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ivee Sep 11th, 2006 07:33 AM

Rocco: feedback on Simbambili
Just back from Simbambili which we chose after Rocco's recommendations. We had fantastic leopard sighting, including a female with 2 8-month old cubs, even cheetahs. We arrived coming from the Timbavati (Tanda Tula) which was great and then the first drive in Simbambili was a bit of a deception as we just saw some giraffes and a buffalo. The next day we wer joined by a couple of honeymooners who has never been on safari or even SA before and that they we saw so much that it was almost ridiculous :
4 leopards, the big five ànd the cheetah, and a hippo out of the water. Plus de usual impalas, giraffes etc. !!!
We had to tell them: really the drives are not always like this!!!! The suites are beautiful and so is the main lounge. Food very nice the only thing is that I believe to remember that you were especially enthousiastic about the deserts there, which we thought the weak point, mainly cheesecakes or cookies.... Mind you we could not care less, the lodge was just great. Thank you for recommending this super address!

Roccco Sep 11th, 2006 07:58 AM


Wow...4 leopards, plus the rest of the Big Five and a hippo out of water on the same game drive! That other couple is now forever spoiled.

Actually, I did not rave about their desserts so much as I did about their breakfasts. I am not a fan of African luxury lodge desserts...give me chocolate chip cookies, brownies, strawberry shortcake anyday over mousses, cheesecakes, cheeses, etc. that is served at the lodges.

I will be in the Sabi Sand in just about 2.5 months, spending three nights at Sabi Sabi, my first ever visit there. It will come on the heels of 16 nights in Botswana and right before I finish up with 3 nights at Mateya in Madikwe.

Would love to hear more about Timbavati and Tanda Tula when you have a chance. Also, did you take any photos you may be able to share?

Welcome home! :)

santharamhari Sep 11th, 2006 08:00 AM


Wow!!! Good sightings and glad you enjoyed yourself.....

Yes, Simbambili for me....if i am to visit the SSGR again. Nice to try different lodges in the SSGR. I think they all deliver good game viewing.


ivee Sep 12th, 2006 05:33 AM

Rocco: this was our second visit to Tanda Tula: last year 3 nights and this year 4., as we thought it was so nice last year! This year we saw slightly less game than last year, although I think last year we were especially lucky: when we arrived, at approx. 100 metres behind the airstrip 3 male lions were feasting on a buffalo that they had stolen the night before from the females that killed it. And that was only the beginning!
This year it was very cold and there was a very strong wind and our ranger thought that this was of influence of course. We still have seen a lot during those days in any case all of the big five; 2 leopards, but of course in the sabi sand you see more leopards. In Tanda Tula there a LOT of elephants, several large breeding herds and they have just next to the lodge an elephant research center with a young couple that can tell you the most amazing stories about their studies and elephant behaviour.
The lodge itself is beautiful, very luxury tents( ok they are called tents but you have a bathroom with victorian bath...) You have a private deck with view on the river. Theu have a very special intimate atmosphere .You do not have the comfort of a well heated room like in Simbambili, which this year was very convenient as the evenings and early mornings were so cold. But honestly I could not choose if I had to: the charm of the tents in Tanda Tula is great and then they put a small heater in the tent and a hot water bottle in your bed. Food is really very nice and as you seem to love nice breakfasts, they are very nice here!
Remarkable in Tanda Tula is the personal attention you are given, with a striking sense of detail. They really give you the feeling that they just want you to be happy there (much more than in Simbambili) Dinners are every night in another place. They make beautiful tables with a blanket for everbody on his chair etc etc.
The bush is not the same as in the Sabi Sands , much "drier" perhaps less beautiful to some.
As to Simbambili again: at the moment they have a ranger who will only stay for 2 years (his name is Chris he is a student, specialized in marine environment ànd has a passion for big mammals. This guy just knows everthing about all small or big animals, their behaviour , how their organism works etc etc it was absolutely fascinating. He could talk on and on and we have learnt so much! He was the one with the greatest knowledge of animals I believe, perhaps not the best tracking team but we were lucky to have him. Last year we were also in Londolozzi Tree camp, but quality/price wise I do prefer Simbambili also because it is not so big as the Londolozzi complex.
I do have some nice photos althought I am not an expert but I must admit that am a total zero computerwise and do not how to 'share ' them. I'll work it out. In the meantime we are already dreaming about next time probably Namibia combined with Botswana!

ivee Sep 12th, 2006 06:09 AM

You can also find some more info
On this site click on 'luxury safaris" you will then see some info on Tanda Tula, choose the 'picture gallery: they show different seasons, in the 'winter' section you have a very good photo of a tent (how they really are).
By the way: Tanda Tula is owned by Constantia Uitsig . CU has interesting packages called 'best of both worlds , combining Constantia with TT for people who want to combine visiting Capetown and surroundings (the location is ideal)and safari. We did that last year. Talking about food.... dinners are fantastic (note that I am married to a Frenchman and have lived (and eaten!) in France for 30 years). I am working on the photos!

ivee Sep 12th, 2006 06:12 AM

PS I mean the dinners at Constantia. The famous Constatia wines are served ree at Tanda Tula as well.

Roccco Oct 16th, 2006 06:36 AM

Hi Ivee,

Thanks for the additional info on Tanda Tula. Although not as many leopards as the Sabi Sand, I can definitely appreciate the reasons you have provided for your passion for Tanda Tula. One thing that the Sabi Sand seems to lack is a big elephant population so if Tanda Tula has a lot of elephants as well as does everything else so well, it definitely sounds like a great place.


santharamhari Oct 16th, 2006 06:39 AM

They have off-road driving here?


Marksafari17 Oct 16th, 2006 07:29 AM

Nice report. What dates were you actually at Simbambili?


ivee Oct 16th, 2006 08:12 AM

yes they do and they will do their utmost to track -driving or walking -that lion or leopard and are pretty good at it. But as I said perhaps the main interest here are the elephants . There are also huge herds of buffalos (we saw one of approx 600 buffalos). And for those who are really interested in elephant behaviour I cannot recommend enough these super-enthousiast guys from the elephant research center.
Last year we saw more animals than this yearprobably due to the weather as I mentioned before. An exciting evening was when a breeding herd of elephants with some small babies "met" with some lionnesses that were on the hunt, so of course these elephants wanted to chase them away and charged them ..and our car was just in the middle... Although I know that the rangers always make sure to have an 'escape way' it was still very impressive !


We did 4 nights TT and then 3 in Simbambili starting Friday sept 1st .

santharamhari Oct 16th, 2006 08:32 PM


Thanks. TT sounds very nice indeed and you did have some super sightings....


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