shimuwini bushveld camp

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Shimuwini Bushveld Camp

Shimuwini is one of the bush-veld camps of Kruger National Park (KNP) which is located in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo province of South Africa.  

Shimuwini Bushveld Camp - Self Catering
4 Sleeper - Cottage (GD4)

Date Range Rate 
2023 – 2024 R3995 for 4 persons

Rates quoted per night.

Include: Self catering,  En-suite, 1 bedroom with 2 single beds, 2 single beds in lounge, Fan, Kitchen

Exclude: Daily Conservation fees, all safari drives, all meals, No restaurant or shop onsite

Shimuwini Bushveld Camp - Self Catering
5 Sleeper - Guest Cottage (GC5)

Date Range Rate 
17 Mar 2021-
31 Oct 2023
R4995 for 4 persons

Rates quoted per night. 

Include: Self catering,  En-suite, 3 Single beds, Air-conditioning, Fridge, Hotplate, Sink, Utensils

Exclude: Daily Conservation fees, all safari drives, all meals, No restaurant or shop onsite

Shimuweni Bushveld Camp - Self Catering
6 Sleeper Guest Cottage (GC6)

Date Range Rate 
17 Mar 2021-
31 Oct 2023
R5595 for 6 persons

Rates quoted per night. 

Include: Self catering, No restaurant or shop onsite, En-Suite, 3 bedrooms each with 2 single beds, Fan,  Kitchen

Exclude: Daily Conservation fees, all safari drives, all meals, No restaurant or shop onsite


The camp is situated in the northern part of the park and the closest entrance gate is at Phalaborwa. Shimuwini is one of the most modern of the bush-veld camps and was completely rebuilt after the 2000 floods. It is situated between sparse isolated hills in the west and the Lebombo Mountains in the east in a remote area along the Letaba River. Shimuwini is a Shangaan word that means Place of the Boabab Tree, as the nearby Letaba River at the front of the cottages is lined with these huge trees. It is estimated that some of them are between 2 000 and 3 000 years old. Being right next to the river makes it one of the best camps to spot animals from. It is right in the middle of elephant and buffalo territory, an area ranging southward from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Olifants River. The area surrounding the camp is also rich in pre-historic artefacts Staying in any of the camps of the KNP is a top experience where you can be guaranteed to see the Big 5. It is one of the more affordable safari vacations that you can book in South Africa. The camp offers luxury accommodation to choose from and it is not accessible for day visitors. Booking accommodation can be done online via the SANParks website, telephone, fax, e-mail or in person at a KNP bookings office.  


Why would you want to visit Shimuwini?

Spending a few days in the Shimuwini bush-veld camp provides a true African experience like few others and is definitely something to add to your safari vacation. It does not really matter where you stay in KNP it will be a most pleasant experience, regardless of the accommodation type you choose. Some guests prefer rustic accommodation, but not everyone is rigged with camping gear and it is also not everyone’s cup to tea. Bush-veld camps offer guests an alternative as these kind of camps have the real African safari feel, but with the luxury of private kitchens and bathrooms. The camps only sleep a limited amount of people and are off limits to day visitors. KNP has 5 bush-veld camps in areas that are quite secluded. The camps do have a mini shop but does not sell any perishable good which means you have to bring everything you need with you. The biggest advantage of in staying in one of these camps is that you can enjoy the quiet of nature without many people around you. Since Shimuwini was totally rebuilt it is also a green camp which means electricity is provided through solar panels. None of the units has plug points. The 20 km road leading to the camp is exclusively for those staying at the camp. If you seek a peaceful stay in the park that is not crowded, Shimuwini is your answer. Going out on an open vehicle safari is the preferred way to see animals but the best way to spot animals in Shimuwini is right from the camp as it has views of the Letaba River and Shimuwini Dam teaming with animals. The camp offers great bird watching opportunities as it provides a walking route on the inside perimeters of the camp as well as a bird hide. You will get a general offering of fauna and flora and being close to animals that you might catch a glimpse of on the other side of the electrified fence.  

Where is Shimuwini located?

Shimuwini is situated in the northern part of the KNP, about 50 km from the Phalaborwa entrance gate. The GPS coordinates for the camp is S 23 42′ 40″ E 31 16′ 18″.  


How to get to Shimuwini


Travelling time from Johannesburg to the closest entrance gate at Phalaborwa by car is at least six to seven hours. From central Gauteng take the N1 toll-road to Polokwane. About 40 km before Polokwane turn right onto the R71 and head for Tzaneen. From Tzaneen you take the road to Phalaborwa and the gate. Shimuwini bush-veld camp is about 50 km away from the gate and you need at least 2 hours to reach the camp. You can also travel by air and the closest airport to Shimuwini is Gateway Airport situated in Phalaborwa about 3 km from Phalaborwa Gate. There are daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and Gateway. A map of KNP can be bought at the entrance gates or any of the camps in the park. Be aware of the gate times for entering and departing from the park. It is as follows: Entrance gates:

  • January, February, November and December – gates open at 05:30 and close at 18:30
  • March and October – gates open at 05:30 and close at 18:00.
  • April, August, and September – gates open at 06:00 and close at 18:00.
  • May, June, and July – gates open at 06:00 and close at 17:30.

Shimuwini’s gates open and close at the same times as the entrance gates, except for January, November and December when the camp gates open as early as 04:30. 


What to do while staying at Shimuwini.

There are activities on offer at the camp that will ensure an exciting bush experience. All bookings, and further details for these activities are available from reception. At Shimuwini guests can participate in guided bush walks, in the company of trained field guides with backup rifles. Groups of up to 8 people are taken out into the bush for a few hours. To track rhino, elephant and lion on foot, learning and observing fascinating facts about the African bush is one of the most satisfying bush experiences you can ask for. Guests can also go on morning or night game drives. The night drives enable you to take part in the activities of Kruger’s secretive nocturnal creatures, in the company of experienced guides and trackers. Various open vehicle safari operators are available to book a trip with. They offer affordable yet exclusive safari trips for singles, couples, families with children or small private groups.    

What to watch out for when staying at Shimuwini

Staying at Shimuwini is an exciting experience and guests will experience the flora and fauna that this area offers. Guest can be assured that they will see many different animals coming down to drink along the Letaba River, within view of camp. The nearby Shimuwini Dam has water all year round and does not dry up during the winter months. Some of the animals you will spot in the area are buffalo, elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, giraffe, kudu, impala, wildebeest, zebra, duiker, hippopotamus, crocodiles, sable, roan, eland, tsessebe, waterbuck, baboon and buffalo. If you are an eager birder, the area in and surrounding Shimuwini bush-veld camp will not disappoint. There is a bird hide that offers guests the opportunity to get a closer look at the birdlife on the Shimuwini Dam. There are an abundance of birds such as storks, egrets, kingfishers, African Fish Eagles, Red winged Pratincole, African Spoonbill, Blackwinged tern, Mosque and Wiretailed Swallows. The vegetation in the area includes the ever present Mopane tree which is a scrub in the east but increases in size as it mixes with the taller trees like Leadwood, Apple Leaf, Jackalberry and Nyala trees toward the west. Other trees found here are the apple leaf mixed bushwillow, silver cluster leaf, mixed acacias and baobab trees. Being close to a river and dam means you should probably see animals of all kinds.  


What type of accommodation does Shimuwini offer and what amenities/facilities are available at the camp?


Shimuwini provides accommodation types for singles, couples, and families with children. The camp caters to a variety of guest requirements and is well suited for those who are looking for a self-catering bush-veld experience. Accommodation availability changes from day to day and all inquiries about general availability are subject to change without notice. Last minute reservations in less than 31 days prior to arrival date, are payable within 24 hours after receiving a confirmed provisional reservation via e-mail. Your accommodation is only guaranteed once you receive a provisional reservation confirmation and to secure your reservation full pre-payment is required a.s.a.p. 

At Shimuwini the following accommodation types is available:



The camp offers 5 cottages that can house 4 people in 2 bedrooms. Both bedrooms have two single beds and a ceiling fan. The bathroom has a bath with a shower nozzle on top, washbasin and toilet. The kitchen and dining room is on an open veranda and has a two-plate gas stove, refrigerator, sink, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery.


Guest Cottages

Nine cottages have 2 bedrooms that can sleep 5 people. Each room comes with a ceiling fan and one bedroom has 3 single beds and the other 2. There is an en-suite bathroom with bath, toilet and wash basin and the second bathroom a toilet, separate shower and wash basin. The kitchen is equipped with gas stove, refrigerator, sink, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery. The dining room is on an open veranda. There is also 1 unit with 3 bedrooms. Each room has a ceiling fan, two single beds and an en-suite bathroom with bath, wash basin and toilet. The unit also has an outside shower. There is a living room with the dining room outside on an enclosed veranda. The kitchen is equipped with an oven and stove, refrigerator, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery. At Shimuwini the following facilities are available:

  • Information at reception
  • Public telephone
  • Basic first aid assistance
  • A mini shop at reception that stocks basic items such as firewood, ice and Telkom phone cards. There are no foodstuffs such as meat.
  • Each accommodation unit has its own braai facilities
  • Bird hide in the camp
  • Communal boma area in camp
  • Swimming pool situated at boma.
  • No ATM facility available
  • No electricity plugs points. (Limited availability to recharge small electrical items like laptops; torches; cell phones and toothbrushes at Reception)

The nearest shops to Shimuwini bush-veld camp are in the Letaba and Mopani rest camps.  

What do you need to know and bring for a safe and comfortable stay at the Shimuwini?

Plan properly for your stay at Shimuwini to make it a relaxed trip and stay. Bookings need to be done well in advance from your planned date of arrival. KNP is a popular game reserve and accommodation is not readily available, especially in the holiday season and during the winter months. Shimuwini does not offer any bed and breakfast facilities and guests must bring their own food and drinks. Meals and groceries can be bought at Mopani and Letaba rest camps’ restaurant and shop. There is a shop on the premises that offer a variety of items but no perishable foodstuff. Most parts of the KNP is situated well within a malaria area. This is much more than just an unpleasant illness but can be fatal if left untreated. Since it is being spread by mosquitoes, the best way to avoid getting sick is to prevent the mosquitos to bite you. You can avoid mosquito bites if you take the necessary steps, such as wearing long sleeves and trousers in the evening, using a reputable kind of insect repellent. The best way to totally avoid a malaria scare is to get the necessary preventative medication prescribed by your doctor before journeying into the African bush. Although it is basically impossible for larger, more dangerous animals to enter the camp, it is best to always be alert. Nocturnal animals like the civet, porcupines, and others are frequent visitors. Ensure your stay is happy and safe by taking note of a few simple warnings. You will be sharing your stay with many unusual and dangerous creatures, such as bats, spiders, snakes, scorpions, to mention but a few, and without knowledge some of them could be dangerous. If you must walk around at night, please do not do so without a torch. Although there is streetlights, it is not very bright and only along the footpaths. Under no circumstances are you allowed to feed the animals. By feeding any wildlife, you are signing their death warrant as they become lazy and do not seek for food themselves which can cause them to starve. Some also become aggressive.  

When to visit Shimuwini

The best time of the year to make your trip to Shimuwini in the KNP is either early spring or late autumn. Kruger is a summer rainfall area and such precipitation is usually convectional and can result in heavy downpours. The hot summer months from October to April can make any safari tour unpleasant. Fortunately, Shimuwini does come with swimming pool where overnight visitors can cool down in. The winters are warm and mild during the day and can sometimes be quite cold at night. If you are planning a trip to KNP in the winter that include a night-drive be sure to pack warm clothing that include a warm jacket, beanie, scarf and gloves. Even animals sometimes shy away from the heat. During the summer months they tend to look for shade during the hottest time of the day and is not always easy to spot, especially since the bush is very dense. During the winter months, wildlife tend to stay in the vicinity of water sources and can often be seen at the watering holes, rivers and dams. The bush is also less dense, and animals are spotted more easily than during the summer months.  


Where is Shimuwini located?

The Shimuwini bush-veld camp is located about 50 km from the Phalaborwa entrance gate in the northern part of the KNP.  

What to expect and look out for when staying at the Shimuwini camp.

There are organised activities like morning, sunset or night game drives and guided walks offered from Shimuwini. From the bird hide in the camp you can look out over the Shimuwini dam where you may see animals of all kinds, from elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and leopard, wild dog and hyena, to antelope and smaller mammals of all kinds.  

What facilities are provided at Shimuwini and what do you need to bring along?

All accommodation is equipped with linen, towels and braai facilities. Cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery is provided. All you need to bring is your own food, insect repellent, camera, binoculars, and torch. The camp has a mini shop on the premises that provide basic everyday items but no perishables. If you prefer you can buy your meals and groceries at Mopani or Letaba rest camps. There is cell phone signal at the camp as well as a swimming pool. There is no petrol station, laundry facilities or an ATM at the camp.  

When is the best time to visit Shimuwini?

The best times of the year to stay at Shimuwini is during early spring or late autumn, when temperatures are mostly pleasant, and water is scarce in the veld, so more animals may come for a drink in the dam. 

Is there a swimming pool in the Shimuwini Bushveld Camp?

No, there is no swimming pool in the Camp. 

Is there a restaurant in the Shimuwini Bushveld Camp?

No, there is no restaurant in the Shimuwini Camp. 

Is there a shop in the Shimuwini Bushveld Camp?

No, there is no shop in the Camp. 

What to do around the Shimuwini Bushveld Camp?

Activities on a suggested itinerary that can be arranged in Kruger Park are morning game drives, night game drives and guided bush walks. Game drives enable you to take part in the activities of Kruger’s secretive creatures, in the company of experienced guides and trackers.

What is the closest gate to the Shimuwini Bushveld Camp?

The Phalaborwa gate is the closest entrance gate to the camp. 

Is there Wifi Connection at the Shimuwini Camp?

No, there is no Wifi Connection at the camp. 

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