Simbavati River Lodge

At a glance
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Simbavati River Lodge

At a glance
Enquire Now

Taken from local Shangaan language, Simbavati River Lodge translates to "the place where the lions came down from the stars" and was designed to offer private luxury accommodation with breathtaking views, personalized service, and an excellent big-5 game viewing experience. Combined with a welcoming & relaxed atmosphere, the lodge also offers fantastic value-for-money stays.


  • Stunning river setting with flood-lit waterhole right in front of the deck
  • Luxury Tents offer spectacular bush or water views from the private viewing deck
  • Perfect for families, with 2-bedroom chalets

You should know

  • Children of all ages are welcome at Simbavati River Lodge.
  • Children under the age of 13 will be taken to look at tracks and signs in the bush by a tracker after Breakfast.

The detail

Situated in the heart of the world-renowned Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, this intimate, family-friendly camp is built on the banks of the Nhlaralumi River – a beautiful watercourse in the summer months when rain is plentiful, and a dry riverbed in the drier winter months.

Simbavati River Lodge boasts eight Luxury Tents, 2 Tented Pool Suites and three Family Chalets; each positioned to offer guest privacy and comfortably furnished.

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. One of its winning charms is the popular waterhole right below the dining deck, much loved by elephant.

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.

Game drives are offered in the early morning and evening and are conducted by experienced field guides and Shangaan trackers in open 4X4 safari vehicles.

Simbavati River Lodge is ideal for solo explorers, couples and families looking for an affordable and authentic safari experience.

Price includes

  • Accommodation, all meals, two safari activities per day, beverages (excluding premium brands and cellar wines),  Return shared transfers from Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport (HDS).
  • Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.
  • Single supplements may apply.
  • Request a quote or speak to one of our Agents for the best, most current rates available.
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Rates & Pricing

All promotions for this lodge are shown below, you can also view all current safari specials here.
Stay 4 nights, Pay 3 nights: Valid until 20 December 2023
Last minute SPECIAL
Stay 2 nights at any Simbavati lodge and receive a 30% discount at Simbavati Trails Camp, a walking safari camp in the Timbavati Game Reserve. Minimum 2 nights stay at any one lodge
Honeymoon SPECIAL
Stay 3 or more nights and one partner pays only 50%. Bottle of wine on arrival/in room
$ 500 USD
$ 380 USD
$ 500 USD
SPECIAL - Great news, you appear to be from a SADC country and can enjoy the discounted rate shown!
Rates are starting prices per person, per night sharing.
With specials, we always use the best promotion available, please contact our experts for more guidance.
We include competitive travel insurance that will make this totally refundable. To find out more, chat to our consultant below or click here.

Packages that include this lodge

5 Day All-Inclusive Greater Kruger with Simbavati
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4 nights at Simbavati River Lodge
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Private game-viewing deck
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River or bush views available
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Outdoor rain-shower
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2x safari activites, daily
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View safari to see all inclusions..
$ 530 USD
$ 390 USD
Per person per night
View Safari

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Let's start planning

Get in touch with Nelia to start planning, our resident expert in all aspects of this accommodation. Remember our service is FREE, our price is the same as going direct - see our best price guarantee!
To find out more about our 100% fully refundable bookings, ask Nelia or click here.
Nelia Nyamhanza
+27 21 201 1431
+27 21 468 7240
A big Thank you to the staff, this was real value for money, they have put an extra special touch to every thing they do. The game drives was awesome The personal touch for our anniversary was outstanding. We will be back M&W Thank you Bjorn that make the booking easy and fast with no problems
Bjorn as agent assisted in us enjoying a smoothly sorted itinerary. Simbavati offered great game drives with great sightings, knowledgeable guides and great accommodation and food.We surely may visit this again, though next time shall be the higher rated lodge. I would definitely use Bjorn or Kruger Park's services again, gladly
I have no idea where to start to say a big THANK YOU to the staff, everything was just phenomenal. This was really value for money.From the day we entered we were treated like royalty. The game drives, the tracker, the guide, cooks, reception, barman, butler, night watchman, it was all so awesome and outstanding. They have put an extra special touch to everything they do. Thank you for such a beautiful and memorable trip. We will be back. MARCEL & DENESE
Pat Holmes
We were so impressed with Simbavati's tents and service. It is a beautiful place to stay. I wish we could have stayed longer! The food was also excellent! We loved the barbecue and all the wonderful staff. They were so friendly and eager to please. We loved it!
Terri Rawling
Wonderful stay. Treated like family. Fantastic- Could not of asked for more. The staff make it all the more Awesome. Have already planned to return to Simbavati soon.Highly recommend xxxxx This experience with the Simbavati team was beyond belief, can not recommend them highly enough. Jill, Donna & Greg are fantastic as well as the butlers, Lucky included xxxxxx
Mrs Smith
We stayed at Simbavati River Lodge for 3 nights over Christmas 2014 and went on 5 guided safaris. What an amazing experience. Everything at Simbavati surpassed our expectations from the beautifully appointed family chalet and tent to the delicious food and wonderful service. The highlight was definitely the game drives. Our guide and tracker were so knowledgeable and informative and we were lucky to see animals at very close range. Thank you so much. I can't recommend Simbavati River Lodge highly enough.
Our group stayed in one of the luxury tents at Simbavati. It was fabulous. There was a/c and heat, which came in handy as the nights got pretty cold. From our tent porch we saw hippos, monkeys, warthogs and many other animals. The all natural insect repellent that was provided in the tent worked great and smelled very good. We bought a bottle to take home at the shop before leaving.The staff was great. Especially Obie, who was always willing to share stories and answer our questions. The food that was delicious. I only eat poultry and seafood and I appreciated that there was always a fish or vegetarian option at the meals.The game drives at this lodge were great. We saw the Big 5 within our first two game drives. We were able to see one of the leopards on multiple occasions and even watched him hunt. I would recommend a private vehicle. Our group of four was supposed to have one and did for the first four of our six game drives. For the final two drives, the lodge added another couple to our vehicle. They made it clear to our guide that they wanted to go at a slower pace and although we understand that the guide had to accommodate their wishes, we would have preferred to keep the pace we had been using. For example, we began to stop at length for each group of impala we saw, when before we would just keep going.
Melanie Mitchell
This is an excellent location adjacent to Kruger National Park. We stayed in the luxury tents (with private bath and balcony) and the amenities were excellent. The schedule kept us busy, but not too rushed - early morning game drive starts at 6:15; return to lodge and breakfast around 9:30; rest and relaxation time until 2:30, then lunch; afternoon/evening game drive around 3:30; back to lodge around 7, followed by dinner at 8ish. Our guide and tracker were fabulous! They were so knowledgeable, friendly and could spot animals that I wouldn't see in a million years! I couldn't recommend this lodge and safari experience enough! You can't go wrong with Simbavati!
Comfortable facilities in large air conditioned en suite tents or more luxurious lodges great atmosphere in the camp created by the delightful staff good food served in convivial atmosphere either in or outside depending on the weather. Small pool and spa on site. So far so good but where this place really excels is the quality of the game drives and the skills and knowledge of the trackers and guides. We had an unforgettable experience seeing not only the big 5 but also having a wealth of other flora and fauna pointed out to us making the twice daily drives a constant source of excitement and delight. Thanks to Gregg and the team in the camp and especially to Mike and Hemet who shared their love and knowledge of the bush with us
We (2 adults and 2 children aged 15) have spent 2 nights in one of the beautiful family apartments and have enjoyed during our stay 4 spectacular game drives, the friendly staff and the delicious food.
We stayed 3 nights at Simbavati Lodge and had an amazing experience. We stayed in two luxury tents, my husband and I in one and my two teenage children in the other. Felt a bit nervous that we were not together, because a porter is needed at night to travel between the lodge and tents, but felt more comfortable as time went on. Our tent had indoor showers which were convenient and an outdoor bath. Our children had outdoor showers which could not be used at night which was a bit inconvenient but they learned to take baths! The staff was very attentive and our guide, Diff, and tracker, Coswell, were wonderful. They got out of the Rover to track a lion and coming out of the bush ahead of them came the lion! They hadn't seen it but were on its tail, literally. Diff had many stories to tell about each animal that we saw. We went on 6 game drives and each one was very different. We saw similar animals on different days but they looked very different because we might have seen them at night one time or alone and this time it was a huge herd or in the morning light. Saw the Big Five multiple times but also so much more. Be prepared for some cold morning drives. Although there are blankets and hot water bottles provided, a hat and scarf are helpful in cutting the wind while driving. The food was very tasty but for one or two meals they seemed to run out of certain entrees. My 14 year old son would have loved more of the chicken! Breakfast made-to-order omelettes were always something to look forward to after the morning drive. The table arrangements were always changed. One night the dinner meal on tables around the firepit and on other nights is was on the open deck. We had a truly amazing experience in the bush at Simbavati. Just remember to have your camera on hand for the ride to and from the airport. We saw an amazing number of animals just on those trips too!
We were there 3 years ago and enjoyed the atmosphere and staff so much, we decided to go back. The food was fabulous. The guides and trackers well informed and the accommodations "just rustic enough".
We recently stayed at Simbavati River Lodge, which was the first time we have stayed in a private concession, having had many memorable self-drive trips to the Kruger since the early 1990s. We absolutely loved it and have already booked our return visit for 2015! The way they manage guests by allocating a team of staff to look after you really helped elevate the experience. Christof and Daniel as our Guides and Obi our butler were absolutely first class in accommodating our requests and remembering our preferences. We travelled with several family members, including our children, and another family, so were quite a large group for them to manage, but no request was too difficult. We will also be forever grateful to Obi for his patience with the 3 children in our group, keeping them entertained with his science and magic tricks while we enjoyed a drink on the viewing deck.We stayed in Elephant family cottage, which was just gorgeous and the other family we were with were in Rhino, which they were equally happy with. The other couples stayed in the luxury tents, which they were also very happy with, especially the experience of showering outside, whilst watching the river bed! Again, the mini bar prices were very reasonable and little touches like providing a natural lotion based insect repellent that smelled really good and flasks of cold water in the room made for a very comfortable stay.The game drives were also excellent, with a well executed system of sightings management over the radios ensuring we were satisfied with photographic opportunities and that the number of vehicles per sighting was minimal (often only us-nothing like the "lion traffic jams" in the Kruger!). Christof also provided sensible advice about taking photos (his photos are evidence as to his qualification to do so - check them out in the Shop!) and was very accommodating in changing the angle of the vehicle we were in, to ensure we had maximum photographic opportunities.Daniel was also very good to the children, taking them on a most informative walk down one of the roads, teaching them about "Bugs and Dung", which of course was relayed back to their parents with great zeal!The food was good, with a variety of meat and vegetable dishes and the children's menu was perfectly adequate for their lunches and dinners. Drinks are very reasonably priced. The Chef was also wonderfully accommodating in providing our son with a chocolate birthday cake after dinner on his birthday and the staff gave an absolutely charming performance of their version of Happy Birthday, which reduced most of us to tears (as I mentioned, no request is too difficult!) We thoroughly enjoyed sharing it with the rest of the guests! A very memorable birthday party!We cannot recommend Simbavati River Lodge highly enough. From the moment you are greeted on entry with a drink and a refresher towel, to them unloading your car for you and parking it out of sight for the duration of your stay, presumably to enhance your "in the bush" experience (and then washing it and cleaning it out for you before you get back into it!), to the warmth and friendliness of all of the staff - Donna, Greg, Jill and everyone, to the excitement of "vamba-ing" through the bush to catch up with a sighting and the simple relaxation associated with being somewhere so peaceful, we could not have asked for a better experience. We envy them living there. You should definitely go!
The three night stay at the lodge was fantastic. The sightings were great. saw the big 5 in abundance. The rangers tracked lion for hours to ensure we got to see them before we went home. The staff were exceptional, especially with our 10 year old. The food was excellent, never disappointed. What a warm, friendly, luxurious place.
out of 5 based on
191 reviews
Mar 8, 2023
Superb short Safari
We were referred to through a UK safari holiday company. We were dubious at first about dealing with a company in South Africa but we found and in particular Mr Keagan Davids, very easy to comunicate with. He was very communicative and made all the necessary arrangements. Unfortunately, the safari lodge we'd booked got flooded out so Keagan found an alternative lodge Called Kapama River Lodge. It was great. Very nice accommodation. Great efficient and friendly staff etc. We were not disappointed. All of the arrangements went like clockwork so we'd highly recommend
Gino Masoero
Mar 6, 2023
Incredible service
Incredible service! made our trip easy and simple! Even with our changes. Would highly recommend
Feb 28, 2023
Booking for Addo Elephant Park…
I made a booking for Addo Elephant Park through The instructions were clearly conveyed to me regarding the payment of a deposit to secure the booking. The service received from the lady I dealt with was very professional. For example, upon requesting a change in accommodation type, the request was promptly attended to and I was informed accordingly which I noticed was outside office hours. Proof of secured accommodation was sent promptly and reminder for payment of balance was send well in advance of final date. Finally, once payment was cleared, I received the booking voucher as well as forms to be filled in by all passengers upon entrance as well as the conservation fees to be paid. All in all it was a pleasure to deal with and we are looking forward to our stay in ADDO ELEPHANT PARK. Thank you.
Francois Barkhuysen
Feb 28, 2023
Excellent service from Heleen
Excellent service from Heleen. She was very helpful and friendly. Everthing you need to know or should, she will guide you.
Feb 22, 2023
Chantal Young is awesome to plan with!!!
Chantal Young was so nice and accommodating. We were between safari lodges and she really sold us on Dulini with her chill and approachable attitude. She gave us more than enough information while letting us feel like the decision was ours and was flexible to providing multiple options. Can't reccommend her enough!
Alex & Scott
Feb 16, 2023
Tanya Lomas is an amazing
Tanya Lomas is an amazing, kind, competant professional agent. Always willing to assist. Our 2nd holiday booking to Kruger through Tanya. Thank you.
Sarah Sewpersad
Feb 8, 2023
Spending 40 years in the travel…
Spending 40 years in the travel industry and taking several Safari to Kenya, my wife and I reached out to Dolan at to help plan our S. African Safari to Kruger. Dolan handled all aspects of the planning including transfers to and from airport, plane reservations and lodging at the 5-star Leopard Hills lodge. With just a couple of emails he made the planning seamless. every aspect was on-time, and all responses were very timely. We can't wait to go back and would highly recommend Dolan at
Feb 7, 2023
We had a lovely holiday!
Hi Chantal The Summit place guest house was First class , the warmest welcome Robyn was a first class host , the day drips to the wine region and Cape of Good hope etc where really good also. Limoni apartments where lovely, we were looked after by the maids and the property was fantastic . Amakhala service was fantastic, really first class couldn’t fault it. No issues with the cars or anything everything went well, thank you for organising it for us we would recommend you and your company!
Feb 3, 2023
Delt with Heleen
Delt with Heleen, who was super responsive and patient with us along the way! Will definitely make use of and Heleen when planning our trips in the future.
Feb 2, 2023
Reserving a bungalow at BERG-EN-DAL REST CAMP
The staff at promptly responded to my questions and helped me when I had trouble completing an online payment.
Joanna B Whittier
Feb 1, 2023
The person helping me was great
The person who was helping me with the booking, Carien, was exceptionally helpful and she made it very easy to get information and to get my booking sorted. The website was very easy to navigate and receive good information about which spots offer which amenities
Wynand De Villiers
Jan 27, 2023
I cant say much but safari is the best…
I cant say much but safari is the best when it comes to book coz they know client are always right and they help me very quicky.God bless u
Phathu Matshintshisa
Jan 11, 2023
Unorgettable trip in South Africa
We have spent 12 days as a family in South Africa with my 3 children and my wife who is in a wheelchair. Thanks to Pascal, consultant, we were able to spend an unforgettable moment with a great program while being well accompanied despite our constraints. I recommand particularly the "Monwana game lodge" for a safari in Hoedspruit. It's an amazing place with very nice people and a real family atmosphere. Thank you to the entire team for this unforgettable trip.
fabrice dont
Nov 26, 2022
We had an amazing first safari…
We had an amazing first safari experience with! 💯Thanks to Dolan for the well planning and ensure our itinerary goes smoothly and safely!
Nov 18, 2022
Cape Town miracle
I was in Cape Town, South Africa recently for an athletic competition and had allowed myself a week of personal time to relax and properly conclude the trip, but had not bothered to plan a safari to occupy the time. I was skeptical of the cost and whether I would enjoy the experience, however a couple days into that final week it occurred to me, in a bit of a panic attack, what a waste it would be not to take advantage of this opportunity. I hopped online and started looking at flights to Johannesburg (almost all the safaris in SA start there with an early morning pick up), but it was basically impossible to get a flight early enough and/or to coordinate with the multiple safaris operating in or just outside of Kruger. With no apparent options available to turn my remaining 4 1/2 days into even a 3 day safari I stumbled on the most obvious website one could imagine, I'd completely given up negotiating all the variables on my own but here was a safari travel agent that might be able to help me .. and they were based right out of Cape Town, literally a stones throw from my lodgings. Serendipity, or so i hoped. I immediately sent out an email and crossed my fingers .. for roughly an hour and a half, at which point Dolan from responded to me requesting I give him a call so that we could expedite potential arrangements. My in country phone plan wasn't able to make calls, but we arranged for him to call me and not 3 hours after being in the grip of despair Dolan got through to me and far from notifying me of how absurd it was to hold out hope for a literally, last minute safari adventure with barely 4 days available to me, he had already worked out all the details I'd sent and created a preliminary safari trip that would bypass Johannesburg airport for a flight the next morning to a closer, much, much smaller airport where I would be picked up taken, not to a 3 day safari, but a full 4 day safari, then back to the tiny, tiny airport for a return flight to Cape Town with 2 hours to spare for my return leg all the way home. It almost feels like an afterthought, after the minor miracle Dolan was able to conjure up, but the safari itself at Simbavati Lodge was just an absolutely stunning experience. The single "tent" he booked me was as luxurious as any 4 star hotel I've stayed in, the game drives, one every morning, one every evening were more amazing than I could have ever imagined, and the food, 3 meals a day with snacks and an open bar was sublime. I could go on about the wonderful staff, or the wonderful other safari goers you can meet and grab a drink with, or the different animals walking through the open lodge facilities daily .. but I've gone on long enough. I'll simply conclude by saying .. safari, absolutely, yes, do it, it is amazing. And when you do decide, will do you right and if you have the pleasure of working with Dolan, do give him my thanks .. the entire experience was the best part of my trip :)
Damian Glennon
Nov 12, 2022
A great company
What to say! We planned a South African Safari for 2020 with We researched companies and took a chance on one we had never heard of before. Henry Franklin was our agent, we gave him our budget and wish list. He came up with a wonderful looking trip and we made our choices! Then came Covid, preventing us from going. We couldn’t have been in better hands. Henry rebooked everything for the next year. He kept us updated on how things looked there. When in 2021, we decided it still looked iffy, he rebooked us a second time for 2022. We couldn’t have been happier with the service we had in a rough time for all. We had a wonderful experience on our trip when we finally got to go!! Henry had everything so well organized and gave us a detailed list of what transfer companies would be meeting us and when. When Airlink bumped us and put us on standby returning from Victoria Falls, we called the concierge number Henry had given us and Catherine worked hard on this and got us back on our flight. The team had our back and we have no regrets. Would definitely use them again. Our lodging was wonderful, saw the big 5 within first 2 drives. Henry definitely knew the territory and did a great job matching what we wanted with where he suggested we go and stay. Thanks, Henry and Catherine!
Heather Carlson
Oct 21, 2022
Superior service, knowledgeable, transparent, amazing can-do attitude
These guys get 10/10. I have booked with them a few times. To Kruger National Park, including both public and private(concession) camps, flights and car hire. Their senior agent, Dolan is exceptional. Nothing is too much trouble. Attention to detail, transparency, and 'can-do' attitude are out of the ordinary. I recently came into contact with Tanya at as well. It looks like all their agents are similarly well trained. Thank you. I cannot recommend Dolan and his team highly enough.
Sep 5, 2022
For a second time I booked a safari in…
For a second time I booked a safari in South Africa by and had the great pleasure to be assisted and followed by Dolan Sequera. I have to say I really appreciate his way to communicate with me by phone and/or WhatsApp/mail, I always got a very quick answer to my questions with solutions and or suggestions which solved the doubts/problems I had. A really very very knowledged and professional person I will surely suggest to friends of my or who ever is plannig to visit South Africa! Thank you very much Dolan
antonio caccia
Sep 5, 2022
Trip of a life time
Well where to starter, África always been my number one dream vacation, I found didn’t know anything about, but pascal made me feel very confident.pascal put my whole trip together (everything I wanted) a trip of a life time. Had the best time in Africa, was everything that I except and a little more. Pascal is the best and I will go back to Africa and will go through that I recommend and is 💯 legit.thank you for everything pascal, you rock!!!
Tricia moyses
Aug 31, 2022
I've recently interacted with Dolan and…
I've recently interacted with Dolan and hands down he's been the best travel agent that I've every worked with. He was a wealth of experience and knowledge which shows volumes. He took into consideration my budget and my individual needs to tailor make a package with recommendations for my preference,he knows Kruger and Greater Kruger like the back of his hands and I will wholeheartedly recommended his services. He is truly an asset to his institution.
Apr 21, 2022
The best company
I have booked several trips with and they are the best. They are personal and professional and always pay attention to the details to make your trip special. Casper is the best agent I have worked with. We are looking forward to booking another trip!!
Steven Hopson
Mar 8, 2019
Nelia Nyamhanza
Nelia Nyamhanza, was extremely helpful, knowledgeable and friendly in designing our trip every step of the way. She listened to our request of places we wanted to visit and advised us on what best to do. This made the whole experience wonderful. Every guide from Ilios was eager to share their culture with us and are kind people, as well as, the guide/driver from Elephant Camp, Victoria Falls. We will recommend others to you so that they can be part of your amazing country.
Jan 8, 2018
Excellent service by the agent Jayson…
Excellent service by the agent Jayson Scheffers (Africa Safari Expert). We had little idea of the place and things to do. He made it at all soo easy and planned it so well that it all went smooth. We had a baby with us so we were not sure about the things but he advised us well. All the hotels, pickups etc were well informed about our situation and we did not face any issues. He was always there to answer any questions 24/7. Very personalized service. Highly recommended.
Ahmed Mukhtar
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