The lodge consists of ten chalets/rooms with most overlooking the Sand River. Guests regularly see elephants, hippos, buffalo and antelope grazing in the river bed. Additional facilities include a swimming pool, lounge, bar and dining area and the traditional boma, where guests will be served delicious and hearty South African meals.
The reserve is home to the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), as well as cheetah, wild dog and hundreds of other species of animals, birds and plants indigenous to the area. The phrase “Big Five” was coined by hunters of yesteryear – before the advent of the photographic safari – and refers to the animals considered the most dangerous to hunt.
Umkumbe Safari Lodge is located in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, considered by many to be the premier wildlife reserve in South Africa. Located on the banks of the seasonal Sand River, Umkumbe Safari Lodge is perfectly situated in one of the best Big Five game viewing destinations in Africa.
The lodge is easily accessible via either a self drive from Johannesburg, or by flying into the closest airports which are Skukuza and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) in Nelspruit. The self drive takes 6 hours from Johannesburg on good, safe roads. The flight takes approximately 1 hour. Road transfers from KMIA to Umkumbe can be arranged and take approximately 2 hours. A road transfer from Skukuza to Umkumbe takes approximately 1-1.5 hours and please bear in mind the Kruger National Park fees due when landing in Skukuza.
One of the main aims of going on safari is to go on a game drive. On game drives you are able to get a lot closer to big game. The animals are generally habituated to the vehicle. This means that they are used to the vehicle approaching them and know that it never causes them harm. This enables to you to get within five to 10 metres of the large animals – and safely! All game drives are conducted in open 4 x 4 Landrovers. No roof allows you 360 degree views, perfect for wonderful photographic and video opportunities.
Two game drives are offered per day. On the morning drive there is a stop for coffee and on the afternoon drive you will stop for sundowners. After sundowners guests will get to experience a night drive. The night drives allow guests the opportunity to see the nocturnal animals not encountered during the day. During the night drives, your tracker uses a powerful spotlight to search for nocturnal animals. You can see a wide variety of animals not normally seen during the day, including leopards, hyenas, serval, porcupines, bush babies, genet cats and nocturnal birds like owls and nightjars.
For the more energetic, each day after breakfast there is the option of a morning bush walk. The walk is an opportunity to experience the bushveld at close quarters. All walking safaris are led by qualified rangers. They will explain the animal tracks and what animals passed through during the night, in addition to the sophistication of termite mounds and other interesting facets of the bush that go unnoticed on game drives. The chance to walk amongst wildlife allows you to fully immerse yourself in African smells and sounds.
Children 12 and over pay the full adult rate. Children under 12 pay 50% of the adult rate.
Children aged 5 and over are welcome.
All meals, game drives & bush walks, teas & coffees
Rates exclude drinks, all Conservation levies (please see details below), all items of a personal nature, any item not described above.
• Sabi Sand Guest Conservation Contribution: R57 per person per night (will be added to your invoice and this contribution goes towards conservation
initiatives within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and surrounding areas.)
• Sabi Sand Shaws Gate levy: R120 per person (payable direct at Shaws in cash or credit card. Visa or MasterCard)
• Sabi Sand Shaws Gate vehicle levy: R280 per vehicle if self driving (payable direct at Shaws in cash or credit card. Visa or MasterCard)
• Rates are quoted in South African Rands.
• Rates are quoted per person sharing per night.
• Rates are subject to change without prior notice. Rates include government taxes where applicable.
If taxes increase, we reserve the right to increase the rate accordingly
A typical day on safari at Umkumbe Safari Lodge:
Expert rangers will ensure that your safari experience is truly memorable. Each day begins with an early morning safari game drive. In the late afternoon guests head out on another game drive and return after dark, offering guests exhilarating night game drives as well! Optional bush walks are offered every day after breakfast/brunch.
05h30 Wake-up call
06h00 Coffee and a light breakfast
06h30 Depart on morning game drive
09h00 to 10h00 Return to lodge
11h00 Optional bushwalk
14h00 Tea and a light lunch
16h00 Depart on afternoon game drive and night drive
19h00 to 20h00 Return to camp and drinks at the bar
Please note that Day Trip guests are also accepted at Umkumbe Safari Lodge. The Day Trip guests do not join the Lodge guests, however they do have a meal afterwards in the Boma.
The focus at the lodge is of the view of the seasonal Sand River. Almost daily, guests are treated to sightings of various animals grazing in the riverbed. The lodge sleeps a maximum of 20 guests in 10 chalets/rooms. Most of the rooms have a small verandah with camping chairs, and with views of the Sand River, while others look onto a small plains area with a watering hole.
Umkumbe Safari Lodge has a variety of room set ups, that allow families to travel with ease, as well as a small party of three adults, or friends looking for their own rooms but connected via an inter-leading door. The accommodation is clean, comfortable and suitable for guests looking for a well priced and affordable option in the Sabi Sand. All the rooms are en-suite and airconditioned and have full electricity.
Please note that the Superior and Standard rooms are priced differently. The Superior rooms are larger and also have outdoor en-suite showers which the Standard rooms do not.
WHEN TO GO
Umkumbe is located in an area of South Africa that is beautiful all year round. The winter months (May to September) are coldest in June and July with bottom temperatures of 5°C at night; however average daytime temperatures are around 24°C.Winter is the best time for game viewing because it is dry and the bush is bare, making animals easier to spot. Waterholes and rivers become dry and the wildlife is attracted to the remaining water sources. This is a great time of year for superb sunsets, great game photographs, and staying cool!Summer occurs between October and March, peaking from December to February when temperatures soar into the high 30s (°C). This is the rainy season, which turns the earth a lush green. There is plenty of food and water so the animals are around, but the thicker bush might make them more difficult to spot. Summer migrant birds flock to the Kruger, and the hot weather makes it feel like a holiday!WHAT TO PACK
The climate in the Sabi Sand, South Africa, brings hot summers with rain (October to March), while winters (May to September) pack cold nights and warm, dry days .
Throughout the year, we recommend packing lightweight, neutral-coloured clothing with short sleeves, while scarfs, jackets and gloves are needed for early morning game drives. Comfortable walking shoes are essential. Umkumbe has a wonderful swimming pool lined with comfortable sun loungers, so bring swim suits if you visit during summer.
Sun protection in the form of hats, sunglasses and sun block are important as guests will spend most days out and about. Bring along cameras, binoculars and recording gadgets to keep a record of the many wildlife sightings. The Kruger area is low-risk for malaria and has been safe for a long time, however we advise that guests consult doctors in their home countries before travelling.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Affordable safari lodge
Owner managed and run, ensuring a personal safari experience
Located on the banks of the Sand River
In South Africa’s best private reserve, the Sabi Sand Wildtuin
Shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park
High density of the Big Five
Expert and knowledgeable game rangers
Hearty South African meals or “boerekos”
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