Big 5 Review Part 4 - Umlani Bush Camp

“I have seen on your registration form that you are from Clervaux in Luxembourg. I have been in Clervaux several years ago and walked from there to Marnach. “


We were in SA for 6 days now and felt like Aliens because Luxembourg is a dot on a map and nobody really knew it. But then our guide in the Umlani Bushcamp even knew our hometown!  He visited Luxembourg because he wanted to see where his grandfather was based during WWII.  What a coincidence, sometimes it is a small world.

Umlani bushcamp was our camp for 3 nights and it is an amazing place. It works without electricity and is a back to roots experience without lacking comfort. The rooms are huge and the little gaz lights and outdoor showers give it a very special charm. The swimming pool was excellent and the bar serves free drinks with a view over a waterhole. This felt like heaven to me.


Between the game drives, Umlani offers a 3 hour stay in their tree house very close to a waterhole. This is an absolute must. That is why we did it two days in a row. We had the best time there, watching animals that come to drink. Some elephants came really close so that you could almost touch them. Many herbivores walked by for some water and for us, being able to watch this in total silence was  like reconnecting to nature.

The game drives were absolutely mind-blowing. On our first drive we saw the big 4. Unfortunately no leopard but I think it is a good sign that you really have to trust in nature to see game otherwise it would feel like going to zoo with a 100 percent success rate.

But on the next day Timbavati felt like watching a documentary on TV. The guides got really nervous at one point and we were cruising with full “allowed” speed through the reserve because somebody spotted something big. We passed some buildings where we saw a vervet monkey in the trees. He was out of his mind and screaming like crazy. Our guide said: “The little fellow saw something he didn`t like”

We drove into the direction the monkey pointed at (I know this sounds like a little, stupid fairytale but it is true) and 10 minutes later we witnessed two leopards at the same site. The male was lying on the floor, seemed very relaxed but the female was up in the tree and she was really angry. She was not only chewing the branches but she aggressively destroyed them with total passion. I guess she imagined how she could break this guy’s neck after she filed for divorce.


We watched this for half an hour and then we drove on to enjoy the beautiful sunset. This one brought up the most amazing colours. I was taking some pictures when I heard a new message and the driver sped up again.  I was thinking “Take it easy, we have seen it all” but then we approached a waterhole and there she was:  one of the two white lionesses of Timbavati. A white lion!  Holy mowly.

I had heard about them but I was really not expecting this to happen. This felt like the jackpot.


After 30 minutes, night was falling and we had to return to camp. That was one of these nights where you don’t want to fall asleep because reality was just perfect.

Big Thanks once more to Katja for this fantastic review and the perfect pictures!


Click here to see the full itinerary of the Big 5 Experience.

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Carlo R.W. De Meijer (Monday, 14 March 2016 06:03)

    We were there last yar and had the same marvelous experience. We also had the change to spot the Big Five. Umlani is great!

  • #2

    Romain (Thursday, 09 June 2016 09:52)

    Wonderful, it is always great when the hard work of everybody from the kitchen help to the owner is recognized and appreciated.

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