Mopani Rest Camp, Kruger National Park

Mopani Rest Camp, named for the mopane tree with its butterfly-shaped leaves that dominates the plantlife of the northern Kruger National Park, is located just south of the Tropic of Capricorn. From its hilltop vantage point, the camp offers splendid views over the Pioneer Dam (with a rich aquatic birdlife) and the mopane plains beyond.


Mopani entrance


Mopani bungalow

Mopani has an unfair reputation for not being a very prolific game viewing area of the Kruger Park, mostly because the mopane shrub can get extremely thick and difficult to see through.


Impalas displaying just how thick the mopane’s can get!

However, if you choose your routes carefully, the Mopani area has very much to offer; the best drive is undeniably the circular route made up of the S49, S50 and S143 gravel routes to the east of the camp that skirts the Mooiplaas and Tinhongonyeni waterholes and the Nshawu Vlei (marsh). Mopani, and especially the area around Tinhongonyeni waterhole, is a hotspot for sightings of the rarer antelope and large birds like the kori bustard, ground hornbill, ostrich and secretary bird. In fact, Tinhongonyeni is one of the best waterholes in the entire Kruger National Park for overall game viewing, and a couple of hours there will assuredly be time well spent. Elephant and buffalo thrive in the Mopani area (there’s a herd of buffalo in the vicinity more than 1,000 animals strong) and we’ve had a number of good lion and cheetah sightings in the district.


Buffalo in rainy weather


This buffalo wasn’t overly happy to have his way blocked!

Mopani_charging elephant

Unhappy elephant!


Eland – a rare sighting in Kruger – at Tinhongonyeni waterhole

Mopani_elephant carcass

Vultures cleaning up the carcass of a tusker that died almost on Mopani’s doorstep

Mopani_elephant in the road

Claiming the road as his own, and who’s going to disagree?

Mopani_elephant procession

Elephant procession


Lone elephant bull




Kudu bull


This lion gave us a terrible fright, as we stopped right next to him without knowing he’s there (we were watching a herd of tsessebe at that moment)


Lions quenching their early morning thirst just a kilometer from Mopani


Reedbuck are frequently seen in the Nshawu Vlei


Tinhongonyeni waterhole, with three rare antelope in one shot: eland, tsessebe and Liechtenstein’s hartebeest


Tsessebe are seen more frequently near Mopani than anywhere else in the Kruger Park


More tsessebe. Guess where? Tinhongonyeni!

Just south of Mopani, the Shipandani Hide, which overlooks a waterhole in the Tsendze River, offers a very different overnight experience as a single group of guests at a time may occupy the hide between sunset and sunrise.


Shipandani Hide


The neighbours at Shipandani

Mopani is also special to the de Wets for one more reason: it is here, in the glow of a magnificently romantic African sunset, that Marilize and I got engaged!

Mopani sunset

The scene was set to get down on bended knee!

14 thoughts on “Mopani Rest Camp, Kruger National Park

  1. Pingback: Spring in Kruger: September 2014 | de Wets Wild

  2. Pingback: Buffaloes of the Mphongolo | de Wets Wild

  3. Pingback: Marvelous Mooiplaas | de Wets Wild

  4. Pingback: Winter in Kruger, Satara August 2014 | de Wets Wild

  5. Pingback: Autumn in Kruger: Orpen, April 2014 | de Wets Wild

  6. Pingback: Saturated | de Wets Wild

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We use both options Killaval, but when we do go camping it’s always with tents, so unfortunately I’m not able to give you good advice on campers or caravans. Sorry!



Please don't leave without sharing your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.