A review of Bateleur Bush Camp, Kruger National Park

A hornbill has lunch

In January 2012 we were fortunate to ‘bag’ ourselves two nights at one of 7 bungalows in the Bateleur Bushveld Camp in Kruger National park, South Africa. It’s a very popular camp and accommodation is limited, so early booking is definitely advisable.

At first glance it might seem expensive compared to other SANParks accommodation, but each unit take 4 people in two rooms, each with their own bathroom. There is a lovely covered outdoor kitchen featuring a dining table for 4, fridge and fully equipped kitchen, including microwave, hotplate, cutlery etc They don’t seem to have the primate problems of other camps, so the kitchen isn’t as ‘locked down’ as much as elsewhere.

There is a real sense of peace and quiet in camp, mainly due to the fact that you are in the middle of no-where. The description of ‘bush camp’ is perfectly descriptive…you are in the middle of the bush and boy do you notice the difference. Bird and bug life is prolific. Huge bugs, some bigger than hummingbirds, buzz around. Birds wander freely up to your kitchen. Frogs hide  behind your fridge and bats roost in the kitchen ceiling. I don’t in any way want to put you off – I see all these as positives and the absolute reason why you should stay here. It’s the perfect mixture of luxury and bush. But if you are the kind of person who likes their holiday bug free then this (and safaris) are not for you.

The reason there are so many bugs and birds is because the land around the bungalows has not been cleared like in most other camps, so you are surrounded by trees, bushes and grasses which are home to many a wonderful creature.

Your braai is situated by your kitchen in the shade of huge trees and it’s a lovely way to spend an evening.

There is a hide by bungalow 1, which guests are free to use. It provides guides to the birdlife and has a light to illuminate the waterhole in the evening. Lions are known to attend the waterhole, though we did not see any during our stay.

The camp is protected by a fence, the perimeter of which you can walk around. There are benches and picnic tables at regular intervals for you to stop, relax and appreciate the surrounding views.

The staff are very friendly and welcoming. They are unobtrusive and pretty much leave you be – but they are always there should you need them.

There is no shop on site. The nearest is Shingwedzi, so make sure you arrive with all the provisions you need. The reception sells ice and firewood only.

The camp is set within exclusive grounds. The roads leading to the camp are exclusive to guests only, meaning that you’ll have the area pretty much to yourself on game drives.  Within this exclusive zone there are two beautiful  dams which elephants, eland, hippos and birds frequent.

In addition to our own self drive safaris, we took a night drive and game walk with the camp ranger and headed out towards RedRocks. The night drive was the most fruitful we have ever been on. We saw our first honeybadger, civit, bushbaby, small spotted genet and lots of nocturnal deer. Chameleons rested in trees, snakes slid through branches and Night Jars bounced around our jeep. Owls perched on top of leafless trees and hunted by the roadside. It was one of the best 4 hours we’d ever spent in the bush.

It’s a truly beautiful place to stay. For more information, visit the SANParks website.

Photos from our South African safari are available in our Taraji Blue South African photo gallery.

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