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“Warmth and Hospitality” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Simbavati River Lodge

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Simbavati River Lodge
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Northern Sector of the Timbavati | Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1 review
“Warmth and Hospitality”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2013

Simbavati river lodge is a great place to have a family safari experience. We travelled with our 4 year old son and he just loved it! The staff is very welcoming and hospitable. They go out of their way to help make the experience memorable. We were also thrilled to have great game viewing with the big 5 under our belt in the first 2 drives. The highlight was seeing a herd of 1000 buffaloes crossing the road. In all a great place to be!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati River Lodge, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Hi AnubhavShriva

Wow, what an amazing sighting you experienced. The 1000 buffalo's sighting must have been out of this world plus you got to see the Big 5! I am sure there are many people in awe of what you and your family experienced.

We are glad that your son loved it, perhaps we have a new game ranger in the making?

Thank you for your great review and we hope that you will come back and visit us soon!

Keep well,
Kind regards Nadine
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293 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (46)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ouderkerk Aan De Amstel, The Netherlands
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

We had a fantastic stay in Simbavati in July with our two children in one of the thatched houses. Beautiful room (Elephant) with a lots of space and fantastic view on the river. Games drives were also fun and we did see the Big 5 in 2 days. Food and service were excellent. We can recommend Simbavati to everyone.

  • Stayed July 2013, 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati River Lodge, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Dear Danielle, Paul and family :)

We are so glad to hear that you had a fantastic time at our lodge and that you got to see the Big 5!

Thank you for recommending our lodge, it is greatly appreciated.

Hurry back!

Kind regards,
Nadine
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Brisbane, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

Wow where to begin, everthing was spot on from the wonderful welome to the sad goodbye. Saw the Big 5 within 36 hrs! The whole team made sure we had everthing we needed and some, adpated game drives to ensure we saw everything up close, well as close as possible!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati River Lodge, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Hi Aveenjaz

We are thrilled to hear that you had a wonderful start to your adventure.

It is awesome that you got to see the Big 5 and in 36 hours!

I will pass on your great feedback to our team at the lodge.

We hope to see you soon.

Kind regards,
Nadine
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Boone, North Carolina
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

This was our second safari experience as a family, and we just loved this place. They do a great job of creating a family atmosphere and go way out of their way to make you feel at home. The owners were so wonderful and charming and the guides were excellent at finding the animals. One night they were late to pick us up for dinner - found out that a group of elephants had come through the camp - we also saw various other animals including a business of mongoose that really made the experience special. I would highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed June 2013, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati River Lodge, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Dear WBWT

Thank you for your kind words and for recommending our lodge, it is greatly appreciated.

We are glad that you had an amazing bush experience and to have the elephants come through the camp must have been something special. What a pity that you did not get a chance to see them from your room.

We do hope that you will come back and visit us soon.

Kind regards,
Nadine
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Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2013

Let me start out by saying that there were excellent aspects of the camp but there were others that really brought down the camp experience. My review is also based on the experiences that we had at the previous camps we stayed at before Simbavati. Upon arrival we met with Hailey, the camp manager, who was a wonderful woman to work with. She told us about the camp and that when we arrived they were over their capacity due to a group of 25 from the US that was staying there. That meant that there were 31 guests and the camp is basically made for 29 guests. This meant that they had to borrow old and broken down Land Rovers from another camp. At one point, our Land Rover was not able to get out of a Ravine and another time we ended up with a flat tire. Additionally, it was not nearly as comfortable as the others we used in other camps. Some of those issues were caused by the driving patterns of our guide Dif. He was the Lead Guide for the camp. He was very disappointing. Dif did not show any respect to the animals we were viewing. rather than stopping and allowing the animals to move toward us, he would keep pushing us forward toad the animals in an aggressive manner. In the end, he would scare off the animals. This was not one isolated incident, but this happened at every stop. Additionally because the lodge was over booked, we did not have a tracker on the vehicle with us. So this meant that Dif was talking on two radios, driving, and looking or spot lighting animals. It is not possible for one person to do this effectively. When he would spot light at night, every time he swept the front of the vehicle with the light he would blind all of the passengers because he would not adjust the mirrors. Dif's actions in camp made us want to leave after the first game drive. I do need to commend him on one situation. Dif drove us to the airport and we did talk about the issues we had and he did take responsibility for his actions. I do believe his apology was sincere. He feels like being so overbooked caused him to not be at his best. Of course, his apology was accepted! For that reason, and that reason only, we did give a tip like we did at every other lodge. Even though we had problems, he was We also forgot our camera bag in the van when we got to the airport. Dif was kind enough to drive it 15 minutes back to us so we would not have to worry about getting it shipped to us. When I offered him a tip for this above and beyond service, he did not want to take it because of our experience. We insisted e take it because of his kindness. As far as the tent that we stayed in, I only have WONDERFUL things to say about that. The tent was very clean, comfortable, and well maintained. I absolutely loved the outdoor tub. I used it every night. The house staff, especially Musa, Justice, and his brother were wonderful to us and made sure we had everything we needed. The food was good, not exceptional, but good. I let the camp know that I needed a gluten free diet almost a year in advance. When we arrived it was like they didn't know anything about it. So their gluten free options were minimal. I would say overall, the accommodations were great, certain staff members were wonderful, but the most important staff member (Guide/Ranger) Dif was disappointing and disturbing in his treatment of the environment and wild life! This was the most expensive lodge we stayed at and unfortunately, I don't think we will return to on our next trip. If there were to be a change in staff and I would be assured the lodge would not be over booked, we might consider coming back, but I think that is a long shot!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati River Lodge, responded to this review, August 8, 2013
Dear Interjewel

Thank you very much for your constructive criticism of Simbavati River Lodge. Without such feedback, we'll not be able to fix any problems that we might experience from time to time. It is so easy for someone not to put in the effort to write about a negative experience, so we do appreciate the effort you have put into bringing this particular problem under our attention.

We are happy that you had a positive experience at the camp itself, as these are the standards that Simbavati stands for, and that we strive to achieve at all times. However, we do acknowledge your frustration experienced with Diff, as well as with the game drive vehicle situation. To assure you that we take these issues very seriously indeed, as management we have done further training and leadership development with Diff already (as we do with all our staff on a weekly basis), as we firmly believe that Diff is one of the most reliable, honest, knowledgeable and likeable rangers in the Timbavati, and that he as a person is well worth putting the investment and effort into for personal development. Your feedback and the additional training has therefor already helped him in his personal growth, and we can give you our assurance that he is appreciative of this.

As far as the vehicle situation is concerned, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that mechanical issues are always part of operating vehicles in the bush. Flat tyres is also something that can happen with any vehicle, irrespective of its age. However, to once again show our commitment to service excellence, Simbavati has just taken ownership of two brand new Land Rovers, which means that there will always be at least one back-up vehicle at the lodge in case of any such emergencies, even if one of our other vehicles are in for repairs.

Should you therefor in any of your future travels want to reconsider including Simbavati into your travel program, it will be our pleasure to show you what changes your effort to help us improve our product has brought about."

Kind regards,
Nadine
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Flobecq, Belgium
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

Amazing expierience that was achieved by the best efforts of the whole team of this lodge
The kooks where also fabulous and it was always very enjoyable to get at the table
You need always go for the excursions in the morning and late afternoon.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati River Lodge, responded to this review, July 23, 2013
Dear Philippe L

Thank you so much for the feedback.

We are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed our delicious food :)

We are glad that our team was able to give you a holiday of memories that will last a life time.

We hope you come back and visit us soon.

Kind regards,
Nadine
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

Excellent game spotting from your private view deck, at the shore of Simbavati River, in a natural and unfenced environment. We stayed here for 3 nights in June 2013, and enjoyed it very much. All facilities and services are of super quality: beautiful location/park, excellent game drives, big5 and beyond, skilled ranger/tracker, 4WD, friendly lodge staff, delicious food, jungle tent with facilities, etc

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati River Lodge, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Dear Hassiebassie

Your feedback is amazing and we greatly appreciate all the kind words!

We are so glad that we were able to give you a great safari experience and that we could be a part of your memories.

Please come back and visit us again.

Keep well, kind regards

Nadine
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #7 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Simbavati River Lodge 5*
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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