As this was our first time on safari we really didn't know what to expect. Let me just say that we were already planning a return visit before we checked out! Viewing the "big five" and other large animals roam freely in their native habitat is truly "life changing" as another recent reviewer mentioned. You are able to get so close to the animals at times thanks to the highly trained guides and trackers. Kudos to our drivers Jimmy, Joe and our tracker Vincent. The level of knowledge and expertise that Simbavati's guides/trackers possess really enhances the safari experience. Also, Simbavati uses open air Land Rovers that seat a maximum 9 guests (no tops, no barriers, no 20 people in a vehicle). The entire staff really worked hard to ensure we had a pleasant stay. From our butler Andrew, who has a contagious smile, to Colin, the lodge manager, who met us with a chilled towel after each and every drive and lent us an adapter so we could charge our phones, to the chef and all the housekeeping staff - everyone was so hospitable. There are only 8 rooms at the property and each offers great views (we actually saw giraffes, hippos, crocodiles and elephants from the room/lodge) and comfortable accommodations.
In a typical "Hollywood" ending, we had seen four of the big five, and hadn't yet spotted a leopard so on our last morning drive, with about 10 minutes to spare, our guide spotted a leopard and while it was fairly quick glimpse before it scurried away, it was a leopard no less. Great way to end our stay at Simbavati.
Highlight: on one of our drives, we were lucky enough to see the African Wild Dog, which is a real treat as this animal is rare and very nomadic. It hadn't been spotted at the reserve for about one year. That's one of the exciting things about the game drives, you never know what you are going to find!
- 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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