When the world was still young, some 3.5 billion years ago, molten rock forced its way through the earth's crust and solidified to form the spectacular granite outcrops where Pretoriuskop Restcamp is now nestled. The impressive granite dome known as “Shabeni Hill” is not far from this camp which is found in the southwestern corner of the Kruger National Park.
Brilliant red trees adorn the park, pre-dating the decision to make exclusive use of indigenous plants in laying out Restcamp gardens. Nostalgia prompted an exception to the rule for Pretoriuskop, the oldest rest camp in the Park, and the exotic flowering plants were allowed to stay, enhancing the strong sense of the past that is so pervasive.
There is a particularly lovely swimming pool nestling into the granitic rocks close to the boundary of the camp. A cool breeze can often be found here and this, combined with its higher altitude than other camps (close to 800m above sea level, compared to 200m for the plains), makes Pretoriuskop a good bet to minimise the worst of the Summer heat. It also receives more than twice the rainfall- 750mm per annum- than the far north (Pafuri averages only 375mm).
Services are of the usual wide range as befits a Main Camp, and include a restaurant, shop, petrol station, laundromat, public telephones and a post box.
There is a wide selection of rondawels, that range in size from 2 to 6 beds and share kitchens and ablution facilities. Some (please specify when you reserve) offer a fridge and air conditioning, some not. Bungalows are available in 2, 4 and 6 bed configurations, and you can choose double or single beds. Again, kitchen and ablution facilities vary, so please check. There are 4 six-bed Family Cottages with gas stoves and ovens, and two sponsored Guest Houses- Pierre Jouvert sleeps up to 16 whilst Doherty Bryant can accommodate up to nine.
Camping is available and there are sites for caravans equipped with electricity points.
The chance of seeing small herds of sable, eland and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest make Pretoriuskop a special destination. Black and white rhino, buffalo and elephant can be seen on the loop roads around the camp. The numerous rocky outcrops should be searched for rock hyrax, klipspringer, oribi and red duiker (these two latter species, though difficult to find, are more or less restricted to this part of the Kruger National Park).
A visit to the Mestel Dam can produce hippopotamus, while a stop at the Shitlhave Dam can produce reedbuck. On the carnivore front, wild dog are frequently recorded in the area and, despite the dense grass, so are cheetah. Spotted hyena and leopard should also be searched for.
In the camp itself look for Green-capped Eremomela, Brown-headed Parrot, Cutthroat Finch, Redheaded Weaver and several sunbird species. Black Cuckoo (summer) and Gorgeous Bush Shrike can be heard calling from the dense bush surrounding the camp. The Pretoriuskop region is one of the best areas in the Park to see Pennant-winged Nightjar, Black-bellied Bustard (Korhaan) and Red-collared Widow.
Pretoriuskop is in an area of thick vegetation, tall grass and unpalatable sour veld. Only below the drainage line is there quality sweeter grass. for grazers. The most dominant tree is the silver cluster-leaf. In the camp itself there are some fine examples of Natal mahogany, marula and sycamore fig.