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Breakfast with elephants, maybe lunch and dinner too. But chances are good you’ll share a meal with a gentle herd of elephant drinking peacefully alongside you as you dine. With Simbavati River Lodge being right on the banks of the Nhlaralumi River, in game-rich Timbavati Private Game Reserve, there’s wildlife activity here year round. Not just elephant either, but every species imaginable will pass along the river to slake their thirst at some stage. And the waterhole, right at the edge of the lodge deck, attracts wildlife in abundance too. Watch from the shadows at night, when the waterhole is floodlit, and you will be amazed to see shy nocturnal animals making a guest appearance.

River Lodge was first in the magnificent Simbavati Lodge Collection and it remains a beautiful and classic safari camp. Under thatch and canvass, in a shady riverine setting, it’s also versatile and really caters to everyone: families, couples and honeymooners. There are three thatched family chalets with interleading rooms, six romantic luxury tented suites for couples, and two honeymoon suites with plunge pools, that offer complete privacy. But always, guests can be part of the day’s activities or not. And relaxing on the deck, watching the wildlife world go by is a very appealing option. There’s also a spa to encourage deep R&R and a gym if you must.

As with the lodge’s architecture, suites are classic and understated in natural taupes and greys, cotton and stone with raw wood touches in statement pieces. There’s such a seamless connection with nature outside that you feel grounded and close to earth. And that’s where nature’s nurture lives. At Simbavati they call it Africalm. And you’ll feel it whatever you do while there, because experiences are all nature rich and focused on authentic communion with wildlife and surrounding nature.

Being unfenced, wildlife wanders freely between the bush and river and the shortest route is often between the suites. So be prepared to be enchanted if you see and hear wildlife very close by. Savour their presence and let them pass peacefully on their way. This is the full-blown classic safari experience, in comfort and safety. And the whole family is invited to enjoy it.

Reviewed by Keri Harvey

What we love:

  • the old leadwood tree comfortably growing through the deck
  • that feeling of being in deep wilderness
  • year-round water and wildlife right in front of the lodge
  • Cub Club offering age-appropriate activities for kids – and their parents can join them doing archery, learning tracking and more
  • guided morning walks along the river before the heat of the day – an optional extra

Need to know:

  • the lodge is unfenced
  • only children over 6 years are permitted on game drives, at the discretion of the ranger. Or a private game viewing vehicle can be commissioned.
  • malaria precautions are advised
  • Getting there: Both Airlink and Cemair fly daily from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Hoedspruit’s East Gate Airport.. A Federal Air charter flight from Johannesburg takes you directly to a landing strip nearby. Or it’s a 6 hour drive from Johannesburg.

 

 

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Timbavati, Greater Kruger

Breakfast with elephants, maybe lunch and dinner too. But chances are good you’ll share a meal with a gentle herd of elephant drinking peacefully alongside you as you dine. With Simbavati River Lodge being right on the banks of the Nhlaralumi River, in game-rich Timbavati Private Game Reserve, there’s wildlife activity here year round. Not

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