Timbavati Reserve, Safari Information
SOUTH AFRICA TRAVEL INFORMATION & SAFARI PRE TOUR INFORMATION
Your Safari Rates: Rates are quoted in South African Rand, and are inclusive of 14% VAT. Accommodation is in Twin bed or Double bed safari tents, with private en suite shower, toilet and hand basin.
Rates include: accommodation, walking safaris, game drives, all meals, game drive snacks, tea/coffee, and non-alcoholic drinks (soft drinks, fruit juice and bottled water)
Rates exclude: Timbavati Reserve fees: Conservation levy of R160.00 per person (01 March 2012 – 28 Feb 2013) R 170.00 per person (01 March 2013 – 28 Feb 2014) (settled in cash at the camp), and R120 per vehicle (self drive or transfer, paid at the Timbavati Gate), alcoholic drinks (beers, wines, spirits), travel to/from camp, and travel insurance
Tented Safari Accommodation: Shindzela is comfortable tented bush camp. We offer an authentic African safari experience in an unfenced wilderness environment.
Safari accommodation is in twin (furnished with 2 x ¾ beds) or double (furnished with 1 x King size bed) safari canvas tents, set on wooden platforms. Tents have a wooden entrance door, adjustable canvas flaps for windows, and mesh to keep insects out. Each tent has a thatch roof and porch, designed to cool the tents in summer. Tents have a solar light. All tents are equipped with all bedding, and towels. Each tent has a private en suite bathroom with shower, flush toilet and hand basin (hot and cold running water)
The general bush camp area encompasses a covered dining tent, kitchen, staff tents and a central African fireplace – a perfect spot to relive safari experiences around the fire. Please note that Shindzela runs on gas and solar, so we do not have TV in camp. We do have a swimming pool in camp, so please bring swimming gear. We do provide swimming towels
CHECK IN: Check in is between 14h30 – 15h00. Please try and adhere to the check in times – we are a small camp, so we are often moving laundry and supplies in and out of the camp after guests check out, and we do need some time to prepare your room. Our afternoon safari activity generally begins at about 15h30 / 16h00, so if you arrive by 14h00 / 14h30, you will have time to settle in before joining us for an afternoon activity
CHECK OUT: Check out is between 10h00 – 11h00 on the day of departure. Guests do have time to participate in the morning safari activity and enjoy breakfast before departure.
Credit Cards: Whilst it is possible to pre pay for your safari and airport transfers with credit cards, at the time of confirming your reservation, we do not have credit card facilities in the camp. Therefore we have to ask you to bring cash to camp to settle your drinks bills and pay the Timbavati Conservation Levy. (The camp does not have access to these facilities, so we cannot have a card machine at Shindzela)
Bar: Your African safari is hosted by a guide and tracker, and the camp is owner managed. You can ask any of the friendly Shindzela staff to assist you with getting something to drink, and this will then be added to your room bill, which must be settled in cash at the camp upon check out. (Please note, we have a current special where soft drinks are complimentary, so only alcoholic drinks need to be paid for)
We stock a selection of drinks, but not a wide variety: we generally have soft drinks (coke, sprite, bottled water, diet coke / coke zero, tonic water, lime & soda, fruit juices), local beers, gin, whisky, vodka, white and red wines. Drinks prices range from R15 a beer, and R90 – R120 for a bottle of wine. Regrettably, guests are not permitted to bring their own drinks to camp.
Meals: We have 3 meals a day in camp. At the start of the day (05h30), enjoy tea and coffee with rusks (a local South African biscuit). On return to camp, enjoy a hearty brunch – fresh fruit, cereals and cooked breakfast. A light lunch is served in the late afternoon before the safari activity. Dinner is enjoyed at about 20h00.
Special dietary requirements: Please advise us of any special dietary requirements at the time of making a booking. We can cater for vegetarian, gluten free and Halaal diets. Unfortunately we are unable to cater for Kosher meals. Our supplies are taken in to camp once a week, so if we are not aware of your dietary requirements at the time of booking, it may become difficult to cater for you once you arrive in camp
Is it safe to drink the water in camp? Yes, you can drink the water, but due to a high mineral content, it does not taste very good. We do have prepared purified water in camp, which you can help yourself to at any time. Alternatively the bar does have bottled mineral water. It is certainly safe to brush your teeth using camp water.
Getting to Shindzela: There are various options on getting to Shindzela:
Daily road shuttle transfer from Johannesburg: Departs OR Tambo Airport (or selected airport hotels), Johannesburg at 06h15 in the morning and gets in to camp at about 12h30. On the return, depart from camp after your morning safari and breakfast, and get in to OR Tambo Airport by about 18h00. Guests must overnight in Johannesburg the night prior to taking the shuttle and on the return, outbound flights must be booked for departure after 19h30 (domestic) and 20h00 (international)
Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport: (Airline code HDS) Serviced with daily flights to / from Johannesburg – www.flysaa.com. We can ask a local transfer company to quote on this airport transfer for you. Travelling time in to camp is about 1hour 15 minutes
Nelspruit – Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA or airline code MPQ): Served by flights from Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Livingstone (Zambia) Airlines operating include SAA (South African Airways and Kulula) www.flysaa.com and www.kulula.com Nelspruit Airport to Shindzela is approximately 3hrs 15 mins, so plan to arrive at Nelspruit by 12h00 latest, so that you are in camp in time for the afternoon safari. Similarly, on departure from Nelspruit, catch a flight out at about 13h30, so that you have time for a morning safari.
Check in for local domestic flights (in country flights) is a minimum 1 hour.
Self – Drive: this is a very popular option for many guests, especially if you are planning to combine your visit at Shindzela with sightseeing along the Blyde River Canyon or in the Kruger National Park. We will send you appropriate travel directions, depending on where you are coming from. If you are travelling from Johannesburg, please leave early (06h00 / 07h00) to avoid the city traffic, and to make it in to camp by the early afternoon.
By all means use a GPS to travel to Hoedspruit or the Timbavati Reserve Gate, but once in the Reserve, please make sure you follow our directions. Also, if you are travelling by car from Orpen Gate in the Kruger, please note that you cannot access the Timbavati Reserve from the Orpen Gate – you do need to drive all the way around, back top the R40 and past the Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport. Make sure you exit the Orpen gate by 12h00 / 12h30 so that you are in camp by 14h00 and in time for the afternoon activity.
Reputable car hire companies in the area include: Avis, Tempest Car Hire, Budget, Europcar
Driving times: driving times vary considerably between individuals, but these are a guideline:
Johannesburg or Pretoria / Shindzela: 6.5 hours
Timbavati Gate / Shindzela: 45 minutes
Nelspruit / Shindzela: 3hrs15 minutes
Hoedspruit town / Shindzela: 1h20 minutes
Phalaborwa / Shindzela: 2hrs30 mins
Orpen gate / Shindzela: 2hrs
IMPORTANT: Please aim to be at the Timbavati Gate by 13h00 / 13h30 so that you arrive in camp in time for lunch and the afternoon game drive. If you are late, we cannot guarantee that the game drive vehicle can come back to camp to fetch you for the drive – it disrupts the other guest’s game viewing.
Once you enter the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, please do not at any time get out of your vehicle. Should you for any reason get stuck (during the rainy season) please wait in your vehicle for a Shindzela staff member to come and assist you. We are aware of your arrival and therefore will come looking should you not arrive on said time. It is not necessary to have a 4×4 vehicle – a normal sedan hire car with a relatively high clearance is fine.
The Timbavati Private Game Reserve:
The Timbavati Reserve, South Africa, is home to a myriad of mammal species, including Africa’s “Big Five” animals (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant). Other species of game that guests may encounter whilst on safari include hyena, jackal, giraffe, hippo, wild dog, zebra, kudu and impala, to mention just a few. There are over 350 bird species recorded in the area. The Reserve is open to the Kruger National Park, providing animals with a vast expanse of wilderness in which to roam, free of fences.
Timbavati Private Game Reserve Entrance fee: R160 per person (01 March 2012 – 28 Feb 2013) R 170.00 per person (01 March 2013 – 28 Feb 2014) (payable in cash in camp) and R120 per vehicle (to be paid at the gate in cash) You will be issued with an entry permit which must be signed by the camp on your departure. These are once off entry fee’s, not per night fees. Proceeds of the gate entry fee go towards the operational cost of the Reserve, which include conservation efforts such as anti poaching, road maintenance and reserve wildlife management.
Safari Activities: Shindzela operates daily game drives in open 4 wheel drive safari vehicles. Safaris generally begin early in the morning with a wake up call at 05h00. Enjoy tea and coffee before departing on a safari drive. Return to camp mid morning for brunch. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to relax in camp, and perhaps have a nap! After lunch, we go out on an afternoon safari drive and stop at a spot in the Reserve for sundowner drinks. The game drive then becomes a night safari drive, in search of nocturnal creatures.
The best time to view game on your African safari, are the early hours of the morning and during the late afternoon. This is when most game is active – during the heat of the day, many animals tend to seek shade and are less active. Night game drives with a spotlight bring you in to contact with nocturnal animals such as Bush babies, Civets, Genets, African wild cats, Porcupines and so forth. Whilst we make every effort to seek out the “Big Five” animals (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino), we focus on the whole safari environment, showing appreciation for all aspects of the wilderness – animal behaviour and habitat, trees, insect and plant life, as well as viewing all the other species of game found in the bush. As the Timbavati is a completely wild system and open to the Kruger, we can never “guarantee” particular sightings. It is a natural environment, in which we try and keep our human impact as minimal as possible. Our safari activities and timetable is generally planned around the movements of game in the area – this allows us to be flexible, and to maximize your safari experience.
Guideline to safari timetable (subject to variance)
05h00 / 05h30: Wake up call to each tent. Enjoy tea/coffee
06h00: Depart on safari activity
08h00: stop in a spot in the bush for tea/coffee. Resume activity
09h30 / 10h00: Return to camp
10h30 / 11h00: Breakfast / brunch Remainder of day at leisure in camp
15h00: Afternoon lunch 15h30 / 16h00: Depart on afternoon activity
18h00: Stop for sundowner drinks in the bush. Resume game drive – it now becomes a night game drive
19h30 / 20h00: Return to camp 20h30: Dinner is served in the dining room
Walking Safari: At Shindzela, you can also participate in a walking safari activity. Your safari guide will give you a thorough safety briefing before your safari walk, so that you are comfortable with the rules and safety instructions pertaining to you walking trail. Please feel free to ask questions at any time. Please do remember that you are walking in a wild environment, and it is important to listen to your guide at all times. There is ample opportunity to stop along the trail to examine interesting features of the bush, to observe animals and learn more about the African bush. Photography is allowed on the walking safari, but under the guidance of your safari guide. Guests choosing a walking safari activity should be prepared to walk anywhere from 2 – 3 hours on a trail. All walking trails are led by an experienced armed trails guide. A maximum of 8 guests on a walk.
Safari Vehicles: Shindzela uses 10 seater Open Landrover safari vehicles. There is 1 seat in front next to the Ranger, and three rows of 3 seats each at the back. In most cases, we normally seat 8 or 9 guests to a Landrover, but cannot guarantee any minimum / maximum guests on a Landrover. If you would like to guarantee a vehicle for your sole use, please enquire about rates for a private Landrover and Guide. We do supply blankets on our vehicles in winter, and ponchos in summer in case of rain on a game drive.
Photography: Wildlife safari’s present great opportunities for photography. Please bring all your equipment with you and be sure to ask your guide to stop if you wish to take photos at a particular place or game sighting. Please bring spare batteries for both your video and stills camera. We do not have electricity in camp; however you can charge your camera or video battery on our solar system – please bring any adaptors as may be necessary. What to bring on safari to Shindzela: Comfortable closed walking shoes, light weight raincoat (summer Nov – March) socks, sandals, neutral coloured safari clothing: 2 or 3 pairs long pants, 2 or 3 pairs shorts, t shirts / tops, fleece, jumper, long sleeved tops for (evening game drives), hat, sun block, insect repellent, sunglasses, reading material. During the winter months (May – Sept), please add a track suit, beanie, scarf, jacket/parka and a warm fleece. It can get chilly on early morning and evening game drives in winter. Don’t forget a camera and / or video, and please bring spare batteries.
We do supply all bedding and towels, so it is not necessary to pack a towel. Please bring a torch. In winter we provide hot water bottles, and extra blankets. We also supply blankets on the game drive, as it may get chilly on a night drive.
Recharging Camera & Video batteries: Guests are able to recharge batteries (camera, video and mobile phones) on our solar system (in the main area of camp, not from your tents) – please just bring the necessary adaptors for foreign to SA plugs. We cannot recharge laptops and heavier equipment.
Children: Regrettably we do not generally accept children less than 9 /10 years. In some instances in larger family groups it is possible to take an 8 or 9 year old if a private vehicle is booked. Please enquire. Children 10 and over may accompany adults on game drives, but no under 16 years on a walking safari.
Laundry: Unfortunately due to the fact that we do not have power, we are unable to offer a laundry service. However, if you have been travelling for a while and wish to wash some smaller items, please speak to our ladies in camp who can assist – it will simply be wash and dry (no ironing) – R10 per item of clothing, payable directly to the staff in camp.
Tipping in South Africa: Tipping is generally 10-15 % if the service fee is not included. It is customary to tip porters, waiters, taxi drivers, caddies, tour guides, hairdressers and room service. By law hotel rates do not include a service charge.
At Shindzela Safari camp, we tip the staff separately. A guideline would be R80.00 – R120.00 per day for a guide, and R50.00 per day for the chef and housekeeping staff. Tipping is very much appreciated by staff, but is entirely at your discretion. (rates based on per couple)
Weather: In the Timbavati Reserve and Kruger National Park, we tend to have dry winters (May – August) and hotter summers (September – April). Winter can be fairly cold at night and during the early morning, so it is wise to pack warm clothes. Winter days are beautiful and warm. Winter temperatures usually range from 05 – 26 degrees C Summer temperatures usually range from 12 – 38 degrees C Our autumn months are April / May and spring months September / October
Shindzela Water: The water from the tap at Shindzela Camp is safe to drink, but is full of minerals, so it does not taste very good. We provide filtered water in camp for drinking, and you may also purchase bottled water.
Safari Age limits: due to the fact that we operate in an unfenced wilderness area, there is a lower safari age limit of 10 years, and for walking activities, the age limit is 16 years and 70 years. Children between the ages of 10 and 18 must be accompanied by an adult. If a guest is older than 70 years, and is fit and would like to participate in a walking safari, we will consider the request, provided that the guest provides a doctors certificate, acknowledging that the guest is fit enough to participate in a safari walking trail. (this is an insurance guideline)
Malaria: The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is situated in a malaria area, and guests are advised to seek appropriate advice from their local medical practitioner or travel clinic. If you are taking any other medication on a regular basis, please bring a supply with you.
Health: All guests staying at Shindzela Tented Safari Camp acknowledge that they are in a fit state of health, and know of no reason why they cannot participate in game drives or a walking safari. Guests on a walking activity must be able to walk in the wilderness for periods of 2 or 3 hours. It is the sole responsibility of guests to advise Shindzela Safaris of any health issues such as epilepsy, allergic reactions, asthma and so forth. All guests participating in a Shindzela safari must provide us with contacts details of a relative who we can contact in the event of an emergency.
Whilst we are not medical professionals, we can say that it is not necessary to have a host of vaccinations / shots for travel to South Africa. In most cases, tourists visiting the country will travel in first world conditions – South African accommodation, food and water is generally of a good standard. Taking sensible travel decisions makes it very unlikely that you will contract any illnesses whilst travelling in South Africa (read our notes on malaria) or encounter any medical problems during your travels. If you are volunteering and working in our very rural areas, then perhaps consult your travel clinic or doctor about shots. Private hospitals are of a very high standard in South Africa, and most towns and cities have good pharmacies. If you do take any medication on a daily basis, please bring a supply with you. If you are still unsure of health whilst travelling to South Africa, please contact your local doctor and / or Travel Clinic. More Information from www.traveldoctor.co.za
Travel and Medical insurance: It is compulsory for each and every guest that travels with Shindzela Safaris, to take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers medical evacuation, hospitalization, repatriation, cancellation and baggage loss. We reserve the right to refuse entry to our safari activities should a guest not have appropriate insurance. Shindzela Safaris has insurances in place for professional and passenger liability. Our cover does include emergency medical evacuation insurance for guests in the event of an accident. However, this insurance ONLY covers your evacuation to the closest medical facility. Once at a medical facility, the guest assumes full responsibility for all medical and related costs. Indemnity: All guests staying at Shindzela Tented Safari Camp are required to sign an indemnity form on arrival at the camp. Do visitors need a visa to travel to South Africa? Visitors from most Western European countries, Japan, and USA don’t require visas. If you aren’t entitled to an entry permit, you’ll need to get a visa before you arrive. Please ask your travel agent or tour operator for up to date advice, or contact our Home Affairs Department
Travel documentation: All applicable health and visa (if necessary) documentation is the sole responsibility of the guest. Important: Please note, that anyone traveling to South Africa must have two consecutive blank pages in their passport, which lie side by side when the passport is open (i.e. the left and right hand page). Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after you leave the country. (calculated from the time you get back from South Africa). Passengers traveling to South Africa with passports that do not comply with these requirements will either be stopped from boarding the aircraft or risk deportation on arrival in South Africa In addition, a parents traveling with children, WITHOUT the other parent, will need a letter of consent from the absent parent. This letter of consent must be certified by the Police. Shindzela Smoking Rules: There is no smoking permitted in the tents or dining areas at Shindzela Tented Safari Camp. We do not sell cigarettes, so if you do smoke, please bring cigarettes with you. Please keep the cigarette butts and throw them away in a bin in camp. Please also be very aware that we are in the bush and that the camp has grass thatch structures, so cigarettes must be put out properly, and definitely not thrown out into the camp area or bush. Mobile telephones: Please note there is no reliable mobile telephone signal in camp, nor is there a landline available in camp. If anyone has to leave a message for you they can contact our office on Tel: 015 793 1578 / 082 307 9493 or by email: email@example.com. We will convey the message to camp via radio. Please note that this service must only be used for emergency or urgent messages.
Wildlife: Whilst our safari guides are trained as wildlife rangers, and exercise due respect when encountering wildlife on foot, in camp or during a safari activity, the guest accepts the inherent risks associated with participating in a wildlife safari, or staying in an unfenced safari camp. The guest understands and accepts that Shindzela Bush Camp is unfenced, and is situated in a wild, untamed nature reserve. Animals are free to roam through the camp. Shindzela Walking Safaris CC trading as Shindzela Tented Safari Camp, its employees and agents cannot be held responsible for any incidents, injuries or deaths as a result of participating in a walking safari, game drive, or staying at the camp. Liability and responsibility: Shindzela Tented Safari Camp / Shindzela Walking Safaris carries public, passenger and professional liability insurance. Neither Shindzela Walking Safaris CC nor any person or agent acting for it, through or on behalf of the company shall be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising from any cause whatsoever, including loss or damage caused by sickness, theft, injury or death. In addition, the company shall have the right at any time at its discretion to cancel any safari or the remainder thereof, or make an alteration to the product or price, should it be deemed necessary, due to adverse weather conditions, strikes, war or government restrictions. In the case of cancellation or changes under such conditions, any additional costs incurred, shall be borne by the guest. Law: The law of South Africa shall govern the relationship between Shindzela Tented Safari Camp and Shindzela Walking Safaris cc and the guest, and the courts of the Republic of South Africa shall have sole jurisdiction in respect of any claims and / or disputes, which may arise between Shindzela Walking Safaris and the guest or agent. The company refers to Shindzela Walking Safaris cc, and the “guest or passenger” refers to a person (s) traveling with Shindzela Walking Safaris CC, whether on a tour or safari.