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“Incredible Experience, highlight of our trip”

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Simbavati Hilltop Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1 review
“Incredible Experience, highlight of our trip”
Reviewed 21 October 2016

Where do I start, upon arriving at Simbivati we were greeted by Nandzi who was very welcoming and were greeted with wet towels to freshen up with and we went straight for a lunch on the decking before having our welcome meeting. We then went down to our room which was massively luxurious, could not fault one bit of the accommodation.

We were there for 3 full days and 7 fantastic game drives, the experience was memorable for many reasons but I have to say for me and my new wife, our holiday was made very special by a few individuals. Colbert and Derrick were our guide and spotters and they were fantastic, brimming with personality humour and a can do attitude to everything we asked, they were hugely knowledgeable about everything we asked, without these two our holiday would not have been the same. We also had a trainee spotter Elvis who was due to go for his spotting exam on our last day, we hope he passed his exam!?!?

On our game drives we saw EVERYTHING apart from Wildebeest, several lion kills included.

The food was fantastic, we tried Venison, Kudu and much more. The highlight was sitting in a group for a Barbecue with our guide, although it would have been nice if our spotter got to sit with us as well, we spend just as much time with him.

On our last night, we had a stunning candlelit dinner away from our main group, a bottle of champagne and then Aubrey came and gave us a speech and some words of advice on a successful marriage from someone who has been married for many years, this was amazing and summed up The Simbivati experience, personal and caring.

We cant wait to go back, Colbert, I think "We will make a plan" :)

Room Tip: They are all fantastic
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  • Stayed October 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank johnpickering2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati Hilltop Lodge, responded to this review, 31 October 2016
Dear johnpickering2016

Congratulations to you and your wife on your marriage. We would like to wish you both many happy years together filled with lots of love and laugher.

We are thrilled to hear that you had a memorable stay at our lodge and it was our pleasure to treat you to a romantic dinner.

Thank you for this lovely review it is greatly appreciated.

We hope you will come back and visit us again for your honeymoon or two?

Keep well, regards Nadine
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193 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
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English first
hong kong
Level Contributor
167 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 October 2016

Simbavati has lovely staff who go out of their way to make a memorable trip including Nancy and our Butler, Andrew! Gert - with his knowledge of wines and also, Joe, our Guide, who has only been there 3 weeks! Its' setting is VERY open & wild: no electric fencing - and currently being improved by the building of a dam down in the river - so we were lucky to have drinks one evening by the river and watch the Hippo family of 4! Nice Library/Lounge area and a beautiful swimming pool - but unheated - so far too cold to use at moment :(
NOTE: You must let staff escort you to your rooms in the evening - we had a family of large baboons run across our balcony/terrace twice and on the second night, an Elephant came crashing straight through the Lodge and broke our steps to rooms!! The glamping style semi tent/wooden/glass structured rooms are great - including an outdoor shower, albeit private (if you don't count the toads by your feet sharing a shower with you!). Of course, there's also an enclosed full bath/bathroom with a splendid view!
Definitely recommend Simbavati - particularly as a 2-lodge trip as we did not see all the Big 5 here - although there was one couple who had stayed here for one week and managed it! Wonderful safari overall!!

Room Tip: Rooms up near lodge have fewer steps (as there are only a few handrails)
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  • Stayed October 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank blairabroad2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati Hilltop Lodge, responded to this review, 31 October 2016
Dear blairabroad2012

Wow! It sounds like you had some exciting times with the baboons and elephants creating some bush entertainment.

It is unfortunate that you did not get to see the Big 5. We would love to have you come back so we can try and find them for you again.

Thank you for the lovely detailed review, we really appreciate it and we look forward to your next visit.

Keep well, regards Nadine
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Sydney
Level Contributor
47 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2016

We stayed here for 2 days after having two days at River Lodge, River Lodge was great and I'd highly recommend a visit but Hill Top was another step up. The "tents" were brilliant, the food excellent, the staff especially Aubrey in the restaurant and Joe on the game drives were both good fun and good at their jobs. My only complaint and it's a minor complaint is there's not enough time to relax and meet fellow guests around the bar of an evening between returning from the game drive and sitting down for dinner. We returned around 7.15 and were expected to sit down at 7.30, a bit of a rush on holiday, it would be better to have dinner seating around 8.00pm. Although many of the guests were honeymooners and I suspect mixing with other guests was not a priority. If you decide to stay at Hill Top you won't regret it

  • Stayed September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SydneyBirdie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati Hilltop Lodge, responded to this review, 20 October 2016
Dear SydneyBirdie

We are glad you got to experience River Lodge and Hilltop Lodge. Each lodge is unique in its look and feel and offering and your review mentioning both is appreciated as this will help other guests to make a decision as to which lodge they may enjoy more.

It is a tricky balance trying to provide more free time like you would have enjoyed vs guests getting the most from their game drives vs guest wanting to be alone vs guest wanting to meet new friends. We try our best to accommodate everyone. I am sure you understand and we appreciate your feedback regarding this matter.

We hope you will come back and visit us again.

Keep well, regards Nadine
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Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 October 2016

Our stay was absolutely amazing. Great location with two tents for each "room". Each room has a great view over the river, where lots of different animals can be seen during the day. The whole stuff was very friendly and helped with every little problem. We saw a lot of animals during the game drives and got a lot of information about the wildlife by our Ranger Joe. Also the bush walk was great and a very special experience with "cherry spitting", try it is fun!
It was one of our best lodges. Due to the drought, the river had no water. Nevertheless a lot of animals had been in sight of our room.

  • Stayed September 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Bernd S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati Hilltop Lodge, responded to this review, 20 October 2016
Dear Bernd S

We are so glad to hear that you had an amazing stay at our lodge and that you enjoyed your bush walk and "cherry spitting". We appreciate the recommendation.

Thank you for the review and we hope that you will come back and visit again.

Keep well, regards Nadine

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1 review
Reviewed 16 October 2016 via mobile

Part of a two week trip, all of our first to Africa/South Africa. This lodge set the bar for all future trips with its attentive staff, great food, private "rooms", design and activities. Highly recommended for adults 16-65 (not great for kids or aging adults with disabilities). Great for couples or groups of couples (jeeps hold 9 guests though, so be prepared for that odd number if lodge is totally full). Guides coordinate with other lodges to maximize everyone's wildlife sightings: we saw hunts by wild dogs, the Big 5, next-day kills, sat in the midst of multi-animal stalks, and so much more. We saw animals by jeep (Land Rover really...) and via bush walks.

Highly recommend for internationals and locals.

Stayed October 2016, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Mark C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Simbavati, Online Marketing Manager at Simbavati Hilltop Lodge, responded to this review, 20 October 2016
Dear MarkC

Thank you for the detailed review we really appreciate it.

We are glad to hear that we exceeded your expectations so that you will come back and visit us again as we know that our lodge is the best.

Your game drives sound so exciting, wish I was there with you to see what you saw.

Thank you for recommending our lodge.

Please come back and visit us again.

Regards Nadine
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Simbavati Hilltop Lodge

Property: Simbavati Hilltop Lodge
Address: Mbali Farm, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 17 Speciality Lodging in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Price range (per night): R10 781 - R15 334
Hotel Class:5 star — Simbavati Hilltop Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our accommodation is pure African safari, and comprises of individual pavilion-style luxury tents, arranged to create a unique village feel. Enjoy magnificent views of the bush, the Nhlaralumi River and the distant foothills of the Drakensberg Mountain Range at our lodge. ... more   less 
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