Luxury in Timbavati Game Reserve: Where the white lions wander
Timbavati was in the news in the 1970's, when the first white lions were spotted on the reserve. Suddenly Timbavati became a household name around the world and the lions, as well as the man who discovered them, Chris McBride, became famed. Every now and then white lions are still born here or on neighbouring reserves. Every white lion in the world owes its genes to something mysterious and recessive in the DNA of Timbavati big cats. Sightings of white lions are however extremely uncommon, with most of these rare cats existing in only in captivity where inbreeding is a serious problem. Your (very slim) chances of seeing a white lion in the wild, are best in the northern part of Timbavati and surrounding reserves. One of the advantages of going on a field trip in Timbavati, is that the game reserve hosts fewer luxury villas, which means fewer visitors. This means coming across less game viewing vehicles in the bush, resulting in a less busy safari experience. In Timbavati only two vehicles are allowed per wildlife sighting.
There is such an abundance of birds, migrant and permanent species, in Timbavati that it is considered a birding paradise! The astounding diversity of 360 bird species found in this private game reserve includes: buntings, finches, flycatchers, warblers, weavers, sunbirds, sparrows, starlings, shrikes, robins, bulbuls, orioles, swallows, honey guides, hornbills and the list goes on: rollers, kingfishers, owls, eagles, vultures, storks, herons and kites and many more. Amongst the many shapes and sizes of living creatures to be found in Timbavati are 79 species of reptiles, 49 species of fish, at least 85 species of trees and approximately 40 mammal species. It is possible to see all the classical African big game, including elephant, black and white rhino, giraffe, zebra, hippopotamus, buffalo, warthog and many antelope species. One of the advantages of going on a field trip in Timbavati, is that the game reserve hosts fewer lodges. Johannesburg is the best starting point for charter or scheduled flights into the area. You either fly straight to the lodge or to nearby Hoedspruit Airport.