After bidding farewell to the mesmerizing Umkumbe Safari Lodge, we set our sights northwest towards nThambo Tree Camp, both nestled within the expansive Kruger National Park. Following a seasoned piece of advice not to tether ourselves to a single location, considering the capricious nature of wildlife, we strategically chose two distinct accommodations on opposing sides of the park to maximize our chances of encountering the renowned ‘Big 5’. The “Big Five” refer to five large African mammal species: Lions, Leopards, Elephants, African Buffalo, Rhinoceroses.
The journey, spanning approximately 3 and a half hours from Umkumbe to nThambo, offered glimpses of South Africa’s commercial landscape as we made a brief stop at a rest area for snacks and refreshments. I took the opportunity to stretch out and catch a nap during the mostly uneventful highway drive. I missed the opportunity to take images.
Upon our arrival at nThambo Tree Camp, a delicious brunch awaited us before we embarked on an exhilarating afternoon game drive.
The tree houses exuded opulence, providing a lavish retreat amidst the wilderness. Each abode boasted a sumptuous king-sized bed, a bathroom replete with on-demand hot water, a toilet, and a writing desk.
Unquestionably, the highlight of each room was the breathtaking view it offered of the surrounding park. From this vantage point, we marveled at the wildlife spectacle: Giraffes, Hyenas, Elephants, Impalas, and an array of other fascinating creatures graced the camp with their presence. (Yes, I have a lot of luggage – After nThambo we head to Durban to scuba dive with whales, sharks and sardines.)
The nights were serenaded by the echoing roars of lions, a haunting yet captivating reminder of the untamed beauty just beyond our sanctuary. Remarkably, even this awe-inspiring chorus failed to keep me from drifting into a peaceful slumber.
In the picture above, we stopped for sundowners on our evening safari drive.
Every evening, the camp treated us to a welcoming campfire preceding our dinner. The experience was incredibly soothing, offering the perfect opportunity to enjoy a drink before the meal and providing warmth as the night air grew cooler.
All video was shot with a Panasonic GH5 and 100-300 lens. The still images were shot with an iphone.