An Umlani Safari an authentic bush camp with a sincere- community and conservation ethos- that has set the benchmark for bushcamps in the Greater Kruger.
This family-owned and operated bushcamp was opened in 1989 by Marco and his wife Marie-Louise who wanted to offer guests traditional reed huts with thatched rooves, cool cement floors and outdoor showers. In his youth, Marco and his family used to come to the family farm in the Timbavati and stayed in similar structures and Marco set about trying to recreate those much-loved times for visitors to the bush and his family farm. Accommodation at Umlani is in reeded round huts called rondavels, with gauze windows and grass mats to drop at night. There are family huts with built-in beds and a large double for parents. The bathroom area is ensuite and the shower is in an atrium under open skies.
The team at Umlani are paramount to the unforgettable experience to be gained while on safari. They are a close-knit family striving to make perfect your stay and open your eyes to the wonders and the dramas of the wildlife and ecosystems in the bush of Kruger Park. The chefs who had, years ago, started out as simple bush cooks have taken training and practised, and later excelled winning converted awards in cuisine. The managers, hosts and the all-important ranger and tracker guiding teams, deliver an all-around authentic encounter with the marvels of the bush and Kruger Park.
The Timbavati Private Game Reserve was formed in 1956 when some like-minded landowners of large inhospitable tracts of bushveld (originally purchased to protect wildlife for future family hunting traditions) got together and set aside their differences and took down their fences giving animals free movement over a much larger and more natural area for the wildlife.
The early years in conservation-based tourism were difficult and trends in the hospitality industry took a sharp turn towards super luxurious game lodges and hotels in the bush, leaving Umlani to pursue its own brand of eco-tourism. Umlani trained and empowered many of the local community on the outskirts of the Greater Kruger and earned immense respect in doing so.