Simbavati River Lodge and Kruger National Park

After a few days of sightseeing through the Panorama route, we were in need of some R&R and couldn’t wait to reach our next destination – Simbavati River Lodge situated in the Timbavati Nature Reserve. We left the Blyde Canyon Forever Resort shortly after breakfast and started on our journey.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Abel Erasmus Pass offered the most incredible scenery enclosed by mountains, and the Kadishi Tufa Waterfall in its midst. Before you enter the JG Strijdom tunnel, there is a parking lot at the curio stalls where you can get an amazing view of the pass as well as the Olifants River below.

Abel Erasmus Pass
Abel Erasmus Pass

The most beautiful orange and citrus orchards can be seen on the way to Hoedspruit. We took a break here for lunch and used the opportunity to replenish our snacks and drinks.

Simbavati River Lodge is quite a distance from the Timbavati gate. The drive took slightly longer than expected due to the low speed limits imposed. Once you reach the entrance to Simbavati River Lodge, the road is uneven so I would recommend a vehicle with high clearance.

We had a grand entrance at Simbavati River Lodge. The staff are friendly and professional. It was our first time staying in a luxury tented room with an outside shower. The room was comfortable and private and provided that unique bush experience.

Simbavati River Lodge - Tented Room
Simbavati River Lodge – Tented Room

Simbavati is home to the big-five and the game drives certainly didn’t disappoint. Sunsets are incredible and offer some amazing photo opportunities.

Simbavati River Lodge - Game-viewing
Simbavati River Lodge – Game-viewing
Sunset at Simbavati River Lodge
Sunset at Simbavati River Lodge

Meal times were always a treat. Talk about fine dining in the bush. Hats off to the chef! There was also the usual boma nights and group dinners. It was an unforgettable 3 days.

Simbavati River Lodge - Food
Simbavati River Lodge – Food

There are plenty of game lodges to choose from in and around the Greater Kruger area. This lodge is situated in the Timbavati Nature Reserve which forms part of the Great Kruger Park. Look out for discounted rates directly with the lodge or via travel agents when planning your trip.

The next morning we left for the Kruger National Park. The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and home to various species of birdlife, mammals, reptiles and plants etc. We spent the day game-viewing and stayed at the Satara Rest Camp on the last night of our vacation. The accommodation is very basic but affordable.

Kruger National Park - Game-viewing
Kruger National Park – Game-viewing

The Kruger National Park is huge and there are a number of rest camps. If you would like to cover a reasonable distance in a few days, I suggest you book in advance and stay at a different rest camp each night. This way you see a new area of the park every day, as well as try out the accommodation. If you prefer to stay outside the park, please note there are limitations to the number of vehicles that can enter the park daily. The rest camps and entrance gates have specific opening hours so please be mindful of these. I also recommend that you get a good pair of binoculars, and of course a map.

We had an early start the next day as we made our way home via the Kruger National Park. For breakfast, we stopped at the Tshokwane picnic spot not too far from the Satara Rest Camp going towards Skukuza. The Skukuza Rest Camp has a few restaurants and a beautiful viewing deck so we decided to have lunch here.

Satara Rest Camp - Queue to leave at 6am
Satara Rest Camp – Queue to leave at 6am

Our journey back to Johannesburg took us pass Nelspruit and Waterval Boven. It was a long, tiring drive back and in hindsight we should have spent another night near Skukuza. And that brings an end to our amazing adventure through Mpumalanga.

In my first blog I set out to highlight the beauty of our country. No matter where I go in the world I am lucky to call South Africa home.

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