Timbavati is much larger and slightly drier than the Sabi Sands, attracting large herds of elephant and buffalo and an extremely large lion population. It is famous for its white lions, which were first seen here in the mid-1970s, and can occasionally be seen in the Kruger. The reserve is a good place to come to see tawny lions, as the prides here are very large.
Timbavati has a subtropical climate with rain in the summer season and thunderstorms. The best safari season is usually during the dry season (from April until September), when it is cooler. The rainy season starts in October and usually lasts through March. The bush normally comes alive after this, but game viewing becomes more difficult then, as the undergrowth gets thicker, giving the animals more cover.
There are a number of private concessions on the reserve, offering a variety of accommodation and safari experiences. These range from prestigious Kings Camp and Ngala Safari Lodge, to simple bush camps like Umlani.
Timbavati is not as good for leopard spotting. It can often be hard to find this species, as the reserve is so large, especially after the wet season when the vegetation is growing. If you are keen to see leopard, you would do much better visiting the Sabi Sands Reserve, where they are particularly plentiful.