Kruger accommodation review – Shimuwini Bushveld Camp

Posted by Adel Groenewald on 31 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. The northern region of the park has few large camps, but quite a number of smaller, bushveld camps. Shimuwini Bushveld Camp is one of those and it’s a great place in which to get close to the bush without compromising on comfort.

Shimuwini Bushveld Camp

Situated on a private road, accessed by overnight guests only, Shimuwini Bushveld Camp is the type of camp that you’ll return to again and again. With only 15 self-catering units that run along a naturally broad section of the Shimuwini River, the camp has an intimate feel, devoid of large crowds and day visitors.

A standard bungalow at Shimuwini Bushveld Camp. You’ll be spoiled with shade and grass in your ‘front garden’.

The accommodation at Shimuwini Bushveld Camp

There are three types of bungalows at Shimuwini Bushveld Camp. The smallest is a four-bed unit with two single beds in the bedroom and two more in the lounge. The bathroom has a shower only. Then there’s a five-bed bungalow, with two bedrooms consisting of two single beds in the one and three singles in the other. Here you’ll also find two bathrooms, one with a bath and one with a shower. Finally, there’s also a unit with six single beds in three bedrooms. This unit has one full bathroom with a bath and another with an outdoor shower – the only one of its kind in the camp. All bungalows have full kitchen facilities and an outside braai area on the lawns that separate the bungalows from the river.

The bungalows at Shimuwini also have more furniture items than with the traditional Kruger camps. For instance, you’ll have bar stools and couches and much more space to prepare food.

In some cases, parents will be treated to a double bed in the main bedroom.

The best spots

While units 1-3 don’t have river views, they’re the closest to the private bird hide that you’ll find inside the camp. Units 4-15 all face the river with the largest, and most private, being unit 15, situated the furthest end of the camp. This is the one with the outdoor shower.

This particular bungalow is different from the rest as it has a loft where the third and fourth beds are found. The kids will love sleeping upstairs and the parents can enjoy their quite time downstairs.

The animals at Shimuwini

Although the north of the Kruger is more arid when it comes to animal sightings, you wouldn’t notice it when you drive along the private road leading to Shimuwini. Buffalo and elephant adore the lush Mopani veld while grazers like waterbuck, impala and giraffe can be seen along the rivers. There is a pride of 10 lion that roam the area between the camp and the Phalaborwa Gate, but the area is more viable to leopards than lion.

When you’re exploring, don’t assume that the most animals will be toward Mopani Rest Camp – a bigger camp to the north of Shimuwini. Rather explore the roads and river loops toward the south west of the camp, leading to Phalaborwa Gate.

Buffalo are very common in the area, so don’t be surprised when an entire herd decides to cross the road unexpectedly.

The food

There is no shop or restaurant at Shimuwini Bushveld Camp and this is partly what gives it its charm. You can buy wood, firelighters, ice and still water at reception and braai or cook your meals at your bungalow.

Each bungalow has its own braai outside, so whether you’re planning to sit round the fire and enjoy the magnificent stars, or whether you’re keen for an afternoon braai in the shade, you’ll have a great time.

Highlights at Shimuwini

You’ll find two boma’s inside the camp where you can braai in a larger group (you don’t need to book these beforehand). One of the boma’s is conveniently located next to the swimming pool, ideal for an afternoon braai and cool-down.

The bird hide inside the camp is wonderful as only you and the other guests at Shimuwini has access to it. Here you can while away the lazy mornings not spent spotting animals in the bush.

The private road that leads to the camp is narrow and quite densely vegetated. It also crosses a couple of riverbeds; so don’t be surprised if you encounter a few elephants before you’ve even really left the camp.

The view that you’ll enjoy from almost all of the bungalows. Many of the guests simply lounge on the grass the entire afternoon, with a drink and binoculars at the ready.

Getting to Shimuwini Bushveld Camp

Shimuwini Bushveld Camp is quite easy to access. From the Phalaborwa Gate, you just follow the tarred H9, turn onto the tarred H14 and follow it for 40km until you reach the private gravel S141 to Shimuwini. This road is about 11km long.

The road that leads to Shimuwini, and an additional river loop, is closed to the public, so you have this area of Mopani veld all to yourself.

A refreshing difference to Shiwuwini’s bungalows is that they’re not round. Some of the veranda’s are sheltered, while others are open to both the good and bad elements.

Nitty gritty

ATMs: No
Credit card facilities: Yes, but not debit cards, so rather ensure that you have enough cash.
Mobile reception: Poor, there is only one spot in the camp where you’ll get limited network coverage.

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