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Reviewed March 5, 2015

A lovely location hidden in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve. The staff and management were really helpful and very friendly. Luxury tented room lived up to its expectation. One day a Bull Elephant decided to visit our balcony. The safari was amazing. Saw the Big 5 in the first 24 hours. Tracked down a pack of South African Wild Dogs (Big 6) Witnessed 4 kills (2 Lion, 2 Leopard), in 3 days. As well as many other amazing "Bush" experiences. Our Guide and Tracker (Nelson & Shaddy) were a really good team. Would we return to the Simbavati River Lodge? The answer is yes.

  • Stayed: February 2015, traveled as a couple
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    • Rooms
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1  Thank Sue H
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 reviewResponded March 9, 2015

Dear Sue H

Thank you for the stunning review.

We are so glad that you had such an amazing stay at our lodge. You really had some great sightings and experiences.

We really hope that you do come back and visit again so that we can wow you again.

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.
Reviewed March 3, 2015 via mobile

We visited the lodge for 3 days. We were 2 families both with 3 & 8 year old boys. We have special halal eating requirements. Not only was the lodge very accomodating with having our mealtimes slightly earlier or later as to not disturb the other guest, but they were not bothered by the noise the excited boys made especially when a big male elephant walked right through the lodge. The lodge was nice enough to allow us to bring our own halal meat which chef Nico prepared into lovely wholesome meals. Our tracker Danielle and Game Ranger Reckson was patient with our load crowd on the game drives - the lodge was awesome to allow us a private game vehicle so that we can take the 2 busy toddlers and 8 year olds with. The sighting was slow but we managed to see a lot of animals including a whole pack of hyena, elephants up close, lions, rhino, buffalo and even an interaction with a Cameleon. We even had a hyena visiting at the lodge. The supper at the boma was quite fun and gave us the real bush feel. Family chalets were very nice with 2 seperate rooms and aircons. The rooms are pretty with mini kitchen and stunning bathrooms. The treatments at the spa was nice but could've been better if there were more than one therapist - as the men didn't get to have their massages. Also the sandy pathway to the spa rooms are a bit of a dissappointment especially after a beautiful pedicure! I would definitely suggest cementing or paving the pathway.
I also would recommend phonelines in the rooms so That the rooms can make contac with reception when they wanted a guide fetch them from the room to the deck area.
Swimming pool was nice and relaxing.
We had an awesome time - thank you very much and can definite recommend this lodge.

  • Stayed: March 2015
    • Value
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Thank AyeshaB786
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 reviewResponded March 9, 2015

Dear Ayesha B

Thank you for the great review.

We are glad that we were able to accommodate you and your family so that you could all have an enjoyable safari holiday.

We value your feedback and we will pass on your comments regarding the spa and phones to management.

Thank you for recommending our lodge and we do hope that you will come back and visit us again.

Kind regards Nadine

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Reviewed February 22, 2015

I always wonder about people with negative comments on hotels where everyone else seems to love the place. This time I am the one with the odd review, so will try to make it as neutral as possible, but Simbavati River Lodge didn’t do it for us.

It turned out to be an average bush experience at best. Game viewing was slow the days we were there, but as that is partly due to luck I will focus on things that could be controlled. Have to add an amazing Leopard encounter made up for a lot though.

Lodge was pretty full with four cars were going out for every game drive. Unfortunately there were only three trackers on site which meant our car and guide was left without one. Most disappointing was that no explanation or apology was made up front. That one of the four!! gratitude envelopes found on our bed on departure day was for our non-existing tracker made it almost comical.

Our guide was quite knowledgeable, but had to be questioned for every bit of information. Besides that the missing tracker left him staring on the road for tracks most of the time and by that missing many animals on the sides. When we pointed out something it was often too late. As with many other Luxury lodge guides our guide seemed obsessed with the big 5 and pretty much ignored anything else that could have saved the slow going on our game drives.

The main building with reception, dining area etc. was ok but somehow I missed the bush feeling. Views on the dry river were good though, and we had elephant and several antelopes visiting during our stay. Indoor dining setup felt odd with two clusters of tables in straight lines. The outdoor boma was quite nice though. Food was ok, but burned chocolate cake and overcooked venison pulled down the overall experience.

Swimming pool is small but very nice on hot days. One off the nice extras of the lodge is a nice spa where you can have a massage and other treatments. The massage was nice and relaxing.

Last but not least the tent. Most of them do not seem to have good river views, ours certainly didn’t. Interior is nothing special and some regular maintenance would help, with paint falling of walls in the en-suite bathroom. Had a good bed and an AC that probably could come in handy on hot days.
On arrival I noticed our in-tent minibar hadn’t been replenished and informed staff. Still the missed items were on our bill on departure. Was corrected quickly and without discussion.

Fair amount of kids at the lodge which should not come as a surprise as they market themselves as kids friendly. No attempt made to separate families and couple on drives. On the plus side we only encountered nice kids and parents. The family chalets all have beautiful (dry) river views it seems.

Without being a bad experience by far our least interesting luxury bush experience. Was our first time in Timbavati so can’t compare with the other lodges there. We were lucky to find ourselves a good offer, but with list prices comparable to several other lodges we have been too, Simbavati River Lodge is not good value for money. Only advantage I can see is the family chalets for families with younger kids.

  • Stayed: February 2015, traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank GreatDane110
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 reviewResponded March 9, 2015

Dear GreatDane110

Thank you for taking the time to give us a detailed review.

I am sorry to hear that your experience at our lodge did not meet your safari expectations.

We value your feedback and constructive criticism and I have passed on your review to our management team so that they can look into the areas where we can work on improving our service and facilities.

Kind regards Nadine

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Reviewed February 18, 2015

We really enjoyed our visit. The game drives are excellent as you get real close to the animals and this is so fantastic if you are a keen photographer. I got some excellent shots of the big 5. The Lodge is good and the satff is friendly. I highly recommend this experiece. Sadly it is expensive for South Africans if not on special.

  • Stayed: February 2015, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Riana D
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 reviewResponded February 25, 2015

Dear Riana

Thank you for the lovely review and for recommending our lodge it is greatly appreciated.

We are glad you enjoyed your close encounters with the wildlife and that you managed to get some beautiful photos that will make your trip a memorable one.

Keep watching our Facebook page and our website for great specials as we would love to have you come back and visit us.

Keep well, kind regards Nadine

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2015

Our stay at Simbavati River Lodge was amazing!! We stayed for 3 nights which gave us the opportunity of going on six guided safaris. What made our experience fabulous were our guide Moshe and tracker Nicholas, fantastic people who love their job! They made it their mission to find all the animals for us (even if we had to stay out longer). We loved being able to go “off road” and get so close to the animals (especially the lions and the leopard). We were lucky to see every animal we could have hoped for (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, water buffaloes, hyenas, various antelopes, hippos, zebras, but it was not just about that, but the excitement of how we got to see them: Tracking and spotting them, Moshe and Nicholas even got off the Land Rover to follow fresh lion tracks on foot! We will always be grateful to them for creating these magical memories!
Our tent was great and the room furnishings were perfect, comfortable great bed, great shower and an outdoor tub. We had fresh water daily along with our own tea and coffee making facilities;
There was a deet bug spray in each tent so there were no mosquitoe worries. The kids could connect to wifi from their tent a huge plus!
A truly memorable stay! I highly recomend you visit this lodge.

Room Tip: Go for the luxury tent experience, you won´t regret it!!
  • Stayed: January 2015, traveled with family
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Thank CaroFT
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 reviewResponded February 5, 2015

Dear CaroFT

Thank you for taking the time to write a review, we really appreciate it.

We are glad you enjoyed your stay especially the outside bath (my personal favourite).
Kids having WiFi in their tent is always a bonus for them.

We are happy you choose our lodge and that we could be part of your memories of an African Safari. We will pass on your compliments to our staff.

We hope that you and your family can come 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.
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