My wife and I were here in 2010 with six friends. It was a special trip with unbelievable luxury and hospitality, accompanied by close-up experiences with all the Big Five and more. We don't repeat many prior vacations, because there are so many other places we haven't seen yet. But, memories of our first stay lingered and, when the opportunity arose, we jumped on a return visit. And, we're glad we did.
From the moment you arrive to be welcomed by the warm and friendly staff who greet you with a cool beverage, you know you have entered a magical place that will give you magical memories for a long time.
The bungalows are truly luxurious, while in the middle of the South African bush veldt. I don't want to tell many of the "secrets" you'll encounter, because I don't want to ruin your surprise when you see them for the first time. But the rooms are furnished with a four poster bed, complete with mosquito netting, which is "turned down" each evening while you're at dinner. There is a separate sitting area, with sofa, chairs and a small table with fruit and a decanter of sherry, along with two glasses.
Kings Camp prides itself in leaving nothing to chance. They didn't tell me that, but they demonstrated at every turn. I even took a small glass of sherry every evening before dinner and, the next day while we were on our morning game drive, the decanter was topped off and the glass was replaced with a fresh one. If we ate a piece of fruit, it was replaced.
I mentioned game drives. We had a morning and late afternoon game drive each day, in the company of a very knowledgeable and affable ranger (Dean) and tracker (Albert). We rode in special design open Range Rovers with bench seating. This arrangement affords spectacular game sightings. Since this is a private reserve, unlike the public reserve in the adjacent Kruger Park, the vehicles can leave the road in pursuit of the Big Five. There are no guarantees, but both times we've been here we did see all the Big Five "extremely" close up. We were in no danger, but it is a thrill to be so close to the animals considered the most dangerous of all the wild game. In the interest of leaving nothing to chance, we stopped for refreshments on both the morning and afternoon drives. A highlight of the afternoon drive, was our stop for "sundowners" as the sun dipped below the horizon.
But, game sighting aside, Kings Camp without the game drives would still be a worthy vacation stop. The food is gourmet, the service is impeccable and the setting is unlike anything I've ever seen before. This is an all-inclusive resort. Everything (with the exception of premium wines and spirits) is included. I was amused to find out that fine Scotch (what they call whiskey in this part of the world), was a non-premium spirit, while plain old Bourbon (what we call whiskey in our part of the world), was considered premium.
Drinks were available before dinner in the cozy little lounge, which gave us time to meet our group (and others as well) and talk about the day and just relax before the dinner bell (actually a kudu horn converted into a trumpet of sorts.
I can't say enough about Kings Camp. Much of the credit goes to Warren and Leisha (forgive me if I misspelled your name), who were always checking up to see how our stay was going. They are very pleasant people who are hands on in the operation. I remember when we were here five years ago that there were two small children romping around the grounds having a great time. Well, I must say they're much taller now and seem to be turning into fine young people.
I said this was our second visit, but we're already talking about returning a couple more times, each with one of our sons' families. I would love to be there when they take their first game drive and get up close and personal with an elephant.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Kings Camp reflects the charm and romance of a colonial past in a pristine corner of unspoilt Africa. Kings Camp is situated facing an open savanna plain with a waterhole, which is frequented by a wide variety of wildlife, day and night.Eleven generously spacious colonial suites are luxuriously equipped with air-conditioning, Victorian ball-and-claw bath, indoor and outdoor double shower, fully stocked mini-bar and private verandah. Dark tones of wood and thatch offset the natural colours of the bushveld. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kings Camp Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve