In the midst of the picturesque Olifants West Nature Reserve, sits a stylish oasis called Nambu Camp. The camp’s elevated position on an ancient anthill gives rise to commanding views of the surrounding bushveld. Because the camp is perched above a dry meandering riverbed and active waterhole, guests can expect rewarding sightings from a bird’s-eye point of view.
The expansive wooden viewing platform provides the perfect place to observe the goings-on at ground level, yet is high enough to view the local tawny eagles at close range. There’s no better feeling than whiling away the time on the observation deck, while watching breeding herds of elephant and journey of giraffe cruise past, unfazed by the presence of camp.
Built from brick and thatch, each of the six safari-style en suite bedrooms have pride of place on Nambu’s concession. Care has been taken to ensure that guests experience a sense of privacy, yet still feel safe and connected to the main area. The design of Nambu encapsulates a hint of luxury combined with a stylish sense of simplicity. This is evident in the cuisine, decor, layout and carefully curated sundowner sessions.
Nambu Camp’s architects constructed a dual-level camp, where the upper section houses a lounge, small library, bar and dining area under thatch. This effortlessly flows through to the wooden balcony area, elegant boma and small grass enclave (yet another wonderful enclave for relaxation). On level two is the swimming pool, which is surrounded by a beautifully constructed deck area adorned with sun loungers and a token palm tree to add a tropical feel. On this level, you’ll also find a quintessential bar under thatch as well as another boma.
Sitting around a campfire in the boma certainly encourages a sense of connection among guests, something that the friendly and hospitable team at Nambu encourage.
It’s here that you can wake-up to a choir of birdsong in the morning (nature’s alarm), and fall asleep to the guttural roar of a rogue lion contact calling its pride. The dead silence of the bushveld takes you to a place of inner peace and serenity, where every crunch of khaki-hued bushveld and crackle of campfire is heard. The only intrusion is that knock on your door that signals the early-morning wake-up call from your guide (if the birds haven’t already woken you!).
When your guide wakes you up at first light, you have a few minutes to get ready. Your are then offered coffee before being whisked off on morning game drive. Drives take place at first light when the predators are most active—it’s the time of day when you can catch a glimpse of lions feasting on the remnants of their kill from the night before, or spot a leopard skulking off into the distance. Drives take place in open-topped, modified safari vehicles and are led by a qualified field guide and tracker (usually).
Halfway through the game drive, guides “drop anchor” in a scenic or open area of bushveld for coffee and snacks, giving you time to soak up the splendour of the African bushveld.
After your drive you’ll head back for a hearty breakfast, which is always a protracted affair. The rest of the day is at your leisure, apart from when a light lunch is served. Then it’s back onto the vehicles for another game drive, which is designed around the cooler times of day when predators arise from their daytime sleeping antics. Did you know that lions sleep for up to 21 hours per day?
Evening drives navigate their way into sunset, where anchor is dropped and drinks of your choice, along with canapes are served. If you’re lucky, and there’s time, you might even indulge in a game of croquet or games in the riparian vegetation on the riverfront. But that’s not all. If you’re in camp on a Tuesday or Thursday, you may have the opportunity to experience a sublime bush dinner.
So, who owns this veritable paradise? The camp has been in the Drinkwater family for almost 40 years, passed down through the generations and home to many memories with both family and friends. The name Nambu means ‘river’ in the local language of IsiThonga, and this unique lodge has many ties to this natural source that flows through the traverse. Rewald Drinkwater currently owns the camp, and his stylish flair and knack for hospitality certainly shines through.
Because the Drinkwater family is so passionate about their camp, they are only too happy to tailor-make a honeymoon, bush dinner or sundowner session to add extra pizzazz to your Kruger safari experience. We once heard that Rewald made tonic water from the fresh water from the Olifants River cutting through the reserve. There’s not much that Rewald can’t organise!
Conveniently located a mere 16 kilometres from the safari hub of Hoedspruit, makes Nambu an accessible camp for eager safari-goers to enjoy the Kruger’s bounty of wildlife as well as a taste of understated Kruger safari luxury. Nambu Camp truly is a place where you can experience the untamed wilderness.