Jock Safari Lodge general manager Louis Strauss stood us up at breakfast. He was called to an important meeting, apparently… What could be more important than promoting your lodge to five members of the media, hungry for information to share with the public? Well, saving the life of a baby rhino, that’s what. The tracking team had located her early that morning, dehydrated and disorientated. Her mother had been killed by poachers a few days earlier. The Kruger National Park helicopter crew and vets were called, and she was darted, stabilised and flown to Care for Wild rehabilitation facility.
This is what makes Jock Safari Lodge so special – its absolute commitment to conservation. The lodge is owned and managed by non-profit conservation organisation, the Caleo Foundation, and managed by Louis and Belinda Strauss, who are visibly passionate and hands-on (as we witnessed that morning at breakfast) about conserving and showcasing the land and animals, and are actively involved with numerous conservation and research projects of rare and endangered species.
Working closely with SANParks, the team at Jock Safari Lodge also focuses on protecting fragile, unique ecosystems in and around the concession. The lodge itself has been built to the most stringent eco-management criteria in South Africa.
Perfectly positioned in the southern area of the Kruger National Park, Jock Safari Lodge rests at the confluence of the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers. This 6 000ha exclusive concession is situated halfway between Skukuza and the Malelane Gate.
The legendary wildlife experiences are enhanced by 23km of exclusive dry riverbed that only Jock guests can enjoy. The Big Five sightings of lion, leopard, black and white rhino, herds of buffalo and elephant are frequent and the birding experience exceptional.
Jock Safari Lodge offers two recently refurbished and redesigned luxury lodges. The main camp features 12 secluded thatched suites, each with a private deck, an outdoor Victorian bath and shower, as well as a plunge pool and enclosed sala (day bed) for day- or nighttime use. The Fitzpatrick Lodge, a private villa a few kilometres away from the main camp, is a perfect space for families or friends travelling together.
As is so often the case with safari holidays, the game guides can make or break the experience. Guide extraordinaire and manager of the lodge Lazarus Mkhonto filled every moment in the bush with new and rare discoveries and fascinating titbits about the wild. There is no queueing to catch a glimpse of a leopard and no time limit on prime sightings. The pace is relaxed and so personal.