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Author: Mishka Ramdas, Digital Copywriter
When the bush calls, none can resist the call. So, naturally, when the Simbavati Collection & the African Synergy Team offered us a visit to the Simbavati Safari Lodges in the Greater Kruger National Park, we jumped at the opportunity. We spent three nights exploring the Klaserie and Timbavati Private Game Reserves, where we were treated to a few incredible sightings.
At 07:00 sharp, Nadia and I departed on our journey to where we would be spending our first night, the brand-new Simbavati Waterside! As we arrived at Waterside, we were instantly hooked by the look and feel of the lodge. The lodge is modern and contemporary yet still welcoming and cosy. The main area and deck are set over a massive waterhole and as we sat for our delicious lunch, we were visited by an elephant and a few giraffes passing by for a refreshing drink in the scorching heat.
Simbavati Waterside definitely has that wow factor when it comes to style and design. From hand-crafted chandeliers to carefully curated art pieces, the main area, lounge, bar and even your Luxury Suite are a treat for the eyes. One of our favourite elements was that the trees that lead to your room are labelled with descriptions. Therefore, nature lovers will love these little snippets of information as they stroll towards their room, pool, gym, and spa. Of course, we ended our day in true safari fashion with an afternoon game drive, refreshing sundowners and a magnificent culinary experience thanks to the talented Chef Karabo. Before heading to our next stop in the Simbavati Collection of safari lodges, we had an eventful morning game drive with a leopard sighting as well as a single male cheetah walking through the reserve.
After breakfast, we headed to Simbavati Camp George, a natural oasis in the midst of the bushveld. Camp George focuses on providing a 360° experience, offering a base from which to explore the intricacies of the ecosystem, great game viewing and a homely culinary experience. There are over 300 species of cycads in the world, and Camp George has just over 80% of them within their perfectly manicured gardens. Surrounded by lush greenery, trees and an array of flora, Camp George is a completely unique offering within the Klaserie Private Game Reserve. Before we knew it, it was time for high tea, we were joined by a massive herd of elephants.
As spectacular as this sighting was, nothing prepared us for what we would see on our evening game drive. Our ranger Michael was quite knowledgeable, and he definitely knew exactly where the best sundowner spot was! Towards the end of the game drive, Michael mentioned that he had a surprise for us (he did advise that it was not a leopard, but I was intrigued nonetheless). As we approached the sighting, we could hear the lions having a feast. Finally, we had reached them, and low and behold, we were witnessing a large pride having zebra for dinner. A few minutes in, Michael had turned off the lights and all we could hear were the sounds of the lions eating away, growling at one another, and enjoying their feast… my senses were seriously heightened!
We then headed back to the lodge for dinner and just before our 4-course meal, a leopard strolled past us at the waterhole, which obviously, was the cherry on the cake! The reserve lies adjacent and open to the Greater Kruger National Park and the Timbavati Game Reserve, allowing for endless opportunities for game viewing, which was evident from the time we arrived at Camp George.
Our last night was spent at the flagship lodge of the Simbavati Collection, Hilltop. Set high within the hills of the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, overlooking the river, this is a romantic paradise. Each Tent faces the river and is completely unfenced. You become one with nature at Simbavati Hilltop as you are constantly surrounded by the echoing sounds of hippo, crocodile, birdlife and more. If you’re a sucker for views, this is the place to be! You truly are in the wild when you’re sitting on your deck and you see hyena’s popping by for a drink at the river.
We headed out on our game drive and again were surprised by the density of game within this reserve. We followed a male lion with two lionesses as well as their 2-month-old cubs as the sun set and it was beautiful to see just how carefree these little ones were. We also managed to see the male lion swiftly chase a hyena away from the pride which was quite interesting. One of our favourite sightings while at Simbavati Hilltop was the white rhino family that appeared as the sun rose on our morning game drive.
Our job as Travel Specialists is not complete without seeing all the lodges in the Simbavati Safari Collection. So, whilst at Camp George we got a chance to see their two home-style camps, Amani and Homestead. Simbavati Homestead is a private self-catering Villa where guests can experience the freedom of the African bush. Boasting 5 Luxury Bedrooms for you and your family or friends, this Camp is a unique home set within the bushveld.
Simbavati Amani is a much-loved bush home that has been extensively refurbished and upgraded into an attractive and intimate little lodge of just 4 rooms in a game-rich area of the Klaserie. We personally feel that it would be perfect for exclusive-use for close friends and families. While staying at Hilltop we were also able to visit Simbavati River Lodge, which was built not long after Hilltop. Perfect for families with varying tastes in accommodation, River Lodge boasts Safari Tents, Pool Suites and Chalets. The lodge is perfectly set overlooking the river giving you a first-class window seat to game viewing.
Overall, the Simbavati Safari Collection gave us an in-depth view of an array of products within the portfolio. This Collection continues to grow with the addition of two new exclusive-use home’s set within the Timbavati Game Reserve which will be known as Mbuvu Cottage and Simbavati River Sands. So, are you ready to set off on your Simbavati Adventure?