Join us at River Lodge and Experience true Africalm

River Lodge

WATCH

OVERVIEW

Watch elephants drink from the comfort of our dining deck

Simbavati River Lodge enjoys a unique setting on the banks of the Kruger Park’s Nhlaralumi River in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve.

One of its winning charms is the popular waterhole right below the dining deck, much loved by elephant. Between game drives, you could enjoy a game-viewing experience of note just sitting on the deck as wildlife comes and goes from the water.

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.

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.

Why we love it

On the River

Stunning river setting with flood-lit waterhole right in front of the deck

Animal Visits

Frequent visits by herds of elephant

Family

Caters equally for both couples and families

Activities

Safari spa, gym and kids club & activities are additional features

ROOMS

Perfect for families

There are three family chalets. Each has a main bedroom with king-sized bed, second bedroom with twin beds and one bathroom with bath and double indoor rain-shower. Please note that the bathroom is accessed via one of the bedrooms. Each has a beautiful game viewing deck with a riverfront view.

EXPERIENCES

Things to see & do

Enjoy Game drives, sundowners, night drives, boma dinners, spa and families activities and experiences.

Top Reasons to Visit

WILDLIFE

Deck game-viewing

We are inspired by our natural surroundings at Cederberg Ridge – the smells, textures and tastes of the Cederberg. From farm to table, or in our case, from ‘Berg to Plate’, our food incorporates fresh farmed produce from the area, local flavours and unique cooking techniques.

Plus we’re also all about homemade goodness (and goodies)! From freshly baked breads, croissants and Danish pastries, to sausages, macaroons and gelato, our chef creates homemade, fresh food on a daily basis.

You can expect a seasonally changing menu with a choice of starters, mains and dessert. As we are small and personal, we try to cater for special diet needs. So there are always two vegetarian dishes on offer at dinner. Vegans are also welcome. Plus we’ll happily offer other options if you are staying longer.

FAMILY FRIENDLY

Cubs Club

Simbavati River Lodge is probably our most family-friendly lodges. As well as our two bedroom family chalets, we also have the Cubs Club kids centre. This is an ideal place for younger kids to hang out with games, bean bags and craft opportunities.

On request, someone can entertain your kids after breakfast with various activities from cupcake decorating, bug/treasure hunting, making animal face masks, colouring in, board games, wildlife DVDs and scrap-booking and more. 

Your guide may also teach your older child the skill of archery. Or lead a short walk looking at animal spoor around the lodge. 

This allows parents some quiet time for reading or a visit to the spa.

/ River Lodge

REGIONS

Getting There

Simbavati River Lodge is approx 1 hour 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. Drive through the Guernsey Access Control Gate.  Continue straight for approximately 18km until you reach the Enkhulu control gate of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.  Here you will be required to pay an entrance fee. (This changes on a yearly basis).  This gate is open from 6am to 6pm. 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 27km. Please ensure that you keep to the speed limit (50km/hour) and do not get out of your car.

Turn right at one of the stone direction markers with a sign for Simbavati River Lodge, onto a gravel track. There is a Simbavati sign here as well. Follow the Simbavati River Lodge paw print signs on the trees all the way to the lodge for approximately 6.4km.

Timing 

From Johannesburg Airport – ± 6½ hours (490km)

From Kruger Airport – 3 + hours (195km)

From Hazyview – 2 to 2½ hours (145km via the R40)

From the Three Rondavels view point (last point on the Panorama route, 145km) – 2½ hours (so depart by 12 noon latest).

Directions from Johannesburg to Simbavati River 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 – 3+ hours (195km) * Hazyview – Allow 2 to hours (145km)

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

Tented Luxury Suites

Six luxury tented suites have a king-sized bed (which can be converted to twin) and a beautiful game viewing deck with either a river or bush view. There’s a spacious en suite bathroom and dressing area with ample storage space, shower, double vanity, enclosed toilet and door out to an outdoor rain-shower as well.

Tented Pool Suites

Two spacious and airy Tented Pool Suites are in a more secluded location. They have a king-sized bed (which can be converted to twin) and a beautiful game viewing deck with a solar-heated plunge pool. (These can prove quite popular with the elephant.) There’s a good-sized en suite bathroom and dressing area with ample storage space, indoor shower, double vanity, enclosed toilet and door out to an outdoor rain-shower as well.

Two-bedroom Family Chalets

There are three two-bedroom family chalets. Each has a beautiful game viewing deck with a riverfront view. Each has a main bedroom with king-sized bed, second bedroom with twin beds and one bathroom with a bath and double rain-shower. Please note that the bathroom is accessed via one of the bedrooms.

And you don’t have to have young children to use the family chalets. Families with adult children can use them as well (with a discount for the 3rd and 4th adults). Just as long as you don’t mind sharing a bathroom.

However each two bedroom chalet is configured slightly differently.  

Chalet 1 (Buffalo) has one twin-bedded room and one king or twin-bedded room which has direct access to the deck. The bathroom is accessed via the twin-bedded room. 

Chalet 2 (Rhino) has one twin-bedded room, with the main bathroom accessed from this. Beyond is a triple room (one king bed and one single) which has direct access to the deck.

Chalet 3 (Elephant) has a larger bedroom (with king bed) with the main bathroom accessed from this room, and direct access to the deck. Then a smaller twin-bedded bedroom, which also deck access.

In- room Facilities

  • Private viewing deck
  • Air-conditioning
  • Ceiling fan
  • Minibar with drinks
  • Coffee and tea-making facilities
  • Chalet Bathroom – bath, double vanity with indoor shower
  • Tent bathroom – indoor and outdoor shower, double vanity
  • Complimentary eco-friendly amenities
  • Room equipped with electronic eco-friendly insect spray (1 min intervals) 
  • Hair-dryer
  • Electric blankets for winter 
  • Mini-safe for storing valuables 
  • Laundry service – laundry bag in room

Lodge Facilities & Good to Know

  • Main lodge has deck with expansive river views and adjacent waterhole
  • Sitting area and books and board games
  • Convivial bar
  • Outside dining area
  • Swimming pool
  • Open air boma & camp-fire overlooking the river
  • Safari Spa
  • Fitness Centre
  • Cub’s Club (children’s discovery centre and play room)
  • Safari shop
  • Complimentary Internet access – main lodge area only

OUR DETAILED

2021-22 Rates

Welcome Back Offer until 20 Dec 2021 – 30% off normal rates. Or enquire about our SA Resident Offers for 2021, as well as our flexible booking conditions.

Room TypeMax GuestBasis1 Sep 2021 to Oct 2022 1 Nov 2022 to 8 Jan 2023
Family Chalet
(2 bedrooms)
2 Adults + 2 Children/Teenagers
/Young Adults in a Family Chalet
Sharing ONE bathroom
One chalet sleeps 5
Sharing pp
3rd/4th person
Child
R8,120
R6,090
R4,060
R8,600
R6,450
R4,060
Luxury Safari Tent2 AdultsSharing pp
Single
R8,120
R10,800
R8,600
R11,450
Tented Pool Suite 2 Adults Sharing pp
Single
R8,680
R11,545
R9,200
R12,240

FINE PRINT

Accommodation, all meals, two safari activities per day, beverages (excluding premium brands and cellar wines). Return transfers from Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport (HDS). Please note special conditions for Simbavati Trails Camp transfers below. 

Exclusions

All other drinks, private transfers, gratuities, laundry service, other items of a personal nature. Conservation levies and gate entrance fees – see note below

Minimum Stay

2 nights – 1 night stays on request only. Recommended length of stay is 3 nights. 

Child Policy

Children of all ages are welcome.

  • Between 0 – 3 years: no charge and includes all meals.
  • Between 4 – 11 years: 50% of per person sharing rate if sharing with parents in Chalets.
  • 12 years & older sharing with parents in Family Chalets: 3rd/4th person rate applicable.
  • Child sharing with one parent in a Luxury Safari Tent: per person sharing rate applicable.

Note: Only Children 6 years & over are permitted on Game Drives. Families with younger children may arrange a private vehicle prior to arrival.

  • All reservations require a 10% deposit upon booking confirmation, to be paid within 7 days.
  • Final payment is due 15 days prior to your arrival (Flexible Covid-19 Policy – see below).
  • We reserve the right to cancel the booking if deposit or final payment is not received at the appropriate time.
  • For last minute reservations, full payment is required upon confirmation
  • All requests, confirmations and cancellations are only valid if in writing. Please ensure you receive acknowledgment of cancellation from our Reservations Department.
  • Provisional bookings will only be held for 7 days; or 48 hours within 7 days of arrival or if Reservations specifies due to high demand. Thereafter the booking will automatically be released.
  • We reserve the right to amend/change rates on this website without prior notice. Or to request 2 nights’ minimum stay during our Festive or other Peak seasons.
  • We strongly recommend a minimum stay of 2 nights throughout the year.
  • We accept MasterCard and Visa credit cards. Alternatively, you can settle via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). Unfortunately, we don’t accept American Express or Diner’s Club.

 Flexible Covid-19 Cancellation Policy – (valid until 31 December 2022*)

We understand that these are very uncertain times. So we have put flexibility at the heart of everything we do. We want you to feel comfortable booking with Simbavati, knowing that your money is safe if Covid-19 circumstances change

Free cancellation up to 15 days before arrival.

Covid 19 Cancellation Policy

  • Final payment is currently due only 15 days prior to arrival.
  • Up to 15 days prior to arrival: no cancellation fees (Any deposit is refundable, minus bank charges.)
  • Less than 15 days prior to arrival: 90% cancellation fee
  • Please note that a 100% cancellation fee will be charged if you decide to depart early while staying with us.

Last Minute changes (within 15 days) due to Covid-19

We are aware that, occasionally, last-minute changes may be needed due to Covid-19, such a suddenly-imposed ‘travel decree’ or personal covid-19 diagnosis. Please outline the specific circumstances to us.

Please note: In the case of an SA travel ban, an official ban in country of residence, or personal Covid-19 diagnosis, we will offer 100% refund or postponement.

In the case of other personal Covid 19 issues, please chat to us. We are happy to hold your payment as a credit towards future travel.

Please see our detailed Flexibile Covid-19 Policy for more detail.

* We reserve the right to amend the Covid-19 cancellation policy earlier if WHO declares the pandemic is over.

Check-in:

Check-in is from 14:30.

You are welcome to arrive earlier, and make use of our swimming pool or other facilities.

We try to accommodate early arrivals, subject to room availability. Unfortunately this cannot be guaranteed, if the room was occupied on the previous night.

Check-out

Check-out is prior to 11:00 on the day of departure.

Again, we try to accommodate late check-outs, subject to room availability. Unfortunately this cannot be guaranteed, if the room is booked for the evening. If we are unable to accommodate a late check-out, we will happily store your luggage whilst you enjoy our facilities.

Lunch

The Full Board & Activity/Game drive price includes lunch (served from 1pm to 2.30pm) either on the day of arrival or on departure.

If you wish to have lunch on both arrival and departure days, there will be an extra charge for the second lunch.

Conservation Fees

Timbavati Conservation Levy: R400 per adult per night and R200 per child under 12 years per night (2021). Will be added to invoices for prepayment, or collected at the lodge directly.

Self-drive guests only: Vehicle entrance fee of R210 is payable at the Timbavati or Klaserie Control Gate for all self-drive guests.  (All levies & fees subject to change in 2022.)

No pets allowed

All rooms & suites are non-smoking

However you are welcome to smoke on your terrace or deck. Please request an ash tray. However please be careful to dispose of cigarette snubs as our vegetation is often dry and quick to burn!

Simbavati River Lodge takes kids of all ages. But only children of 6 years upwards are allowed to participate in the shared adult game drives. 

If you wish for your younger children to join you, you will need to take a private vehicle at any extra cost. This is subject to availability of vehicles.

We have three family chalets at River Lodge. Two are for two adults and two kids or teenagers. And one is for two adults and three kids/teenagers. Note that all family chalets share ONE bathroom. 

If you prefer two bathrooms, you can take two adjacent tented rooms, if your children are old enough. But then the children pay adult rates.

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?

How does the Cub’s Club work?

Get in Contact

Manager

Nichola Waterhouse

Lodge telephone number: 015 793 9051

Reservations: +27 87 151 4520