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Get up close to Africa's wildlife while on game drive with professional guides at Umkumbe Safari Lodge Riverside.


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. All game drives are conducted in open 4 x 4 game viewers, which allow for  360 degree views of wildlife and wilderness. 

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. 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, which is in ENGLISH only. 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. 

Daily Schedule

A typical day on safari at Umkumbe Safari Lodge Riverside:

The below is a typical day on safari. Game drives are at set times, but these times vary during the summer and winter seasons.

  Summer Winter
Wake-up (Coffee/Rusks) 5:00 5:30
Morning Game Drive 5:30 6:00
Return 8:30 9:30
Breakfast 8:30 9:30
Bush Walk 8:45 9:45
Lunch 14:00 14:00
Game Drive 16:30 15:30
Return 19:30 18:30
Dinner 19:30 18:30


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 Sabie Game Reserve, 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 swimsuits 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 predator rich game reserve, the Sabie Game Reserve

  • Shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park

  • High density of the big five

  • Expert and knowledgeable game rangers

  • Comfortable accommodation

  • Hearty South African meals or “boerekos”

Wildlife Reports

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