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“Extraordinary!”
Review of Umlani Bushcamp

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Umlani Bushcamp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 September 2012

What an incredible experience!

From the moment we arrived and were welcomed by the camp manager David, we knew we were in for an amazing weekend. We LOVED our rondavel next to the private swimming pool and the open-air shower! Got a little scary on the first night with hyena sniffing around the door, though!

The twice-daily, 3-hour long game drives with our well-trained driver and tracker ensured that we saw all of the 'Big Five", and then some! With them being in constant radio contact with surrounding private reserves, we had the awesome privilege of sighting a leopard and her young cub, of being in amongst a pride of lions, and watching an elephant and her newborn calf.

We thought that perhaps being vegetarian might present some difficulty for the chef, but this was proved incorrect at every meal!

We loved the fact that the camp was small and the number of guests is limited to 16, that there is no electricity and no mobile phone coverage.

Thank you to David and his team for the most incredible experience!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank SilvanaMeuskens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2012

thank you for your review the team appreciates it and we are happy that it was an incredible experience for you

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Reviews (438)
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301 - 307 of 438 reviews

Reviewed 24 August 2012

From the moment they pick you up you begin with your unique safari. Everything is excellently organised. The Bushcamp is really romantic with taditional african huts. They have an open-air shower. The food is excellent and they also cater to vegetarians.

The grand prize are the morning and evening safaris! It is truly a remarkable experience you will not forget. Elvis is an excellent guy with vast knowlegde on animals and birdlife. He is a real fun ranger that even make the safari more enjoyable. The hot choco and cookies are really nice and the sunset drinks wonderful. We have spotted the big five. A lot of game in this reserve.

Tip: Stay a night or afternoon in the three house it is an exceptional experience.
Tip: When going to Umlani try to bring with you some Tupac music. Elvis really likes this music!

I hope I can come back there soon!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Metioui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2012

Thank you for your review I am happy that Elvis and the rest of the Umlani team made your time with us remarkable

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Reviewed 15 August 2012

If you want to get away from the noise, glaring lights, personal alienation and exaggerated scale that characterises 'normal' urban existence, then this is the place for you. Paraffin lamps, NO TV (what a pleasure!), really personalised service from people who mean it, and the opportunity to share experiences with others round a communal dinner table or round the fire in the boma make this place a balm for the soul. The food is also great, the game superb, and the accommodation really comfortable. The one concession to mod cons which I appreciated was a small solar powered led bedside lamp - trying to read by paraffin lamp is not great. I have been going to Umlani since about 1995, and among all the numerous private lodges I have stayed at, it still remains one of my favourites.

Room Tip: the bungalow on the far left as you face the river is great - nothing between you and the bush !
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank Adam S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2012

Thank you for your review I appreciate your appreciation of Umlani it helps make what we do a pleasure .

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Reviewed 8 August 2012

If you ever wish to get away from everything and enjoy the African bush at its best, Umlani is the place to go. The best phusa we ever had was on the deck at Umlani, with buffalo at the water hole and elephants in the riverbed just below us. David and is team is absolutely wonderful. Thank you guys. We will be back!

Room Tip: The family unit is perfect and private.
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Fiela4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2012

Thank you for the review ,look forward to your return .

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Reviewed 27 July 2012

This was one of our greatest experiences. The lodge was beautiful, but also basic and quiet. No electricity. Finally, I had to unhook from the internet. What a relief! The game drives were really wonderful, with good rangers and trackers. But what was really nice was the people we met here. The fact that there is no electricity means you hang out a night together over a bon fire, which is really nice. The dinners were out of this world -- fresh, nicely-flavored food that was as good as any top restaurant I've been too. The staff were all very accommodating and helpful. We met some people who had been back three or four times. We might go back again too.

Room Tip: I don't think you choose.
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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Thank FrappyBongo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded 31 July 2012

Thank you for the great review of Umlani Bushcamp it really helps us and motivates the team to get feed back. About choosing a specific room , if on booking a traveler has a preference for a specific room it just needs to be requested during booking process and we will be more than happy to make that room available if it has not been booked by some one else.

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Reviewed 8 July 2012

Within moments of our arrival we were whisked away to watch a hyena and her cub at their den. This was quickly followed by peering down a river bank at a wallowing hippo while sipping red wine while the sun set spectacularly. We then returned to camp and a marvellous dinner before retiring to our romantically lamp-lit room. This introduction to Umlani was magical. The bushcamp atmosphere envelops you and takes you far away from your usual world. The staff really made our stay fantastic. David, the camp manager, was an entertaining, enthusiatic and informative host; as were our rangers Shadrack and Robert. Facilities-wise, Umlani offers large and comfortable rooms and great wildlife viewing right in the middle of camp. A night's stay in the Treehouse is a must-do. We "enjoyed" a night there listening to rhinoceras sex. If you can't do a night spend a couple hours there during the day. We spent a couple of hours there watching a herd of elephants drink, dust and cavort. Incredibly enjoyable experience and I would love to return to Umlani.

Room Tip: We stayed in hut 5 and I found it a little too close to the dining area noise-wise. Not really a gr...
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Joyce B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Schiess, Owner at Umlani Bushcamp, responded to this reviewResponded 31 July 2012

Thank you for your magical review of Umlani Bushcamp I am pleased you had a enjoyable experience we would love to have you visit again some day, all the best Marco

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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...
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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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 reviewResponded 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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Additional Information about Umlani Bushcamp

Address: 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 #5 of 17 Speciality Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range: £355 - £493 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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