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Simbavati River Lodge
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Reviewed September 3, 2010

We really hunted for a place in the Kruger that would meet all our expectations... from sleeping in a tent (ok.... so it was a luxury tent) and waking up to the call of the wild, to early morning and evening treks, to good food, luxury, at an affordable price. We googled for weeks, and then up came Timbavati and their Simbavati River Lodge. From the moment we arrived we were treated with wonderful service and friendliness from every one of the staff. Nothing was too much for them to do.

The wildlife trips were special. Don't go expecting huge herds of stampeding animals; this is a quiet place where your trackers and drivers carefully and quietly track down the animals so that you can spend time just sitting in the landrover and watching from only a couple of feet away. We saw elephant, rhino, leopard (and cub), buffalo, lion, hippos, wild dog, hyena, warthogs, beautiful giraffe, impala, elan, baboon, and many beautifully coloured birds.

Although the day temperatures were high (30C+) the night and early mornings were very cool, so take a jacket & hat/scarf for the safari trips.

Here you can get in touch with nature as it has been for thousands and thousands of years. Here is where you feel a peace and contentment totally unknown in the humdrum of everyday life. Here is where the heart is.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Lindathornton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2010

For those interested in a quality game viewing bush venture in Kruger park, then sincerely consider the Simbavati River Lodge in the Timbavati game reserve, addjoining to the west of kruger park.
I've just finished a trip their and had a very memorable and special experience. Summarised below are aspects of my stay.

a) Hospitality: What better compliment to give than to say simply South African. Their happiness was seeing the guests happy. Great atmosphere.

b) Accomodation: Very confortable and clean. Good facilities and truly in touch with the wild as no fences. Tented lodge definitely has an appeal.

c) Location: Situated on the Nhlaralumi (pronounced Sharalumi) river. The secnery is greener than greater Kruger and alot of wildlife around the lodge day and night. Amazing experience having an evening braii to the sound of leopard, baboon and hippo all at once.

d) Food: Very good both tasty and nutritious. The beer's served cold and the coffee's served hot.

e) Ranger (guide) and spotter: Excellent. friendly folk who know the area and the african bush very well. Good knowledge and spotting ability. Best point is that you could go off road. Tracking a leopard for about 500m through thick bush was a buzz.

Timbavati Reserve:

a) Ecology: The reserve is not just an area with big animals relocated into it and electric fences surrounding it, but a well established ecosystem. I saw serval, saddlebill stork, kingfisher, a train of catepillar, honey badger and handled a cameleon. The ecology has evolved as the area has been established since pre world war2 times.

b) Big Five sightings: Very good indeed. The offroad trek allows one to be meters away from leopard, cape buffalo and elephant. Although I didn't spot any, there were fresh lion and wilddog tracks. Good spot.

Negative aspects:

a) Lacking sights: The area is lush as mentioned, so plains animals like white Rhino are on average 2 spottings per week, whilst zebra, wildebeest, Nyala and Eland will not be present at all. The terrain is good for Black Rhino but the animal is never spotted there.

b) Through nobody's fault but my own, 2 nights I spent at Simbavati were too short. 3-4 overnight is more realistic.
In all wildlife viewing, one must remember they're visiting a nature reserve, not a zoo. More time is beneficial.
I will DEFINITELY go back to Simbavati at least twice.
Hoping this review helps others
Mick

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled solo
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3  Thank MickKotlarski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2010

We stayed at the lodge for 2 days and had a great time. We stayed in the tents and found them to be very comfortable, had aircon in the tents which were fab, also the outside shower a great idea. We got to see 3 of the big 5, animals a bit scarce but that's nature and just being out in the bush was good enough so no complaints there. All in all had a great time.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Surrey_UKSca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2010

We were greeted warmly on arrival, taken on our exciting safari drives each morning and evening, fed extremely well, luxuriously accomodated in our "tent" with large terrace overlooking the river (if you have never been in a tented camp, you need to look at the website and see just how super they are - e.g. luxurious outside bath tub) and thoroughly enjoyed our 3 night sojourn in the Timbavati. We were hugely privileged to see 3 different leopards and also 2 so-called Timbavati white lion cubs! Our driver and tracker, Louis and Noel did their very best for us and I have no hesitation in recommending this safari lodge.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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2  Thank PaulineNorway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2010

this is a great place. there is a family feel here. the staff/guides/resident managers are all
great. Omega and Aurela, the guide and tracker are wonderful. Elmarie and Charlie, the managers do a great
job and seem to really care about your comfort.
food was very good. They have 8 tents and 3 chalets. The tents are comfortable with a big bathroom area and outdoor
shower. they also have air conditioning.
The chalets are buildings and are closer to the main lodge. they are set up for families as they are bigger
and have 2 bedrooms.
They also have a pool that is very nice.
there is a lot of game to see. we saw 8 leopards in 4 days. I would highly recommend this place.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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3  Thank christy2064
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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