Hoedspruit

The busy and fast-growing hub of Hoedspruit sits in Limpopo province, just north of the border with Mpumalanga. It is an important gateway to the Kruger Lowveld region and to the Kruger National Park. Myriad scenic drives and activities are on offer, but it's largely through its wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centres that Hoedspruit has made its name. No trip to the region is complete without an in-depth tour of one of these venues, established to highlight and mitigate the detrimental effect man has had on this delicate natural environment.

Top attractions

The Bateleur eagle is one of the endangered wildlife species housed at Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Photo courtesy of Carlos Hernández

  • Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre – The main focus of the research here has always been the broadening of the cheetah gene pool for reintroduction into areas where populations are depleted. Into this mix, add wild dog and black-footed cat and you have a fascinating insight into the organisation’s admirable contribution to saving the species along with an entertaining tour, to boot
  • Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre – Brian Jones founded Moholoholo in 1991 and has since been recognised worldwide through numerous awards. This is the place to see the results of his ground-breaking efforts, to see the animals and to meet the people behind his work
  • Khamai Reptile Park – A cool collection of cold-blooded creatures: frogs, snakes, crocs, turtles and chameleons (after which it is named), Khamai is a leading refuge for embattled reptiles.
  • The Abel Erasmus Pass and the JG Strydom Tunnels lead from Hoedspruit up to the canyon, passing through impressive gorges and mountains with magnificent views down the Olifants River
  • Swadini Dam, formerly Sybrand van Niekerk Dam, offers popular boat trips with close-up hippo, crocodile and bird sightings and a view from beneath of the awe-inspiring canyon and Three Rondavels
  • The Orpen Gate into the Kruger National Park is a 20-minute drive from Hoedspruit, giving access to the generously predator-endowed central region of the park
  • Eastgate Airport offers daily flights to and from Johannesburg. Flights operate to and from Cape Town three times a week.
  • The Klaserie Waterfalls are to be found in the Mariepskop section of the Northern Drakensberg mountains – a gorgeous secluded spot away from the "real world"
  • The stoutest baobab tree in South Africa may be found in Hoedspruit. It has a diameter of 16 metres. That’s the length of five small cars, head to tail

Did you know?

Hoedspruit’s Eastgate Airport has the second longest runway in South Africa (after Upington) and was earmarked for a NASA shuttle landing in the 1980s. The space race even reached Kruger Lowveld!

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