Hilltop Lodge has one of the finest settings in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, an unfenced but private part of the Kruger Park. It’s perched on the hillside with wide angle views over the bush and views to the distant mountains of the Drakensberg escarpment. Below lie the expansive Mbali Dam and the Nhlaralumi River, where you may be lucky to see elephant, and other wildlife, come to quench their thirst.
Hilltop Lodge has a light footprint, purposely designed so that it can be removed without leaving any lasting impact on the land. This luxurious tented lodge has a romantic, bright and airy ambience with 8 spacious tented suites connected by wooden walkways to the main lodge.
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. Twice-daily game drives provide for close encounters with birds and animals, large and small.
Why we love it
Romantic ambience with luxurious, private suites overlooking the beautiful dam
Bar & Fire Pit
Circular bar and convivial fire-pit, all with stunning birds-eye views
Spacious private decks with a Sala pavilion with daybed for each suite
Panoramic bush views towards the Drakensberg mountains
Relax in style
8 luxurious tented rooms offer a choice or King or twin beds. Each suite has glorious views over the bushveld, the dam and the Nhlaralumi River. French doors open out onto an expansive viewing deck, each with its own private sala pavilion with double day bed for an afternoon read or snooze.
The en-suite bathroom tent is connected to the bedroom tent via a small passage. On the deck is a double ’rain’ shower with views over the dam.
Step into Hilltop Lodge
Sit back & relax
The Need to Knows
Top Reasons to Visit
There’s not much that beats this elevated setting in the Greater Kruger with near and distant views over one of the foremost private game reserves in terms of wildlife concentration and habituation to game vehicles. The design makes the most its location, affording a great outlook from every part of the lodge: the pool, the bar, dining tent and sitting areas.
Celebrate the big moments
All the best associations of being under canvas in a wildlife paradise with none of the rustic homeliness of safari camps of old, Hilltop is modern and architecturally playful in style. Not only private and spacious but also light-filled and light-hearted. It’s a pared down luxury where nature is the star. But you can feel suitably indulgent if you are celebrating one of life’s big moments.
Sometimes the romance of the dancing flames and the glittering dark skies of the southern hemisphere are all we want. Evenings around the Hilltop firepit encourage tall tales from rangers and guests alike, ghost stories, yarns and friendship.
/ Hilltop Lodge
Simbavati Hilltop Lodge is approx 1½ hours from Hoedspruit Eastgate airport. It can be accessed via a rental car.
Directions from Hoedspruit Airport
As you exit the Airport, turn left for Timbavati Game Reserve onto Argyle Road. Continue until you reach the Enkhulu control gate of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Please note that continuous cell phone reception ends here.
Aim to arrive by 2.30pm, if possible so that you have ample time to settle in before the game drive. If you are going to be late due to unforeseen circumstances, please let us know on (015) 793-9021.
After the gate you continue on the tar road for approximately 37km. Please ensure that you keep to the speed limit (50km/hour) and do not get out of your car. On the way you will see the turnoff for Simbavati River Lodge. Do NOT turn in here.
You will later cross a low water bridge just before the entrance to Ingwelala game lodge. After another 800 meters, you will see the Simbavati Hilltop sign on your right.
Turn right onto a gravel track. Follow the Simbavati Hilltop Lodge paw print signs on the trees/side of road all the way to the lodge (for approximately 10km). Please keep a careful lookout for all signs, as the elephants sometimes knock them.
Please do not rely on your GPS after Hoedspruit. Their directions are incorrect and this could mean a two-hour detour.
From Johannesburg Airport – ± 6½ to 7 hours’ drive (505km)
From Kruger Airport – 3½ + hours (210km)
From Hazyview – 3 hours (160km via the R40)
Directions from Johannesburg to Simbavati Hilltop Lodge (± 6½ – 7 hour drive)
The most direct route is via N4 then Dullstroom to Lydenburg and Ohrigstad and onto Hoedspruit. However some people prefer to take the northern route via Polokwane and Tzaneen as there are fewer potholes. See Downloadable Directions.
From Johannesburg take the N12 to Witbank (Emalahleni) and continue on the N4 towards Nelspruit. (From Pretoria, take the N4 to Witbank). Follow the N4 and turn left to Belfast (Off ramp R33/R540). Once in Belfast, turn right into Voortrekker Street and continue straight on the R540 to Dullstroom.
Drive straight through Dullstroom and continue to Lydenburg (name change to Mashishing) on the R540. At the T-junction turn left into Lydenburg (Mashishing) into Viljoen Street (R36). Turn left again into Voortrekker Street. Turn right into De Clercq Street and follow the R36 through Ohrigstad. After the Abel Erasmus pass, the R36 turns left to Tzaneen. Do not turn left here. Instead continue straight on the R527 to Hoedspruit.
In Hoedspruit, continue straight. After the bridge crossing the railway line, turn right at the four way stop and continue south on the R40 for another 6.4km. Turn left onto the D1909 (Argyle Road). The sign says Timbavati/Eastgate Airport road. Then follow the Hoedspruit directions to the Lodge.
Directions from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport or Hazyview
KMIA – 3½ hours (210km) * Hazyview – Allow 2½ to 3 hours (160km)
The most direct route from Kruger Intl Airport is via the R40 thorough White River and Hazyview. Similarly if you are staying in or near Hazyview, the R40 north is the direct route. Just 6.5km south of Hoedspruit. You turn right onto the Timbavati/Eastgate Airport road. Allow 1½ hours to get from Hazyview to the Timbavati turnoff. Then another hour to get to the Lodge. Once on the Timbavati Road, you immediately pass the Eastgate Airport. Then follow the Hoedspruit directions to the Lodge.
Alternative Panorama route if staying at a Hazyview Lodge:
The R40 is a difficult road given the number of slow trucks and cars as well as many pedestrians. It takes longer than you would expect.
So if you have time, we recommend enjoying a tour of the Panorama route via the Blyde River canyon. Note that this is a longer route (255km from Hazyview to your lodge or 4 hours driving). En route you can stop off at the Bournes Luck potholes, Gods Window and the Three Rondavels
TIP: It takes approx 3 hours to get to Hilltop Lodge from the Three Rondavels viewpoint. So don’t leave the Three Rondavels later than 11.30am. Assuming you spend 1½ hours at the various stopping off points, we recommend leaving your lodge by 8 to 8.30am latest.
ROOMS & FACILITIES
In- room Facilities
- Private viewing deck
- Outdoor sala with daybed
- Ceiling fan
- Minibar with drinks and snacks
- Coffee and tea-making facilities
- Bathroom – bath, double vanity with double outdoor shower for two
- Complimentary eco-friendly amenities
- Room equipped with electronic eco-friendly insect spray (1 min intervals)
- Electric blankets for winter
- Mini-safe for storing valuables
- Laundry service – laundry bag in room
8 luxurious tented rooms offer a choice or King or twin beds. Each suite has glorious views over the bushveld, the dam and the Nhlaralumi River. French doors open out onto an expansive viewing deck, each with its own private sala pavilion with double day bed for an afternoon read or snooze. The en-suite bathroom tent is connected to the bedroom tent via an open ‘breezeway’ or small passage. On the deck is a double ’rain’ shower with views over the dam.
Note: Hilltop Lodge is not suitable for people who have difficulty with steps as each suite is accessed by a number of steps. However, two suites are considerably closer with fewer steps. So please mention any mobility issues when booking.
Lodge Facilities & Good to Know
- Main lodge has wraparound decks with panoramic bush and distant mountain views
- Sitting area and books and board games
- Convivial bar with 360°views
- Dining tent and alfresco dining area
- Infinity swimming pool
- Seated firepit
- Open air boma & campfire for dining under the stars
- Spa treatments available in the privacy of your room
- Safari shop
- Complimentary Internet access – main lodge area only
Enquire about our SA Resident Offers as well as our flexible booking conditions.
|Room Type||Max Guest||Basis||01 February 2023 to 7 Jan 2024||08 January 2024 to 5 January 2025|
|Luxury Safari Tent||2 adults||Sharing pp|
Unfortunately Simbavati Hilltop Lodge does not take kids under 12 years of age. Please see our sister lodges, River Lodge, Camp George, Amani for family-friendly accommodation.
Alternatively – if you are a party of friends or family, you may like to take Amani or Homestead on an exclusive use basis?
The Kruger is a malarial area so we recommend that you take anti-malaria prophylaxis. Mosquitos are less prevalent in the winter.
We also recommend anti-mosquito repellent to stop you from getting bitten.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a typical pattern of safari activities?
What’s the ideal length of stay?
Is there wifi?
What should I wear for a game drive?
Is Hilltop suitable for mobility-challenged people?
Get in Contact
Colin Ahtom and Tiani van der Walt
Lodge telephone number: 015 793 9021
Reservations: +27 87 151 4520