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The Timbavati Game Reserve is located at the border line between Hoedspruit in (Limpopo) and Acornhoek in (Mpumalanga), north of the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
on the western edge of Kruger National Park. In Xitsonga, the name 'Timbavati' means "the place where something sacred came down to Earth from the Heavens"
, and refers to the rare white lions of the Timbavati.
The reserve was established in 1956 by like-minded game farmers with the creation of the Timbavati Association. The association has 50 members and covers 53,392 hectares. The Timbavati forms part of Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR) and the fences separating Timbavati from the other member reserves in the APNR and from the Kruger National Park has been removed. Big Five & other wildlife, including lions, cheetahs, elephants roam freely between these reserves. Ngala (meaning 'lion' in Tsonga) and Motswari game reserves have been amalgamated into Timbavati.