The Kruger National Park is exceptionally diverse. Not only is it home to hundreds of species of different animals, but the landscape and the vegetation are ever changing. The further north you travel, the more the changes in the landscape will become noticeable. Shingwedzi rest camp is in the northern sector of the park, and when you enter the area you will see a different type of countryside.
The south of the park is well known for having lush bush and great, sturdy evergreens. As you travel north, the plains open up to fewer massive trees and more grassland. But what makes Shingwedezi similar to some of the other camps in the park is that it is situated near a river. As with most camps found near rivers, riverine bush dominates the immediate camp surroundings.
Beyond the river, there are ancient alluvial plains, the result of centuries of flooding. It is on these plains where the vegetation is not dense, that spotting all kinds of wildlife makes the visit worthwhile!
Ancient times created a lingering atmosphere
Shingwedzi means “the place of the ironstone”. It was once home to some of the great giant elephants as well as numerous herds of elephant. As the camp is near a river, there is always plenty of wildlife to see. Nyala, kudu, elephant and waterbuck are common. The Kruger Park is a summer rainfall region, with the river swelling during the months of heavy rain.
If you intend to travel to this area, it’s good to note that the summers are hot and exceptionally humid, while the winters are pleasantly warm.
Some say that Shingwedzi gives off the aura of a time when the first travellers came through rough and wild Africa. The atmosphere contributes to the appeal of staying at or visiting Shingwedzi. This is still a rustic place, although it offers all of the amenities of modern living, such as air conditioning. There are all kinds of accommodation facilities available for all kinds of guests. From more luxurious accommodation to camp sites ideal for tents, guests have plenty of choice in terms of how they plan their stay.
Day visitors have plenty of space to spread out and relax. With braai facilities as well as a restaurant, this is the perfect stop off for lunch. Keen photographers are also likely to enjoy the variety of birds which can be spotted swooping in and out of the area.
The camp is also special for another reason: a swimming pool! Not all camps have this simple and most welcome feature; however it is only for overnight guests.
Wildlife you’ll come across near the camp
If you are staying over in the camp, carrying torches wherever you walk at night is non-negotiable. Scorpions, spiders and snakes are just a few of the critters that come out at night, and you certainly don’t want to have a heart attack by stepping on one! This is true of all the camps in the park when you come to think of it. So keep this in mind no matter where you stay over.
Shingwedzi is known for its elephant herds although the animal sightings can be a little sparse in the shrub veld. The closer you get to the Shingwedzi river, however, the more animals can be seen roaming around.
The area offers a wide and diverse range of animals to spot, including:
- Sharpes’ grysbok
- Spotted Hyena
- Wild dogs
There are a few packs of wild dog in the area. This is a special species because it is endangered at the moment. Choosing to live in packs, they can occasionally be spotted lounging under trees or playfully running across the roads.
As you travel a bit further north of the camp, into the grasslands, you come into cheetah territory. Cheetahs are known for thriving in open grasslands where they can use their immense speed to chase down prey.