I’ve had a deep love for White Elephant Safaris and the Pongola Game Reserve since taking my first clients there in August of 2000 as a hopeful young one in the process of launching my tour operating company, Africa Awaits Tours & Safaris.
The tour operating company would go on to thrive and be my staple for over a decade, before selling it to an incredible woman (who still flies the AATS flag today) in 2010, as I moved on to become The Incidental Tourist. Over the years I would make many visits to White Ellie in Northern KwaZulu Natal, have written about it frequently and formed friendships with the owners and people who care for this precious piece of wilderness that borders Lake Jozini and the mighty Ubombo Mountains.
This is where I first connected with the bush, tracked elephants on foot, went horseriding alongside a herd of buffalo and learnt the names of all the water birds. From boat cruises, my heart opened to the value of conservation, from 4×4 safaris I was taught the significance of migratory routes and around the campfire at night with the yelp of the jackal for company, my true yearning for the wilderness was born.
There was also that time I owned white rhino there with a US client Bradford Mills and White Ellie owner Dr Heinz Kohrs – but that’s a rather wonderful story for another time.
Now transitioned into a new era with AfriCamps, I couldn’t be happier to see this partnership, which is certain to bring more lucky people to experience a very special part of South Africa’s wilderness, form. White Elephant lives in my heart and I can’t recommend a visit there enough, confident that time in this special place will leave you with lifelong impressions and precious memories.
AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris in Pongola Game Reserve
The perfect destination for a self-catering family getaway where land-based and water-based guided safaris departing right from the camp are the highlights of your stay. Pongola Game Reserve is the world’s second-oldest private reserve and the oldest in Africa, dating back to 1894. Here, at the shore of the 15000-hectare Lake Jozini and at the foot of the majestic Lebombo Mountains you will find 12 fully equipped AfriCamps tents.
Enjoy an AfriCamps glamping getaway while experiencing all the thrills of an established private game reserve where buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard, hyena, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, 12 different antelope species, and over 350 bird species roam the plains and grace the skies. The occasional splashes of hippo, crocodile, and tigerfish in Lake Jozini provides an exciting water-based safari experience.
Safaris, guided bush walks, tiger fishing on Lake Jozini and sundowners by the pool are some of the must-dos during your stay. Spend a day in the life of a rhino and elephant researcher and uncover all the mysteries of these majestic, but vulnerable creatures. The experiences at this camp are both thrilling and educational and will give visitors an insightful view of conservation.
To end off your day, soak up the African sunset from your outdoor wood-fired hot tub and, if you’re lucky, antelope roaming among the tents will pay you a visit.
AfriCamps expands its safari offerings
AfriCamps, SA’s glamping specialists, are taking their offering to 11 camps nationwide and expanding their offerings in the safari travel market. Their tenth camp, AfriCamps at Hoedspruit opened on 1 November 2019 only 40km from Kruger National Park in Limpopo, and their 11th camp, AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris opened on 16 December in the extraordinary Pongola Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.
These two camps introduce its visitors to some of South Africa’s most unique wildlife experiences. Together with AfriCamps at Mackers in Hazyview, AfriCamps now offers three wild glamping escapes over three provinces – the perfect stops during any South African self-drive safari.
“Our vision is to create various glamping routes in South Africa. Completing these two locations is a massive step towards realising that vision. Both locations fit perfectly into our group.” – AfriCamps Co-founder, Jeroen van Rootselaar.
AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris takes the AfriCamps concept into an established private game reserve for the first time. White Elephant Safaris has been operating in Pongola Game Reserve for 20 years, and now AfriCamps is becoming a part of this well-loved safari experience.
Daily guided excursions will make this location one to remember and a stay will not be complete without exploring Lake Jozini or the Pongola River on a water-based safari. Guests will have the rare opportunity to track black rhino and elephant with specialised researchers, spot hippo and Nile crocodile from a boat over their morning coffee, explore the large reserve on game drives or search for a variety of animals on foot during a guided bush walk.
Pongola Game Reserve is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa and the second oldest in the world, and with this comes a rich history and a wealth of stories to be told.
AfriCamps is all about glamping at the most beautiful working farms, estates and reserves in South Africa. Both new locations will bring guests all the comforts AfriCamps is already known for – a fully equipped kitchen, dining and lounge area, two comfortable bedrooms that sleep up to 5 guests, a spacious bathroom, a large deck with excellent braai facilities, extras like electric blankets, an indoor fireplace and air conditioning and outdoor wood-fired hot tubs next to each tent. ‘Cook-your-own’ breakfast and braai baskets can be pre-ordered for guests to cook and enjoy.
AfriCamps opened their first camp in Oudtshoorn in 2015 and has since expanded to a total of 11 camps. Their seven locations in the Western Cape include AfriCamps at Doolhof in Wellington, AfriCamps at Stanford Hills in Stanford, AfriCamps at Pat Busch in Robertson, AfriCamps at Kam’Bati in Swellendam, AfriCamps Klein Karoo in Oudtshoorn, AfriCamps at Oakhurst in Wilderness and AfriCamps at Ingwe in Plettenberg Bay.
Their Mpumalanga location, AfriCamps at Mackers can be found 25 minutes from the Kruger National Park in Hazyview. Two KwaZulu-Natal locations now include AfriCamps at Gowan Valley in the Natal Midlands and AfriCamps at White Elephant in Pongola Game Reserve. AfriCamps’ first location in Limpopo is AfriCamps at Hoedspruit.
Discover the most beautiful parts of the country, experience authentic farm life, enjoy South African hospitality and embrace the serenity of being in nature.
The Essential Details
Please visit www.africamps.com for more information or contact Claire Kaplan at Tel: +27 21 300 5694 and firstname.lastname@example.org. For queries and bookings Tel: +27 21 300 5694 and email@example.com.
Me with clients on one of my early day visits.