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Accommodation Guide to the Balule Restcamp in the Kruger National Park - South Africa
  

Balule Restcamp - Kruger National Park:

Balule Restcamp is the smallest and most basic of the Kruger National Park's restcamps and with only 6 quaint huts and 15 camping sites! If you want to experience a semblance of what the park was like in the 70's then this is it! Without shops or restaurants, the camp is ideal for persons seeking solitude.

Location: Balule is situated on the southern bank of the Olifants River, approximately 11 km from Olifants Restcamp and 87 km from Phalaborwa Gate.

Regulations: Visitors should report at Olifants at least half an hour before the gates close. Day visitors are not permitted.

Accommodation: This small camp comprises six rustic three-bed huts with communal ablution facilities. The huts have no windows, only a 20cm gauze covered gap between the top of the wall and the thatch. See Services / Facilities below.

15 camping sites for tents and caravans are also available with decent communal ablution facilities. A communal kitchen with scullery and gas stoves is available. Limited space is available in a communal freezer.

Activities:

  • Game Drives at Olifants only (Morning and Night)
Services / Facilities:
  • There is no electricity - lanterns are used.
  • There are no cooking utensils, crockery or cutlery.
  • A communal kitchen with scullery and coal stoves is available.
  • Limited space is available in a communal refrigerator.

Services / Facilities at the nearby Olifants Camp:

  • Basic First Aid Assistance
  • Communal Kitchens
  • Curio and grocery Shop
  • Emergency Road Service (at Letaba 32 km north)
  • Laundromat
  • Light meals and take-away from restaurant
  • Petrol Station
  • Picnic Facilities
  • Post Box
  • Public telephones
  • Restaurant

Wheelchair Access:

  • Balule Private Camp and Camping Site; no barrier free facilities occur in either the private or the camping section.
Ecozones near this camp:

What to do and see nearby:

Routes:

  • Route: B1 (South towards Satara & N'wanetsi); Four EcoZones H,J,K,& F; Breakfast at Satara;
    • Section 1: From the Balule Camp at the T-junction turn left onto the Old Main Road (S90); Continue passed the S89 road to the right to reach the Hlabeni Stream and then the Bangu Waterhole some 9 km after leaving camp.
    • Section 2: The next stretch between the Bangu Waterhole and the Gudzani Waterhole may seem a little tedious and devoid of game but always remember the golden rule; "The most interesting things will happen when you least expect them and can happen anywhere in the park!"
    • Section 3: Continue along the S90, past the S41 turn-off on the left, and then on to the H1-4 tar road.
    • Section 4: Turn left towards Satara and after 7kms of F EcoZone you'll reach Satara Restcamp. Stop here and have breakfast at the day visitors picnic spot and do a little shopping!
    • Section 5: After breakfast head out towards the S100 by first turning right out of the camp access road and then first left onto the S100 gravel road. The S100 meanders alongside the N'wanetsi River for 19km before bringing you to a T-junction on the S41
    • Section 6: Gudzani Dam to N'wanetsi for lunch time siesta!
    • Section 7: Back to guzani Section 6 in reverse
    • Section 8: Gudzani Dam, Gudzani East Waterhole & Gudzani Waterhole
    • Section 9: Gudzani to Balule Section 1 & 2 in reverse.

Places of special interest:

  • N’wamanzi Lookout
  • Olifants Lookout
  • Engelhard Dam
  • Balule Bridge
  • Ngotso Pan
  • Baobab Tree on Gravel Road to Letaba

Wildlife:

Mammals: The Olifants area plays host to most of the park’s classic larger game. As the name of the camp suggests, elephant are common in the area. Baboon and Vervet Monkey both inhabit the camp as do fruit bats and thick-tailed bush babies at night. Lion and leopard are regularly seen on game drives. Cape Clawless Otter has been seen from the Olifants lookout point on the gravel road to Letaba.
See mammal checklist

Birding: Two birds to look out for on the Olifants River are Whitefronted and Whitecrowned Plover, both of which can be seen in the riverbed. The bridges on the main tarred road and at Balule are the places to look for these species. Search the riparian trees on the Olifants River near Balule for the Pel’s Fishing Owl. Camp bird-life in Olifants, like all camps is busy. Red-winged Starlings are particularly prominent. Trumpeter Hornbills and Pied Barbet are regularly seen in camp, and when the many aloe plants in camp are in flower, they act as a magnet for sunbirds. Rufous-bellied Heron has been recorded on the Olifants River.

Vegetation
Olifants is situated in rugged veld on rhyolite / basalt soil. Lowveld cluster-leaf, Raisin Bush and Mopane are all prominent in the area. Just south of the river is the transition zone between thornveld and the mopane belt. Visitors can thus have the enriching experience of game viewing in both ecozones.

In the camp itself there is a plethora of trees and plants, some that are scarce elsewhere in the park. A variety of aloe species are a real highlight. Next to the filling station there is a Sesame Bush. This is probably the only accessible place in the park where it can be seen.

In early spring the Sjambok Pod (yellow flowers) and Weeping Boerboon (red flowers) are both in bloom so the veld is a contrast of colour. Also look out for tree euphorbia.

Kruger National Park Links
General:

Introduction

Accommodation

Activities & Adventures

Facilities

History
Wildlife:
Amphibians
Birds
Fish
Mammals
Reptiles
Invertebrates
Trees
Grasses
Herbaceous Plants
Ecology
Maps:
Kruger National Park Map
Route Maps to the KNP
Limpopo Lowveld Map
Mpumalanga Lowveld Map
What's Interesting Nearby:
Pilgrims Rest
Sudwala Caves
Barberton
Blyde River Canyon
God's Window & Graskop
Historical Mines
Photographs:
A typical road in Kruger
The Orpen Dam view site
The Afsaal picnic site
  
 
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