The primary objective of the Timbavati Foundation is to reach out and provide assistance and funding for educational, training and sustainability programmes to local communities in the Greater Hoedspruit area, South Africa.

The Timbavati Foundation was registered in 2010 as an independent capital trust fund. The Timbavati Foundation has been assisting the communities of Bushbuckridge and Acornhoek since 2010 as a way of contributing to the conservation efforts of one of our major donors, the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve covers an area over 54,300ha with open fencelines bordering the Kruger National Park, South Africa, and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier National Park. They contribute a percentage of their conservation levies to finance community outreach projects that are managed by the Foundation.

Pillars and Focus Areas

Our projects are identified and chosen according to four core focus areas that benefit and impact the local communities and are aligned to the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). They are:

The Timbavati Foundation Environmental School offers various sustainability programmes in neighbouring communities as well as in outreach and educational programmes in Primary Schools and High Schools. The Timbavati Foundation Environmental School aims to promote environmental and conservation awareness, as well as, give access to the wildlife economy through in-field experiences and financial assistance for bursaries for further training in conservation and hospitality.

The Timbavati Foundation is also committed to supporting healthcare facilities including the Phelwana Clinic situated in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and operates a pilot clinic on the Foundation premises.

Community upliftment and the social care of people living in surrounding communities also forms an integral part of the Foundation’s mandate. The Timbavati Foundation support old age homes in the Arthurseat districts.

Ubuntu and the Foundation

“You can’t exist as a human being in isolation.”

The Timbavati Foundation, which was registered in 2010, is an independent Capital Trust Fund and has its vision firmly rooted in the spirit of Ubuntu. Ubuntu, one of the founding principles of the new South Africa and a concept that exemplifies both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, encapsulates the true essence of being a human. According to Nelson Mandela Ubuntu is about generosity, the need for unity and for a humanitarian ethic to inform our decisions. “It doesn’t mean you should not enrich yourself; but whether what you do enables the community around you to improve.”

The Zulu maxim umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (from which the word Ubuntu is derived) means a person is a person through other persons. The Archbishop further explains it brilliantly: “Ubuntu speaks about our interconnectedness and the fact that you cannot exist as a human being in isolation. We are not just individuals separated from one another; what we do affects others which in turn affects the whole world.”


The project started as a “bush school” in 2001 when one of the landowners in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (TPNR) and the warden saw the need for educating children in the surrounding community in wildlife conservation and giving them an opportunity to experience wildlife in their natural habitat.

A camp in the bush on the farm owned by the De Villiers family was converted to accommodate 8 learners and one educator and the project was born.

In 2010 this project was formalised with the Timbavati Foundation being registered as a public benefit organisation.