Simbavati River Lodge enjoys a unique setting on the banks of the Kruger Park’s Nhlaralumi River in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve.
One of its winning charms is the popular waterhole right below the dining deck, much loved by elephant. Between game drives, you could enjoy a game-viewing experience of note just sitting on the deck as wildlife comes and goes from the water.
This lodge has a broad appeal, with a traditional safari ambience but with a relaxed contemporary twist in terms of décor. You have a choice of tented or chalet accommodation. It caters well to couples and honeymooners with a safari spa and fully equipped fitness centre. Whilst its two-bedroom chalets and Cubs Club kids centre are popular with families.
The Timbavati forms part of the Greater Kruger Park and offers exceptional game viewing including all the Big Five, most notably leopard, and also wild dog.
There are three two-bedroom family chalets. Each has a beautiful game viewing deck with a riverfront view. Each has a main bedroom with king-sized bed, second bedroom with twin beds and one bathroom with a bath and double rain-shower. Please note that the bathroom is accessed via one of the bedrooms.
Six luxury tented suites have a king-sized bed (which can be converted to twin) and a beautiful game viewing deck with either a river or bush view. There’s a spacious en suite bathroom and dressing area with ample storage space, shower, double vanity, enclosed toilet and door out to an outdoor rain-shower as well.
Two spacious and airy Tented Pool Suites are in a more secluded location. They have a king-sized bed (which can be converted to twin) and a beautiful game viewing deck with a solar-heated plunge pool. (These can prove quite popular with the elephant.) There’s a good-sized en suite bathroom and dressing area with ample storage space, indoor shower, double vanity, enclosed toilet and door out to an outdoor rain-shower as well.
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.
A bush walk is a completely different way to experience the African bush. You gain a far greater sense of the landscape and how everything is inter-connected.
It is ideal for guests wanting to learn about the lesser-known aspects of the bush, up close and personal. Yes, there is always a chance of an encounter with one of the larger wildlife, but this is not the objective of a bush walk. Quiet observation from a safe distance is the order of the day.
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.
Why does a safari spa experience work quite so well? It’s probably because the intoxicating mix of being surrounded by nature and pampering relaxation. Together, they entice a restorative effect on your well-being.
Plus the relaxing and unhurried hours between game drives are the perfect time, with few other distractions. Though the lure of a siesta on your bed with a good book, could come a close second.