Simbavati Safari Lodges

Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

If you are planning a safari to Africa and considering where to go on safari then the Simbavati family of lodges has something for everyone. The Simbavati Lodges are located in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve which borders the famous Kruger National Park and forms part of the “Greater Kruger National Park”. The benefit of being part of the Greater Kruger National Park for guests is the freedom the wildlife have to move between Kruger and the Timbavati, this translates into much better Big 5 wildlife sightings.

The Timbavati Game Reserve is North East of Johannesburg and is easily accessed from O R Tambo International Airport with smaller domestic airlines that service Eastgate Airport near Hoedspruit. From Eastgate Airport guests are transferred by road into the reserve. From the airport to the reserve gate is a short 30 minute drive and the remainder of the journey is a game drive to the lodge.

Airlines that fly to Eastgate Airport include Federal Air, SA Airlink as well as several private charter companies. If your flight to Johannesburg arrives too late to connect with the smaller domestic flight to Hoedspruit, get in touch with us, we have some excellent recommendations for accommodation at the airport.

Simbavati Hilltop Lodge

Simbavati Hilltop Lodge guarantees an exclusive, authentic and unforgettable African safari experience. The lodge is perched high up on a rocky hill that overlooks a dam that was built many years ago and is a magnet for wildlife. Arriving at the lodge your first impression of this safari lodge is one of warm wood and walkways that lead you down to the bar area and lounge. There is also a rim flow swimming pool that has magnificent views out over the bush. Sunsets from any vantage point are absolutely stunning.

The suites here are accessed via wooden walkways that lead down to the rooms and are a pavilion style of design with either king size or twin beds. Each suite has a private deck looking out over the river bed and dam as well as a day bed with curtains, ideal for a lazy afternoon siesta between game drives.

The en-suite bathroom is separate of the main suite via a small passage with an opening to the outside allowing for unforgettable indoor or private outdoor showering experiences.

Children over the age of 12 are welcome at Hilltop Lodge, this ensures that guests looking for a quieter safari lodge are not disturbed by small children.

What we love about Hilltop Lodge…

Hilltop Lodge has a stunning location. Whether you are sitting at the bar chatting to Aubrey (the barman), relaxing in the lounge or taking a cooling dip in the swimming pool the views are fantastic. There is an open area below Room 1 – best room in my opinion – where there is a small waterhole for the dry season and it’s quite common to have Elephant herds wander past and the proximity is mesmerizing!

The lodge is quite small so there is a genuine feeling of exclusivity and young children are not allowed here so there is no fear of the peace being broken.

In room spa treatments are excellent and if weather permits, have this done outside on your deck.

If you are looking for a really private room then Room 8 is the furthest away from the main lodge and all the other rooms, though, it’s quite a walk to get to your room. There are telephones in all the rooms so if your drinks run low you can always call up and ask for more to be delivered. Each room also has a mini bar and air conditioning.


There is a minimum 2 night stay policy at Simbavati Hilltop Lodge and you will not be sorry for this. To get the most from your safari experience we recommend at least 3 nights here before moving to one of their other camps in the Simbavati Safari Lodges portfolio.

Rates in South African Rands start at R9250-00 per person sharing and includes accommodation, all standard meals, two game drives per day, selected drinks, bush dinners, walking safaris and return airport transfers to and from Eastgate Airport.

Simbavati River Lodge

This intimate, family-friendly lodge boasts contemporary luxury accommodation in safari tents or thatched family chalets elegantly decorated with sophisticated finishes where one can awaken to the sights and sounds of the surrounding bush. Meals are are served outside on the wooden deck under Jackalberry and Leadwood trees, traditional African dinners are served around the campfire in an open-air “boma”, an experience not to be missed.

Simbavati River Lodge is surrounded by over 12 000 hectares of pristine wilderness in the northern part of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Views from the main deck stretch out over the Nhlaralumi River and there is also a small waterhole directly in front of the deck. Depending on the time of year you choose to visit, if the river isn’t flowing the waterhole is often frequented by Elephants.

The 4 star Simbavati River Lodge has eight luxury tents and 3 chalets that are all privately situated with en-suite bathroom facilities. If you are looking for a family friendly safari destination then River Lodge is the perfect destination for you and your family to discover the magic of the African bush.



As with most of the other Simbavati Safari Lodges, River Lodge has a minimum 2 night stay. Children 6 years and over are allowed on game drives. Families with younger children can arrange a private vehicle prior to arrival at additional cost. If your children are under 6 years of age then get in touch with us for further information.

What we love about River Lodge…

River Lodge is the epitome of a family friendly lodge with open spaces for the kids to enjoy, an enclosed swimming pool and a dedicated children’s program to keep them entertained.

A really good spa facility with a wide selection of treatments.

If you would like to do a walking safari, no problem, the lodge will arrange for a child minder to look after your children while you’re out on a walk. Staff here are passionate and this really comes out in the service they deliver. We have not found a better lodge yet where our children are welcome and so well looked after.

Rates in South African Rands start at R7250-00 per person sharing and includes accommodation, all standard meals, two game drives per day, selected drinks, bush dinners, walking safaris and return airport transfers to and from Eastgate Airport.

Machaton Private Camp

Machaton Private Camp is an exclusive safari camp offering a secluded and private safari experience. Next to owning your own private safari lodge, there is no more private way to enjoy a safari in the Timbavati. The camp consists of a main guest area complete with lounge, kitchen and a covered deck. There are just 3 luxury suites in this camp so there is little chance of your privacy being disturbed.

Each suite has a spacious and very luxurious bedroom, a well-appointed bathroom with an outdoor shower, a dayroom with daybed and a large deck out the front replete with your very own plunge pool. Guests can retreat and refresh in secluded luxury. Privacy in each suite is guaranteed as the layout of the camp has ensured that each one is far away from the next.

Safaris are conducted in Machaton Private Camp’s private 4×4 vehicles. Machaton Camp can be booked per suite or on a sole use basis for large families or for groups of friends looking for that very unique private safari experience. No children under 12 years of age are allowed in the camp unless it has been booked for your sole use.

What we love about Machaton Camp…

Exclusive and beautifully quiet. Literally surreal in the stillness and peace of the area. The private plunge pools! Awesome! Get a drink at the bar, meander back to your room and enjoy while you laze in the cool waters and if your drinks run low, either top them up from the mini bar or call the bar for a speedy refill.

Rates in South African Rands start at R9250-00 per person sharing and includes accommodation, all standard meals, two game drives per day, selected drinks, bush dinners, walking safaris and return airport transfers to and from Eastgate Airport.

Simbavati Trails Camp

Trails Camp is Simbavati Safari Lodges luxurious trails camp that has  been designed to allow guests a feeling of being at one with the surrounding bush yet enjoying the finer style of life in the African bush. The camp has been built in a very remote and exclusive part of the 11 000 hectare Timbavati Private Nature Reserve with the focus of activities being on the traditional walking safaris.

The camp has 4 Meru type guest tents accommodating only 8 guests at any one time. Each tent  has an en-suite bathroom with bucket shower that is filled on request.

Days begin with around a 3 hour walk to avoid the heat of the day and to experience the African bush at her best. Mornings are filled with bird song, the calls of animals vocally marking their territories and beginning to find their way to food or water. Your guide will stop for a tea and coffee break and full breakfast is waiting for you on your return to the camp.

During the heat of the day, when most of the wildlife rests up in deep cover, enjoy the peace and tranquility on the small deck at the front of your tent with a good book. At round 3pm tea is served at the main mess tent and you will then once again set off on a walk with your guide. Your walk will culminate in a stop for sun downers where you can sip on a beer of gin and tonic while watching the sun set on another great day on your safari in Africa. The game drive vehicle;e will return you to camp where a delicious dinner will be waiting for you.


What we love about Trails Camp…

Completely focused on walking safaris – simply the very best way to explore the African bush and learn all the small nuances of the smaller wildlife.

Absolute peace and tranquility, from the walks and drives to simply relaxing in camp between activities.

Rates in South African Rands start at R5450-00 per person sharing and includes accommodation, all standard meals, two safari activities per day, selected drinks, bush dinners, walking safaris and return airport transfers to and from Eastgate Airport.

Simbavati Safari Lodges offer a great variety of lodges and activities for all tastes in safari experiences. Having stayed at all these camps we can highly recommend the experience and the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is definitely one of the best locations for Big 5 game viewing.

For further information on any of these lodges and camps, get in touch with us and we’ll gladly assist you with advice and making your reservation. For selected other lodges in South Africa and the Kruger National Park, visit our website, African Safari Experts and let us know what you want from your safari to Africa.