Mopani Rest Camp overlooks the expanse of Pioneer Dam and is named for the Mopani tree covered koppies and veld that suround the camp. The Mopani tree has butterfly shaped leaves that turn various shades of gold to rusty brown in the winter before loosing their leaves in September and October. The camp was built in 1992 and is the newest of the camps in Kruger National Park. Great effort was used in building the camp in its use of all natural materials including thatched roofs, stone cottages and wood accents so that the structures blend into the environment. The very center of the camp is dominated by an ancient giant Baobob Tree. There is a restaurant that overlooks the dam where we saw lots of elephants coming to the dam for a drink as well as a herd of waterbuck. There are two hides near the camp one, Shipandini is an overnight hide where you can bring sleeping bags and refreshments and stay overnight. The second is Pioneer hide near by we visited both hides but there was not much going on at either when we were there.
The area is known for its bird life as well as abundant animals. On our drive south from Shingwedzi on s50 Nhlawu-Viel Dipene Road we stopped at Kanniedood Bird Hide and Nyawutsi Hide not seeing much of anything at either hide. We stopped at Grootviel Dam where there was a lot activity including elephants, kudu, zebra and warthogs coming down to the water which was plentiful. At Shibavantsengele lookout we were very close to the Mozambique Boarder in the Lebombo Mountains.
As we continue south we connect with s143 The Tropic of Capricorn Loop where we see a wonderful rare Secretary Bird. Connecting to s144 and H1-6 we arrive at Mopani Guest camp..The next day we continue from Mopani south to Satara camp. We stop at Letaba Camp and at Olifants camp before getting to Satara. We were lucky to see a whole group of Kori Bustards more than a dozen who were regally walking next to the road all in the same direction.