At least once a year my wife and i like to get away from it all and go to the Kruger Park whether it be in the government side or the private reserves. This time we decided to get the bigger wallet out and go private. We have not been to Timbavati before and decided on Simbavati river reserve. After a 7 hour journey from Johannesburg by car we arrived at the reserve. After a drink and information by staff we were shown to our "tent". Not the boy scout type but something that accommodates a king size bed a toilet and shower (inside and out). It was the last one and furthest away from the main building and was overlooking a bush! We expected to be overlooking the river bed so this was a disappointment. The better half put her foot down with management and we were moved to one that was overlooking the river bed. I should point out that the river is dry and has been for some years and unless there is some type of biblical flood is likely to stay that way. The main restaurant and bar area overlook the river bed and directly in front of this is a water hole for hopefully animals to use while you are there. We unpacked and went to get some lunch and a beer before heading out on the first of the game drives. Lunch was not so great if I'm honest. Off then to the first of the game drives. You will be on an open land-rover with others and a guide and tracker. You are pretty much guaranteed to see game as the guides are in touch with each other, even from different lodges, and this being the case with us. We saw all the main characters with the exception of Rhino. I hope it was not a taste of the effects of poaching. The park was very dry having not had rain for about 7 months and non on the way. Toward the end of the drive you get to stop and stretch your legs and have a gin an tonic or whatever and chat with the other passengers. Ours came from the Netherlands and Germany and were good company. Time for a shower and then on to dinner. Hopefully it would be better than lunch. There is no menu so the staff tell you what is on offer. This was a case of "Chicken or Kudu?" I asked what it came with but my waiter didn't know so we opted for Kudu a type of buck. It was seriously overcooked and consequently well tough. Pudding was jelly and a canned peach and something indescribable in a shot glass. Probably the worst sweet I have had anywhere! Off to bed and aware that you are going to get a wake up at 05.30.
and then off on another game drive after a quick cup of coffee.
Back for breakfast after this and what was the best of the meals. I found myself filling up on breakfast as the meals at other times didn't improve. We managed to get a spa treatment during our 2 night stay and was very good.
The highlight of the evenings was a braai under the stars in the middle of the bush somewhere straight after a game drive. There was a big fire to sit round and the smells of the barbecue. Better than the other meals I should point out. This was our last day here and now off to the Hilltop lodge. I won't review this as one day is not really enough but suffice to say that the "tents" are very much bigger and also have a bath. Food here also of the same standard!
So to sum up then not much to complain about if you discount the food and make sure you ask for a tent overlooking the riverbed. I won't be back though unless something drastic changes re the quality of the food. 2 star fare in a 4 star lodge!
- 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