Orpen Rest Camp is situated centrally on the western border of the Kruger National Park.
It is a small camp that derived its name from the surname of the donor of the land, Eileen Orpen. The scattered trees and wide-open plains covered by sweet grass attract many browsers. This in turn, attracts the eye-catching cheetah, lion and leopard. Well known for its diversity of habitat and wildlife, Orpen offers visitors an excellent opportunity to experience close encounters with elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard in a natural environment. Wild dog, cheetah, zebra and giraffe are also indigenous to this area, a paradise for the wildlife enthusiast.
6 x 2-bed units, (single beds) fully equipped with en-suite bathrooms (showers, no baths) and air-conditioner. Bungalows each have an open air kitchen with cooker top, combined fridge/freezer and fully equipped with cutlery, crockery and utensils.
3 x 6-bed units with two bedrooms (3 single beds in each) and air-conditioning. One bedroom has an en-suite bathroom (bath, WC and wash basin), and there is a separate WC, shower and wash basin for communal use. All units have fully equipped kitchenettes (fridge/freezer combination, sink, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery) and has an outside veranda that serves as lounge.
Accommodation at Orpen Rest Camp caters to a variety of guest requirements and is well suited for those Guests who are looking for a self-catering bushveld experience. Why rush? Stay longer!
To view the accommodation prices, refer to Tariffs
The closest airport to Orpen is Eastgate Airport that is situated in Hoedspruit. The airport is approximately 68 km from Orpen Gate.
By Road: Orpen Gate
Head toward Nelspruit on the N4 and take the R540 Belfast turn off. At Lydenburg turn left onto the R36 heading north. 30 km before Hoedspruit turn right onto the R531 and head to the gate. Allow between 4 to 5 hours for the trip to the gate. Orpen camp is right at the gate.
Please ensure that your stay is happy and safe by taking note of a few simple warnings. You will be sharing your stay with many exciting and unusual creatures but without knowledge some of them could be dangerous:
Bats, Spiders, Snakes, Scorpions, Malaria Zone
If you must walk around at night please DO NOT DO SO WITHOUT A TORCH.
Remember: by feeding any wildlife, you are signing their death warrant as they become aggressive!
Kruger is in a summer rainfall area. Such precipitation is usually convectional and can result in heavy downpours. The summer months (October to April) are hot and often balmy. Winters are warm and mild, although visitors going on night-drives will require warm clothing.
Orpen has a designated day visitor area where day visitors and visitors from other camps can braai (barbecue) and picnic. There are also picnic sites at Muzandzeni and Nhlanguleni southwest of the camp, and at Timbavati northeast of the camp, along the river of the same name. There is a shop*, which caters for Tamboti and Marula visitors.
There is a filling station at Orpen which only accepts petro cards (garage cards) and cash for filling fuel.
The surrounding area offers excellent opportunities for game viewing. On the drive from Orpen to Satara herds of zebra and wildebeest graze next to the road, while giraffe, impala, warthog and elephant are common.
Turning off from this road to the Timbavati river northwards through pleasant scenery to Olifants camp, lion, cheetah and leopard are likely to be seen.
Standing in the dry open plains of the central area, it is permeated with the unhurried restfulness so characteristic of the bushveld. In camp, tall acacias and marula trees share the grounds with red bush willows, while small rock gardens overgrown with aloes and Barberton daisies separate the huts.
Orpen and the surrounding area is a good region for general bushveld birds and 5 of the "big 6" are regularly seen and breed in the area, with only the Pel's Fishing Owl being absent.
The plains immediately east of Orpen Camp are one of the more reliable places to see the nomadic Senegal (Lesser Black-winged) Plover (Search at the turn off to Tamboti and Marula Camps). Montagu's Harrier has also been recorded on a few occasions in this grassland area.
White-faced and Comb (Knob-billed) Ducks, Little Grebe (Dabchick) and Lesser Moorhen breed in the flooded vegetation at Rabelais Pan. 1999 saw the first Kruger breeding record of Painted Snipe here.
African Rail and African Crake are regularly recorded in dense, marshy areas, particularly on the dirt roads around Talamati. These species early in the morning or late afternoon or on overcast, rainy days when they are foraging on the edge of the road. Fairfield Waterhole near Talamati is a regular haunt. Also just outside Talamati Camp Saddle-billed Stork breed. Of the other storks, Wooly-necked, Open-billed (African Openbill), White and Black may be seen, the latter two being locally common when food is abundant. Marabou Stork is regularly seen at the waterhole outside Orpen Camp.
The Orpen area hosts a wealth of raptors, especially in the summer months. Tawny (breeding outside of the camp), African Fish (at Rabelais Pan), Wahlbergs, Lesser Spotted, Steppe, African Hawk and Brown Snake Eagles, Bateleur, Black-shouldered Kite, Gabar and Dark Chanting Goshawk, Little Sparrowhawk and Amur and Red-footed Falcons (Eastern and Western Redfooted Kestrels) are all regularly seen. Less frequently seen are African Goshawk, Martial and Black-chested (breasted) SnakeEagles and African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene). Five vulture species may be seen in the area, although the Cape Griffin is least often observed despite a breeding colony near the Strydom Tunnel at Manoutsa.
Night drives, and dawn and dusk produce Pearl-spotted and African Barred Owlets, Scops, Verreaux’s(Giant) Eagle, Spotted Eagle and Barn Owl, as well as Fiery-necked, Square-tailed ( Mo za mbique ), Freckled and European Nightjars. Less common are Marsh and Grass Owl and Rufous-cheeked and Pennant-winged Nightjar.
Rarities to come out of the area include Plain-backed (Blue-throated) Sunbird at Orpen Camp, Long-crested Eagle on the Timbavati River , Olive Bush Shrike at Tamboti Camp and in the incredible wet season of 1999-2000 plenty of Black Coucal. In 2001 a Narina Trogon (not previously recorded in the area) flew into the window of one of Talamati’s cottages and killed itself.