If you’re busy planning your first visit to the Kruger National Park, you probably have one request and that request is probably to see lots of animals. While the Kruger is not a zoo and seeing the Big 5 is never guaranteed, it’s totally understandable that you’ll want to fit as many sightings as possible into your few days on safari. If this is the case, you’ll really enjoy staying at Jock Safari Lodge in the Kruger.
Getting to Jock Safari Lodge
Located down in the southern Kruger, Jock Safari Lodge is about a 5 hour drive (430km) from OR Tambo international in Johannesburg. It’s located near both the Malenane and Skukuza gates, so whether you choose to drive or fly via charter, you’re never too far from the lodge. Jock Safari Lodge offers the quintessential Kruger experience, with spacious rooms and a view of the riverbed where animals can often be spotted from your patio. There’s a pool where you can cool down in the summer heat and a cozy public area with wifi and a fireplace for winter.
Staying at Fitzpatrick’s at Jock Safari Lodge
We stayed at Fitzpatrick’s Lodge at Jock, which is a small, intimate lodge that sleeps 6 people in 3 rooms. It’s perfect for families or friends who want to have the space all to themselves. From the minute we drove through the gate into the Kruger, we started seeing wildlife. First, a herd of around 20 elephants in the distance, then a couple of giraffes and even a white rhino hiding from the sun under a tree – all before we’d even arrived at the lodge!
We were greeted at Jock Safari Lodge with friendly smiles and a room tour before jumping on the back of a safari van for an afternoon game drive with our guide, Dawid van Zyl. Right from the start, we were treated with sighting after sighting. Over the next two days, we enjoyed 3 game drives, spending around 12 hours driving through the bush with our expert guide.
The best part about staying at a lodge and going on drives with a professional guide, instead of going on a self-drive safari, is the access to out-of-bounds parts of the park. We’d already been up close to three males lions resting in the shade, when we suddenly came across one of Africa’s most elusive animals – a beautiful leopard lazing in the dry riverbed. He was not at all bothered by us and allowed us to photograph him to our heart’s content. This would have been enough for me, but it didn’t end there. In fact, we would end up having three more leopard encounters before our trip was done.
Next, we came across two white rhinos right outside the gate at Jock. As if this wasn’t enough, we were treated to a very rare sighting, a black rhino, a little later.
After our exciting afternoon, we arrived back at the lodge to find dinner set up under the stars. We sat around the table in the boma and enjoyed a truly delicious meal of soup and salads, braaied (bqq) meat and loads of delicious vegetable dishes! We chatted to our guide and asked him questions about living in the bush while we dined on properly delicious food, surrounded by the sounds of the bush.
The next morning, as we were recovering from the cuteness of coming across a litter of adorable hyena pups, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by a pride of twelve young lions. We were so close we could smell them, and spent about an hour just watching them before they all casually started to disappear into the dense bush. Our late breakfast after the early start was just as delicious as dinner and I was really impressed with the skills of the kitchen. We had some time to relax after the exciting morning before lunch and our next game drive.
Our time ay Jock Safari Lodge was everything that you hope for a Kruger experience to be. It was luxurious and exciting, with icy cold early mornings setting off before sunrise, and afternoons watching the sunset from the back of our safari van. The southern Kruger is a great place to visit when you want to see as many animals as possible and with the addition of a guide, you’re not likely to be disappointed. Once you’ve had your fill of the busy south, head up north for the peacefulness of the wild bush and a completely different experience.
Book your stay at Jock Safari Lodge
To book your stay, visit www.jocksafarilodge.com.
*My visit at Jock Safari Lodge was hosted. As always, I am under no obligation to share rave reviews on my blog, and my opinion remains authentic.