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“Wide eyes open” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Simbavati River Lodge

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Simbavati River Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Northern Sector of the Timbavati | Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Prague, Czech Republic
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Wide eyes open”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2012

Our family spent there 4 days full of new experience of wild Afrika. We liked it from first moment to sad last one. Surely we would like to come back. All stuff was very friendly. Lot of animals visible every time, nice food, and adrenalin drives through bush. Strongly recommended to families, our 2 sons were really happy there.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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318 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    261
    47
    9
    1
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118
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
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English first
oxfordshire, england
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012

I stayed at simbavati for only the 2 nights 13th-15th may, but during this time i saw all big five including 2 male lions on a buffalo carcass, 2 leopard both with cubs, i even 3 saw hyena feasting on a kudu kill! Diff is a great guy and treats you like a friend not another tourist! He asks you what you want to see and in my experiance he found everything! wonderful view alongside a river and the hippo and hyena sounds at night made it perfect in every way! would recommend to anyone who is looking at safari. Thanks to natasha allan from sun safari's who booked this for me!!!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2012

Wake up, eat, safari, eat, nap, safari, eat, sleep. Repeat. Alternatively you can just chill in the hotel and watch animals mooch about in the river. Truly wonderful setting and helpful staff. Just be aware that there isn't much to do here - you are literally in the middle of nowhere / nature.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2012

My husband and I traveled to South Africa last August and we spend the first 4 nights at Simbavati. We got terribly lost driving from Johannesburg and arrived very late on the first night, but we were just in time to join our safari group for dinner. The food was amazing! After dinner we checked in and a guide took us to our tent. We were told not to walk from our tent to the lodge after dark without a guide, as the property is unfenced.

I highly recommend the tents. I was a little worried about it being so cold, but there was a good heater that warmed things right up. There were also electric blankets, so we were toasty at night. The outdoor rain shower was definitely chilly, but it added to the whole experience!

It rained the next day, but we chose to go out on the game drives anyway and are really glad we did. We saw a lot of different animals and despite being cold and wet we had a great time. Our guide, Christoff, was mindful of the temperature, and we returned to the lodge for our mid-morning snack to dry off.

The next day the weather had cleared up and more people joined us on the drive. Our guide and tracker were excellent at finding the animals, and they were in constant communication with other vehicles to make sure we could see as many as possible. We saw elephants, rhinos, giraffes, hyenas eating an elephant carcass, crocodiles, a leopard, zebras, lions, water buffalo, and plenty of others.

Each morning we sat on the deck at the lodge sipping coffee and looking out at the river and watching the hippos swimming in front of us. In the evenings during the game drive we would stop at an interesting spot to enjoy the sunset and drink a beverage of our choice.

All in all, we had a fantastic time and are so happy that we chose Simbavati! We would love to go back some day!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Berne
Top Contributor
157 reviews 157 reviews
59 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012

I stayed at Simbavati last september and really enjoyed it. The setting is great - right on a river, so with a lot of animals and birds coming to drink. From the main deck, restaurant and boma, you can enjoy views of the river. The bungalows (good for families and with direct river views) and tents are comfortable, with everything you need, but not as luxurious as in other places (not meant as critism). My tent had a nice big indoor bathroom with a tub, and an outdoor shower (other tents have a indoor shower, and a outdoor tub), which i really enjoyed. Its great to shower outoors, under the open sky, and observe a nyala or bushbock whilst showering.

I had some great sightings on the game drives whilst at Simbavati. Also, really tasty food, good athomsphere, lovely management couple (Elmarie and Charly). However - The most important part of a fantastic safari / lodge stay, is for me - the Ranger (and to lesser extent the Tracker). Chris, our Ranger, found us some amazing sightings, and was really nice, but - and I'm not sure how to correctly explain this in english - was giving us guests a little bit the feeling that we where in the jeep because we are paying guests and he had to keep us happy, but he would rather be driving around on his own.

Overall, I think if Simbavati was the first lodge in Africa I had ever visited, I would be giving 7 stars for it and would absolutely love it. Comparing it to the 20 or so other lodges I have visited in the last 4 years, I can say that it is very good value for money, a lovely place, but not on my top 5 list I have to visit again in South Africa.

Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2012

Have never bothered to write a review of a property before but this was exceptional and really deserves a mention.
The accommodation was lovely and every member of the staff we met were terrific.
A special mention must go to Justice, the young waiter/barman who really did aim to give five star service every day.
The game drives were fabulous and thanks to the tracker and guide we saw all of the "big five" plus more.
A lovely experience

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bozeman
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

Our family stayed at the Simbavati Lodge for 4 nights in March, 2012. It was perfect. The staff was accommodating and professional, but not cloying. We saw amazing wildlife. Our guide, Chris and spotter, Daniel were knowledgeable, effective and fun to be with. They worked hard to get us to the animals. The accommodations were lovely. Comfortable and luxurious without pretension. Excellent food, as well. Also, the Simbavati is located on the water, so during our "down" time there were plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. We would go back in a heartbeat. Well managed and even the gift shop had a lovely selection of African crafts. We would definitely return to this gem.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Simbavati River Lodge

Address: Northern Sector of the Timbavati | Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Simbavati River Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Simbavati River Lodge is situated in the northern sector of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, and surrounded by 12 000 hectares of wildlife and rich wilderness in which you can experience an authentic and affordable African safari.The design of this 4-star lodge is contemporary, warm and welcoming. Guest common areas offer a generously proportioned lounge, bar, boma and extensive decks with breathtaking views overlooking the Nhlaralumi river where regular wildlife sightings take place and guests can unwind.Accommodation consists of eight luxury tents and three chalets; all are privately situated, comfortably furnished and with en-suite facilities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Simbavati River Hotel Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Simbavati River Lodge South Africa/Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

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