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“Most Amazing Place Ever”

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Simbavati River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Boone, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Most Amazing Place Ever”
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
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank WBWT
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
7 Thank interjewel
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Flobecq, Belgium
2 reviews
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Philippe L
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
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Hassiebassie
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
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Wild life viewing - excellent. We saw the big 5 and more in three days. Relaxed atmosphere, and looked after by a very professional and caring team. Food was excellent with enough flexibility to accommodate game drives and individual requirements. Was very impressed with the Manger's personal attention to all guests. Tip: If you want to do shorter game drives consider hiring a 'private vehicle' (with driver and spotter) for a day or two - rates are very reasonable.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Ben S
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 Ben S

Thank you for the great feedback that you have given us.

We are glad that you had an amazing safari experience and that we were able to wow you with our service and that our staff exceeded your expectations.

Thank you for also promotion our private safaris - it is greatly appreciated :)

We hope to see you again at our lodge in the near future.

Keep well, kind regards

Nadine
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 8, 2013

An awesome Destination - The Big Five in under four hours, what an awesome experience for any photographer. My clients have never experience such excellent hospitality, drives and accommodation.
We will defenitely be back and soon, we loved the simbavati experience and the professionalism of the drivers - trackers and staff....thank you.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Julio M
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 Julio M

Thank you so much for your awesome feedback.

Wow - the big 5 in under four hours! That is something special. Wish I was with you on your game drives.

We are glad to hear that you will be back and we are looking forward to your visit!

See you soon,

Kind regards,

Nadine
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 7, 2013

I can't say enough about this wonderful lodge and all the staff who work in it. I arrived to big smiles and open arms by managers Charlie, Hayley and Ellmarie who were wonderful during my 4 night stay. My guide and tracker (Moshie and Nicholas) were absolutely amazing. Although I gave them a hard time with the lions, I was shown so many wonderful animals and have amazing photos that will last a lifetime. My tent was beautiful and rustic and had all the comforts of home. Staff were friendly and attentive and meals were delicious, breakfast and lunch especially. I loved this place and hope to return one day soon. I'll definitely bring some friends!

Room Tip: Save yourself a 6 hour drive from Johannesburg and take the 40 min flight to Hoedspruit. Well worth...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 207Laurie1
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 10, 2013
Hi 207Laurie1

Wow! Thank you so much for the great review that you have posted!

We are so glad that you had a spectacular time.

Thanks for giving our rangers a "challenge" with regards to the lions :)

We look forward to welcoming you and your friends back to our lodge.

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

Property: Simbavati River Lodge
Address: Northern Sector of the Timbavati, Kruger National Park 1380, 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 #9 of 17 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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