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Kruger Black Backed Jackal Malel Orpen
Kruger Black Backed Jackal Male Orpen

Orpen

Orpen gate is the western entrance to the central Kruger National Park, A paradise for game and bird viewing.

About Orpen

Orpen gate is the western entrance to the central Kruger National Park. This gate is named after the Orpen family, that donated 24 529 hectares of land to the park, which shifted the former gate 9 km west – the Rabelais hut, marking the old entrance.

Eileen and James Orpen were two huge benefactors to the early Kruger National Park. Buying up 7 farms to the west of the park, to ensure poaching is limited, they donated a massive 24 529 hectares to the park. James spent 14 years as a member of the National Parks board from 1939. James was instrumental in establishing the Mountain Zebra National Park and fencing the original Addo elephant Park. As a volunteer, he helped lay out the roads around Pretoriuskop, lay out the Shingwedzi camp and surveying the western boundary of the Kruger Park. Several windmills and the Orpen dam were erected under the watchful eye of and donations from Eileen. Certainly two of the most devoted benefactors of the Kruger National Park. The Orpen gate is named in honour of this couple. More information can be found on exhibits in the Rabelais hut.

Why visit Orpen?

  • Orpen is the western gateway to the central Kruger Park, but also a quaint camp in sweet grazing attracting many grazers, which attract predators like lions, leopards and cheetah.
  • Satellite camps called Tamboti(permanent tents) and Maroela(caravan sites) expand the Orpen accommodation in a rustic bush environment.
  • The camp has a great waterhole right outside the camp, which attracts a constant array of exciting wildlife and birdlife, well worth a visit by day and observing from the camp by night.
  • The roads to the east and south of Orpen offer some of Africa’s best safari experiences on vast plains offering great views and great birding.

Tips:

A great little peaceful camp site, to get away from the buzz of the bigger campsites, with great game viewing and bird watching.
Great game viewing as you leave the camp gates – for those new to the park, the routes following the the Timbavati river, the Satara/N’Wanetsi route and the Tshokwane route.
Various walks in the camp site offer great birding and tree spotting possibilities, aloes bring sunbirds in winter.
At night listen for owls and nightjars and take a walk to the perimeter fence, close to the waterhole – surprises may await the fortunate and the patient.
Visit the Rabelais hut, for some interesting history on the area.

Biome(animal and plant habitat)

Mixed woodland with sweet grazing

Animals to look out for in the area:

Prime Big 5 area
Elephant
Leopard
Buffalo
Rhino
Lion
Hyena
Wild dog, only if you’re lucky
Giraffe

Birds to look out for in the area:

A short list of likely birds to be spotted between Orpen, Satara and Tshokwane by day and night
African Crake,
African Rail,
Black-shouldered Kite,
Duck Knob-billed,
Duck White-faced,
Eagle African Fish,
Eagle African Hawk,
Eagle Bateleur,
Eagle Steppe,
Eagle Tawny,
Eagle Wahlbergs,
Eagles Brown Snake,
Falcon Amur,
Falcon Red-footed Falcons,
Goshawk Dark Chanting,
Goshawk Gabar,
Lesser Moorhen,
Little Grebe (Dabchick),
Little Sparrowhawk,
Nightjar European,
Nightjar Fiery-necked,
Nightjars Freckled,
Nightjars Square-tailed,
Owl Barn,
Owl Pearl-spotted,
Owl Scops,
Owl Spotted Eagle,
Owl Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle,
Owlet African Barred,
Stork Black,
Stork Marabou,
Stork Open-billed,
Stork Saddle-billed,
Stork White,
Stork Wooly-necked,
Vulture Hooded,
Vulture Lappet faced,
Vulture White backed,
Vulture White Headed

Not to miss routes in the area:

H7
S106
H1-4
H1-3
S126
S140/S145
S39
Satara/Nwanetsi H7, H1-3, S100, S41, N’Wanetsi Picnic Site(and Sweni hide), S36, H7, 160 km 6hours
Tshokwane H7, S140, S145, S125, (Southernmost Baobab tree)H1-3, S86, H1-3, S35, S32, H10, H1-3 Tshokwane picnic site, S36, H7, 165km 7 1/2 hours
Timbavati H7, S39, Roodewal, H1-4, S127, S40, Timbavati Picnic Site, S40, H7, 140 km 6 hours
H4-2

Water centered game and bird viewing:

The waterhole at Orpen
Girivana Dam
Nsemani Dam
Timbavati route

Notable Camp Facilities and Activities:

Shop
Game drive in an open vehicle, with a trained guide
Filling station
Guided bushwalks

Accommodation:

Bungalows 6
Guest Cottage 3
Tent or Caravan Sites(Maroela Satellite Camp) 20
Safari Tents (Tamboti Satellite Camp) 30 budget and 10 semi luxury permanent tents

Contact Orpen

  • Tel: +27 (0)13 735 6355

More Camps in the Kruger National Park

Find more camps in the Kruger National Park here

© images Jacques Fouché

Jacques Fouche

Jacques has been a keen travel junkie, for as long as he can remember. Having spent his childhood in Namibia, Limpopo province in South Africa (near the Kruger National Park ) and KZN in South Africa and later Cape Town, always been surrounded by nature and beautiful scenery. Qualifying as a safari guide in 1996, Jacques guided over virtually all possible natural eco systems and travelled over hundreds of thousands of kilometers, through all the southern African countries. Later he spent 8 years living and working in Austria, mixing cultural, city and natural scenic travels all across Europe.

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