The busy and fast-growing hub of Hoedspruit sits north of the border between Mpumalanga and Limpopo and 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 is 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 environment.
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 and an entertaining tour, to boot.
- Moholoholo – the work of Brian Jones has been recognised worldwide with 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
- Kinyonga Reptile Centre – a cool collection of cold-blooded creatures. Frogs, snakes, crocs, turtles and chameleons (after which it is named). 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
- Blyderivierpoort Dam, offers popular boat trips with close-up hippo, croc and bird sightings and a view from beneath the awe-inspiring canyon and three rondavels.
- The Orpen Gate lies 20 minutes south of Hoedspruit, giving access to the generously predator-endowed central region of the Kruger National Park
- Eastgate airport offers daily scheduled flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town
- The Klaserie Waterfalls are found in the Mariepskop section of the Northern Drakensberg mountains – a gorgeous secluded spot away from the real world