I’m a bit of an old hippie, quite happy staying in just a small tent, but when the manager of the Hippo Waterfront Lodge said “Here are the keys to YOUR bathroom,” I knew I was in for some real luxury.
The Hippo Waterfront Lodge also has a small caravan park situated next to the Crocodile River, about 12 kilometres from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
I liked the place from the moment that I drove down the long driveway, past a neat row of fever trees, to the reception and the campsite. It’s a subtropical world of lush gardens and neat rolling lawns.
Number of stands: 6
Ablutions: Each stand has its own bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.
Laundry facilities: Yes
Pets: On request.
A small deposit is required to confirm reservation.
There are only six caravan/camping stands at the resort, each with its own ablution facilities and electricity, and a tap with safe drinking water close by.
You not only have your own private bathroom, but there is also a fully-equipped kitchen with a microwave; and there are also laundry facilities.
From your stand, it’s a leisurely stroll under the forest canopy to the nearby river, where you can try your hand at freshwater fishing. Barber, eel, carp or yellow finch are the most common species to be found.
As the name suggests, the river is also home to some resident hippopotamuses. From your campsite, you can often hear these gentle giants grunting; at other times, they cause a stir as they splash around in the water, and sometimes even venture on shore!
The hippos are not the only big attraction of the resort – thanks to its sub-tropical climate, the area is filled with abundant trees, flowers, fruits and nuts. These, in turn, attract a variety of birdlife.
There’s a whole wall at the reception area filled with magnificent photographs of birds.
Anton Crous, the manager, said: “These pictures were taken by a lady called Michelle Meacher, from Sabie. Every one of those pictures was taken at Hippo Waterfront.”
Anton made me feel welcome from the moment I arrived, and it’s clear that he goes the extra mile for all his guests. Later in the day, I found him at the restaurant-and-bar area down near the river, where he was busy preparing a traditional South African braai for some overseas visitors. However, we locals weren’t neglected: he organised a giant screen and an overhead projector from their conference centre to screen the Springbok rugby game that was on.
The open-plan dining area of the restaurant leads out to a deck and a series of walkways that give you great views of the gardens and the river below. Breakfast and dinner are served on the deck overlooking the Crocodile River.
There’s a whole row of luxury wooden chalets up on the slope overlooking the river.
Hippo Waterfront Lodge is close not only to the bustling city of Nelspruit, but also to numerous places of interest. It’s a great base from which to explore the surroundings.
The Kruger National Park is a mere 60 kilometers away. Day outings can be made to places like the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, Sabie, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Sudwala Caves, Pilgrims Rest, and more.
To contact the resort or to make a booking, fill out the form below.
By Richard van Reyneveld