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Simbambili Game Lodge

When To Visit Sabi Sand Reserves:
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"Enjoy the personal service that the lodge offers – and with fewer rooms, this property sure is great for honeymooners or couples who enjoy a more romantic setting, with their own private plunge pool and an expansive deck with views over the waterhole."


Simbambili Game Lodge is owned and operated by The Thornybush Collection. This company runs a total of 12 safari lodges – 11 are situated within the Thornybush Private Reserve and one, Simbambili, is in the north of the Sabi Sands. All are characterised by luxurious rooms and suites, high service standards, and exciting activities. The accommodation at this lodge is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, dawn and dusk vehicle safaris, optional walking safaris, snacks and sundowners, and access to Wi-Fi. The lodge is open all year round and there’s a minimum age requirement of 16 years.


The lodge is accessed via brief road transfer from the airstrip at neighbouring property Arathusa. It has a lovely location amidst jackalberry and knobthorn trees on the banks of the Manyeleti river within the northern Sabi Sands.


Guest accommodation consists of nine suites, including one honeymoon suite and the Waterhole Suite. The latter, as its name suggests, has particularly good views of a nearby waterhole! Each suite occupies a characterful timber, stone, and thatch building, with stone steps leading to its entrance door. Inside every standard suite, you’ll find a double bed or twin beds with mosquito nets, bedside tables and lighting, a separate seating area, and storage furniture. Additional amenities include air conditioning and mini-bar. The en-suite facilities comprise separate flush toilet, twin washbasins with mirrors over, oval freestanding bathtub, and shower that opens up onto the deck. This deck also offers a sala, a plunge pool, a couple of sunloungers – and amazing vistas over sprawling savanna studded with woodland! The honeymoon suite benefits from all the features of the standard suite, in addition to a nicely secluded location. And we recommend upgrading to the Waterhole Suite for those breathtaking views.

Simbambili’s communal lodge is another wood, stone, and thatch structure, connecting with the guest suites along neat stone pathways. Its lounge contains a colourful medley of sofas, easy chairs, high-backed armchairs, and pouffes around a central coffee table, with large lamps on occasional tables and fans suspended from the timber roof beams. Adjacent to this space is the dining area, featuring chic separate tables and smart upright chairs. The bar is conveniently placed between lounge and dining areas, and it stocks a good range of wines, beers, spirits, and more. At the front of the building, there’s a spacious deck, where you can relax and tuck in to delicious food and drink while marvelling at the scenery! A short stroll away, a traditional boma provides an authentic al fresco setting for evening meals. Simbambili also has a curio shop, offering an enticing assortment of locally made items. There’s also a wonderful health spa, providing massages, mani-pedis, facials in a charming chalet on stilts or within an outdoor open-air sala.


Activities from Simbambili focus on exploring the Sabi Sands on expertly guided game drives and walking safaris.

  • Drives take place in early morning and late afternoon into evening, while walks are restricted to mornings.
  • The private reserve is made up of savanna, woodlands, and a number of water sources, not least the beautiful Sabi and Sand rivers.
  • It’s home to all Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo – and it’s especially famous for sightings of big cats, including cheetah!
  • Other predators in residence include hyenas, jackals, and the rare wild dog, while the herbivore count features hippo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and a lot of antelope species.
  • The birding is also very impressive, with specials such as hawk eagle, purple heron, grey cuckoo-shrike, and the beautiful emerald cuckoo.
  • The camp’s walking safaris are fantastic for anyone hoping to get a really close look at the smaller lives of the reserve – not only the feathery friends, but also the insects and plant life.
  • Walks also offer opportunities to track big game and to learn about traditional folklore from Shangaan trackers.
  • All safari activities are tailored to guests’ interests, and they involve a stop for snacks or sundowners.

*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.

For more information about activities at Simbambili, or anything else to do with staying at this luxurious lodge, please contact a member of the YZ team.

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