Shindzela is the epitome of my African dreams! A small camp in a private reserve, the accommodations are tented cabins with flush and shower in a covered verandah at the rear of the tent and small verandah with chairs in the front. There are eight such tented cabins and a central open thatched roof pavilion where one can plug in and charge electronic devices, lounge, eat breakfast, etc.
We have two game drives a day (each for three hours) at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Nine people fit in the rugged 4-wheel drive open vehicle along with our driver (Sam) and spotter/tracker (Jeffrey) who sits above the front bumper. These are not merely game drives – we are actually tracking the animals and drive wherever need be through the bush. One of the joys of the private reserve is that it’s not required to stay on the roads, but they can go where they want. There are only two vehicles and we rarely see one another except if there is some exceptional game to be observed and we are in radio contact.
The drive to Shindzela took us through the gate to Timbevati Private Nature Reserve and then about 18km on dirt tracks until we reached camp. The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, adjoining the greater Kruger National Park, comprises of 53,392 hectares of private game reserve land. Since 1962, the reserve has been dedicated to conservation by maintaining the biodiversity of species. Currently, there are over 40 mammal species in the Timbavati private game reserve, including the Big Five which are, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant as well as 360 species of bird life. The Timbavati Reserve is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
Our schedule is: wake up at 5 – a cup of coffee and rusk then on the way at 6 a.m. As the sun is rising and it is still quite chilly. We take a 15 minute picnic break for a cup of coffee or tea and a muffin!
Return from drive by 9.30 for a delicious breakfast served in the pavilion.
Lounge around the pool or relax elsewhere until lunch at 2.30 p.m.
Set off for evening drive at 4 (with sundowner break during the drive) and return at 7 for another delicious meal. Dinner is served at 7.30 around an open pit fire (braaie) and illuminated by oil burning lamps and torches.
We have freedom of movement within the camp during the day, but at night are escorted to and from our tents – escort has rifle in hand!!!