Letaba Rest Camp

 

 

     

Letaba Rest Camp is situated on a sweeping bend of the Letaba River, midway between the southern and northern boundaries of the Kruger National Park, South Africa. At Letaba Camp you can choose between a guest house, cottage, bungalow, hut or a furnished safari tent, as well as camping and caravan sites for your lodging in Kruger Park.

The character of Letaba Camp depends heavily on the tall shady trees (Sycamore Fig, Natal Mahogany, Sausage Tree and Apple Leaf),
expansive lawns and indigenous gardens where tame Bushbuck wander.

Visit in winter and you will find the gardens a riot of colour, with several species of Aloe and the Impala lily in full bloom at your accommodation in Kruger Park. The
Aloes attract a variety of birds, including the White Bellied and Marico Sunbird, Crested Barbet, Blackheaded Oriole and Black Eyed Bulbul.

Letaba Camp offers
excellent bird watching opportunities all year round. Pearlspotted, Barred and Scops owl can be spotted in camp, while the Giant Eagle Owl is regularly recorded along the river. Green Pigeon and Brown Headed Parrot can be found high in the tree canopies.

Letaba means 'river of sand' and the sandy riverbed makes for
excellent game viewing, particularly Elephant, which abound in the area. Letaba Camp is a green oasis in the surrounding mopane veld, and remains a firm favourite with holiday visitors for accommodation Kruger Park.


Accommodation:

Campsites

• 60 x tent or caravan sites, with power point. Communal ablutions and cooking facilities. (24-hour boiling water, electric hotplates and washing up facilities) Maximum of 6 persons per site.

Huts

• 5 x rustic 3-bed units with communal ablution facilities. There are no cooking utensils, crockery or cutlery, but a communal kitchen (located at the old picnic spot) with sink and electric stoves is available. Also equipped with fridge, fan and air conditioner. Moreover you have a choice of perimeter or river view units. Please confirm when booking.

Safari Tents

• 10 x 2-bed and 10 x 4-bed permanent furnished canvas tents on stilts, including a fridge, standing fan inside tent and small veranda. Communal ablutions and communal kitchens available.

Bungalows

• 86 x round–walled, single–room African style units with thatched roofs, 2 or 3 beds per unit, equipped with en–suite ablutions (most with showers, but some with baths). All units have air–conditioning, some have fans. Kitchenettes vary: some have hotplates and sinks; some have only sinks, while some have neither. Cutlery and crockery can be provided and hired from reception. More over you have a choice of with or without perimeter or riverside view. Please confirm when booking.

Guest Cottages

• 10 x 6-bed units (2 single beds in each bedroom), equipped with two bathrooms (one en-suite), air-conditioning (only in the bedrooms), lounge/dining area (with ceiling fan), large veranda and outside braai. The open plan kitchen has a four plate gas stove with oven, fridge/freezer combination, sink, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery and 6-seater dining room/lounge.

Guest Houses

• These are large luxury units in prime positions inside the camp, with riverside view. There are well-equipped kitchens (with microwave ovens) and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. Limited channel DSTV televisions are provided.

Melville: Sleeps 9, with 3 bedrooms (2 single beds in each room) and an additional single bed on the enclosed veranda.
Fish Eagle: Sleeps 8, with 4 bedrooms (2 single beds in each room) and has an exclusive bird hide

Accommodation at Letaba Rest Camp caters to a variety of guest requirements. Choose anything from luxury, self catering, caravanning or camping and safari tent accommodation for your stay in the real wilderness. Why rush? Stay longer!


How to get there:

  • Visitors to Letaba Camp can enter Kruger Park, South Africa through the Phalaborwa Gate. The journey from Johannesburg to Phalaborwa Gate takes about 5 hours. The closest rest camps are Olifants, 32km (19 miles) to the south and Mopani, 47km (29 miles) to the north.

    Letaba's strategic position makes it
    an ideal stopover for anyone travelling the length of the Kruger Park, South Africa. The Phalaborwa Kruger Park - South Africa Gateway, is just 4km (2.5 miles) from the Phalaborwa Gate.

    The camp is
    situated on a bend on the southern bank of the Letaba River and is one of the oldest and largest camps in the Kruger Park, South Africa. It is only 50km (31 miles) from the Phalaborwa Gate and 32km (21 miles) from the Olifants Rest Camp. The name Letaba is derived from one of the local languages, Sepedi, and means 'sandy river'.

    In the Letaba District there
    are actually 3 rivers bearing the same name, the Great Letaba, the Middle Letaba and the Small Letaba. They eventually become the Letaba River which joins the Olifants River in the Kruger National Park on its way to the Indian Ocean. The Letaba River is a flat area with dense Mopane Shrub and little grass.


  • Climate:

    Kruger Park, South Africa is in a summer rainfall area. Such precipitation is usually convectional and can result in heavy downpours. The
    summer months (October to April) are hot and often balmy. Winters are warm and mild, although visitors going on night-drives will require warm clothing.



    Vegetation:

    Letaba is a riverine camp and well foliated. There is a wonderful selection of trees and
    shrubs including sycamore fig, impala lily, common coral tree, lala palm and leadwood. The vegetation around the camp is mopane shrubland.

  • Letaba Camp provides ample opportunity for bird watchers and excellent day and night game drive safaris in Kruger Park.
  • Afternoon Walk, Bush Braai, Dawn Drive, Morning Walk, Night Drive, Sunset Drive
  • Go out on a 2 day trail hike along the Olifants River
  • Visit the reconstructed Educational Iron Age Village at Masorini
  • Home of the Goldfields Environmental Educational Centre
  • Excellent bird watching safaris in Kruger Park
  • The proximity to the river provides good game viewing opportunities

    In planning a safari itinerary in Kruger Park such as a
    game-viewing drive from Letaba, take into account that animals are drawn to water, and the consequent confluence of three major dams (Mingerhout, Engelhardt and Nhlanganini) may bode well to your hopes of making exciting game spotting during game viewing safaris in Kruger Park.

    The
    Matambeni hide on the northern bank of the Engelhardt dam offers a particularly good vantage point from which to brush up on your knowledge of water birds. You may also wish to consider heading for Malopenyana and Middelvlei to the north, where game viewing is consistently good.


  • Game:

    Most of the Kruger National Park's larger mammals can be seen in the Letaba vicinity, although it is not good Rhino country. However Elephant abound, particularly in the Letaba riverbed itself.
    Waterbuck and Buffalo are also plentiful on safaris in Kruger Park.

    Visitors need not even leave the camp to view these animals on safaris and suggested itineraries in Kruger Park and lucky visitors have been fortunate enough to
    witness Lion and Cheetah kills on the sandy riverbed in front of the restaurant complex.

    The camp itself hosts a healthy population of Bushbucks who have become very tame and
    wander freely amongst the bungalows. Other camp residents include Tree Squirrels, Fruit Bats and Vervet Monkey; which must always be considered before leaving food unattended.

    Birding:

    One of Kruger Park's many attractions is the rich bird life. Letaba has a varied bird population and is particularly good for viewing Owls. Pearlspotted, Barred and Scops have been simultaneously recorded in a single tree, while Giant Eagle Owl is regularly recorded along the river itself. Scan all large riverine trees carefully.

    Greencapped eremomela should be looked for in the camp and like most camps in the central and northern parts of the Kruger National Park,
    Mourning Dove is particularly prominent, as well as the Natal francolin, Arrow-marked babbler, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Kurrichane thrush, Orange-breasted bush shrike and Red-headed weaver.

    Birding along the river edge is always productive. The Matambeni Bird Hide on the northern bank of Engelhard Dam is an excellent place to watch water birds. On the south bank of the dam a
    number of redwinged pratincoles appear annually to breed. They have also been seen on the sand banks in the river in front of the camp.

    The Masorini Ruins close to the Phalaborwa Gate is a
    good venue to view Yellowthroated Sparrow, Mocking chat and Redheaded Weaver on birding safaris in Kruger Park.

    5 Things to Seek:

  • Bushbuck
  • Elephant
  • Lala Palm
  • Red Headed Weaver
  • Fish Eagle


    Attractions and Areas Of Special Interest

    Elephant Hall:

    Visit the Elephant Hall and
    enrich your knowledge on the Elephant's social structure distribution and ecology, morphology and physiology, origin and evolution as well as their relationship with humans.

    There
    are 3-D displays giving an exciting visual in-depth background to Elephants. The highlight of the exhibition is the impressive ivory collection, which includes the tusks of the legendary 'Magnificent Seven'. The hall also serves as a general ecological information centre.


    Historical interest of Letaba Rest Camp:

    In prehistoric times, parts of the present-day Kruger National Park were inhabited by successive groups of people. One such example is that of
    picturesque Masorini Hill which is 39km (24 miles) from Letaba.

    Human habitation at Masorini has been traced back several centuries to the late Stone Age, while more recently it has been home to the BaPhalaborwa tribe's people who inhabited it in the early 19th century. They were cattle and crop farmers, as well as iron smiths of note, who made
    a living by manufacturing iron artefacts and trading with Arab merchants on the east coast.

    Archaeological
    excavations have revealed hut floors, packed stone walls and terraces, grinding stones, pot shards, glass beads, ash and even food remains. Most impressive, however, are the iron-melting furnaces, smithies and worked artefacts. The village offers an example of a specialized economy and well-developed technology that existed well before the arrival of the white man in South Africa.

    The
    origin of a typical Portuguese cross, carved into an old leadwood tree along the S95 road just north of Letaba, remains shrouded in mystery. It may have been carved by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinandes das Neves, during his expedition to the Soutpansberg in 1860-61.

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