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“Umlani-- Best of the Best in Kruger!”
Review of Umlani Bushcamp

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Umlani Bushcamp
Certificate of Excellence
chicago
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Umlani-- Best of the Best in Kruger!”
Reviewed 1 July 2012

June Umlani-- GREAT memories. From the minute we arrived, we were greeted and our bags taken to our rooms. Each room is a separate, private oasis of comfort and relaxation. It is an awesome authentic S African stay. We were called by drums to lunch, which was gourmet, healthy and diverse dishes were served to accommodate all dietary needs and likes. Beverages of every kind were offered and served on the patio overlooking the wildlife area. Once we ate, we could go back to our rondavel or private hut to shower or sleep or read or chill and chat. The pool was beautiful and had inviting natural lounge chairs and even a hammock hung nearby. Later in the afternoon we were taken by open air Land Rovers on bush drives and we saw all 5 of the "Big 5"-- amazing driving by Shaddy and our seeker Robert spotted everything. We drove up under a dead impala in a tree and saw the leopard who caught it, hanging out in the creek nearby drinking. As our driver Shaddy backed up the Land Rover, a hyena was creeping around seeing if he might get to steal the leopard's impala... intense! After seeing everything from Cape Buffalo to Elephant to Leopard to Rhino to Lion to Jackal to Duikers, and Baboons, we were taken back to drinks and a bonfire followed by a wonderful dinner. Once complete, we could stay by the fire and chat with the other guests or be escorted back to our rooms. The escort is important because you never know when a Cape Buffalo or Lion will decide to saunter through the area. Someone had set up our beds with beautiful mosquito netting and lit our lanterns to enjoy our room. Solar heated showers (plenty of warm water) in your enclosed room but under an open sky with complete running water sinks and toilets were wonderful to get refreshed before bed. Soooo comfortable! Even extra blankets were spread out at our beds on the cooler evenings. A+++ Umlani-- and thanks David--our favorite "Brit in the Bush" for making our stay so exciting and comfortable...all at once! You are the best and we hope to return some time soon!! Everyone should have the opportunity to go here! Land at Hoedspruit airport and you are a quick 30ish minutes away, so you can rent a car or hire a driver and enjoy the Best of Kruger!! Katie, Doug-- as well as college-kids - Scott & Lauren

Room Tip: All rooms are wonderful... Truly not a bad one.. Try a night or afternoon out in the tree house thou...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank ktbl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this review, 31 July 2012
Thank you so much for your great review of Umlani Bushcamp it will help fellow travelers get a really good idea of the Umlani experience and the team so appreciated your positive feed back. Marco
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428 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (76)
Date | Rating
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English first
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 June 2012

Excellent vacation--exceeding our expectations for family safari with college kids. Rangers, manager, and all staff were wonderful and made our trip exciting, comfortable, and unforgettable. The meals were varied and dining was always a pleasure. Elvis and Derrick were a great team to guide us through the adventures and educate us. David was a great host to make the whole trip work easily. We hope to return ASAP and spend more time. We enjoyed the early winter with cool evenings and warm days. Up close introductions to the wildlife and wonderful rustic accomodations make this place special for any age. Our college kids thought it was excellent, also. We recommend a night in the tree house- surrounded by hyenas all night and we could hear the lions roar in the distance.

Room Tip: Our room was comfortable for two and they have larger accomodations for families that want to stay i...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kay M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this review, 31 July 2012
It is good to read Umlani exceeded your expectation and that you found the rustic accomodations made the experience special. David, Elvis and Derek appreciated the mention. Thank you very much for your review. Marco
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 7 June 2012

I cannot speak highly enough of the Umlani experience we had. The rangers were delightful and have left us with hilarious catch phrases to take away. A big thumbs up to Ginger and Elvis in particular for eveything, especially the lion trekking. Amazing amazing experience. The facilities were glamping in the truest sense. Safely tucked up at night in thatched huts with wicker window blinds rolled down, whilst the bush went about its nocturnal business just outside. The outside showers were a real experience! At dinner times the tables were laid out beautifully and the food was top notch; excellently cooked though sometimes not enough of it. Breakfast was always excellent and different every day. French toast with bacon cooked on coals and maple syrup, Yum Yum! Would have liked to sunbathe more to soak up the wonderful autum weather but unfortunately the communal areas including the pool were a little shaded and the dry, sandy, sun-soaked river bed was 'out of bounds'. That could have had more to do with the nine strong pride of lions frequenting it than anything else but it still rubbed a bit. Other than that there was nothing I would change and I would definitely be returning as soon as possible!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank G_C_Davies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this review, 18 June 2012
Thank you for your review of Umlani Bushcamp much appreciated.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2012

Do not hesitate, just book, go and enjoy. The unique back to basics setting are not only comfortable but magical, especially at night eating wonderful food by the light of many, many candles. The staff are great fun, attentive, extremely knowledgeable. Their excitement about various sighting of wildlife is contagious making the overall experience a real bush adventure. The overnight stay in the treehouse is an added bonus and a must!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank EJM72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this review, 25 April 2012
Thank you for taking time to write a Review and encouraging other possible travelers to book. It is a wonderful compliment to the Umlani team.
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Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
63 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2012

Our first visit to Umlani Bushcamp (situated within the Timbavati Reserve and adjacent to the greater Kruger National Park) was absolutely everything we had imagined and more! The camp owners, management and staff were absolutely fantastic! We (my wife and three boys) spent 4 memorable nights and the experience will forever be etched in our memories! We were blessed to have seen the "Big 5", not to mention an amazing host of other great wildlife and bird varieties... The trackers and rangers are extremely dedicated & well-versed and are passionate about what they do and they really go to great lengths to make you feel part of the Umlani "family". If you are looking for a genuine & relaxed "bush" experience and some well desrved "R&R", then Umlani Bushcamp is definitely the place to go... Huge "thumbs up" to the Umlani team and highly recommended!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank George M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this review, 31 July 2012
thank you appreciate the positive feedback
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Escondido
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2012

Since my first visit to Umlani in 2002 I have always wanted to go back. I finally did and wasn't disappointed as it was even better than I remembered. It is a very special experience to stay at such a rustic camp. The huts and bed are very comfortable and the outdoor shower is a special experience all by itself. The staff take such great care with each guest and were genuinely friendly and caring. From the moment we arrived our every need was taken care of. David is a fantastic manager and one of the hardest working bush camp managers I have ever seen. We truly enjoyed his company and stories at dinner. All of the staff from the cooking, house keeping and the rangers were unforgettable. They all work so hard. The food was amazing. We had a great Ranger, "Ginger" and Tracker "Robert". Our family went on a bush walk the first day and learned so much from Ginger. My husband and I spent a night in the tree house which was a memorable experience. We saw a leopard with a cub, lion cubs nursing, and a ground hornbill family. I miss Umlani and the staff already and can't wait to go back. Another very special thing about Umlani, for the environmentally conscious, is how environmentally responsible they are. No plastic bottles were used, and they even provided a metal water canister for use while in camp. They had drinking water refill stations. This camp is a great value. One of the best travel experiences ever.

Room Tip: I wish I had been in hut #8 because I heard that's where many animals like the hyenas pass by fr...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kim C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this review, 25 April 2012
Wow... thank you Kim an awesome review, it was great to have you back .Already looking forward to having you come back .
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Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
43 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2012

I can't say enough about how great a time we had at Umlani Bushcamp. If anyplace deserves the old cliche "once in lifetime experience" it's Umlani. Special kudos go out to the Camp manager David and his outstanding staff, all played their part in giving us a terrific three nights!

Umlani Bushcamp has done a great job of combining a rustic African bush experience with just the right amount of luxury to make it an easygoing experience. The camp is relatively small, only 8 traditional African huts, which makes it a very nice and intimate experience for the 16 or so guests who may be staying at any one time. The rooms are very comfortable and clean while offering a nice touch of luxury without going "over the top" with the type of pretentious luxury seen at more expensive lodges in the area. The Camp makes a very genuine effort to maintain an environmentally friendly footprint, avoiding such modern accoutrements as electricity and plastic water bottles. A nice touch is made by offering the guests reusable water bottles for their stay.

The camp is not for the squeamish, however, as it is wide open to the bush and frequently experiences nightly visits from an array of wild animals. That made it terrific fun for us, but might not do the same for less experienced travelers...but I highly recommend giving it a try..you won't soon forget it.

The food was absolutely terrific morning, noon and night. The evening meals in the small, but exquisitely festooned open air dining area as hosted by David and his staff was truly magnificent. I just can't say enough about David's attention to detail, it really made our stay that much nicer.

As far as the actual safari went...we got to see everything we came for. Our tracker, Robert, and our ranger, Ginger, offered great rides through the bush and certainly knew their stuff. We looked forward to every ride we had with these guys...great fun. The view of the Milky Way on our night drives was worth the price of admission.

Five Star Experience all around. Great job Umlani, David and the great staff.

Room Tip: Hut 8 is the farthest out from the center of camp and offers a nice little patio with chairs..We sta...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank springbokny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this review, 31 July 2012
Hey... thanks for your five star review , I am super pleased you found it to be a "once in a life time experience" and terrific fun. David was very pleased to read your review and printed it out for the team to read. Hope to have you visit again some day Marco
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Additional Information about Umlani Bushcamp

Property: Umlani Bushcamp
Address: Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 17 Speciality Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3 star — Umlani Bushcamp 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Umlani Bushcamp, a rustic yet exclusive lodge, accommodates guests in cozy en-suite reed and thatch rondavels. Early morning and evening game drives are in open four wheel drive vehicles accompanied by experienced rangers and trackers offers exceptional game viewing opportunitys. Umlani makes the whole event personalized and specializes in escorted walks into this unspoiled wilderness. Umlani, meaning Place of Rest, was established in 1990 by Marco and Marie-Louise Schiess, in the central section of the Timbavati Nature Reserve, which is part of the greater Kruger National Park. Umlani is the perfect nature lovers choice. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Umlani Bushcamp Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Umlani Bushcamp South Africa/Kruger National Park

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