Everyone loves a family trip to the Kruger National Park (KNP). The long, lazy days in the car, disagreeing over bird names and the hard-boiled eggs for lunch are what memories are made of. But if you are looking for a more exclusive, personalised bush experience with some pampering on the side, we've got just the place for you.
Located at the south western corner of the KNP, Jock Safari Lodge truly is a hidden gem. Aside from the guided safari tours of its 6000 hectares exclusive wildlife terrain, it will allow you to immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the bush with guided walks, visits to rock art sites, bird watching, spa treatments and stargazing.
The lodge is nestled at the confluence of the Mitomeni (Shangaan for ‘Jackelberry Tree’) and Biyamiti (Shangaan for ‘Place of many Trees’) rivers, with rooms overlooking the riverbed. It was the first private lodge added to the KNP, making it the park's oldest concession. After recently getting a refurbishment, it reopened with a fresh new look, without losing its authentic bush lodge feel.
Here are three things that make Jock Safari Lodge unique:
1. It's named after a certain legendary dog
Yes, you guessed it, the lodge gets its name from the South African classic, Jock of the Bushveld. When prospectors started rushing to the goldfields of the Eastern Transvaal in the 1880s, among them were Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and Jock, his trusted Staffordshire bull terrier. Up and down between the gold-rich capital of Thula Mela and the old Voortrekker road from Delagoa Bay (now Maputo) to the goldfields of the interior at Pilgrims Rest they travelled, together experiencing many of the adventures Sir Percy later wrote about in Jock of the Bushveld.
Fitzpatrick's descendants, the Niven family, eventually used the money from his trust funds to build the Jock Safari Lodge in the area close to where the story took place. You will find elements of this rich history in the décor of the lodge and in small, subtle touches added to make your stay truly unique.
2. Small, slow and exclusive
With only 12 suites at the Main Jock Lodge and three more rooms in the villa-style Fitzpatrick's at Jock camp, chances are you will do an entire safari drive without seeing another human being (unless, of course, you venture into the main park to which guests have full access). This means undisturbed Big Five watching for you and your family. The game drives are leisurely, with scheduled stops for a morning coffee or evening sundowner. A private guide will make sure you are at the right place at the right time to spot that elusive leopard and will be able to tell you all about the landscape, plant life and animals in the Kruger.
Back at the lodge the entire camp is covered in a canopied ambience of the shade of indigenous trees, giving you a feeling of cool and calm. Each suite has its own private plunge pool, and outdoor Victorian bath and shower, from where you can watch the elephants grazing in the riverbed. A thatch-covered sala (day bed) makes for a perfect afternoon nap, and for the ultimate bush experience you can ask for the bed to be made so you can sleep under the stars at night.
The private camp, Fitzpatrick’s at Jock, is currently undergoing an upgrade to cater for families and children, and small groups of up to six guests travelling together. Ask about their Kids on Safari programme that includes educational wildlife activities.
3. You'll eat like a King
Jock Safari Lodge has a team of chefs and waiting staff that will give you a dining experience fit for a king. Be prepared for a lot of deliciously prepared meat, including kudu steaks, springbok curry and beef fillet. (Vegetarians don't fear – there are lots of veggie options!)
For dinner, meals alternate between a set menu and a more traditional braai in the boma every second night. High tea is served before every afternoon safari drive, with delicious cakes and tarts baked by the lodge's chefs.
The dining area and upstairs bar have been redesigned, with each table, couch and sitting area an intimate and cosy spot to relax, making it the ultimate place for a special getaway you won't forget.
What to know if you go:
Guest can travel either via road or flight from Johannesburg and surrounds via a 45m flight from OR Tambo, Johannesburg to Mbombela (MQP).
From Cape Town to Mbombela, guests would need to fly to OR Tambo before connecting to the Kruger-bound flight. 2 h 15 min and Connecting = 3 h 50 min+
Special Offer: A 10% discount is offered on all new bookings for May and June 2019, plus a R250 on-site credit voucher per person per stay (valid for spa treatments, premium wines or gift boutique purchases).
Direct bookings only: Tel +27 (0) 13 010 0019 or firstname.lastname@example.org. T&C’s apply.
Their room rates are as follows and includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, high tea, game drives, guided walks, tea, coffee, water, game drive beverages, tourism levy and 14% VAT (all other beverages are excluded and must be settled upon departure).
- 01 September - 30 November 2018 & 01 - 30 April 2019 - ZAR8 960 per a person sharing
- 01 December 2018 - 31 March 2019- ZAR 9 780 per a person sharing
- 01 May 2019 - 31 August 2019 - ZAR 8 960 per a person sharing
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