Luxury Safari Lodge
Southern Kruger National Park
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MITOMENI Trail Area
In the 1880’s the lure of gold brought men from all corners of the world to South Africa. On their way to the diggings they passed through some of Africa’s most scenic untamed wilderness. It is in this area that the Mitomeni Trail is based with the southern boundary of the concession being the old wagon route from Delgoa Bay to the gold fields of the interior. Today the wilderness experience we offer is unchanged from these early times. It is in an area noted for its density and diversity of game, particularly the ‘Big 5’.
The lodge and tented camp incorporate the romance and elegance of the past colonial era, and reflects in its unique style the indigenous Zulu and Shangaan cultures. The Trails Camp is situated in the southern area of the KNP at the confluence of the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers, half way between Skukuza and Malelane. Magnificent trees and an abundance of bird life surround the Lodge. From here our walks and game drives, limited to 6 guests per vehicle, enjoy exclusive traversing rights over 6,000 ha of the first private concession set in the southern heart of the Kruger National Park.
The southern half of the concession between the Mitomeni River and the old wagon road is a pristine wilderness area with no access by vehicle, which has been set aside exclusively for walking safaris. Scattered throughout the concession are some of the oldest Bushman rock art in Africa – dating back around 3,000 years and easily accessible on the walking trails.
The Camp offers guests a unique experiential insight of a bygone era, a time when exploring really was an adventure into this unknown Big 5 wilderness, as did the legendary Percy Fitzpatrick in the 18th century. The camp and tents have been meticulously recreated with the similar style camp beds, canvas washing basins, lanterns etc in order to transport guests back in time.
The walking safaris are lead by two highly specialised guides and nights are spent around the camp fire enjoying hearty bush meals whilst learning more about the history of Jock of the Bushveld, Percy Fitzpatrick and how the Kruger was born. During the day, guests explore on foot, a remote part of this private concession in the heart of the Kruger National Park, to get a real sense of how trekking was done during the early days of exploration – a tribute to the original and authentic African safari adventure.
The camp site is unfenced to provide the true explorer ambience and tents are placed in fairly close proximity without encroaching on other tents privacy. Wild animals are able to move through the camp at any time and although all safety precautions have been followed in setting up the camp; this remains a reality.
Tents: 3 x spacious campaign canvas tents sleeping a maximum of 2 people each
Meals: Rustic safari meals are prepared and enjoyed under the African skies by your personal Shangaan Chef
Ablutions: Each Tent has a bucket outside shower. Each tent has an en-suite bio box toilet (portable) with canvas for privacy.
- 2 x Old style beds with white linen, safari blanket & throw and pillows
- 2 x Roorkhee campaign chairs & table
- 1 x LED light for night time use
- 1 x Old style hand basin (warm water is supplied on request or at first light in the morning)
- En-suite bio box toilet (portable)
- Paraffin lanterns
- Guest amenities include insect repellent, toilet paper, towels, tissues, sanitary bags as well as bio- degradable shower gel and shampoo.
A Typical Stay
The following program is a guideline as all timings are subject to discussions upon arrival.
Day 1, day of arrival (Friday)
All guests arrive at the main lodge by 13h00
Meet your specialist guide who will host you for lunch at the main lodge.
Transfer in an open game viewing vehicle to the Trails Camp
Sundowner snacks are enjoyed upon return to camp
Enjoy dinner and an evening around the fire
Day 2 (Saturday) (and day 3 if staying longer)
Early rising can be expected due to the nature of walking and temperatures
Enjoy muffins, fruit sticks, biscuits, tea and coffee amongst Mother Nature
Morning walk commences and can last up to 3 hours
Enjoy a hearty brunch upon arrival at the camp
Relax in your tent, catch up on some rest or simply adore the wild
A variety of light sandwiches, cake with fresh fruits will be enjoyed for afternoon tea
Sundowner drinks are enjoyed in the bush, close to camp
Enjoy dinner and an evening around the fire
Day 3, day of departure (Sunday) (or day 4 if staying longer)
Early rising can be expected due to temperatures
Enjoy a breakfast in the bush before departing at 10h00 in order to depart from main lodge at 11h00
A brief walk on morning of departure is optional
Flora & Fauna
Your guides will delight in sharing their knowledge of this astounding natural treasure trove of the bushveld and slowly the mysteries of the wild unfold before you. Jackalberry trees older than written history are pointed out and the myriad of insects, birds, mammals and reptiles that exist in this leafy ecosystem are explained. The sheer wonder of Mother Nature at work in this microcosm makes one eager to experience and understand more and to experience untouched Paradise in its pure form. The Amarula tree, so very African, can be seen overflowing with baboons plundering the juicy fruit while keeping a wary eye out for the leopard that abound in the area. Taste the Sour plum and sense or spot the various plants with medicinal values ranging from stomach cures, hangover remedies or even the Viagra of the bush!
For the avid birdwatcher, abundant species of bird are regularly seen on the concession including raptors such as the Martial, Tawny and Fish Eagles as well as Steppe Buzzards. A wide variety of Bushveld Birds are spotted from the comfort of ones room or whilst lying next to the Rock Pool. Most commonly seen are Hornbills, Starlings, Boubou’s, Shrikes and Woodpeckers to name but a few. The tranquil atmosphere at the Lodge allows for unique birding opportunities as man slows down, finding the rhythm of nature and begins to truly observe.
To learn more about the Landscapes of the Kruger National Park (WPD Gertenbach) represented in this region, please see the bottom of this page.
Bushman Rock Art
Throughout the concession, rock art sites dating back more than 3,000 years are found depicting the spiritual beliefs and lives of the ancient San people who once roamed these lands. During their travels, members of the tribe would congregate around a communal fire, weaving stories and celebrating the gift of life while the Shaman would meditate through rhythmic dancing, singing and clapping and while in a trance, receive visions and guidance. This medicine man would ensure the well being of the tribe, protecting them from evil and sickness, predicting the future and ensuring good hunting and rains. These experiences of the Shaman were revealed to the tribe in the form of rock art. The various sites that were chosen were also symbolic, with a particular rock depicting the medium between the different realms the Shaman had travelled in his trancelike state. Rock was the medium where three worlds met: the world as we know it, the world above and the world below.
Ingredients used for their paints consisted of red ochre, animal bones, coal and aloe sap. The sap and protein in egg and blood have the ability to preserve the art that survives today. A highlight of the Mitomeni Trail walks is to view some of the rock art that abounds in and around the concession. One gets a heightened awareness moving through the bush on foot and a new found respect for the San who found a way to co-exist with Nature, leaving only a few mystical daubings on the rocks as proof of their fleeting visit and the simplicity of their ways, giving one a new understanding and putting our fast-paced existence into its true perspective.
The lodge is easily accessible by road, being just over 5 hours drive from Johannesburg, or 1 hour (35 kilometers) from Skukuza and 2 hours (150 kilometers) from the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) at Nelspruit. Federal Air flies charters between Johannesburg and Skukuza and these flights, including transfer to the lodge, can be arranged through our ground handling company.
Self drive and road transfers from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA/MQP) are subject to Kruger National Park gate times. The Kruger National Park prohibits the public use of roads within the park once the gates are closed. Therefore guests need to be at their destination and transfer companies must be outside the park by the time the gates close. The lodge is approximately 1 hour from the Malelane Gate and therefore we recommend that flights to/from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA/MQP) are booked in order to:-
Arrive at KMIA/MQP no later than 14h30 on the day of arrival.
Depart from KMIA/MQP no earlier than 10h00 on the day of departure.
Kruger National Park Gate Times
Kruger National Park Landscape Types
The Mitomeni trail is the only one of our eight trails situated on Combretum collinum/Comretum zeyheri Woodland, as described by WPD Gertenbach in his Landscapes of the Kruger National Park:
KNP Landscape Type No. 3 (variable bushwillow/Large-fruited bushwillow Woodland).
This landscape is found only in this part of the park along the upper course of the Mbiyamide River. The underlying granite and gneiss is deeply weathered resulting in an undulating landscape with distinct uplands and bottomlands drained exclusively by the Mbiyamide river and its tributaries. The altitude varies from 450 to 550 metres asl. The climate is mild and the absence of frost is an important characteristic, with summer temperatures of 40 degrees C not being unusual. The average rainfall varies between 600 and 700 mm per anum and, as is indicated by the name of the landscape, the vegetation on the uplands is dominated by Combretum collinum subsp. suluense and Combretum zeyheri. This is a relatively dense bush savannah between 1 and 5 metres in height with larger trees sparsely dispersed. The nutritive clayey bottomlands are open savannahs with a dense grass layer. Because of the sweeter nature of the grass in these bottomland areas, these parts are the first to be overgrazed.
This landscape is the preferred habitat for sable antelope, buffalo, kudu, white rhino, reedbuck and elephant, while smaller antelope such as steenbuck and common duiker are regularly found. zebra are widely distributed here, forming family groups of four to six individuals, while wildebeest are normally absent from this landscape. All the large predators are regularly found here due to the high concentrations of their prey species, making this trail a truly memorable game-viewing experience.