Tsendze Rustic Camp
Tsendze Rustic Camp is listed up there amongst the best places to stay in the Kruger National Park. It offers a completely rustic experience and even those who thought they would never be happy campers can find something to fall in love with while staying at Tsendze. The campsites are spread out in a figure eight, with ancient Mopane, Leadwood, and Apple Leaf Trees giving shade. The Tsendze and Nshwau Rivers, both seasonal, pass close to the camp, luring animals of all kinds and making for a phenomenal wildlife viewing experience.
As a rustic camp, facilities are limited. There are no restaurants or shops here, guests will have to travel to Mopani Rest Camp to stock up on food and other supplies. Warm water is provided by gas geysers and lighting is provided by solar power. Other than that, the camp has no electricity.
The camp is around 7km south of Mopani Rest Camp, and about 70km from Phalaborwa Gate. It’ll take around 2 and a half hours to drive from the gate to the camp.
Tsendze gets its name from the Tsonga word “tsendzeleka” which roughly translates to “wandering around the bush like a lost person”. The camp is one of the latest to be added to the Kruger National Park, and just as its name states, the camp is there to provide its guests with a truly rustic experience. The camp is laid out in the signature Kruger figure 8, and the campsites are shrouded by the shade of Leadwood, Apple Leaf and Mopane Trees. Both the Tsendze River and the Nshawu Creek run close to the camp and these water sources attract animals of all kinds, especially the herds of buffalo and elephant who live close by.
While staying in the camp and enjoying self-drive safaris through the area, guests should keep a lookout for one of the parks current great tuskers called Alexander. He has massive ivory tusks that make for a truly incredible sighting and has been spotted close to the camp, generally moving peacefully through the surrounding area. Driving the tarred road between Mopani Rest Camp and Tsendze will provide one of the best opportunities to encounter him.
Tsendze is also the perfect place for bird watchers. The camp has a number of large trees filled with all kinds of bird life, so you won’t even have to leave the comfort of the camp to spot some of the parks most famous birds.
As a rustic camp, you can be sure that the name lives up to its reputation. Tsendze Rustic Camp is managed by Mopani Rest Camp and you will have to check in there.
Tsendze has 30 campsites available for tents and caravans, but unlike other camps, there is no power point each site. Each site can accommodate up to 6 people, and guests will have to share ablution and cooking facilities. The sites will have their own braai area and a rubbish bin. There is also one fresh water tap shared between three sites. Guests will be able to reserve specific sites.
The camp is completely shaded by the trees, which adds to the rustic, back to nature feel of the camp.
Whenever you are spending a few days in the Kruger National Park, it is important to keep these helpful tips in mind. There is always the possibility of wildlife getting into the camps. It’s rare but it does happen even though most of the camps are properly secured. While waking up in the morning and seeing a few antelope eating grass outside your accommodation is actually quite a special treat, when the bigger animals or cats get into the camp, it can get quite stressful. Regardless of the animals, you might spot in the camp, you should never attempt to approach it, feed it or try to touch it. Camp officials will remove the animal from the camp should they feel it poses a threat.
When it comes to animals in the camp, the good thing is that you can at least see them. It’s the insects that you have to worry about, that and snakes. The Kruger National Park is home to a wide variety of spiders, scorpions and snakes. They might be beautiful to look at but they can also give a painful, sometimes deadly, bite. Spiders, snakes and scorpions live all over the camps and they tend to move around unseen. Walking around the camp barefoot is always a bad idea as you can easily step on one of these and ruin your time in the park. Always keep your shoes on and at night carry a torch with you.
The other concern to keep in mind is Malaria. When you are venturing to the Kruger National Park, it is best to brush up on your knowledge about this particular illness. Malaria is transmitted by mosquitos, and should you be infected and leave it untreated, the illness can very easily become quite deadly. Malaria can be contracted throughout the park, at any time of the year, but during the humid summers the risk increases. Make sure that when travelling you take insect repellent with you, and if you are very concerned about infection, you can always visit your doctor and get preventative medication.
Considering the time of the year that you visit the park is the other thing you need to keep in mind. Spring and autumn, when the heat is not as intense as the rest of the year, are good times to visit the park. Summer months can be very unpleasant and generally quite rainy. There is also the possibility of flash floods. The winter months can get quite cold in the early mornings and the evenings, but the days are generally warm. When packing for your trip, keep the time of year in mind.
All gate times remain the same throughout the park and they are designed in a way that will allow you to go on a self-drive safari in the early morning and late afternoon.
The gate times for Tsendze are as follows:January to March: Camp gates open at 04:30 am and close at 06:30 pm April to September: Camp gates open at 06:00 am and close at 06:00 pm October: Camp gates open at 05:30 am and close at 06:00 pm November to December: Camp gates open at 04:30 am and close at 06:30 pm
Driving during the cooler hours of the day will provide the best game viewing opportunities. Animals tend to shy away during the hottest hours of the day, so planning your safari properly is important.
The Kruger has the most incredible biodiversity, and when travelling throughout the park, you can see all kinds of plants and animals. Some of the flora that guests can see include, Leadwood, Apple Leaf and Mopane Trees, as well as all kinds of shrubs.
Visitors will be able to spot some of the parks biggest elephants, as well as buffalo, waterbuck, ground hornbill, and brown snake eagles, when in this part of the park.
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