Black Leopard Camp: the first stop to make after arriving at Johannesburg

Black Leopard Camp is located just outside of Lydenburg, which is about a 3 hour drive away from the Johannesburg airport. It’s the perfect stop to make before heading to Kruger National Park, which is the preferred tourist location in the area but still at least another hour further.

The Camp is located in the Thaba Tholo Wilderness – a 6.000 hectare mountainous wilderness, with a decent number of wildlife species and known for the leopard research program they are running there. The area is really amazing to explore.

Taking into account our landing time in Johannesburg and the drive we still had to do to the Camp, we arrived around 4pm in the afternoon – which is actually later than the pickup time they typically foresee (2pm). This wasn’t an issue though – with some upfront arrangements, they were very flexible in accommodating us. The thing is you can only get to a certain point with your car, after which they pick you up. You get clear instructions through e-mail guiding your through the locked gates within the wilderness reserve up to the parking area where you meet the guides.

Although it was raining, there was no doubt we still wanted to go for a drive up in the mountains, offering us an impressive landscape view. At a certain point in time it was raining quite heavily (we were soaked when we returned to the Camp), reducing our chances to spot a lot of animals – we actually only saw a few zebra. We didn’t mind, though – apparently it had been extremely dry for the past weeks, so nature really could use the rainfall and – needless to say – that’s more important than our game drive…

Arriving at the Camp, we found out we had the place to ourselves. As we went end of January, the high season hadn’t begun yet, so we were pretty lucky. As the Camp’s cook prepares the meal for you, we had bought some meat and vegetables in the Spar supermarket in Lydenburg before heading down to the Camp. After having met the cute bushbabies hanging around in the trees at the Camp site, we enjoyed dinner together with our guide and called it an early night before getting up at 5.30 am the next morning for a morning bush walk.

The tents are very luxurious, with both an inside as well as outside bathroom and veranda to relax and just listen to the sounds of nature surrounding you. Not to worry about not being able to charge your electronics, as there are charging plugs in the tents.

For our bush walk the next morning, the skies had cleared and we could enjoy the beauty of the place even more. Aside from the wonderful scenery we also spotted a few Oryx and a chameleon along our 1,5 hour walk. When returning to the Camp we saw the baboons running up the mountains, while their shouting loudly echoed, making sure everyone knew they were running the place. The friendly staff offered a nice cup of coffee and after the walk we had our breakfast (which we had also bought the day before).

Before heading out to explore the Panorama route, we relaxed a little more on our veranda. On our way out, we stumbled upon a group of giraffe. Our first experience in South Africa was a hit!

Other Countries we visited
Have a look at the other countries we ‘achievied’ to visit, and other Achievies…