Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, situated next to the Kruger National Park, is home to a dozen of South Africa’s best luxury game lodges. Famous for the sporadic birth of rare white lions – still ongoing – the reserve was created by 50 forward-thinking individuals in 1956.
There are some places in the world that vigorously resist human development. Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is one of these. Pressed up against the belly of the Kruger National Park, it has experienced almost nothing in the way of farming or other encroachment, even before being conserved.
Timbavati’s 53 000 hectares were named after the river that flows through them. Its riverine forest attracts elephants, as it has done for centuries.
Timbavati was in the news in the 1970s, when the first white lions were spotted on the reserve. Suddenly Timbavati became a household name around the world. Every now and then white lions are still born here or on neighboring reserves. Every white lion in the world owes its genes to something mysterious
and recessive in the DNA of Timbavati big cats. White lions are extremely rare.
In 1993, the fence dividing Timbavati from the Kruger National Park was dropped, allowing the free flow of wild animals. It affords visitors to the park’s 12 famous luxury game lodges – including Tanda Tula, King’s Camp, Ngala and Motswari, The owners of Timbavati are about to take another step that will further protect its wilderness: there are plans to proclaim Timbavati as part of the Kruger National Park.