I’m a Child of Africa and it takes little encouragement to get me to the Kruger National Park, yet Graeme Forbes of HYPE, who does the Marketing for Tanda Tula Safari Camp, had been encouraging a visit there for months. At last I was able to accept his kind invitation and book a two night stay at this amazing Lodge in the Timbavati. Gush, what took me so long to get here …
My luxury tent with wooden deck and thatched cover.
The view from my deck towards the dry river bed.
Tanda Tula delights on every level and the warmth with which I was welcomed was a prelude to what was to come. I knew instantly that I’d arrived at a special place.
The Lodge offers twelve luxuriously appointed en suite tents with wooden decks overlooking the Nharalumi river bed. The tents are scattered around the reception area beneath a canopy of giant trees. They offer the lavishness and opulence that we have grown to expect from luxury lodges with king size beds, spacious bathrooms, claw footed baths and outdoor showers. Yet at Tanda Tula this is in harmony with the environment and doesn’t detract from the privilege of being on an African safari. I loved that.
Important to note that Tanda Tula is owner managed by Don and Nina Scott who are partners with Marlene McCayand are resident at the lodge. They are supported by an inspired group of staff and there is an overwhelming feeling that this is a team with a shared vision. Meals are personally hosted with much care to taste and presentation. It’s an intimate affair with conversation about game seen on the drive, bush living and the all important Conservation of our wildlife.
The inside of my tent, so snug, it was a crime to be there alone.
The outdoor shower taps are marked hot and cold with blue and red beads, nice.
Tanda Tula is located in The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve which has open boundaries with the Kruger National Park and offers wide open African Savannah and incredibly good game viewing. My game ranger Civilised and tracker Jack produced incredible game with wild dog, leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant, giraffe and much more seen on our drives. (I am featuring the game experience separately).
I am openly in love with Tanda Tula, which means ‘to love the quiet’. I do like a tented camp and the closeness to nature that it offers, and here that closeness is beautifully integrated with the passion of the people. I heard the roar of the lion from my bed at night, had a hyena walk through the camp during dinner and a brave mongoose trying to break into my tent and steal the chocolate that had been lovingly placed on my pillow. Not to mention being woken by bird song in the mornings. Now this is the Africa that warms my heart.
I can’t think of a better suited Safari experience and I’m spreading the word and can’t encourage you enough to consider Tanda Tula as your Kruger Safari destination.
NOTE: There is no cell reception in the Timbavati, another reason why this IS the perfect place for blissful escapes and loveliness, not to mention romance and honeymoons …
How I got there : My journey had me flying directly from Cape Town to the Kruger Mapumalanga International Airport (Nelspruit) where I was met and road transferred to the Lodge. The flight takes just over two hours and the road transfer about 2½-3 hours, so there is a some travelling involved. However, the trip between Nelspruit and the Lodge is interesting with beautiful scenery and I do recommend the drive. Do bear in mind that if you are travelling from Johannesburg it is a short flight to Hoedspruit with a Lodge transfer of about 40 minutes.