Letaba means “river of sand”, and the riverbed the camp overlooks is an excellent location for game viewing, particularly of elephant which thrive in the area. They are frequently visible from the camp's stunning deck, or through the fence from the trail around the perimeter.
Letaba is a green oasis in the surrounding mopane veld, and remains a firm favorite with visitors despite being one of the larger camps. At night the stars overlook a symphony of sounds. Owls, nightjars, frogs, fruit bats, crickets and cicadas all vie to be heard until the lion roars, then all are silent.
There is a wide range of services including a restaurant (a Mugg and Bean overlooking the river with a lovely balcony view), a large shop featuring a range of curios as well as food, medicine and other essentials, a petrol station and, notably, an ATM. There is also an emergency vehicle repair facility.
Letaba has a wide range of available accommodation, including two sponsored Guest Houses (Melville, sleeping 9, and Fish Eagle, accommodating 8). There are ten six-bed Guest Cottages and a number of rondavels sleeping 2-3. Safari Tents for two or four can be rented. A camp site is available.
© South African Tourism
Worth a visit whilst here is the Letaba Elephant Hall. The highlight is a display of the tusks of the so-called "Magnificent Seven" giant-tusked elephants, all of which have now died. There is a comprehensive array of information covering pachyderm distribution, social structure, ecology, morphology and physiology, origin and evolution as well as their relationship with humans.
© South African Tourism
The Hall is slightly less than vocal on the difficult subject of elephant culling which is once again on the cards as the population is now more than double the natural "carrying capacity" of the Park.
The Hall is open from 08h00 until 20h00, excepting Sundays when it closes at 18h00.
Most of the Kruger National Park’s larger mammals can be seen in the Letaba vicinity, although it is not good rhino country. However elephant abound, particularly in the Letaba riverbed itself. Waterbuck and buffalo are also plentiful. Visitors need not even leave the camp to view these animals and some lucky guesus have been fortunate enough to witness lion and cheetah kills on the sandy riverbed in front of the restaurant complex.
The camp itself hosts a healthy population of bushbuck who have become very tame and wander freely amongst the bungalows. Other camp residents include tree squirrels, fruit bats and vervet monkey. Bear these in mind before leaving food unattended.
Letaba Camp has a rich bird population and is particularly good for viewing owls. The trail in camp often produces African Fish Eagles, Mourning Doves, Brownheaded Parrots, Palm Swifts, and Brownthroated Martins sometimes nest in the walls of the riverbed.
Pearl-spotted and African Barred Owlet and African Scops-Owl are all resident in camp and should be heard come nightfall, while Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl is regularly recorded along the river itself.
Scan all large Riverine trees carefully. Green-capped Eremomela should be looked for in the camp and like most camps in the central and northern parts of the park Mourning Dove is particularly prominent. The camp’s Red-headed Weavers are unusually bold (they nest adjacent to the petrol station and in front of the restaurant).
The riverbed usually hosts a wide range of herons, storks and waders. Look carefully for Greater Painted Snipe.
The Matambeni Bird Hide on the northern bank of Engelhard Dam is a good place to watch water birds. On the south bank of the dam, near the dam wall Collared (Redwinged) Pratincoles appear annually and can sometimes be seen from the rest camp.
Whilst driving towards Letaba, the Masorini Archaeological Site close to the Phalaborwa Gate is a good venue to view Yellow-throated Petronia (Sparrow), Mocking Cliff-Chat and Red-headed Weaver. The nearby Sable Dam has a hide and is a good spot to view waders. You are able to arrange to sleep out here to maximise the chances of those dawn sightings.
Letaba is a riverine camp and well foliated. There is a wonderful selection of trees and shrubs including sycamore fig, impala lily, common coral tree, lala palm and leadwood. Look out for an excellent example of the Natal Mahagonay species in the cap itself. The vegetation around the camp is mopane shrubland.