Steeped in history, Jock Safari Lodgewas the first private concession granted within the Kruger National Park, South Africa’s largest national park. Today the iconic safari lodge accommodates only 30 guests and is known for its service excellence and warm hospitality, world-class facilities and unforgettable wildlife encounters.
Jock Safari Lodge was founded in 1982 by the Niven family, descendants of the author Sir Percy Fitzpatrick. The lodge is named after his popular book, Jock of the Bushveld, the famous story of the canine hero Jock’s courage and loyalty, set during South Africa’s first gold rush era, which lured men from all corners of the world to Southern Africa. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick was one of these pioneers. The prospectors passed through some of Africa’s most scenic, untamed wilderness and it is here that Jock Safari Lodge is based. Jock’s southern boundary is the old Voortrekker road from Delagoa Bay (now Maputo) to the goldfields of the interior at Pilgrims Rest.
Situated at the confluence of the Mitomeni (Shangaan for ‘Jackalberry Tree’) and Biyamiti (Shangaan for ‘Place of many Trees’) rivers, Jock is tucked away in the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park. Here 6,000 hectares of exclusive traversing rights provide excellent Big Five game viewing. The Kruger National Park is unrivalled in its diversity and is home to an impressive number of different species, which includes 148 mammals, 505 birds, 404 trees, 53 fish, 35 amphibians and 118 reptile species.
Owned and managed by the Swiss Caleo Foundation, conservation is the cornerstone of Jock Safari Lodge. As custodian to this rich natural heritage, Jock is committed to maintaining a low impact upon the footprint, in line with the Foundation’s ethics ‘to protect, restore and sustain wildlife and flora resources’. Off road driving within in the private concession is permitted for predator sightings, yet done in an environmentally, sensible manner.
After a complete revamp in 2018, the décor of Jock Safari Lodge pays homage to its rich history and heritage with the addition of modern comforts and conveniences enjoyed by discerning travellers. Setting the tone with vintage-style furniture, leather travel trunks and historical pieces combined with contemporary design, Jock is reminiscent of the bygone era of great African explorations and safaris. Spacious relaxation areas invite nature in with unobstructed views across the bush. At the main lodge lounge and dining areas spill outdoors onto wooden decks with a heated swimming pool and sun loungers, while an elevated bar and lounge with a firepit serve signature drinks and provide opportunities for game viewing day and night. The boma is the perfect setting for a traditional barbeque, while stairs lead down to the riverbed where guests may toast the African sunset and feast alfresco on delicious fresh and wholesome dishes during the warmer months.
At Jock Safari Lodge each of the 12 spacious and secluded thatched suites offer luxury and privacy. Complete with en-suite bathrooms, they also come with extensive private decks, and an outdoor Victorian bath and shower each, to make the most of the surrounding unspoilt wilderness. With uninterrupted views of the riverbed, suites also have their own private plunge pool and an enclosed sala (day bed) for outdoor living, daydreaming and sleep-outs.
Jock Safari Lodge is child-friendly and offers a dedicated Kids on Safari programme, as well as babysitting services. The main lodge welcomes children from the age of six, while younger children may be accommodated at Fitzpatrick’s Lodge – the perfect home-away-from home for families with children or friends travelling together.
Fitzpatrick’s Lodge sleeps only six guests and has a communal lounge and TV room, spacious indoor and outdoor dining areas with a private boma, as well as a deck with a swimming pool and views across the riverbed. The enclosed family unit offers two luxury suites and bathrooms, leading to a private lounge area, deck and plunge pool, whilst separately located, the third suite is also completely private, with its own deck and plunge pool.
Guests are guided on a sensory journey at Jock Safari Lodge that encapsulates history, wilderness adventures, conservation, relaxation and fine South African food and wine. Activities include daily game drives in open safari vehicles with an experienced guide, as well as wilderness walks and visits to rock art sites. For golfers, complimentary transfers are offered to nearby Leopard Creek Golf Club, situated just outside the Malelane Gate of the Kruger National Park. Other relaxing pursuits include bird watching, spa treatments and stargazing to offer the ultimate safari wilderness experience.