Join us at Trails Camp and Experience true Africalm

Trails Camp



Untamed African wildlife Wonderland.

Simbavati Trails Camp is a gem; a luxury-yet-back-to-basics walking trails camp located in a secluded area of the Timbavati Game Reserve. It’s all about guided walks with expert guides, one of the most stimulating and enthralling forms of safari. Trails Camp borders, without fences, an unspoilt wilderness area of 11,000 hectares in the Kruger National Park.

There is no electricity, WiFi or cell phone reception. Just you, in the heart of an untamed African wildlife wonderland. Hearty and delicious meals are prepared over an open fire by an expert cook.

The minimum stay is two nights. But to really appreciate the rich but slower walking trail rhythm, we recommend a three night stay.

Please note that the camp is only operational during the cooler autumn to spring days from March to November.

Why we love it

Walking Trails Camp

Focusing exclusively on walking safaris with expert guides

Four Tents for
Eight People

Only four en suite tents so intimate and exclusive, perfect for friends

Interactive Dining

From fire to table – amazing bush cuisine including earth-buried pot bread

Camp Fire

 Great traditional safari vibe around the camp fire


Select Room

Simple yet comfortable

Four en-suite Meru-style tents are surprisingly spacious with proper furniture and mosquito nets. En suite bathrooms have a proper flush toilet and a simple basin with a jug of hot water for washing. The back of the tent opens out to your private al fresco en suite ‘bathroom to the stars’. Here you find a gloriously simple bucket shower which is filled on demand with warm water.

In front of the tent there is a small shaded area with two chairs.

Simbavati Trails camp - tent exterior
Simbavati Trails camp - tent interior
Simbavati Trails camp - bathroom detail
Simbavati Trails camp - shower
Simbavati Trails camp - tent view

/ Trails Camp


Getting There

You cannot drive to Simbavati Trails Camp, so we arrange complimentary scheduled transfers in and out of Trails Camp. The collection time is 13:45 from Simbavati Hilltop Lodge. 

Kindly note that there is only one daily return transfer. An additional charge will be levied for any late arrivals into Hoedspruit as we will have to send a second vehicle.

Directions to Hoedspruit Airport to Hilltop

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.

Here you will be required to pay an entrance fee. (This changes on a yearly basis). This gate is open from 6am to 6pm.

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.

Timing to get to Hilltop by 13:30

From Johannesburg Airport – ± 6½ to 7 hours’ drive (505km)

From Hazyview area – 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 – 3+ hours (195km) * Hazyview – Allow 2½ 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.


Our Meru tents are surprisingly spacious with proper furniture. The back of the tent opens out to your private al fresco en suite ‘bathroom to the stars’. Here is a compostable toilet (eco-friendly), a basin with water. And a traditional bucket shower, which is filled with hot water on demand. 

In-tent Facilities

  • Mosquito net
  • Bathroom – eco-friendly toilet, vanity with basin and jug of water, alfresco bucket shower
  • No electricity, Wi-Fi or cell phone signal
  • Cooler box with milk and soft drinks

Camp facilities

  • Mess tent with dining area and sitting area
  • Camp-fire with casual seating
  • Small plunge pool and pool deck


2023 – 2024 Rates

Enquire about our SA Resident Offers as well as our flexible booking conditions.

1 November 2022 to
07 January 2024
Per Person SharingR6,450


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


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

No children under 16 years (Reserve Regulations for Walking Safaris).

Simbavati Trails Camp Transfers
  • Scheduled transfers are compulsory. (Private vehicles are not permitted to drive to Trails).
  • Collection time from Simbavati Hilltop Lodge at 13:45. The transfer is 1½ hours. 
  • Self-drive guests are able to park their vehicle at Hilltop.
  • 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.

Conservation Fees

Timbavati Conservation Levy:

2023: R510 per adult per night and R255 per child under 12 years per night (2023). Will be added to invoices for prepayment, or collected at the lodge directly.

Self-drive guests only: Vehicle entrance fee of R280 is payable at the Timbavati or Klaserie Control Gate for all self-drive guests. (All levies & fees subject to change in 2023.)


Simbavati Trails Camp Transfers

  • Scheduled transfers are compulsory. (Private vehicles are not permitted to drive to Trails).
  • Collection time from Simbavati Hilltop Lodge at 13:45. The transfer is 1½ hours.
  • Self-drive guests are able to park their vehicle at Hilltop.
  • Departure time from Simbavati Trails Camp – 11:00.
  • Kindly note that there is only ONE daily transfer from Simbavati Hilltop at the specified time.

Late arrivals will need to take a second vehicle transfer. The extra cost will be for your own account. And the wait for the second vehicle will mean you miss the afternoon safari walk.

All tented rooms are non-smoking

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

Unfortunately Simbavati Trails Camp does not take children under 16 years old, due to the Timbavati regulations around walking safaris.

The Kruger is a seasonal malaria area so we recommend that you take anti-malaria prophylaxis. However mosquitos are less prevalent in the winter. We also recommend anti-mosquito repellent to stop you from getting bitten, especially in the autumn and spring months.


What is a typical pattern for the day?

How fit do I need to be for a walking safari?

What’s the ideal length of stay?

What if I miss the collection time?

Will we encounter dangerous wildlife?

Is there wifi?

Is there electricity in my tent?

What should I wear for a walking safari?

Get in Contact

Camp Hosts

The camp is managed remotely by Natasha Bull and JP de Bruyn. The hosts rotate, so it may be Natasha and JP or Maricha Miles

There is no phone number for Trails but you can send an urgent message by ringing River Lodge on 015 793 9051, as they have radio contact with Trails Camp.