Camp Shawu at Shishangeni
My seven-day trip to the Kruger National Park was an absolute thrill – driving around the park taking in the wildlife and the beautiful terrain, and appreciating the smells and noises of nature; there’s something soul-soothing about being surrounded nature.
Our last stop was a 15 000ha private concession named Shishangeni, which is situated in the south-eastern part of the park. Here we were greeted by numerous permanent residents of the park and had to occasionally wait for them to pass; one was a huge giraffe that made its presence known by stationing itself in the middle of the road. Photographers and visitors were in awe and happily started clicking away with their cameras.
Upon arrival at Shishangeni, our dedicated ranger for the duration of our stay was eagerly waiting for us with refreshments. Shishangeni comprises three camps – Shishangeni Private Lodge, Camp Shonga and Camp Shawu – each with its own unique style and experiences for visitors.
There must have been more than 20 hippos in the dam, and you could hear them grunting and groaning
We spent the night at the luxurious Camp Shawu, named after an elephant bull that lived in the area for 60 years. The elephant was famous for its trunk, which held the record for the longest trunk ever recorded in South Africa.
The walls at Camp Shawu are made from buffalo dung, something I found unique and which added to my experience.
The five spacious rooms overlook the Mpanamana Dam; they have huge beds adorned with white sheets, mosquito nets, huge bath tubs overlooking the dam, and outdoor showers, which I absolutely loved. Hippos would intermittently walk near the verandas ... but don’t be alarmed, visitors are safe.
Before heading on our afternoon game drive, I sat on the veranda overlooking the dam, admiring the sun as it gently caressed my skin. There must have been more than 20 hippos in the dam, and you could hear them grunting and groaning. Being just a few metres away, it really was an incredible sight.
Besides the scrumptious cuisine and the serene surroundings, falling asleep to the sounds of hippos was the highlight for me.