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Homes for Southern Ground-Hornbills

Shara Burger | Conservation

The Timbavati Private Nature Reserveis home to one of the most successful Southern Ground-Hornbill breeding projects in South Africa. This large, decidedly strange looking bird is the largest cooperatively breeding bird in the world. However, due to their slow reproductive rate, lack of natural nesting sites, social structure and climate change, the Ground-Hornbill is now classified as “endangered”.

Thanks to the incredible work being done in the Associated Private Nature Reserve(APNR) and further afield within the country by students from the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, researchers are contributing not only to the growth in understanding of these birds , but more importantly to the increase in numbers, helping to change the fate of this Hornbill.

The Southern Ground-Hornbill has very specific nesting requirements which are basically large open holes in trees that are 4 meters above the ground. This does not give them many options in the region surrounding Tanda Tula. However, it was these very specific requirements that lead to researchers installing artificial nests. The nests were placed strategically within the fiercely defended territories of each group of birds found in the Timbavati.

During the breeding season the female Hornbill lays 2 eggs, but usually only the first chick survives as the mother tends to focus all her energy on this youngster and the second chick dies from dehydration. This instinctive behaviour has opened the perfect opportunity for researchers to harvest the second hatched chick, hand-rear it and then reintroduce it.

The installation of these artificial nests in the Greater Kruger has not only meant that the birds are now able to habituate a much larger area, but also that the breeding success has increased from one fledgling very 9 years to now one fledgling being reported every 3.5 years. That is an absolutely amazing achievement. Since 2010, the Timbavati has harvested 31 second-hatched chicks, and every single one of them has successfully been reared for the reintroduction program. This is an incredible achievement and it is so rewarding to really see the benefits of a program such as this.

Learn more about the research being done in the Timbavation Southern Ground-Hornbills.



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Booking Terms & Conditions

Rates are quoted in South African Rand (ZAR) and include VAT. Rates are reviewed quarterly and are subject to change.


Bookings can be held as provisional for up to 14 days, after which the booking is required to release or confirm. A 20% refundable deposit is required to confirm the booking.


Once confirmed with a 20% deposit, the booking is held on a status of ‘confirmed with refundable deposit’ until any of the following becomes true:

  • The booking is cancelled in writing by the agent.
  • Another request is received with overlapping dates. At such a time, the 20% refundable deposit shall be required to be converted
  • into a 20% non-refundable commitment fee. At this stage, the booking status changes to ‘confirmed with commitment.’ • In such an event, Tanda Tula will contact the client and give them the option to either confirm with the non-refundable
  • commitment fee or reschedule their dates, or, failing that, to release the booking.
  • At 60 days prior to arrival, when the full payment is due, the booking status changes to ‘confirmed with full-payment.’

Final payment is due 60 days prior to arrival. Any outstanding balance on the total reservation value shall be required to be settled at 60 days prior to arrival.

All refundable deposits, commitment fees and full payments are held in a separate call account and do not become part of the operational cash flow until the guest has stayed.

The amount stated on the invoice is what must be received by Tanda Tula nett of bank charges.


Cancellations must be received and acknowledged by Tanda Tula in writing.

‘Confirmed with refundable deposit’: bookings carry no cancellation fees up to 61 days prior to arrival.

‘Confirmed with commitment’ or ‘Confirmed with full-payment’: in the event of any reservation being cancelled after Tanda Tula has issued a confirmation, for any reason other than a WHO-recognised pandemic that impacts the booking, the following cancellation fees will apply:

  • ‘Confirmed with commitment’: if cancelled more than 60 days prior to arrival, the cancellation fee shall be equal to the 20% non- refundable commitment fee.
  • ‘Confirmed with full-payment’: if cancelled between 60 days prior to arrival, the full reservation value is forfeited.

All cancelled bookings that qualify for a refund, will be refunded less a handling fee valued at 5% of the refund amount.


Tanda Tula will allow postponement of a booking for up to 12 months, if travel is cancelled with a commitment fee or 60 days or less prior to arrival due to a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the guests’ ability to travel (e.g. lockdown, no flights, guest not allowed to board a flight, guest falls ill due to a pandemic and unable to travel).

In the event of a WHO-recognised pandemic directly impacting the ability of Tanda Tula to meet its obligations with respect to the booking, all monies received, including the commitment fee, will be fully refunded (e.g. lockdown in RSA, government restrictions on trade).

Any refund is given at the discretion of Tanda Tula management and will be charge a handling fee valued at 5% of the refund amount.

All travellers are advised to take out fully comprehensive travel insurance with ‘cancellation for no reason’. This insurance must be able to fully cover cancellation of travel fewer than 60 days prior to arrival.

The Terms and Conditions are subject to change without notice.