Tsendze Rustic Camp near Mopani is by far my favourite campsite in the Kruger National Park. But on a recent visit, we found ourselves visiting Kruger’s Maroela camp for the first time – and we really liked it too.
Our first day in the Kruger National Park had been great. We’d left Berg en Dal at 9am and within 30 minutes had seen a rhino with a calf, some ellies with little ones whose trunks were still floppy, a small group of buffalo, and nine wild dogs with at least two pups on the H3 tar road north to the Afsaal picnic spot. North of Tshokwane we saw a spotted hyena plonked down in the water at Mazithi to cool off. Some 20km south of Satara there was a zebra kill right on the side of the road, with lions having a post-gorging snooze.
We were wrong.
Manager Zondi Seepane came to welcome us with a big smile and ask if he could help with anything. We also met his wife Nikiwe, who evidently takes pride in her work if the super-clean ablutions are anything to judge by. There’s nothing better than a clean, cared-for camp with friendly, personal service and Zondi and Nikiwe provide just that.
The next morning we were out by 6:15am. At the first viewpoint along the Orpen-Satara Road there was a kill with a bateleur and tawny feeding about 2m from the side of the road. Then five lions on a hippo kill in the mud on the edge of a waterhole down a dead-end near Nsemani dam. And finally, on the Sweni Road, three male lions on a freshly killed buffalo. And we had it to ourselves.
This is the magic of Kruger – and Maroela is both a lovely camp in its own right and a great base from which to find that magic.
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