The Timbavati Game Reserve

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A total of four nights split between the Simbavati River Lodge, and the Simbavati Hill Top Lodge. October 2015, the rains had yet to come, the days were warm and sunny and the wildlife was everywhere. 

The waterhole at the River Lodge provides excellent viewing with bushbuck, elephant, warthog kudu and an array of bird life.

The lodge itself caters for small groups and gives a perfect unfenced location on a dry riverbed in the private reserve of the Timbavati. Connected with Kruger a wealth of animals come and go through this glorious area. The lodge has a rustic feel, limited wifi and cell phone connection. Dinner in the Boma and fantastic lunches and breakfasts will ensure hunger is not something you will long for. Every morning I was greeted by a kudu, bush buck or impala feet from my room.

Simbavati River Lodge

  • Dinner Time

    The Simbavati River Lodge Boma

  • Prey Mantis

    You need to look everywhere and you will find life. This was taken on the bathroom window

  • Warthog

    Warthog having a mudbath at the Simbavuti River Lodge

  • Female Bushbuck

    Passing through the camp

Animals large and small were everywhere. I made the most of the quiet times back at the lodge to seek out small bugs or birds, or just watch the game come and go at the waterhole. One morning having a coffee, a leopard wandered across the river bed just 100m from us. 1 minute earlier and I may have bumped in to him as I left my room. Amazing.

The Simbavati Hill Top Lodge, again is unfenced and 1 km from the River lodge. Here I enjoyed the luxury and is a step up. Although the game drives and staff are identical, the food is outstanding, as are the rooms. Staff were incredibly fun. A wonderful big bull elephant came to visit, and although caused a little bit of damage to the sprinklers and railings, made for great entertainment with the guests as he ate the flowers from the gardens.

Simbavati Hill Top Lodge

The New Gardener

The old one was not very happy about this!

Left: The bull elephant caused a little disruption, but gave great photo opportunities at the Hill Top Lodge.

Right: A crocodile and Egyptian Goose at one of the waterholes.

Leopards everywhere

Many sightings of Leopards from a beautiful female resting on a termite hill, A wonderful youngster in a tree, A female hunting at night whilst on a night drive, and a walk by as we stood and had morning coffee before the first drive of the day.

Leopards of the Timbavati

  • Female Leopard in a tree

    One of five leopard sightings in the Timbavati Game reserve

  • Night Leopard

    Tricky - this was a moving target, from a moving target, at night with variable lightng from a harsh spot light. tough shot as we tracked this leopard through the bush off road

  • Close Shave

    Had I left my room 5 minutes earlier, I may have come face to face with this beauty

  • Relax


Big Five and so much more.

Lion, buffalo, white rhino and elephant completed the big five check list, but several wild dog sightings, a pack of seventeen at one point, African wildcat, and more hyena than I have seen in a long time were just some of the amazing sightings in the Timbavati Game Reserve.

The rest of the five

  • Get Back

    The Hyena were close and he was making it clear the giraffe meal was his now.

  • Buffalo

    Resting with the herd.

  • Crash of Rhino

    The crash (collective name for a group of rhino) started to crash, as they decided to lie down in the clearing.

  • Matriarch

    The Matriarch clears the road

Additional information and resource

Safari365: Based on the ground in Africa, they are experts creating luxury African safari and adventure travel experiences. Safari365 recommended this trip and managed all the bookings and logistics perfectly. 

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