Shingwedzi Trek

Tranquillity, solitude, incredible landscapes


Wild, remote and very beautiful

In May 1903, there was little resistance when the vast 5,000 square kilometre area now known as Shingwedzi was proclaimed.

Stretching from the Letaba River to the far northern Luvuvhu River, it was so wild that it was considered unfit for humans. Even today there are relatively few tourists to this wild and remote area.

The Shingwedzi River formed the heart of the former protected area and it forms the heart of our safari. It’s a river of contrasts. It only flows during summer, swelling to incredible dimensions after a deluge, and diminishing to shrinking pools lying in its great sandy bed in winter.


Shingwedzi flood plains

The Shingwedzi flood plains have been shaped by millions of years of flooding that deposited nutrient-rich river sediments on the underlying basalts.

These vast flood plains contain a wide array of habitats, from the huge riverine trees that Shingwedzi is famed for, to riverine bush to grasslands. As a result of the good grazing, the area is rich with wildlife compared to the surrounding mopaneveld.

The region is also renowned for its prolific birdlife, particularly in summer when thousands of migrant birds arrive from central Africa and Eurasia.

  • search for big cats

Where there is prey, there are predators

With a rich variety of prey, the flood plains are a great area to search for the big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah – as well as other predators such as hyena and wild dogs.

The grasslands to the north, which we reach by following the course of the Mphongolo river to the north through beautiful riverine woodland, is one of the best places in northern Kruger to see predators.

  • expect the unusual

Memorable sightings

The riverine bush provides an oasis for animals and birds… elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala, warthogs, wildebeest, waterbuck, monkeys and baboons. There are plenty of hippos in the larger pools in the river and you can see huge crocodiles lying on the sandbanks.

The grasslands are among the best places in Kruger to see the rare antelope – sable, roan, tsessebe, eland and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest. And besides that, you also have a chance of seeing the smaller rare animals like caracal (nandzana in Xitsonga), serval, honey badger, civet, common reedbuck, and Sharpe’s grysbok.

  • lush mopane colours

Vast mopaneveld

Apart from the rivers and flood plains, this region offers enormously wide vistas of flat mopaneveld whose leaves turn fiery colours in the winter.

The leaves and pods mopane are a principal high protein food source for many insects and animals, particularly elephants, and an important source of fodder during the dry winter months. The region is famous for its big herds of elephants and enormous breeding herds of buffalo (up to 2,000).

  • recharge your soul

The solitude of the bush

Peaceful solitude is easily found in northern Kruger. There are beautiful scenic designated areas where it is safe for us to get out of the vehicle. They offer you moments of quiet reflection while soaking in the beauty, peace and tranquillity of the wild, untouched bushveld.

  • fabulous views over shingwedzi river

Shingwedzi Camp

Situated along the Shingwedzi River, Shingwedzi feels genuinely untouched by the passing of time, and is reminiscent of the old frontier Africa of yesteryear. It is one of the older camps in Kruger and one can still see the old accommodation that was built to accommodate the first tourists to the park. Its atmosphere is quiet, peaceful, and relaxed. It offers panoramic views over the river and surrounding flood plains.

Shingwedzi offers camping, rustic huts, bungalows, a lovely guest cottage and a luxury guesthouse. It has a great restaurant with a deck overlooking the river, a swimming pool and a curio shop.

  • spectacular view over Pioneer dam

Mopani Camp

Mopani is beautifully situated on a hill overlooking Pioneer Dam. All the accommodation is built from natural materials such as rough stone, wood and thatching-grass, which blends them in beautifully with the environment. There is an excellent restaurant, swimming pool, and well-stocked curio shop.

You can watch herds of buffalo and elephants coming down to drink along with a rich array of birdlife. This is the start of baobab territory as well and there is a magnificent giant in the camp itself.

Why we love it

Tourists tend to think ‘nothing but mopaneveld’ and stay in the south, so the feeling of solitude is unbeatable in this rich and varied landscapes of rivers, flood plains, and yes, the ever-present mopane shrub.

We often linger in amazing spots all on our own, totally immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the bush, with nature’s greatest performance unfolding in every direction.

We also love the enormous tuskers and huge breeding herds of buffalo you find in this region. And Shingwedzi Camp with its old world charm, is our favourite camp in Kruger!

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