In the second installation of our series of posts that take a look at the unique Kruger regions, we cover the area between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Olifants River of Kruger region mid-North. Remember to check out our maps pages for a detailed map of this area, as well as the other Kruger regions.
Kruger region mid-north
Famous For: Mopane trees
The dense Mopane woodlands situated in the Kruger region of the mid-north are home to two very different but equally special residents. Elephants are the gentle grey giants that browse the dense Mopane trees, and the namesakes of the Olifants River. The area’s other special resident is the Emperor Moth – better known, at one stage of its life, as the Mopane Worm. The worms are considered a delicacy and, after being harvested, are dried or smoked and eaten as a snack.
Landscape: Semi-Arid Shrub Mopane
The Mid North is an area of hot, low-lying Shrub Mopane between the tropic of Capricorn and the Olifants River, with the Lebombo Mountains in the east. Semi-arid, sandy plains are intersected by no fewer than five main rivers: the Letaba, Olifants, Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers. Amongst the Mopane Shrub and along the riverbeds, one finds stunning groves of Nyala, Sycamore Fig, Tamboti and Tall Apple Leaf trees.
Wildlife: Hippo, Elephant, Giant Eagle Owl
Around 60% of the Kruger park’s hippo population are found wallowing on muddy banks and shallow waters. These excellent swimmers are extremely territorial in the water but forage peacefully together on land during the evenings. Sightings of elephants are particularly good in the Letaba riverbed, along with buffalo, bushbuck, impala and kudu.Eland, Sharpe’s Grysbok and Roan are some lesser-spotted land animals to keep your eyes out for, while birders will want to tilt their heads skywards for sightings of the Pearl Spotted, Barred and Scops and Giant Eagle Owls.
Historical Sites: Masorini, Das Neve’s Cross
Masorini Hill – the remains of the ancient village of the Ba-Phalaborwa, that houses remnants of the society ’s metal and stonework.Das Neve’s Cross – A Portuguese cross carved into the very old leadwood tree on the S95, the origin and significance of which is uncertain. Possibly carved by Diocleciano Fernandes das Neves who traded and hunted in the interior, passing through the current Kruger National Park.
Red Rocks - a large sandstone slab exposed by the Shingwedzi River about 15 km south-west of the camp.The Elephant Hall – Letaba’s Elephant Hall is a favourite among regular visitors to the Park. It houses six of the seven pairs of tusks of the Magnificent Seven – the seven largest tuskers to ever roam the Park.Sable hide sleepover – you can book a night’s stay in the Sable Hide as an alternative to staying in one of the rest camps. A bird hide overlooking the Sable Dam, an overnight stay in the hide immerses you in nature; a totally unique experience that will allow you to spend a thrilling evening under the stars, surrounded by wild animals.
Where to Stay:
Letaba Restcamp is a riverine oasis set on the banks of the Letaba River and surrounded by Sycamore Fig, Natal Mahogany, Apple Leaf, and Sausage Trees. Because of its central position (at the junction of three main roads) it is a good location from which to explore the more northern regions of the park on day drives if you don’t want to stay all the way in the north. With its position overlooking the banks of the Pioneer dam, visitors to Mopani Restcamp can take advantage of the wildlife sightings at the dam's edge, providing excellent viewing opportunities for the Big Five.Have you visited the mid-northern region of the Kruger National Park? What was your experience like? Leave us a comment and tell us about your trip!One of our travel experts traveled to the Greater Kruger to experience various lodges. Read more about her experiences here: Giada's Greater Kruger Safari Vacation