Simbavati River Lodge

Getting to Simbavati River Lodge

Simbavati River Sands Lodge is located approximately 2 hours from Hoedspruit Eastgate airport. To reach the lodge, you can rent a car and follow these directions.

Directions from Hoedspruit Airport

Upon exiting the airport, turn left onto Argyle Road, heading towards Timbavati Game Reserve. Continue until you reach the Enkhulu control gate of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. It is important to note that cell phone reception is limited beyond this point.

We recommend aiming to arrive at the lodge by 2.30pm, if possible. This will give you ample time to settle in before the game drive. In case of any unforeseen delays, please inform us at (015) 793-9021.

After passing through the gate, continue on the tar road for approximately 37km, making sure to adhere to the speed limit of 50km/hour. Along the way, you will see the turnoff for Simbavati River Lodge. Do not turn in here.

Further ahead, you will come across a low water bridge just before the entrance to Ingwelala game lodge. After another 800 meters, on your right, you will spot the Simbavati Hilltop sign.

Turn right onto the gravel track and follow the paw print signs on the trees or side of the road. These signs will lead you directly to the lodge, spanning approximately 10km. Keep an eye out for the signs, as elephants sometimes knock them down.

Please note: It is crucial not to rely on your GPS after Hoedspruit. The directions provided can be incorrect and potentially lead to a two-hour detour.


  • From Johannesburg Airport: Approximately 6½ to 7 hours’ drive (505km)
  • From Kruger Airport: 3½+ hours (210km)
  • From Hazyview: 3 hours (160km via the R40)

Directions from Johannesburg to Simbavati Hilltop Lodge (± 6½ – 7 hour drive)

The most direct route is via the N4, passing through Dullstroom, Lydenburg (Mashishing), Ohrigstad, and finally reaching Hoedspruit. However, some people prefer taking the northern route via Polokwane and Tzaneen, as it tends to have fewer potholes. You can find downloadable directions for the latter route.

To follow the direct route, take the N12 to Witbank (Emalahleni) from Johannesburg (or the N4 to Witbank from Pretoria). Continue on the N4 towards Nelspruit and turn left to Belfast at the off-ramp R33/R540. Once in Belfast, turn right into Voortrekker Street and continue straight on the R540 to Dullstroom.

Drive straight through Dullstroom and continue on the R540 to Lydenburg (Mashishing). At the T-junction, turn left into Viljoen Street (R36). Then, turn left again into Voortrekker Street. Take a right into De Clercq Street and follow the R36 through Ohrigstad. After the Abel Erasmus pass, the R36 takes a left turn to Tzaneen. Do not turn left here. Instead, continue straight on the R527 to Hoedspruit.

Once in Hoedspruit, continue straight. After crossing the bridge over the railway line, turn right at the four-way stop. Keep heading south on the R40 for another 6.4km before turning left onto the D1909 (Argyle Road). This road will take you to the Timbavati/Eastgate Airport road. Follow the directions to the lodge outlined for the Hoedspruit route.

Directions from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport or Hazyview

If you are traveling from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, the most direct route is via the R40 through White River and Hazyview. Alternatively, if you are staying in or near Hazyview, taking the R40 north is the best option. The turnoff to Timbavati/Eastgate Airport road is just 6.5km south of Hoedspruit.

Please allow approximately 1½ hours to reach the Timbavati turnoff from Hazyview, and then allocate another hour to arrive at the lodge. As you travel along the Timbavati Road, you will pass by the Eastgate Airport. Follow the Hoedspruit directions outlined to reach the lodge.

Alternative Panorama Route if staying at a Hazyview Lodge

The R40 can be challenging due to slow trucks, cars, and pedestrians, resulting in longer travel times than expected. Therefore, if you have enough time, we recommend exploring the Panorama Route, which takes you through the Blyde River canyon. Keep in mind that this route is longer, stretching about 255km from Hazyview to the lodge, equating to approximately 4 hours of driving. Along the way, you can visit the Bournes Luck potholes, Gods Window, and the Three Rondavels.

Helpful tip: It takes around 3 hours to reach Hilltop Lodge from the Three Rondavels viewpoint. So, ensure you do not leave the Three Rondavels later than 11.30am. We suggest leaving your lodge no later than 8 to 8.30am to allow time for a leisurely visit to the various stopping points.

For more information and to make a reservation, visit the Ambassadeur Hotel.