Our visit to Jock was part of a "Retirement" holiday, with Cape Town and Mauritius providing very chunky bookends to our four nights in the Kruger. This was the first time for us in this sort of place, and our memories of our time there are wonderful.
I will admit that when we arrived, loaded down by luggage and after a flight from Cape Town and then a long drive to the Lodge, with half an hour before our first game drive, we were just a little bit bemused and slightly disorientated, but then on the last morning, after seven wonderful drives, we knew we had been very fortunate to be at Jock.
Other reviewers have spoken about Dave Olsen, one of the rangers at Jock. There are 12 lodges at the main Jock site, 24 people in all, divided into parties of 6, and that party has its own ranger throughout the stay. You have breakfast with him/her, usually dinner as well, so you get to know the ranger very well, and also the other members of your party so long as there are not too many departures, and thus changes of faces, during your own stay. We considered ourselves extremely fortunate to be allocated to Dave. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge, he is passionate about what he does and he is also a very accomplished semi-professional photographer, which for a camera fan like me was great.
You have to understand that a visit to a place like this is about the game drives. You are up by 5.00 a.m., back for a late breakfast, and then off again by 3.00 p.m., so there isn't much time to change for dinner when you get back: slightly joking there as this is a very informal place! But what you will experience, in a very small party and with a dedicated ranger, is stupendous.
The lodges themselves are not really "luxurious" in the manner of a top 5 star hotel. But they are very comfortable, very private, and cover a lot of ground, with spectacular views. You aren't at Jock for that anyway, although comfort (which you certainly get here) is a bonus. The food is very good, the staff are really friendly, and you are pampered from start to finish, although that pampering does involve making an effort because you won't get the full benefit unless you get yourself involved properly.
For us the highlights of our stay were the evening drives, and stopping in the middle of the bush as the sun went down in a spectacular way, and standing around the truck sipping gin and tonics! Absolute heaven!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Jock Safari Lodge is nestled where the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers flow as one, situated in the South-Western corner of the Kruger National Park. The lodge offers 6,000 hectares of exclusive traversing rights in an area of the park which is celebrated for its big five game viewing. Jock of the Bushveld, the legend that was, served as an inspiration for the aptly namely Jock Safari Lodge. The tale, linked to Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, highlights the canine devotion and stories of African adventures that have excited exploring travellers.Accommodation offered:Main Jock LodgeCarefully screened by lush trees and reed walls, the 12 individual thatched rooms at Jock Safari Lodge, impart a sense of aloneness and oneness with the landscape.Fitzpatrick’s Lodge, offers personal service in an intimate atmosphere. Perfect for small parties and families.The lodge is easily accessible by road, just over 5 hours drive from Johannesburg, or 1 hour Skukuza and 2 hours from Kruger International airports. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Jock Safari Hotel Kruger National Park