This gem of a property, tucked just inside the Timbavati Reserve, was a revelation. We were on our way to a very good friend’s wedding in the Timbavati and had booked Walker’s River Camp as our base, not knowing really what we were in for. We wanted good value, with a bit of safari thrown in, so Walker’s sounded like a pretty decent option. Little did we know how good.
The flight connections from Cape Town to Hoedspruit make getting there pretty easy. First prize is the 2.5 hour direct flight from Cape Town to Hoedspruit (3 flights per week), and second prize is the flying via Joburg, which is also pretty seamless. Then from Hoedspruit airport it is a quick 15 minute drive to the Timbavati Reserve Gate, and Walker’s Camp is just two minutes from this gate.
We arrived to a peaceful camp, set on the edge or a river, with huge open lawns, and an inviting swimming pool. The 5 rooms separate thatched chalets, are very generous spaces, each with huge bedroom including lounge, bathroom and walk-in dressing room. There is also a separate upstairs kids dorm room, big enough for at least 6-8 kids in bunk beds, plus pool table, which makes Walker’s perfect for a great family holiday.
The lounge and dining area flows onto the garden fireplace and pool. It has huge comfy leather sofas make for a great place to kick back and spend lots of time in the heat of the day. The kitchen is fully equipped to make any food you decide to have, anything from a massive braai, to a full farmhouse fry up or gourmet dinner. Being a self-catering camp, makes it almost a tailor-made experience, as the guests decide when and what to eat, and when to go on game drives. Another feature that made it incredibly easy to arrange was a company who shopped for all our supplies in Hoedspruit and delivered them: including all drinks, ice and food. Big plus!
We were there in May (autumn) which is a great time of year to visit. The grasses and bush is thinning out and going a bit yellow, making for excellent visibility. Mornings and evening on game drive were a bit chilly (beanies and fleeces required), but night skies were crisp and clear. Midday got into the mid 20s (centigrade), pleasantly warm but never too hot. A swim definitely on the cards if your timing was right.
Our game ranger was Brett Horley, a freelance professional guide, who was amazing. Brett, in his low key way, looked after us just right, using his excellent knowledge of the bush, fauna and flora, to keep us amazed and interested. On the small-ish concession we were pleasantly surprised by the excellent game viewing that we had…including the legendary white lions of the Timbavati!! Possibly a once in a lifetime experience. So this was a huge bonus. Our first sighting was not ideal, the lions resting in a deep thicket, pretty heavily obscured from view, even with some seriously hot off-road driving from Brett…and some nervous moments from us, being metres away from lions with no quick escape routes. So later that evening at dusk we went back to the same area in the hope..and there, walking nonchalantly across the road, was the white lionness! Awesome. Big, big treat (and a hashtag double fist pump).
Another top draw experience during our time at Walker’s was a game walk with Brett (something he specializes in), which is always a great chance to see, smell, hear and learn at a different pace than one does on the vehicle. And of course the Timbavati Wedding which we attended was also just quite unique to experience. Hearing lions roaring right near our camp each night kept things real too! Curious elephants browsing on the trees right at the camp fence was also a great sighting. All in all we had excellent sightings of a variety of wildlife: spotted hyena, various rhino, giraffe, elephants, plenty of plains game, plus superb birds as always.
We will be back…soon.