Pongola – AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris
Eat & drink
AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris in Pongola Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal is the perfect destination for a self-catering family getaway where land-based and water-based guided safaris departing right from the camp are the highlights of your stay.
Pongola Game Reserve is the world’s second-oldest private reserve and the oldest in Africa, dating back to 1894. Here, at the shore of the 15000-hectare Lake Jozini and at the foot of the majestic Lebombo Mountains you will find 12 fully equipped AfriCamps tents.
Enjoy an AfriCamps glamping getaway while experiencing all the thrills of an established private game reserve where buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard, hyena, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, 12 different antelope species, and over 350 bird species roam the plains and grace the skies. The occasional splashes of hippo, crocodile, and tigerfish in Lake Jozini provides an exciting water-based safari experience. Safaris, guided bush walks, tiger fishing on Lake Jozini and sundowners by the pool are some of the must-dos during your stay. Spend a day in the life of a rhino and elephant researcher and uncover all the mysteries of these majestic, but vulnerable creatures. The experiences at this camp are both thrilling and educational and will give visitors an insightful view of conservation.
To end off your day, soak up the African sunset from your outdoor wood-fired hot tub and, if you’re lucky, antelope roaming among the tents will pay you a visit.
You will be welcomed by the White Elephant Safaris Team led by camp owners Dr. Heinz and his wife, Debbie Kohrs and daughters – Kirstin, Andrea, and Clara. This team also manages the bush camp, umKhaya Cottage and the White Elephant Research camp. White Elephant Safaris is situated on Leeuwspoor farm, where Dr Heinz Kohrs grew up. The farm was purchased by Dr Heinz’ father, a cattle farmer, in 1954. He had a passion for conserving the few remaining game species on the farm and in 1963, was awarded the Natal Parks Board Conservationist of the Year trophy. It was during this period that he requested 10 warthogs for re-introduction on to Leeuwspoor from Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve. (Keep an eye out for one of these ‘Pumbas’ during your stay at AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris.)
Dr Heinz (BVSc) is a veterinary surgeon with a practice in Pongola dealing with domestic and wild animals as well as cattle. Dr Kohrs’ special interest lies in the co-existence of man and wildlife. He has also been the driving force behind the reintroduction of elephant, buffalo and rhino into the reserve. He is a founder of the Pongola Game Reserve ‘Space for Elephants’ initiative, which is a partnership between the Pongola Game Reserve and the Space for Elephants foundation (SEF). This project supports conservation and community projects in and around the Pongola Game Reserve. One of the main objectives of SEF is to develop corridors (or ‘highways’) between protected areas to reinstate historic elephant migratory routes.
Pongola Game Reserve South Gate Times: Strictly 06:00 – 18:00 (exceptions only in case of emergency)
Check-in: from 14:00 – 18:00 on day of arrival
Reception times: 08:00 – 16:00. In case of arrival between 16:00 and 18:00, please report to reception first thing the next morning.
Estimated time of arrival: As prior arrangements need to be made, guests are kindly requested to inform the host of their estimated time of arrival. This way you are ensured that the check-in can be arranged without delays. You will receive the host’s telephone number in your bookings confirmation email. For check-in after 18:00, please call the hosts at the camp to make arrangements.
Gate Entrance Fee: R25 per vehicle, payable in cash at the gate (R50 entrance fee charged for late arrivals) Please note this is not included in your accommodation fee.
Check-out: before 10am on day of departure
Shop: Essentials like water, wood, firelighters, ice and curios are available at the shop from 8:00 – 16:00. Please note, your stay with us is self-catering. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies as the gate closes at 18:00 daily and the nearest shop is roughly 50km from the reserve.
Special precautions: Pongola Game Reserve is declared malaria-free by the Department of Health. However, if you are travelling via Mpumalanga and Swaziland or to the Northern coastal areas of KwaZulu Natal, before or after your visit to White Elephant Safaris, you may pass through higher risk areas. We advise you to consult your doctor for the latest high-risk areas and medication advice.
Please be aware of ticks on the reserve. We suggest that you spray all your packed clothing, socks and shoes with a tick repellant (such as Bayticol) prior to your safari and then re-applying repellent once you are at White Elephant Safaris, before going out on game activities. Symptoms of tick-bite fever include flu-like symptoms approximately 14 days after tick exposure. Please consult a doctor if this occurs.
ACTIVITIES ON THE RESERVE
Project Elephant *TOP PICK*
The Elephant Research Project is a unique educational full day activity. Guests depart early morning for a cruise on Lake Jozini to locate and watch the elephants from the boat. After a few hours on the water, guests return to camp. The activity continues in the afternoon with a game drive and a visit to our Research Camp where you will spend time with our research and conservation staff. At the Elephant Research Centre guests will watch the BBC production “Operation Elephant – The Mission” documenting the initial re-location of our elephants from the Kruger National Park. Guests examine elephant skulls and bones and participate in discussions and debates. Spending time in the world of elephants provides great insight into the reserve history, nature and elephant conservation.
Adults R950pp | Children 4-12: R475pp | Children 0-3: Free
(minimum 4, maximum 16 per boat)
A safari by boat focussed on spotting herds of elephants on the other side of Lake Jozini. Guests will also see antelope, hippo and crocodile during this cruise.
Adults R660pp | Children 4-12: R330pp | Children 0-3: Free
(minimum 4, maximum 16 per boat)
White Elephant Safaris is the only lodge in South Africa to offer Kariba-like, water-based safari activities. The 15000-hectare Lake Jozini provides the focal feature of Pongola Game Reserve and is the perfect setting for an early morning or late afternoon boat cruise. Spot herds of antelope, hippo, crocodile as well as an enormous variety of bird species during this cruise.
Adults R440pp | Children 4-12: R220pp | Children 0-3: Free
(minimum 4, maximum 16 per boat)
Game drives are conducted in open 4×4 vehicles, either in the early morning or late afternoons by a professional guide who will show you, not only the larger game but also the many varied and interesting smaller species in our game reserve.
Adults R440pp | Children 4-12: R220pp | Children 0-3: Free
(Minimum 3, maximum 10 guests per vehicle.)
This is the best way for bird watchers to spot some of the 350+ bird species on the reserve. Walking trails are very much a part of the White Elephant Safaris experience. Being on foot is not only a more energetic way of experiencing the Bush but also provides a ‘closeup’ invigorating encounter with Nature. The sounds, smells and minute detail of the wilderness become much more apparent on a guided walk. The duration and speed of your walk will be tailored by your professional guide to suit your fitness and stamina. Walks go out daily, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Adults R440pp | Children 4-12: R220pp
(Minimum 2, maximum 8 guests per walk. No children under 16 without permission from parents.)
Fishing / Boat Hire
Lake Jozini is the most southern lake where tiger fish are endemic. It’s the ideal location for the novice fisherman to the expert angler for a tiger fish catch of a lifetime, strictly catch and release, of course. Tilapia, Barber (sharp-toothed catfish), Yellowfish, Grass carp, Mozambique and Red-breasted Bream are also found in The Lake. The best time for tiger fishing at Lake Jozini is September through to April.
16 seater – Half Day R2550
16 seater – Full Day R4150
Fishing rod hire – R120 per rod per day
(Additional charges for lost or damaged tackle or equipment.)
This activity provides a glimpse into the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. With the use of a Telemetry device, we will follow the rhino’s signal, look for tracks and dung middens and examine our camera ‘trap’ locations as part of our rhino monitoring and conservation project. +/-3 hour excursion.
Adults R600.00pp | Children 4-12: R300
(Minimum 2, maximum 8, No person’s under the age of 16 without permission from parents.)
Drinks and snacks will be available for guests to purchase to take on the guided safaris
Tours can be pre-booked, or booked on arrival (subject to availability)
AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris may cancel tours due to bad weather. In this event, refunds will be given, but a 10% administrative cancellation fee will apply.
No self-drive game viewing is allowed in Pongola Game Reserve.
Summer months (October – April): 06:00 – 09:00 and 15:30 – 18:30
Winter months (May – September): 06:30 – 09:30 and 15:00 – 18:00
Please note that all activities are weather dependant. The boat cruise, game drive and Guided game / birding walk’s timing may change due to weather and availability. The Elephant Research Project, Black Rhino Range Expansion Project and Fishing / Boat Hire activities must be booked with the camp host a week prior to arrival and confirmed on arrival. This is to ensure conditions for these activities are suitable and the activities are available at the time of your stay.
Wood-fired Hot Tubs
All 12 tents have their own wood-fired hot tub. A wood-fired hot tub is the purest form of relaxation. After a day of exploring, relax while listening to the calming crackle of the fire. Or use it as a splash pool on the hotter days.
Come relax at the pool overlooking the vast plains of the reserve and take a dip among nyala and warthog roaming on the lawns.
Please note that your stay at AfriCamps at White Elephant Safaris is self-catering and the reserve gate is locked at 18:00 daily. Please ensure you bring enough supplies or order our meal baskets in advance.
We offer ‘Cook Your Own’ breakfast baskets which can be collected at reception for guests to prepare. Pre-order your breakfast basket when making your booking.
Contents of breakfast baskets:
Rashers of bacon
Ground Filter Coffee
R130 per adult
R90 per child (0 to 12 yrs)
We offer ‘Cook-Your-Own’ traditional South African braai baskets which can be collected at reception for guests to prepare. Pre-order your braai basket when making your booking.
Contents of braai baskets based on what is freshly available:
400g meat / game meat / vegetarian main dish
1 type of bread
1 green salad
1 side dish
2 Marshmallows to braai for desert
R195 per adult
R125 per child (0 to 12 yrs)
Meal baskets are charged per person per day.
Breakfast and Braai baskets should be booked a day in advance.
Essentials like water, wood, firelighters, ice and curios are available at the shop from 8:00 – 16:00.
From King Shaka International Airport follow the road signs indicating N2, when nearing the interchange keep left and take the N2 Richardsbay/Empangeni off-ramp. Keep heading north on the N2, the gate of White Elephant Safaris is approx. 350km from King Shaka. Follow the N2 north towards Hluhluwe and then on to Mkuze.
Continue 24km along the N2 past Mkuze towards Pongola. At the sign on your left-hand side that reads Pongola Game Reserve (SOUTH) White Elephant Safaris, turn right into White Elephant Safaris main gate. The accommodation options are signposted from here.
From the Airport take the R21 S exit to Boksburg, follow the road and after 7.9km turn right into Rondebult Road. Drive 6.6km and merge onto the N17 Springs. This road has tolls, please make sure to have cash handy.
Follow the N17 all the way to Ermelo (187km). In Ermelo turn right into Kerk Str/N2 (3rd road to the right after you’ve crossed the bridge). Drive 1.6km and turn left into Voortrekker Str (Engen 1 Stop Garage on left-hand corner). From Ermelo follow the N2 to Piet Retief and Pongola (200km). Approximately 40 km after Pongola towards Mkuze at the sign on your left-hand side that reads Pongola Game Reserve (SOUTH) White Elephant Safaris, turn left into the White Elephant Safaris main gate. The accommodation options are signposted from here.
GPS Coordinates: -27.390165, 31.910918
Our tents sleep up to 5 guests, but our shared rates are based on a two-person stay. Please note that the rates below are just a price indication, use our online bookings calendar to check current rates and availability. Food & beverage and activities & tours are not included in the price unless otherwise stated.
12 January 2020 to 17 March 2020
Rates as from 18 March 2020
|Rate per tent (pp)||Additional fee adults (pp)||Children fee (pp)|
|Season||Single||Shared||3rd||4th||5th||0 – 2||3 – 16|
|Low season||1340||670||250||250||250||Stay Free||125|
|High season||1840||920||250||250||250||Stay Free||125|
|Peak season||2340||1170||250||250||250||Stay Free||125|
18 March 2020 to 30 September 2020
1 October 2020 to 10 December 2020
10 January 2021 to 30 April 2021
11 December 2020 to 9 January 2021
Please look for the full terms and conditions on our website www.africamps.com/terms-and-conditions
All tents sleep a maximum of 5 people. The following items or services are not included in the price, unless otherwise stated:
- Food & Beverage
- Activities & Tours
- Daily cleaning service (Complimentary cleaning every 4th day only)
- Wood and firelighters for the wood-stove and campfires (for sale on the reserve)
- Gate entry fee of R25 per vehicle
Unfortunately, no pets allowed on the farm
To secure your stay a 50% deposit is required. The balance of the booking amount must be paid in full to AfriCamps, at the latest, one month before arrival. In the event of a booking made within one month before arrival, the entire booking amount must be paid immediately.
In the case of a late or incomplete payment, you are in default. AfriCamps will reserve the right to cancel the booking with immediate effect. You are responsible for all damages which suffered as a consequence of this, as well as all costs which AfriCamps has made with regards to your booking and the cancellation.
In the event of a cancellation more than a month before arrival, your deposit of 50% will be non-refundable. In the event of cancellation within a month before arrival, the entire booking amount is payable to AfriCamps. In the case of premature termination of the stay, the entire booking amount is payable to AfriCamps.
- More than 1 month prior to arrival: 50% Cancellation fee (50% deposit of full booking value is non-refundable)
- Within 1 month of arrival: 100% Cancellation fee (Full amount of booking value is due and non-refundable)
AfriCamps and the corresponding farm accept no liability for: theft, loss or damage, of whatever nature, during or as a result of a stay on one of our affiliated farms, falling into defect or putting out of action of technical equipment and loss or closure of supplies on the farm.
The guests and those who accompany him or her, are jointly and severally responsible for all loss and/or damage which arises, for AfriCamps, the farm in question and/or any third party as a direct or an indirect consequence of their stay, irrespective of whether this was caused through actions or refraining from actions by themselves or by third parties, who are at the farm through their making, as well as of all damage which is caused by any animal and/or matter which they have under their responsibility. If you leave your tent in an improper condition, AfriCamps is entitled to charge R250,- of additional (cleaning) costs. This can double to R500,- in combination with a late departure.