The entire staff at Umlani was so helpful and hospitable. They think of everything to make your stay comfortable and memorable. The blankets and hot water bottles for the chilly morning game drives were wonderful! We totally enjoyed our 6 nights. Will definitely recommend Umlani for anyone looking for an awesome safari experience.
Debwelsch5 via TripAdvisor
Wow, we're just back from three days at Umlani Bushcamp. Such thanks to the Schiess family for sharing their gem of a place. I loved the chilled-out family feel. We had 2 kids with us - 6-year-old and baby, and the staff went out of their way to help with the children. Special moments for us included trailing a leopard, and lazing at the pretty rock pool near the riverbed. I also loved the communal fire before breakfast and after dinner... and the view of the stars.
littlelisaZA via TripAdvisor
Cape Town Central, South Africa
The daily game drives were extraordinary, with the trackers carefully trailing different parts of the reserve on each drive. We took turns going on game drives with our older child (although the lovely staff were also more than happy to babysit the little one whenever we needed a break), and were amazed that in 3 days, we saw ALL of the Big Five. A highlight was a heartstopping hour-and-a-half spent trailing a leopard who was stalking some nearby impala.
David E Shaw
We stayed we family and friends at Umlani camp already for the second time. Enjoyed good food, friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere. You can forget your watch, everything is planed and taken care of, just relax and enjoy all of it.
Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Have just returned from Umlani Bushcamp. (11-15 Jun) We stayed there on photographic safari for 4 nights and it was absolutely wonderful. The camp is located deep in the bush on a river bank. Staff are friendly, relaxed and attentive to one's needs. The rooms are special from the point of view that there is no glass... the windows are mozzie nets which are covered with roll down blinds at night. The shower is open and there is no door between the show and the room - so one feels really close to nature. While you'd expect it to be freezing in winter, the beds are warm and comfortable. The food is fantastic considering the absence of electricity!
Johannesburg, South Africa
The game viewing experience was excellent, we had a knowledgable guide, the game vehicles were very comfortable and we felt safe in all respects. The camp was like a dream, accommodation superb and comfortable and the care was first class. Everything about this 3 days was memorable.
So nice! This is the right setting for your game drives. In the middle of the bush on the banks of a (mostly) dry river with view on a waterhole. Spacious huts (8) with outside shower still with all the comfort. Outside dining with open fire. Great food. And the game drives with knowledgeable and fun rangers. Each time you go on an adventure! You see the animals up close. Amazing
We had a great stay at Umlani. People GREAT, very accommodating. Practical food so don't expect gourmet meals. We were there for the game drives not 5 star meals. Great drivers, trackers, managers and staff. We stayed in the tree-house one night. Wish we were there right now. Dreaming of Umlani!
Thanks so much for an amazing stay May 27-30, 2014 at Umlani Bushcamp!! The game viewing rides (twice a day for 3-hrs each) were truly fantastic - so much thanks to our guide and tracker - Chadrick and Robert - you guys were great and our daughters are still talking about you guys (and my wife still talks about her Amarulas at the sundowners)! We saw the Big 5 no problem and so much, much more. The food and the service was top notch, and so were the facilities (the fire pit, dining area, the bar area overlooking the dry river bed and water hole, the pool).
S_TOffner via TripAdvisor
Dear Umlani Team,
I just wanted to send a VERY belated email to commend the Umlani team on making our Honeymoon stay completely unforgettable! This may be a long email, sit tight…
Where to begin… Nic and I honestly had the most special time at your lodge in June, it was the most perfect way to kick-off our honeymoon. Umlani is such a charming place, just as soon as we sat down to do our orientation with Kyra we felt instantly relaxed and at home, the lodge truly lives up to its name.
Greg and Rouxle are a fantastic management team, warm, friendly, humorous and evidently passionate about their jobs.
We thought it was so lovely the way Thembi was surprised with a cake (a DELICIOUS cake at that) for her birthday, it was a wonderful thing for us as guests to experience (even if I did have to stretch the truth in order to get Thembi into the dining area at lunch time… gosh did I wrack my brain trying to think of any possible “complaints” I might have!!!;) That being said, Thembi is a wonderful camp manager, always around, always friendly, always on top of things, ALWAYS willing to help.
We found the food to be absolutely outstanding, each and every meal was delicious. We just loved how dinner was introduced each night by the drums, and then explained to us by the chef (unfortunately names have escaped my mind at this stage). We were fortunate enough to share the lodge with an extremely lovely group of guests (although we suspect that most of the guests that visit Umlani are that way inclined, the type of people who sought out a slightly more “rustic” bush experience) and so sitting down to “family style” meals was a most enjoyable experience. We love that members from the lodge team joined us for meals, It was wonderful to be able to sit and chat in a relaxed and comfotable manner.
We had the pleasure of being guided by freelance ranger, Herbert and our wonderful tracker was Ephraim. We had the most wonderful time on drive with these two gentlemen. We found Herbert to be extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic and very patient (a wonderful quality to have when teaching people about the bush). His wonderful sense of humour and friendly nature made drives most enjoyable (even on the days when sightings were a little bit thin). He took us on a wonderful bush walk too where were very impressed by his professionalism which allowed us to feel safe and relaxed when we encountered buffalo and elephant.
We would also like to mention that Herbert has a thoughtful and creative side too… Gosh did he make us laugh. There were two drives during our stay when we had the privilege of being the only two guests on the vehicle. When it came time to stop for afternoon sun downers Herbert selected a beautiful spot, perched above the dry river bed. He then disappeared off into the bush, immerging moments later with a few branches in his hands. Thinking we were in for another one of his “bush knowledge tests” we steadied ourselves and tried to pre-empt the question that might be coming our way as we surveyed the sights below. However, when we turned our sights away from the river scene, instead of 21 questions we were greeted by a table display laid out on the on the bonnet of the cruiser, our GNT’s awaiting us and the branches he had collected used as table decorations… He then said, “okay, we’ll be seeing you” and they both wandered off into the bush, allowing us to enjoy a romantic, private sun downer stop (we knew that they were just around the bend, keeping a watchful eye on us). We were treated to a bush show during that sun downer stop too, as a big herd of elephants made their way across the dry river bed far below us. What a wonderful experience, so much appreciated! I thought I would include a photo of his “creations”… should you ever need a spare set of hands to assist in any lodge décor matters! ;)
Possibly the most unforgettable part of our trip was when we returned home from drive one evening to be lead down into the riverbed, following a trail of lanterns. At the end of the path we were greeted by a bonfire and a beautifully laid table waiting for us to enjoy another fine meal. A glass of merlot making the experience even more enjoyable. Having worked in lodges before I know the extreme effort that goes into organizing meals like this, all the carting of equipment back and forth, the time management, the staff organisation, we would really like to commend Rouxle and the rest of the team for going to the efforts of making that happen. It was for us, and the rest of the guests (all of whom were from overseas) a truly unforgettable African experience, so very much appreciated!
Umlani was the first of three lodges that we visited on our Honeymoon, the second being inside Kruger and the last being back in Timbavati. The other lodges were marketed as slightly more “fancy” and with substantially more expensive rates than Umlani. Out of the three lodges we stayed, which one would we chose to return to… most definitely Umlani, in a heartbeat. The “fancy cuisine” of the other lodges, I don’t think a day went by when we weren’t craving a delicious Umlani meal. The coffee machines and ridiculously large breakfast buffets, give us coffee brewed on the fire and the warm and friendly smiles of the staff that greet you at an Umlani breakfast any day!! From the “Help yourself” bar to the tree house sleep out experience, we simply can’t wait to visit your lodge again!
We really just wanted to say a massive, heartfelt thank you to the team for the most wonderful experience!
We will return one day… we can’t wait!
Robyn and Nic Salmond
Robyn and Nic Salmond