Who doesn’t want to have their own private safari homestead in the famous Greater Kruger Park, for a few days or a week?
The spacious Simbavati Homestead is our self-catered lodge, which combines the intimacy and warmth of a holiday home, with the game experience of a traditional safari lodge. Here, in the heart of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, you can have the freedom of the African bush and its magnificent wildlife. But on your terms. Expertly guided game drives in open 4×4 game drive vehicles can be tweaked to suit your party of family or friends.
Interiors are comfortable, contemporary and expansive which invites you to totally relax. Five en suite bedrooms sleep 10 people. There’s an open plan lounge, dining and kitchen area for easy living. There’s a separate TV lounge or snug, which is also a perfect place for kids to hang out.
It is the connection with nature which is so appealing here. Outside, there’s a large stoep, (covered patio), with uninterrupted bush views. There’s plenty of lounging space and a large day bed which beckons you for a siesta.
The homestead was created with friends and families in mind, with space for everyone to gather, or spread out, with an inviting pool, garden and a small boma to enjoy lantern-lit dinners overlooking the waterhole.
At Simbavati Homestead, you can be immersed in a wildlife hot-spot and enjoy relaxation and adventure in equal measure. Twice-daily game drives provide for close encounters with birds and animals, large and small. All the Big Five are found here (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) as well as the plains game we never tire of seeing; diverse antelope, giraffe, zebra and warthog.
There are five bedrooms. All have king-sized beds which can all, except one, be changed to twin. Some are more suited to adults with king-sized beds and en suite bathrooms (two). One bedroom has a private balcony and an expansive bathroom with bath and shower. Others are more for younger ones with twin beds and shared bathrooms. All are decorated with a refined contemporary style, yet underpinned by a focus on comfort.
Game drives in the Klaserie take place in the early morning and late afternoon when the animals are naturally most active. Key to the experience is your English-speaking local guide. They bring their knowledge, experience and fresh observations to maximise your wildlife sightings. And not only in terms of how much you see. But how rewarding, informative and fun the overall experience is. Your guide may be a keen photographer and will be conscious and considerate if your mission is to capture sightings on camera.
You head out in an open-sided 4×4 game vehicle with three rows of comfortable bucket seats, generally with a maximum of 8 guests. This offers safe, yet close wildlife encounters. Guests sit up high for the best ‘spotting’ of birds and animals. There are no sides to inhibit your views and you naturally feel more in tune with nature. In the summer month, a shade top is added to protect against the African sun, but in winter it is open to the skies for the best bird-viewing and for stargazing.
Sunset drinks are an integral part to being on safari. Your guide chooses a suitable beautiful spot and you have time to climb off the vehicle to stretch your legs and enjoy a drink or two. Yes, it’s one of the iconic African memories of a safari. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t work its magic every time.
Several times a week, dinner in the camps is a more hearty, campfire style meal served under the stars in a ‘boma’, a circular enclosure originally made from branches. The cosy, lantern-lit ambience recalls the early days of safari pioneers.
Another authentic safari experience is dining out under the star in a boma (an enclosed circular dining area) around the campfire. This usually takes place every 2nd night. The gentle flicker of lanterns, candle-light and a welcoming open fire truly conjures up what is magical about a safari.