Satara is a busy camp, and not without reason. It is the second largest camp (after Skukuza) and consists of as many as six large circles of rondavels. This is because of its prime location.
Satara is situated in an outstanding game viewing area, with the bush relatively open and the animals plentiful and diverse. It is also relatively accessible from the southern gates to the Kruger. The camp itself has a rustic charm, is well wooded and the bird-life is prolific.
© South African Tourism
At night the clink of fruit bats is fused with the chirping of cicadas and crickets. The calls of owls and nightjars create a continuous bush symphony that is punctuated intermittently by the whoop of hyena, the screech of jackal and the roar of lion.
Satara's facilities are appropriate to those of a larger Restcamp- there is a a good restaurant, a separate cafeteria and a well-stocked shop; phones, a laundromat and a petrol station are here. In addition there is a Jungle Gym for kids, an eco-information centre, and a large auditorium showing wildlife films in the evening.
Satara offers the full range of main camp accommodation - 2/3 bed rondavels with or without kitchenettes, some with showers and some with baths. Guest Cottages house 5 or 6 people with an en-suite bathroom and a separate room with shower, toilet and washbasin. These are also better equipped with living/dining rooms with TV, and higher spec kitchens including gas stoves and an oven. Of these, Wells sleeps 6, Stanley 9, and for Frankel you will have to enquire when you reserve.
Note that there are no Safari Tents here at present, but camping and caravan sites are available for a maxiumum of five people per site.
Satara is a popular camp, being the second largest in the Kruger Park (after Skukuza. It is rightly regarded as one of the best for game viewing,and is particularly noted for the big cats, with lion, leopard and cheetah recorded regularly.
The name derives from a Hindi word given to the area when it was designated for farming by an Indian surveyor: satra means 'seventeen' which was the number ascribed to it.
Night drives from here are something else- you can often see prides of lion coming to bask on the tarmac roads prior to hunting (the road stores the heat of the day well after dusk). Mating lions are not an infrequent sighting; when they do mate, they do so frequently over extended periods of time and tend not to get anywhere further given the amount of energy they expend int he act.
General game includes blue wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, giraffe and the ubiquitous impala. Rhino, buffalo and elephant are also easily seen. Of the smaller animals, the honey badger is something to look out for. At night spotted hyena regularly whoop from the camp’s perimeter while the repetitive sonar chink of fruit bats blends with the chirp of cicada and cricket.
Satara, like other camps, has a plethora of resident birds. Particularly prominent are the Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Burchell’s Starling and Mourning Dove. At night Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle, Barn, Scops Owls and Pearl-spotted Owlet can be seen and heard in camp, along with the Square-tailed (Mozambiquan) Nightjar.
The open plains to the north of the camp are perhaps the best place in the park to record Montagu's and Pallid Harrier.
The N'wanedzi Picnic Site (24 km from Satara) is worth visiting. Violet-eared Waxbill, Yellowbellied Greenbul (Bulbul), and Mocking Cliff-Chat are regulars here, while Shaft-tailed Whydah have been seen nearby. Golden Pipit has been seen on the S100.
There is a viewing platform that provides an elevated view down on the N'wanedzi River. Also, about 2 km from N'wanedzi on the S37 Road, the Sweni Bird Hide is well worth stopping at. In winter, when water levels are low, and rocks, mud-banks and reeds are exposed, the site is exceptionally active bird-wise, with many passerines coming to drink and joining the ubiquitous Hamerkop, Green-backed Heron and Great (Great White) and Little Egrets. In summer, after heavy rain, the high water levels reduce the bird-life. However it is an excellent venue to see Blue-cheeked Bee-eater that is regularly in attendance here.
Satara, like most camps, has been well landscaped with trees, providing a refuge for birds and insects.The surrounding vegetation is knob thorn and marula savannah on basalt soils.
A few kilometres west there is an intrusion of ecca shale soils which host very sweet grass which is often very heavily grazed. This intrusion also hosts Delagoa thorn thickets.
To the east, the N’wanetsi region lies in Lebombo Mountain Bushveld on rhyolite soils. Tree euphorbia and red bushwillow are prevalent.