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March 1, 2012

African Rock Lodge

Welcome to African Rock Lodge!

Close to the Kruger National Park – in the heart of the African Wilderness you will find African Rock Lodge situated on the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate; approx. ½ hour drive from the Krugerpark. Upon arrival at African Rock Lodge; an exclusive lodge completely built in African style; you will experience a series of sensory revelations.

You will note that you enter one of the most beautiful pieces of nature South Africa has to offer. You will see the uninterrupted bushveld and some animals could be roaming around you as the Lodge is situated on a Wildlife Estate. As in nature everything at African Rock Lodge exists in harmony to blend into the bush and you are immediately aware of a feeling of calm and renovating spirit. You will stay in an luxurious suite with private patio, awake to the calls of the birds and enjoy a scrumptious breakfast on our outside patio, an en-suite bathroom with everything you can dream of, internet access, and thorough cleanliness – all that one would expect of a five star bush lodge.

Have a drink in the lapa (entertainment area) or our bar, take a plunge in our sparking pool, dine in the open dining room or in our boma (open air barbecue) and enjoy great walks to discover the surrounding nature. What you will find as an unexpected surprise is the unsurpassed hospitality of your hosts.

There are hosts and then there are hosts. Prepare yourself for conversation, kindness, helpfulness and generosity, and a twinge of sadness when you must finally leave. Thrilling safaris and breath taking tours, lavish settings and decadent cuisine combined with Gerard’s and Yvonne’s famous five star hospitality ensure that each and every guest experiences true African magic during their stay.


Our four exclusive suites are stylishly decorated with the Big Five Theme and have an indoor and outdoor sitting area and at per your choice; twin beds or a king-size bed, air conditioning/heater, an en-suite bathroom with double washbasins, toilet, bath, separate shower unit with a rain- and a regular shower. Furthermore the suites are equipped with personal wall safe, TV, wireless internet access, radio/alarm clock, mini-bar/fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, tourist information file, hair dryers, towels, gowns and a private veranda. All rooms have twin beds which can be joined to form king-size beds or separated for your convenience.

In short the well-appointed suites have all the facilities a guest would require. Due to government regulations, the suites are non-smoking.

In our entertainment area you can enjoy DSTV (Satellite TV), Home Theatre or just enjoy a drink at our well stocked bar; run as a honesty bar; so you can be the barman and enjoy a tot or two of your favourite tipple. A good selection of books and DVD’s are also available.

Meals are served in our elegant dining room, or on our outside patio or at the pool. Enjoy Dinner or a Braai (South African Barbeque) or Chinese Braai in our Boma at the crackling campfire, whilst listening to the night sounds of Africa and gazing up into the star-strewn skies. Alternatively transport to restaurants in the area can be arranged too.

Yvonne, although not a chef, will ensure that every meal is a delightful gastronomically experience. Whether it is, to connect or disconnect, read or revitalize, African Rock Lodge ensures personalised attention and a unique experience for guests. This Lodge is the perfect place to restore, unwind, revitalise, refresh, just enjoy the best holiday you ever had.

We speak Dutch (Hollands), French, German, English and Afrikaans.


Kruger National Park.

The world renowned Kruger National Park; probably the highlight of your stay. Visit and roam the great Krugerpark and view the Big Five (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino) in their natural habitat.

The Kruger National Park is the primary destination in South Africa for many local and international tourists. Each year more than half a million visitors are registered and visit the park. The closest gates are Orpen (approx. 30 minutes) and Phalaborwa (approx. 45 minutes). The park stretches from the Crocodile River in the south up to the Limpopo River, which is the international border in the north. Altogether it is 350 km long, 65 km wide and comprises an area of about 20,000 sq km. Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammal species habitat the nature reserve.

A network of roads numbering approximately 1863 kilometres leads through the National Park, 697 km of them are tarred roads. For visitors there are numerous differently equipped rest camps, most of them scenically positioned and have restaurants, look out spots and a convenience shop. Within the park boundaries, travel is only allowed between sunrise and sunset.

The best time for observing the animals is the dry winter season, however fabulous sitings have been seen in the summer and spring months as well.

We offer day tours, three, four and seven days tours to the Krugerpark National Park, as well as combination packages.

Panoramic (Scenic) Route.

The Escarpment, drops over approximately 700 meters to the Lowveld beneath resulting in a series of imposing cliffs, best observed from the God’s Window view point. The splendid panoramas, rock shapes, canyons and waterfalls make for an excellent sightseeing route. Natural attractions comprise the awesome Blyde River Canyon with its multitude of curious rock formations, particularly Bourke’s Luck Potholes which have been fashioned by churning waters, rocks and gravel to form immense holes. The canyon forms part of the Blydepoort reserve, inhabited by a wealth of small animals and a birdlife. The area is ideal for activities such as hiking, horse and mountain bike riding.
You can also visit some magnificent waterfalls which drop down the escarpment, such as Bridal Veil, Berlin, Mac Mac Falls which are well worth a break in your journey.

Bombyx Mori Silk Farm

The Bombyx Mori Silk Farm is set on the 24 Degrees South Country Estate, near the Blyde River Canyon, Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Bombyx used to be one of two commercial silkworm farms in the country. Several attempts of silk worm farming have been made in the past, some of which where as early as the twenties, in Knysna, however they have all proved unsuccessful. The Bombyx Mori Silk Farm stopped farming the silk worms due to a number of reasons – namely insecticide drift from neighboring agriculture, import of hybrid eggs due to monopoly control by the east, poor quality of worms and low quantity and quality of silk produced. It is for this reason that we now import a superior quality silk from the east as a raw material and do all the manufacturing on the farm, using well trained rural ladies.

Silk is one of the oldest known textile fibres, and according to Chinese tradition was used as far back as the 27 century BC. The silkworm moth was originally a native of China and for about 30 centuries the gathering and harvesting of silk was a secret process known only to the Chinese. Tradition credits the 14 year old bride of the Emperor Huang Ti with the discovery of silk, when as legend has it a cocoon fell into her cup of tea.

Cheetah Adoption Centre

Following an introductory presentation on the Centre, day visitors are treated to an in-depth tour of the centre. Departing on the hour, open safari vehicles with experienced guides move between the various enclosures, enabling participants to view cheetah, wild dog, lions, the black-footed cat, african wild cat, ground hornbills, sable antelope and much more.

A great treat is experiencing the feeding sessions of various rare African vultures as they swoop down into the “vulture restaurant” to feed on the remains of carcasses. This area attracts White-backed Vultures, Hooded Vultures, occasionally the Lappet-faced Vulture and Cape Griffon, the Marabou Stork and Bateleur Eagle. The bones and carcasses come from the bomas, paddocks and pens around the Centre, and once they have been picked clean they are taken to a bone miller and the proceeds are put pack into the Centre. Nothing goes to waste!

Elephant Back-Safari

Visitors may also participate on an elephant-back safari. Conducted early morning and late afternoon, guests enjoy close contact game viewing from the vantage point atop the massive pachyderm. This is truly a memorable and humbling experience. The Camp Jabulani herd of elephants are renowned for their beautiful temperaments and outstanding physical condition.

Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre

Nestled in a picturesque setting at the base of the Drakensberg escarpment in the Limpopo Province Lowveld of South Africa, Moholoholo has become a haven for the rehabilitation and care of abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife. Wildlife is brought to the center from all corners of South Africa, and once healthy enough are re-introduced into their natural environments. Those creatures who cannot be returned to the wild due to the nature and extent of their injuries, are cared for at the center and are used to educate the many people who visit us each year, both from across South Africa and abroad. Another important function of the center is breeding. We have successfully bred and released into the wild the endangered Crowned Eagle, Serval and many others.
This Centre is a non-profit organization, relying completely on the support of the public.

Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre was started in 1992 on a Game Farm owned by a wildlife enthusiast Mr. J.A. Strijdom. Brian Jones the manager had a Crowned Eagle when he arrived and then was brought in a day old Zebra, from there word got out that Brian was able to care and release animals and birds…and so the Rehab Centre started.
At first donations where welcomed but as the Rehab grew he realized that money was needed for the medicines and up keep of the cages and plus the expense of feeding so he then decided to ask a fee which started at R5 an adult. The tours lasted from an hour to two, sometimes three depending on the interest of the public.
The rehab now houses confiscated Lions from a Mozambique Circus, Leopard, Caracal, Serval, Cheetah, Crowned Eagle, Marshall Eagle, Vultures and many more that have been confiscated, orphaned, abandoned or injured.

Jessica the Famous Hippo and a visit to the Giant Baobab.

Jessica is a 10year old female Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) who lives near Hoedspruit – South Africa. What makes Jessica so special and unique, is the fact that she’s a wild animal that interacts with humans in a rather different way than nature has intended. It is well believed that Hippos are some of the most dangerous and fearsome creatures in Africa and there are many accounts of Hippos attacking (and killing) people who invade their space or disrupt their routines.
With this animal, this is definitely not the case since she loves interaction with humans and she displays mind-boggling characteristics which makes us wonder about our approach towards wild animals. When considering the natural behavior of the species, it is hard to establish whether Jessica considers herself as human or us humans as fellow hippos?
The tour comprises a video introduction on Jessica, feeding her food and bottle feeding her tea and a closer interaction with Jessica.
This tour will either before or after the visit to Jessica comprises a visit to Hoedspruit’s Giant Baobab.

Blyde River Canyon with boat trip.

Enjoy the splendor of the third largest Canyon in the world. Unquestionably being the largest ‘green canyon’ due to its lush subtropical foliage. An interpretation tour by a tour guide will take you to the you to the rare living Kadishi Tufa waterfall and the Three Rondawels. An abundance of wildlife will keep you distracted while learning more about the natural history of the Blyde Canyon.
The Blyde River canyon supports large diversity of life, including numerous fish and antelope species as well as Hippos and Crocodiles, primate species and a diversity of birdlife such as the African Fish Eagle, African Finfoot and much more.

Possibly the best view in the whole of the Blyde River Canyon is of the the “Three Rondavels”, huge, round rocks, thought to be reminiscent of the houses or huts of the indigenous people, known as rondavels. The Canyon is famous for the Kadishi Tufa waterfall. At 200m (around 660 feet) in height it is the second tallest tufa waterfall on earth. In the case of the Kadishi Tufa fall, the formation that has been produced strikingly resembles a face which is crying profusely, and is thus sometimes known as ‘the weeping face of nature.

Tshukudu & Kapama

On both these two Big Five private game reserves, we can organise a game drive (safari) in combination with a breakfast, lunch or dinner with the professional guidance of their game rangers.
Tshukudu Lion & Cheetah Breeding, Orphaned Animal & Animal Rehabilitation Projects.

Seven years into their labouring the Sussens (the family who owns Tshukudu) discovered that there was a great need for healthy lions in game reserves around the country. The area was not very supportive of lions due to the many cattle farms; problem lions crossing from the Kruger National Park were often destroyed.

In a bid to solve two problems in one go, the Sussens family offered to take any problem lions, and in turn built up a breeding project. This lion breeding project meant that lions could be rescued and either re-introduced or at the least the next generation would have a chance to be introduced into a different game reserve.

Besides committing their efforts to preserving a piece of nature and breeding lions to ensure healthy generations to come, the Sussens family has also developed a reputation for raising orphaned animals. No matter the size or shape, in our orphaned animal project all animals are welcomed and cared for until they are ready to survive on their own.
Everything from birds and squirrels to elephants and giraffe have been given a second chance through our animal rehabilitation project. And the young lion cubs, Savannah the cheetah and all sorts of other animals have joined the morning walk in their time, making it the amazing experience it is today.


Two daily game drives are conducted at Kapama (bookings in advance) and your skilled ranger and tracker do their best to find the animals of Africa for you to admire.

Expect a wake up call at 5am in order to leave for Kapama where we will be heading out at first light. If you are lucky, the big cats will still be around after their night of hunting. This is Big 5 country (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo)

There are also many other species to be seen, large and small, as well as fascinating plants and colourful birds. Stop halfway through the morning game drive for hot drinks and rusks from the Landrover snack box and return at around 9am for breakfast. For the afternoon game drive we will leave at 3.30pm for Kapama departing with the ranger/tracker team for the day’s second African bush safari.
Enjoy a sundowner drink along the way (not included in the tariff), and get out of the vehicle to stretch your legs and watch the sun go down over the distant Drakensberg Mountains.
As darkness descends it’s time to return to the safety of the Landrover and let the tracker scan the landscape with a spotlight picking out the glinting eyes of nocturnal animals. Return to Kapama at around 7pm, where there is time to freshen up before dinner.

Khamai Reptile Park

This centre of excellence for herpetology is well worth a stop. This destination has been a constant in the area since 1984, and was formerly known as the Swadini Reptile Park. There may be opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the inhabitants, including various scorpions, Baboon spiders and Puff Adders.

It is owned and curated by Donald Strydom, who has appeared as the “house expert” in a number of television features on the BBC, Discovery and Animal Planet channels. A renowned Black Mamba handler, he also worked with the BBC to develop a specialised tank to enable the filming of some unique footage of the Nile Monitor Lizard (leguaan) in its natural habitat.
Donald’s team also runs a service to capture and relocate “problem” snakes in the area, where there is a conflict between people and reptiles. At present Donald and his team capture and release over 300 problem animals each year. These include snakes, lizards, crocodiles, tortoises, frogs, spiders and scorpions.

The Khamai Reptile Park has been collecting data from animals caught in the wild for the past sixteen years and has been inspired to initiate a number of research projects through HERP dedicated to the conservation of reptiles through education and research.

Khamai Reptile Park runs a programme to educate local people as to the vital role snakes and other reptiles have to play in the ecosystem, and to try and dissuade people from a common “kill on sight” approach to the venomous snakes.

The following activities are also available in the area:
• River Rafting and Tubing
• Micro Lighting
• Paintball
• Abseiling
• Hot Air Ballooning
• Kloofing
• Quad bikes & Dirt Cars
• Horse Riding
• Elephant Back Safaris
• Hiking trails

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