Kruger accommodation review – Satara Rest Camp

Posted by Adel Groenewald on 13 May 2013

I’m in the Kruger National Park on assignment for Getaway visiting all the campsites, lodges and accommodation options in the park. It’s a big job, but by the end of it I’ll have a list of all them (see them all here: Kruger accommodation reviews) and, more importantly, an idea of what you can expect to find there in terms of accommodation, food, amenities, animals, mobile reception and highlights Next, I explore the central region and pay a visit to Satara Rest Camp.

Satara Rest Camp

As the second largest camp in the park, Satara Rest Camp holds promise for some excellent wildlife sightings. This advantage, of course, brings with it the disadvantage of busy roads, but luckily you won’t easily miss a lion sighting as there’s sure to be at least two other cars there already. The camp has a wonderful family feel and lots of walking around space, with benches offering views through the fence across the plains.

The bungalows at Satara are grouped in large circles. These have plenty of shade on the inside and lots of space to walk around or to socialise with your neighbour

The accommodation at Satara Rest Camp

Designed in the typical Kruger style, Satara’s bungalows are round and grouped in large circles numbered A through to F. The inner sections are grassy, filled with trees and allow lots of running around space for the kids without them disappearing from under your nose. Some bungalows have kitchenettes on the porch, while others share kitchen facilities. You’ll have a fridge wherever you stay though.

Out of the 103 campsites, 88 have electricity. At places, shade may be hard to come by, but generally speaking you won’t have to fight for your spot in the shade.

The inside of a two-sleeper bungalow that uses a shared kitchen, but has its own bathroom.

The best spots

You’ll find lots of perimeter bungalows at Satara, but the surrounding bush at A12-18 is particularly flat, upping the possibility of sightings from camp. The A block is also the closest to the swimming pool, restaurant and jungle gym. The only bungalows not grouped in circles are 161-179 and these all run along the perimeter. You can choose where you pitch your tent when you arrive and there are certain spots that also run along the fence of the camp.

The camping and caravanning area at Satara is quite large, with many spots skirting the fence.

The animals at Satara

Many refer to this part of the park as ‘cat country’, but this is not actually the best spot to search for leopard. It is a great place to find lions, however, as they dominate this section of the bush. The plains are home to herds of buffalo up to 500 large and the many waterholes and dams in the area host hippos and crocodile. You won’t find any of the rare antelope here, but waterbuck, kudu and impala are plentiful, as are herds of wildebeest, giraffe and zebra.

The sightings board at Satara shows much more activity than in some of the other camps, sparking some excitement with most who take a walk through reception.

The food

Unlike at Skukuza, the size of the camp hasn’t been motivation for opening another restaurant. You’ll only find the standard Kruger restaurant menu of sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, breakfasts and grills and the takeaway area has a few salads, sandwiches and baked goods. Satara is rather remote though; so don’t bargain on your donut or croissant always being fresh. The shop is pretty well stocked, and seeing as you’ll have your own braai wherever you sleep, this is a much better way to spend you evenings.

The restaurant at Satara runs along a broad porch and walks out onto a large stretch of grass, making it a great place for families.

Highlights

Satara has more children’s play areas than most other camps, and the one beside the swimming pool is particularly expansive and should keep the children busy for an hour or two at least.

Sweni Bird Hide, 20 km down the H6, is built in an L-shape and stilted above a large dam in the Sweni River. The layout of the hide allows lots of visitors and all will be able to look out over the river and enjoy the subtle noises of birds in the trees all around.

Gundzani Waterhole, 20 km from camp on the S100, and Nsemani Dam, 7km from Satara on the H7, both hold large masses of water. And more water means more animals. You’ll find enough parking at both to sit back and watch the hippos laze.

Sweni Bird Hide is a wonderful place to sit back and enjoy the peaceful surroundings – any time of day.

Getting to Satara Rest Camp

Considering its size, Satara is actually quite remote. The Orpen Gate is the closest point of entry and sits about 50 km to the west of the camp. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as the H7 that leads from the gate to camp boasts mostly flat plains for surroundings. Arrive at the park early and enjoy a leisurely game drive to Satara.

Children will just love this elaborate play area. And you’ll find it right next to the pool, so the entire family can while away the warm afternoons here.

A typical Kruger hut, with the fridge set in a cage so that the monkeys can’t get to your food.

Nitty gritty

ATMs: No
Credit card facilities: Yes
Mobile reception: Great

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