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An 8-day Kruger Safari: Treasure Hunting in Tamboti and Lower Sabie

An 8-day Kruger Safari: Treasure Hunting in Tamboti and Lower Sabie

Lion Kruger National Park
Well, hello there.

Our final three days of this 8-day safari to Kruger National Park were spent traveling to, lodging at and traveling around Tamboti and Lower Sabie Rest Camps. To see days 1-3 and an uber cool Baboon Happy Hour video, click here. To see days 4-5 and a winged surprise in the terrapin video click here.

To learn more about the Tamboti and Lower Sabie Rest Camps, read on. To go straight to the Wildlife photos, bee-bop about midway down the page.

Tamboti – Mopane Shrubveld Country

Tamboti is a satellite camp of Orpen. We weren’t particularly impressed with Orpen, but we are smitten with the lush and cozy feel of Tamboti. To check availability, click here.

Tent #34 Tamboti
View from the awesome front deck of Tent #34. A massive thunderous rainstorm swept through. We sat on the deck watching and listening in awe.

Tamboti lodging rating for the Safari Tent (1-6 scale)Cost R1021 Rand

Cleanliness: 5
I like this tent SO much, who cares?
General Accommodations:  6
We rented a safari tent (#34), which is a fancy way to say a hotel room with wood board floors and canvas walls.  It was wonderful.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to do some fancy camping without the headache of setting up a tent? It had a WC and a small inside sitting area.  The kitchen was outside on a deck.  Comfy chairs, a sink, fridge, and two electric burners.
General Environs: 6
I love this place.  We were here on our first safari and knew we would return. Overlooking the Timbavati River, lush growth and big trees, the sweet melody of birds from morning to night. Divine. And the front porch is situated in a way one couldn’t see one’s neighbor.

While we called ahead to reserve #40, with only one day advanced notice, someone much wiser and on the ball grabbed #40. We were able to get #34 on the first night and #33 on the second. #33 has a bigger bathroom and a ramp because it’s handicapped accessible, but I don’t like the location despite the fact it is next to #34. It’s much less private with the deck directly facing #32 and with less shrubbery. We really like #34 because of the privacy.

**Tip** Prime real estate: Safari Tents 34, 39, 40 (call ahead to reserve).

Lower Sabie – Sabie River Thickets Country

This place was brand spankin’ new. It was in great shape save for some busy ants in the bathroom. They didn’t bother us, and we didn’t bother them.
General Accommodations:  6
We received an upgrade to a bungalow with a kitchen. Very nice and a pleasant surprise. It was almost too modern for our rustic taste.
General Environs: 4
Only doors away from a river view and instead, a view of the construction going on across the yard, this will one day, when the construction is over, be a great camp. The restaurant was superb – a bit fancy pants (see our preference for rustic above). Owned by an American company, M&B (Muggs and Bean), it offered a high quality of service and food despite only a few vegetarian options and only one vegan option if you don’t count sides (chips, vegetables). We ate at three of the restaurants in Kruger:  Olifants, Letaba and Lower Sabie. There were more vegan options at Olifants and Letaba including (surprisingly) a tasty wrap with grilled soy and a soy burger along with some flavorful salads.

**Tip** Prime real estate: Bungalows 5-10 (while bungalows 1-4 were very nice, the views were blocked by shrubbery) and Safari tents 27-29. Call ahead to reserve and check out this Lower Sabie Map.

There are at least 3 crocodiles in this photo.
crocodiles and hipps
Curious. A hippo hanging out by a croc. Taken at Lower Sabie along Sabie River.

It’s a Wild Life

Going on safari is like treasure hunting. Hours and hours exploring and searching for that shiny golden nugget. It may be the Big Five or more birds to add to the birding list or simply catching a glimpse of some unusual shape in the grass. While being in a car all day is tiring, with each “find” I feel reinvigorated.


The bird life in Kruger is stupendous. With nearly 90 different species and counting, I’m aiming for 150 before we leave South Africa.

Ole Jackal Ears

Off in the distance, my eye caught something in the grass. A baby zebra? A wild bush dog? A spiky plant? What WAS it?


After waiting patiently for about 30 minutes, a Blackbacked Jackal emerged. Now Scott calls me “Ole Jackal Ears” using the voice of someone who just walked out of a moonshine distillery. It makes no sense at all given how “ears” have nothing to do with my sharp vision, but we laugh hysterically.

Blackbacked Jackal
Blackbacked Jackal

Spotted Hyaena Pup

Passing by Satara on our way to Tamboti we happened upon this Spotted Hyaena pup again alongside the road. The first time we saw him, I thought he might have been unwell, but now I think this is his hang-out place.

Spotted Hyaena Pup
Spotted Hyaena Pup


I like the site What’s that Bug? Check it out if you want to learn more about insects and spiders. Mostly importantly, the folks who run the site don’t support extermination. They see the value of keeping these critters around.

I am perfectly comfortable seeing a spider outdoors and a good 5ft from my person. I think this is a Banded Legged Nephila.

This one took a curtsy for the fine web she wove. It spanned about 6ft between two trees. If you look closely, you’ll see the intricacy of her design and some offspring as well as several little bugs who met their maker within the fabric of her talents.

Chacma Baboons and Vervet Monkeys

Just can’t get enough of ’em. Check out the slideshow to see the Vervet Monkeys at our tent in Tamboti.

Baboon in existential contemplation

Zebras Down and Dirty

One by one the older zebras were dropping to the ground and rolling in the dirt. The little one didn’t seem to know what to make of this behavior.

Zebras in the dirt

zebras in south africa
The zebra that didn’t budge despite the dirty chaos? She’s the one taking a snooze on someone else’s back.
Road Signs Kruger National Park
On our way to Timbavati picnic area to alight and ablute, we happened upon a couple who told us of a lion sighting only 2 kilometers away. Off we went forgetting the need to stretch our legs and relieve our stretched bladders.


THIS is the part of treasure-hunting I find thrilling. Beneath any bush, within tall grass, up in a tree, a treasure for the senses awaits. Check out the slideshow to watch these two young male lions.

Lions hiding in the bush
This looks like an innocent bush, no?

No! There are two gorgeous male lions in there!

Our rest at Timbavati was a grand success. I saw an owl in a tree (check out bird slideshow), elephants bathing in the river, and had a delightful conversation with the sweet gentleman who was working there.


I had what I coined to be a Mammothfestation, an elephant manifestation. Stopping at this lovely watering hole, we admired the landscape and were once again surprised to discover…

an elephant arriving for an afternoon bath! The geese in front were also surprised.

Elephant walking to watering hole

Check out the slideshow to see this beautiful animal splish splash takin’ a bath.

Elephants fighting
Shortly after witnessing a monumental bath, we saw these two young ones in a tussle.

Cute and Curious Odds and Ends

elephant butt
Does anyone else find elephant bum adorable?

I created a short video to honor the Impala, because they get totally dissed at Kruger. This is due to their large numbers (150,000) and the fact that most people get no thrill after seeing them the second, third, fourth, fifth or tenth time. We, however, held our affection and appreciation for these stunning animals.

Dwarf Mongoose pups
A safari would feel incomplete without seeing a band of Dwarf Mongoose pups at play. The little one on the right is in mid-air leaping into the mongoose mosh pit.
Dwarf Mongoose pups
Apparently they like elephant dung, because they like elephant dung beetles.
This caught Scott’s eye first. Do you see it? To me, it looks like a Mardi Gras mask. What does it look like to you?
Termite mount kruger national park
The termite mounds here resemble Egyptian temples…with shrubs growing from the tops.


Only minutes from the Crocodile Bridge Gate and the end of this 8-day safari, we saw the rhinos. Joy.

White Rhino
At first we saw two white rhinos and then came a giraffe
White rhino, giraffe, impala
Two white rhinos and a giraffe and then came a herd of Impala wildly chasing one another
Rhino's Giraffes and Leaping Impala
Two white rhinos, a giraffe, leaping Impala and an Oxpecker comes onto the stage or rather, the giraffe


The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.
~Lao Tzu

Happiness is your own treasure because it lies within you.
~Prem Rawat

One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self; of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up.
~Friedrich Nietzsche


Check out the other South Africa posts below:

South Africa Post #1: Our first Kruger National Park Safari
South Africa Post #2: Babysitting a Banded Mongoose Pup in Marloth Park
South Africa Post #3: When Zebras Visit
South Africa Post #4: Daily Living in Marloth Park, South Africa
South Africa Post #5: Kruger Restcamps: Skukuza, Satara and Olifants
South Africa Post #6: Kruger Safari: Full Moon over Letaba
This is South Africa Post #7: Kruger Safari: Treasure Hunting in Tamboti and Lower Sabie
South Africa Post #8: There’s a Mongoose in my Ear!
South Africa Post #9: Peering through God’s Window at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #10: The Dam Boat Tour at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #11: Rare Sexual Encounters of South Africa
South Africa Post #12: To the Wildlife of Marloth Park
South Africa Post #13: Nelspruit to Cape Town
South Africa Post #14: Moved to Tears on Freedom Day
South Africa Post #15: Penguins in South Africa?
South Africa Post #16: The Southernmost Tip of Africa
South Africa Post #17Birds of Eden at Plettenberg Bay
South Africa Post #18: Dear South Africa: I love you, but…
South Africa Post #19: Elephants at Addo National Park 
South Africa Post #20The Garden Route: Nature’s Valley and Wilderness
South Africa Post #21: Endangered Bontebok
South Africa Post #22: Top Five Cape Town Experiences
South Africa Post #23: Chasing Rainbows in South Africa
South Africa Post #24: Vegan Wanderlust in South Africa
South Africa Post #25: Ubuntu

Photos, videos and stuff*** Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use. And please do follow this blog and/or write comments.
A million and fifteen thanks.

Thanks for reading, and may the treasure you find – in Tamboti or Lower Sabie, your own back yard or in your soul – bring you great joy.


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