Fitzpatrick's Lodge at Jock. Kruger National Park. South Africa

Why we love it

Fitzpatrick's Lodge is a short distance from it's parent lodge, Jock Safari Lodge, so enjoys the added services of their spa and gym, yet is small and intimate and perfect for two families or a small group. We loved the way the living areas all spilled out to the river in front, which is an endless cat-walk of wildlife to keep your binoculars pinned on. The concession is one of the most scenic in the Kruger National Park, dominated by round granite outcrops, big fig trees and wide river systems. The staff are very attentive but the feeling is very relaxed, with chunky wood furniture outside, monkeys joining your for afternoon tea, and a TV room for the kids to enjoy the Jock of the Bushveld movie.

What to expect

There are three en suite rooms all leading on to the wide deck and looking over the river with four poster beds and all the comforts of a five star lodge. Air conditioning comes standard. Meal times are totally flexible, and the chef will whip up pretty much anything you like including a picnic. Dinner in the boma is a treat, usually followed by star gazing around the deck fireplace and tall bush stories.

What to do

The emphasis is on dawn and dusk game drives. Ask your guide to take you to the sunset rock, which looks out over the whole area. Guests can also make use of the bush spa at the main lodge.This area is well known for rhino, and you will get good predator activity too. There is also the option of a night or two in the bush camp, which is set up on a remote bank of the river under giant trees.

Kids. Parents of toddlers may find the drop off the deck down to the river (with just a chain to contain them) pretty hairy - but our bigger kids loved Fitzpatricks and felt instantly at home. They spent many hours working on their activity books supplied by the lodge, chasing monkeys off the cakes, pointing out animals passing by, watching the Jock movie ( while we enjoyed an afternoon rest) and they loved dinner in the boma.

Best time to visit

The summer rains (usually short lived thunderstorms) bring new life and exceptional birding from October to February, dry winters (May to August) make for icy mornings and evenings but phenomenal game viewing as animals head to available water sources and the grass is low.

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