Mopani Rest Camp ~ K.N.P.


Completed in 1992, Mopani Camp is the newest of all the rest camp accommodation and lodging in Kruger National Park. Inside Mopani Camp indigenous vegetation has been left largely untouched, while newly planted trees have been laid out along the camp's tarred roads.

Mopani Camp takes its
name from the mopane trees that are so prevalent on the surrounding plains. In autumn the butterfly-shaped leaves change to striking hues before falling off in September and October.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the
thatched buildings, with their rock faced walls, and surrounding paving, blend into the bushveld environment. All the buildings at Mopani Camp are built from natural materials such as rough stone, wood and thatching-grass, which blends them in beautifully with the environment.

History of Mopani Camp:

Vacation visitors to Mopane Camp have the unique opportunity of taking
guided tours and day trips to the Shilowa heritage sites, which lies right on the Tropic of Capricorn along the Kruger National Parks eastern boundary. The so-called First Site traces a history of human occupation of the period between 1200 AD and 1600 AD.

Archaeologists were guided to the site by the change in the grass species, symptomatic of an alteration in the chemical composition of the soil caused by the 2 metre deep ash deposits in the area.

The second site dates back to the late 1700s when
the Pedi inhabited the area. Chief Shilowa, who owed allegiance to the Tsonga chief Gugunyane, lead an attack around 1800, driving the Pedi out.

It is commonly believed that the Tsonga moved in to take over the site, due to its well situated water supply and ready access to trade routes. As the 19th century wore on, African tribes expanded their trade in copper, iron, ivory and gold, exchanging goods with the Voortrekkers, traders, hunters and fortune seekers that began to move into the area.

  • Summary of Accommodation & Lodging Guide:


    4 beds (one twin-bedded room, 2 bunk beds in alcove), one bathroom, veranda with kitchenette and outside braai (barbeque).


    4 beds (one room with 2 single beds, 2 sleeper couches in lounge), two bathrooms, veranda with kitchenette and outside braai (barbeque).

    Guest Cottages:

    6 beds (three rooms each fitted with 2 single beds, one en-suite bathroom), two bathrooms, kitchen, lounge / dining area, large veranda and outside braai (barbeque).

    Xanatseni Guest House:

    8 beds 1 room with a double bed, 2 single beds in other rooms), large lounge / dining room and kitchen, outside covered bar and veranda area with view of the dam, also there are braai (barbeque) facilities.

    Shipandani Sleepover Hide:

    6 beds at the dam near camp.

    Facilities & Attractions:

  • Information at Reception
  • Public Telephones
  • Post Box
  • Basic First Aid Assistance
  • Restaurant
  • Ladies Bar
  • Cafeteria/Coffee Shop
  • Shop
  • Emergency Road Service*
  • Petrol Station
  • Laundromat
  • DSTV Only Available in Guest Houses
  • Conference Capacity
  • Picnic Facilities

  • Location:

    Mopani Camp is situated on a rocky rise, with a magnificent view over the Pioneer Dam.
  • Modern architecture, privacy and open spaces
  • Newly planted trees edge the tarred roads
  • Rich with plant species
  • The nearest entrance is Phalaborwa Gate, which is 74km (46 miles) away
  • Airport is 4km (2.5 miles) from Phalaborwa Gate

    This flat area is
    rich with plant species like the Mopane shrub, Red Bushwillow trees and sweet grass. Flora found in this region include: Apple Leaf, Tamboti, Baobab, Leadwood, Shrub Mopane.

    Mopani Camp is situated
    47 kilometres (29 miles) from Letaba Rest Camp and 65km (40.3 miles) from Shingwedzi Rest Camp. The nearest gate is the Phalaborwa Gate which is 74 kilometres (46 miles) away. Car hire facilities are available at the airport.

    There are
    regular domestic flights to and from the Phalaborwa Kruger Park Gateway Airport which lies just 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) from the Phalaborwa entrance gate.

    How to get there:

    Travel routes and times from Johannesburg/Pretoria:

    Phalaborwa Gate:

    Take the N1 toll-road to Polokwane (Pietersburg). Forty kilometres (24 miles) before Polokwane turn right onto the R71 and head for Tzaneen. After Tzaneen head towards Phalaborwa and the gate. Allow between 6 to 7 hours for the trip to the gate.

    Mopani Main Rest Camp is 74 kilometres (45 miles) away from the gate. Allow about 3 hours for the drive to the camp, however, if you want to enjoy the game viewing possibilities, give yourself more time.


    Kruger National Park in 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.


    Mopani is situated at the transition zone between granite /gneiss soils to the west and basalt soils to the east. The former hosts a combination of mixed bush willow, silver cluster-leaf and tree and shrub mopane, while the latter combines apple-leaf with shrub mopane. Large knob-thorn, tamboti and leadwood are found along the drainage lines.

  • Activities:

    An in-camp trail offers many opportunities to spot the prolific and beautiful birdlife on your Kruger National Park vacation.
  • Afternoon Walk, Dawn Drive, Morning Walk, Sunset Drive, Night Drive
  • Enjoy a short walk to the Pioneer Dam
  • A ladies bar is available
  • Visit the heritage sites
  • Swimming pool for the enjoyment of residents

    Night drives enable you to
    take part in the nightlife activities of Kruger's secretive creatures in the company of experienced guides and trackers.

    Guided bush walks, in the company of trained field guides with backup rifles, take groups of up to 8 people out into the bush for a few hours.
    Track Rhino, Elephant and Lion on foot and learn and observe fascinating facts about the African bush.

    By relaxing at the look out point or on the terrace of Mopani Camp's safari room you can enjoy game viewing without even having to leave the camp, during the course of your Kruger National Park vacation.

    The safari room also boasts a ladies bar, television and fireplace. Enjoy a short walk to the Pioneer Dam. Mopani Camp
    boasts a swimming pool, for the use of resident visitors as well as a walking trail.

    Visitors to Mopani Camp have the unique opportunity of taking one of the Kruger Park
    guided tours and day trips to the Shilowa heritage sites, right on the Tropic of Capricorn along the Park's eastern boundary.


    The dense mopane veld around Mopani Camp has an unfair reputation for being a poor game area. In truth there is actually very little that cannot be seen in this habitat.

    In fact, a person can simply sit at the lookout point in camp, or at the nearby balcony of the ladies bar, and
    be treated to a constant stream of animals such as Hippo, Waterbuck, Impala, Warthog, Elephant, Buffalo and even Lion.

    The Tropic of Capricorn loop and the Nshawu pans are an excellent area to see game as there are some open plains that host species such as Blue Wildebeest,
    Burchell's Zebra, Buffalo and the rarer Tsessebe.

    Black-backed Jackal and caracal are some of the smaller more unusual species to look out for on your Kruger National Park vacation.

    Birding Attractions in Kruger Park:

    camp overlooks the Pioneer Dam where a plethora of water birds are to be seen. Storks, egrets, kingfishers and African Fish Eagles are ever present while Redwinged Pratincole, African Spoonbill, Blackwinged Stilt and Whitewinged Tern are some of the more uncommon species to watch for.

    Mosque and Wiretailed Swallow breed in camp (the former should be looked for at the camp's huge Baobab Tree).
    Mocking Chats should be looked for from the ladies bar on a Kruger National Park vacation. At the nearby Nshawu Pans look for Kittlitz's Plover, Chestnutbacked Finchlark and Redwinged Pratincole.