The lodge also has a well-stocked bar, a sunken wine cellar, and a spacious viewing deck. Guests can dine in the property’s boma too, which is positioned just a short distance from the lodge building. A well-equipped conference centre is available nearby. At the other end of the site, the curio shop is laden with souvenir items, and the spa offers gym facilities and a swimming pool as well as sauna and steam rooms. There’s even a raised bird hide, a must-visit for keen birders! 


River Sands offers a thrilling range of activities. Please note, the schedule varies according to the time of year, but two trips into the Timbavati reserve are offered daily, on an expertly guided game drive, walking safari, or photographic safari. Alternatively, one slot may be used to visit the local museum.

  • Expertly guided game drives

    – This region is home to a real wealth of wildlife, with four of the Big Five regularly spotted on vehicle safaris, as well as wandering through camp! The Timbavati borders the Kruger National Park, and it’s famous for its population of tawny lions. Leopard are not as prolific here as in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, but the predator count overall is impressive and features cheetah, hyenas, jackals, and occasional wild dog. Herbivores in residence include hippopotamus, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and an enticing assortment of antelopes – and if you’re very lucky, you might spot black and white rhinos! There are hundreds of birds too.
  • Walking safaris

    – Also enjoyed in the presence of a knowledgeable and experienced guide, walks are perfect for safarists interested in the smaller aspects of the Timbavati, such as the plants, insects, and birdlife. Bird highlights include African spoonbill, grey-headed kingfisher, and the gorgeous little southern carmine bee-eater!
  • Photographic safaris

    – These safaris take the form of an enhanced game drive, in the company of a professional guide who’s also a trained wildlife photographer. Various specialist equipment is available for hire.
  • Visits to the Timbavati Museum

    – Highly recommended for anyone interested in absorbing a little culture while on vacation, the museum provides a wealth of fascinating information about the Timbavati region.
  • Children’s programme

    – The programme offers an age-appropriate gift pack for each child on arrival, an exciting variety of outdoor activities, and opportunities to be a junior ranger for a day!

Timbavati Private Game Reserve

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