Where is Simbavati Trails Camp located?
📍 Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, Greater Kruger
Simbavati Trails Camp is an off-the-grid tented safari camp tucked away in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park. It is about an hour’s drive from the Hoedspruit’s Eastgate Airport to your pick-up point at Simbavati Hilltop where your guide will meet you and drive you to Trails Camp – it feels blissfully remote and exclusive as you get closer to the camp without passing any other game viewers or tourists.
It’s truly an immersive bush experience, starting with the private location, which lends itself exceptionally well to a walking safari experience.
What is the Trails Camp experience about?
Exploring the bush on foot with a professional guide and tracker.
Simbavati Trails Camp focuses solely on guided walks in Big 5 wilderness in the Greater Kruger Park, so you can expect to take things slow, learn to look and listen and remain quiet, and really let the magic of nature do its thing. You will have a professional trails guide and tracker who will lead you out in the mornings and afternoons, walking from camp into the bush.
Your guides carry rifles as required and they read the signs of the bush in order to track animals, but the experience is not necessarily about encounters with the Big 5. Rather, it is about quietly observing herds of zebra, finding the evidence of aardvarks digging up termite mounds, looking at the terrain change around you as you walk on higher or lower ground, closer and further away from water, through mopane thickets and open sodic sites.
Your physical world will open up and get immensely bigger as you learn more about how nature is unfolding around you all the time.
Guests who have done a traditional safari once or twice before and are looking to dive deeper, explore further, remove the layers and connect with the African wild for a tremendously resetting experience will love Trails Camp.
What is the Trails Camp accommodation like?
Meru-style safari tents with ensuite bathrooms and bucket showers.
Accommodation at Simbavati Trails Camp epitomises the concept of “glamping”. It sleeps up to eight people in four Meru-style canvas tents, keeping the group size small and intimate. Each of the safari tents is spacious inside, housing two singles or a king-size bed, and a toilet, basin, and an open-air bucket shower.
It sounds simple, and it is (that’s the gloriousness of it) - but there is luxury where it matters: your en suite bathroom has a regular flushing toilet, the water in the bucket shower outside is heated on demand and there is plenty of it, the linen on the beds is soft, white cotton. Our favourite part is the little coffee station with a flask of hot water, a French press, and cold milk and water in a cooler box. It’s the little things that count, and Trails Camp has seen to the details in the best way.
Each tent has a shaded front “porch” with a pair of directors chairs facing out into the bush around you. We highly recommend taking a seat during the quiet of the day, keeping a refreshment close by and taking in the peace of the wilderness around you.
Another sneaky suggestion from us to you is to sleep with the canvas flaps of your tent rolled up so that you’re protected by the mesh windows but not blocking out the beautiful sounds of the bush at night. And the breeze in the warmer months!
What are the Trails Camp facilities like?
Ultra comfort in the wild - unfenced, solar-powered, and meals cooked on an open fire.
There is no fence around the camp and there is no electricity or running water. It sounds primitive, but those aspects will become your favourite elements of this camp.
Solar power charges up lights for your tents at night and there’s a battery charging outlet at the dining tent for your devices, but the lack of connectivity is the best part - enjoy switching off from your phone! Water is pumped from a borehole and a team of professional and efficient staff work behind the scenes to create a very comfortable and polished trails camp experience.
There is a central dining tent with a lounge, a little library with books about the bush, and a dining table which is set to seat everyone together at each meal. Outside is a fire pit which glows under a starry sky every night. An exceptionally trained chef cooks mostly on the open flame and using the coals for heat. From fresh bread to fillet steak to souffle… don’t expect the basics just because you’re at a bush camp!
There’s a round plunge pool tucked away facing the bush, and some sun loungers set up for an afternoon siesta, poolside. The bar is stocked with a variety of cold refreshments and ice, and there are freshly baked rusks and biscuits to go down in the mornings with a cup of coffee before your walk.
Why do we love Simbavati Trails Camp as a walking safari experience?
- Location - the Timbavati is a favourite of ours, and this particular walking territory is quiet and undisturbed. There’s no vehicle activity, so tracks on the roads linger longer and tell a greater story.
- Guides - Stanley and Knowledge were our guides and they do rotate with other exceptional guides that meet the superior Simbavati standard, so you can’t go wrong. They were switched on to our interests and took every opportunity to show us something unusual.
- Comfort - the tents are immaculate with quality linen, thoughtful turndown touches, and attention to detail.
It is one of the best trails safari offerings in the region and a perfect soft entry for safari goers who enjoy luxuries and convenience, but who also want to go deeper and switch off. It is far from primitive, but it encourages you to simplify and surrender.
Things to know about Simbavati Trails Camp:
- Solar power keeps the camp running beautifully, and a back-up generator is used as a support when necessary.
- There is no phone signal or Wi-Fi.
- It is a seasonal camp - open from March to November and then closed for the hot, rainy months of summer.
- The camp is unfenced, so wildlife (including Big 5) is free to roam.
- Only children over 16 years old are permitted.
- There is a minimum two night stay at Trails Camp (but we recommend at least three!)
How to book at Trails Camp
Simbavati Trails Camp is open during the walking safari season, and it is ideally paired with a stay at a camp that offers game drives and a more traditional safari experience, so we’d recommend incorporating it into a blended itinerary.
There are fantastic offers combining more than one Simbavati property, so make sure you reach out to our team, as we are kept in the loop of specials and availability. Let us guide you through the process and recommend the perfect pairing of camps.
Want to know more or book you walking safari? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org