We first visited this lodge in 2013 while staying at Leadwood Private Camp, with friends from South Africa. The game viewing while at Leadwood was magical with numerous quality sightings of leopards and lions with the help of off road tracking. The problem is that Leadwood, though an excellent camp, is a self-cater camp. This essentially means that the group has to bring in the food items we plan to use during the stay and also must be heavily involved in the preparing and presentation. This is great for local South Africans but we knew this would be an impossbile task for bringing groups from the United States or Europe. Leadwood’s owner, and now our close friend, Jan Wilkens, suggested we organize trips at Simbavati, which at that time was a fairly new lodge built on property owned by the Wilkens family and having game drives/traversing rights on the land we had grown to love. We decided to go over to Simbavati and have cocktails while checking out the lodge and chalets. The grand thatched roof and riverbed along the expansive porch sold us very quickly. Checking out other details looked fantastic also. With this we booked our first group into Simbavati River Lodge in May 2014. We haven’t missed a year staying in this lodge since! Join us and you will see why.

The Lodge

  • 8 Luxury en-suite safari tents
  • 3 Thatched en-suite family chalets
  • Lounge with a selection of books and games
  • Curio shop
  • Bar
  • Game viewing deck overlooking the river
  • Dining on the viewing deck
  • Open air boma
  • Informal meeting room/activity room
  • Swimming pool
  • Wi-Fi in reception, lounge & deck (but very little cell phone reception)
  • Laundry service available


The Rooms

Individual chalets with en-suite baths. The chalets are on a permanent foundation with permanent roofs. The baths have concrete walls, whereas the sleeping area has a canvas ‘soft wall’ for the safari experience. Some rooms include an outdoor showers and also some rooms come with outdoor bath tubs. These unique features really let one feel one with nature and alive! The beds can be set up as a double bed or moved apart to create two single beds. All rooms have 24/7 power (220v) and the Magnum Excursions team provides power adapters to allow you to use the U.S. plug. As most travelers bring a laptop computer, mobile phone and also need to charge camera batteries, we recommend you bring a basic power strip to plug in your devices as there are a limited number of power outlets in each room.

The Food

Typically, we have two main meals per day. One after the morning game drive (at around 10 a.m.), and one after the afternoon/evening game drive (around 7 p.m.). In addition, tradition is ‘high tee’ around 2:30 pm with fruit drinks, tea, water as well as sweet and savory snacks before the afternoon game drive. We also have coffee and rusks available (similar to biscotti) before our morning game drive, snacks mid-way through each game drive.

Enjoy an early morning cup of coffee/tea with rusks before embarking on the game drive.

After the morning game drive, breakfast is served outside on the wooden deck. For our morning meal, there is always a buffet of fruits, juices, cereals, yogurts and cheeses set out. In addition, the staff takes orders for the hot portion which can include omelets, traditional English breakfast or eggs in any other style you prefer. Often there will also be a casserole of some type.

A light lunch is served just before the afternoon game drive.

Dinner is a festive event which is alternatively served around the campfire in the open-air boma or in the thatched dining area.
Dinner consists of an African and Western cuisine with exciting tastes for the more adventurous as well as various conventional options.

For those with special dietary needs, special meals are prepared. On various trips, we’ve had travelers that needed gluten free, folks avoiding dairy and even people who would rather not have any onion in their dishes. The staff is excellent at remembering these special requests and handling the needs with ease each meal. Please remember more unique special dietary requirements are subject to prior notification as the nearest shops are over one hours’ drive away.

The bar caters for alcoholic beverages and also includes a wide selection of fine South African wines.

“Sundowners” – snacks and drinks at sunset while on a game drive

Last modified: August 11, 2017