This Hoedspruit guide will arm you with all you need to know to make your trip to this prime game-viewing base a memorable one, shining a light on its tourism and agriculture orientation.

If must-see places such as the Blyde River Canyon and the Kruger National Park are on your itinerary, Hoedspruit’s nestling between these favourites should already have you excited about your impending visit.

About Hoedspruit – Overview

Hoedspruit, in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, is accessible by the Eastgate airport, which is located 15km away from Hoedspruit, along the Timbavati Road. Hoedspruit, Limpopo, South Africa, bordering the Kruger National Park, is situated in the region known as The Olifants Valley.

The popular destination, among those who are “in the know,” is located in the middle of the Central Lowveld, with an excellent year-round climate, numerous game lodges, game reserves, wildlife conservation areas, and other tourism attractions.

The area of Hoedspruit, South Africa, covers the mid-reaches of the Olifants River, with its main tributaries, Letaba, Shingwedzi, Blyde, Mohlapitse, Timbavati, and Klaserie rivers.

What towns are near Hoedspruit?

Hoedspruit lies in the Valley of the Olifants within Big 5 Country, near Kruger National Park, and is surrounded by Big 5 game lodges and private game reserves such as the Timbavati, Balule, Thornybush, Kapama, and Klaserie.

Sign at entrance to Kapama Karula Lodge in the Kapuma Private Game Reserve, near Hoedspruit, South Africa

Source (Author): Nolabob 

It is entirely possible to fly into Hoedspruit and drive directly into Private Nature Reserves such as Timbavati, without having to venture any closer than the Hoedspruit township, but more on that later, particularly for those who are keen to explore destinations like the locals do it..

Hoedspruit farms were once stopovers for hunters and trappers, doing their business alongside the hunters and trappers of the surrounding wilderness.

Hoedspruit History

During the years when Hoedspruit Farm was owned by Dawid Johannes Joubert, Hoedspruit Farm, which he registered at the land office at Oorighstad, was enormous, and extended almost from the Blyde river up to the Klaserie river, and certainly up towards the city center, as it exists today.

Tree at sunset. Taken at the Thornybush Game Reserve next to the Kruger National Park near Hoedspruit, South Africa

Source (Author): Joe Ross

In 1848, on 5th May, Dawid Johannes Joubert took the opportunity of firstly registering Hoedspruit farm at the land office which was located in Ohrighstad, so that was 1848 when Hoedspruit had any formal acknowledgement and registration to the town and municipal council which is present in today.

Because of its prime location and its rapid development around some very important times in the history of South Africa, Hoedspruit was always desinted to be the intriguing destinaton it is today.

Hoedspruit Travel Guide

It’s ultmiately up to you to work out how you will make the most out of visiting Hoedspruit.

From endless safaris across gorgeous landscapes populated by amazing people, to farms tours, and historical towns; there is plenty of things to do in small-town Hoedspruit.

Hoedspruit’s palette is filled with green, surrounded by Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon.

What is Hoedspruit known for?

Hoedspruit is a small town, but it is known to provide numerous thrilling activities for tourists to partake in.

A small tourism-oriented and agriculture-oriented town, the place promises all shades of green. Hoedspruit is one of South Africas top ecotourism destinations for visiting game drives and private reserves.

Hoedspruit is one of the countrys major eco-tourism destinations with stunning game lodges and private reserves.

Hoedspruit is major selling points are the Hoedspruit is close proximity to Kruger National Park, as well as privately owned lodges at the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and Klaserie Private Nature Reserve.

Hoedspruit lies in the Valley of the Olifants, a big five game reserve, near the Kruger National Park, surrounded by Big Five game lodges and private nature reserves such as Timbavati, Balule, Thornybush, Kapama, and Klaserie.

Hoedspruit is well-serviced, safe, clean, has plenty of things to offer beyond the Kruger National Park, and is easily accessible from Orpen Gate into the Kruger.

A full day safari into Kruger begins in the city of Hoedspruit, taking you all the way to the entrance gate at Orpen.

What is unknown by many travellers, and particularly by our valued international visitors, is that while visiting Kruger National Park, its neighbouring private game reserves, and the neighboring city of Hoedspruit, there are many truly wonderful activities that can be done, aside from the obvious ones, while you are in this region.

Here is a list of all of the activities that are available when visiting the Kruger National Park, the surrounding Hoedspruit and surrounding areas, some of which you might not have thought to include in your custom-made package for this highly sought-after region.

Private Guide Service guides are extremely knowledgeable about Hoedspruit and the surrounding areas, they speak English, and they will even be able to help you to converse very well when in South Africa.

Thornybush Game Reserve next to the Kruger National Park near Hoedspruit

Source (Author): Joe Ross

All tours will be professionally guided, taking you close to the Big 5 in Africa, and learning about each section of the nature areas, and being able to spend time in the unspoiled wilderness areas, where you will have all of Africa and its beauty to yourself.

We cannot over-emphasise just how much of a diversity in options you have if you’re in Hoedspruit for some game viewing! Here’s an extensive list of game and nature reserves for you to investigate:

Andover (MTPA)

Balule Private Nature Reserve

Blue Canyon Conservancy

Blyde Canyon Nature Reserve (MTPA)

Blyde Olifants Conservancy

Karongwe Private Nature Reserve

Kapama Private Nature Reserve

Klaserie Private Nature Reserve          

Kruger National Park (SANParks)

Lekgalametse (LTPA)

Makalali Conservancy

Manyaleti (MTPA)

Selati Private Nature Reserve

Thornybush Private Nature Reserve

Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

Tshukudu Game & Nature Reserve

White-backed vultures and one Cape vulture (bottom left) at Hoedspruit

Source (Authhor): Casey Allen

Other Hoedspruit Activities Include:

Hot Air Ballooning

Blyde River Dam Boat Cruise

Sightseeing Along the Panorama Route

Nyani Cultural Village Visit

Dining at Various Local Restaurants & Shopping (Delight in a Local Brewery too)

Flight School

Getting Into and Around Hoedspruit

The journey to Hoedspruit and its surrounding areas takes around five-six hours, including stops, from Johannesburg. Hoedspruit is well-serviced, safe, clean, has plenty of things to do beyond Kruger National Park, and it is easily accessible to Orpen Gate for the Kruger. Hoedspruit is located in the Valley of the Olifants, a big five game country near Kruger National Park, surrounded by Big Five game lodges, and private game reserves such as Timbavati, Balule, Thornybush, Kapama, and Klaserie.

Hoedspruit Airport

Source (Author): Joe Ross

The Private Nature Reserves in Guernsey have no Big Five, meaning that you can go for a solo stroll with no fear of predators. We chose to stay at one of the private game reserves surrounding Kruger National Park, and were treated to an amazing bush experience. Once we passed Hoedspruit and continued on to a region full of private game reserves, we started seeing every kind of animal.

Travelling from Cape Town to Hoedspruit?

The best way to get from Cape Town to Hoedspruit is on an airplane, which is 1,150 miles (1851 km) away. A direct flight is just two-and-a-half hours, whereas travelling by car would require at least two days of driving. Due to the low frequency of direct flights between Cape Town and Hoedspruit, usually just once per day, travellers might have to book a connecting flight through Johannesburg.

Naturally, day trips into Kruger Park and along the Panorama Route with a hired vehicle could always be done with children. The Full Day Kruger Safari is an all-day trip that leaves early morning and will take you back late in the afternoon. The full day Kruger Safari starts from the city of Hoedspruit and takes you all the way up to Orpen Entrance Gate.

Travelling from Johannesburg or Pretoria to Hoedspruit?

This is a signficant consideration, because with many of the country’s traditionally tourist-oriented destinations, we’d encourage car rental as the best way to gan access. Hoedspruit on the other hand has a bus service running from Pretoria and from Jo’burg, making it accessible as a so-called “sho’t left” to the average traveller seeking a nice getaway.

Arrive at 4:30 in the afternoon, bussing with CityLiner Plus…

Hoedspruit Accommodation

One of the most popular weekend breaks in South Africa is Hoedspruit, with its many different types of accommodation. The tourist industry has grown immensely in Hoedspruit, with hotels and lodges being built around Hoedspruit to cater for the growing numbers of visitors in this area.

Hoedspruit boasts many accommodations that cater for every need of a tourist or vacationer. The Hoedspruit Town remains firmly entrenched within South Africa, and is one of the gateway towns to the Kruger National Park today. The gateway town into Kruger National Park, Hoedspruit provides an easy base for heading out on the hunt for the big five of South Africa.

Instead of booking months in advance for basic in-park accommodations, or forking over a large amount of money for private game camps, we set our sights outside of Kruger National Park. With private shuttles from Cape Town, deluxe spa treatments, and super luxurious accommodations, Kapama River Lodge is an excellent option for anyone looking for full-on luxury in the African bush.

Located ten minutes from the centre of Hoedspruit, the luxurious Tinghala Guesthouse offers accommodation with laundry, maid services, and ironing services. Simply one of the more luxurious stays in Hoedspruit, Jabulani Safari provides guests with a different kind of experience.

Related Article: Top 10 Best Accommodation in Hoedspruit

Hoedspuit Climate and Best Time to Visit

April is probably the ideal month to visit Hoedspruit, as it has very nice weather for the time of the year. The best time to visit the place is certainly from June through August. Based on the climate and weather of Hoedspruit, September is the best time to visit.

That might all sound paradoxical, but it’s based on what type of traveller you are, particulaly with regards to what you want to get up to while visiting a destination such as Hoedspruit. Are you merely coming in for some indiscriminate game viewing, or do you perhaps want to almost guarantee game spotting in the colder months, when the grasslands are low?

Based only on weather, January is probably a time to avoid going to Hoedspruit on your vacation. December in Hoedspruit is the Summer Month for Hoedspruit, which is usually the hottest month of the year. May is a very dry month in Hoedspruit, with temperatures being warm overall. On average, May is the 5th-driest month of the year in Hoedspruit, with about 10mm, 0.4 inches of rainfall, making it a very dry time to visit.

In July, Hoedspruit receives an average of 5.69mm of rain with about 0 days actual precipitation during the month. On average, November in Hoedspruit is the 2nd rainiest month in the year for Hoedspruit, with about 81mm of rainfall, or 3.2 inches, making it somewhat of a wetter time to visit. The one downside to an African Summer is the possibility that you might experience heavy rainfall while you are staying in South Africa. During summer in South Africa, we get temperatures up around 23-30C in the afternoon.

You can also expect temperatures to rise up to 30degC during this period. With nearly all year-round sunlight, the weather can be quite warm in summer months.

Based on the Tourism Score, the best time of the year to visit Hoedspruit for hot-weather activities is late December through mid-April, with the highest score being during the second week of March

Things to to in Hoedspruit

In addition to its proximity to the iconic Kruger National Park, Hoedspruit is surrounded by several major private game reserves: Balule, Klaserie, Timbavati, and Thornybush, all offering the opportunity to see the big five–lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, and buffaloes. Due to the close proximity of Hoedspruit to the Kruger National Park, it is also highly sought after among tourists, contributing greatly to the tourism industry of South Africa. Surrounded by game reserves and national parks, Hoedspruit is the perfect base to explore the regions wildlife.

Get away from home for the day and come see Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Trips to Moholoholo can be organised for you, or you can decide to take the road trip to the Centre, a short 30 minute drive from Hoedspruit. Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center A visit to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, located in the Kapama private game reserve, gives you an exciting perspective into the rarities, fragile, and endangered species of animals, as well as the animal conservation efforts taking place within the region.

The activities around the area of Hoedspruit are all-year-round activities that draw a variety of types of tourists to this South African area. Tourists may go on safari trips to experience the creatures up close, or they can simply enjoy the natural beauty of Hoedspruit. African Dream Horse Safaris is based at the Hoedspruit game reserve, and offers an array of outings on Hoedspruit, on game drives routes into the bush, with various species of wildlife able to be seen.

A Self Drive Safari from Hoedspruit, South Africa, to Orpen Gate Kruger National Park gives you the option of planning your route and finding the Big5 yourself. Accommodation Phalaborwa The Malopeni 4x4trail is one of the routes offered in the Kruger National Park, which continues to be ranked amongst the top safari destinations in the world. Naturally, day trips into the Kruger park and along the Panorama Route with a hire vehicle of your own are something that you can do with kids all the time.

Tourists planning a trip to the attractions of the Lowveld, including Kruger National Park, the Blyde River Canyon, and the Panorama Route, should stay at the Mdluli Safari Lodge. You can book your ride through any one of the many companies operating tourist services in the region, such as Blyde Adventures and the Blyde Canyon Adventure Centre. Popular attractions include visiting Maholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, the Blyde Dam, the Hoedspruit Reptile Center, the Nyani Cultural Village, Blyde Canyon Adventure Centre, the Hippo Jessica, and iconic Kruger National Park.

Hoedspruit South Africa is one of the best places to visit in Limpopo province, South Africa. Hoedspruit South Africa, being a gateway to some of South Africas best wildlife parks and game reserves, is an ideal setting for a highly-regarded gallery exhibiting art from the wild. The gallery has more than 350 works of artwork, sculptures, prints, and prints from Fine Art Photographic prints.

Elephant experience — Quintessential Hoedspruit Experience


Source (Author): Joe Ross

Thornybush Game Reserve next to the Kruger National Park near Hoedspruit, South Africa.

Get inspiration, enlightenment, educated and enthused by this what will be a memorable and opportunity to acquaint yourself with some of the Jabulani herd of elephants and their devoted carers. This makes up what few will dispute to be the quintessential experience of Hoedspruit, having you come away with a unique memory to the history-rich town.

Arrival will be at sunrise, when you’ll meet a few members of an extraordinary elephant family, the Jabulani Herd. Go deeper into the biological and physiologcial side of these gentle giants, all while learning about each elephant’s unique personality and remarkable story.

The unforgettable 90-minute experience is available at the Jabulani elephant stables, bordering the HERD elephant orphanage. Unfortunately though, the Orphanage doesn’t allow public to visits their premises or for the viewing the orphans, but that just speaks to the serious conservation-oriented nature of the entire region. This is so as to keep the elepant orphan’s stress levels to an absolute minimum and you wouldn’t likely want to come away with an experience of animals in distress, in any case… Albeit they are being rehabilitated…

The Jabulani Herd elephants you’ll meet are representative of the rest of the herd, which they join later on as they continue foraging about in the Kapama Private Reserve. There will be from two to three elephants introduced, whic remain behind a low-partition, so as to maintain a respectful distance between the visitors and elephants.

Visitors will delight in an opportunity to endear themselves to some elephants, providing snacks to each of the elephants, so too a chance to take a snap of the memorable experience, with the expert guidance of the carers.

Complimentary hot beverages will be provided upon arrival and the coffee and tea with biscuits will available to enjoy throughout the entire experience.

Following what is reffered to as your Elephant Moments experience, you can purchase a souvenir in the gift shop, with proceeds going towards the HERD TRUST. That’s squarely in line with how things are done in Hoedspruit — pretty much everything has the environmental responsibility element added to it, so you’re not just shopping to come away with some awesome loot, but rather to come away with awesome goodies and do your bit to help sustain the conservation efforts.


You can only book early mornings, as this is when the herd treks into the bush for what will be the remainder of the day. So on just one day out of your getaway, you’ll have to wake up early… Each day is unique, depending on the herd’s movement, which is a great thing as it ensures you have a unique experience. This gives you the perfect excuse to book such experiences more than once, if you ever needed an excuse!

Children are welcome from age of 6 years upwards

This experience is naturally a weather-permitting one

What’s Included?

1.5 hours Elephant Moments, featuring a personalised introduction and subsequent interaction, hosted by passionate, expert elephant carers.

Not Included

Items in the Safari Boutique Shop

Transfers to and from your accommodation (although usually the typical lodge or hotel will go as far as organising beyond suggesting this whole trip for their guests)

Transfer to and from the Kapama Main Gate

What Should You Bring?


A sun hat

Your camera

Comfortable clothing that you can shed as the slight morning chill gives way to what can be contrastingly hot late mornings and afternoons

Related Article: Things to do in Hoedspruit

Hoedspruit Like a Local

Real Estate in Hoedspruit is unique, with every estate offering advantages and unique lifestyles. Hoedspruit has quickly become a major tourist and lifestyle hub for South Africa, and property-wise, there is plenty on offer in the Lowveld. Hoedspruit is easy to access from Johannesburg and Cape Town, making it a great jumping off point for travellers looking to discover South Africas enchanted land.

Dam wall of the Blyderivierpoort dam in Mpumalanga, South Africa. It provides irrigation for farms in the Hoedspruit area of Limpopo, South Africa

Dam wall of the Blyde river dam- Hoedspruit Limpopo province South Africa 28th March 2008

Ordinary life in Hoedspruit is perhaps best exemplified by what the locals do on a day-to-day basis, with some school kids sure to be visible if you’re visiting during the regular school calender. Some primary and secondary schools include the ones listed below, whhose curriculum would inevitably be localised to contribute to conservation efforts synonymous with the area:

Laerskool Drakensig

Hoedspruit Christian School

Southern Cross Schools

Laerskool Mariepskop

Hoedspruit Independent College

Lowveld Academy

Hoedspruit Secondary School

You probably won’t run out of things-to-do-in-Hoedspruit ideas, but the ecotourism and conservation programmes aimed at school children could serve as further inspiration for you.

Hoedspruit, as one of the major agricultural contributors in South Africa, specialises in Mango and Citrus production. The local economy is a primary Agricultural Producer for both local export markets, with daily life encapsulating:

Farms & Farmers

Agricultural Produce Packing Facilities

Agricultural industry support services

Immerse yourself and experience Hoedspruit like a local! After all, the locals also appreciate how blessed they are to live in such a rich environment – an environment rich in life!

What language do they speak in Hoedspruit?

The name of the town itself, Hoedspruit, is Afrikaans, translating to “hat creek”. The story behind the name goes back to one of the inadvertent founders of the town, who went on to purchase a farm there. Apparently he threw his hat into the creek as a way to signify his desire to permanently stay.

So you might very likely hear Afrikaans spoken, but communication is as easy as it is anywhere else in the Republic of South Africa, with English widely and well spoken. If you want to impress a local or two, learn to say “please” and “thank you” in Afrikaans and SePedi as well, which is also widely spoken among the locals. Better yet, ask a local to teach you a couple of phrases, as an icebreaker…

Hoedspruit Healh & Safety

Do I need malaria tablets for Hoedspruit?

Hoedspruit fortunately falls under the malaria low-risk area so therefore you don’t need to take any malaria medication, although it is recommended for visits to the Kruger Park. Visits to the Kruger National Park typcally form part of the Hoedspruit itinerary, so you’ll likely not come all the way to this part of the world and this part of the country and not visit the Kruger Park.


With a history going back to the days of the South African War, Hoedspruit naturally has a safety legacy which basically epitomises the need for tourist vigilance. As much as an overnight stay might have you enjoying some time out in a home that doubles-up as a lodge, the green, leafy suburban settings shouldn’t lull you into the type of false sense of security that as you wandering about at night, unaccompanied.

Heed the advice of your host and you’ll likely be just fine and exercise vigilance by not being flashy and careless. Otherwise enjoy your stay and be free.

SAPS (South African Police Service)

Hoedspruit Police Station

Cnr of R527 and Panther Street

Tel: 015 799 4000