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The Story of Jock Safari Lodge

Blog by Jock Safari Lodge

The lure of gold brought men from all corners of the world to Southern Africa. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of the animal classic book, Jock of the Bushveld, was one of these pioneers. The gold-rich capital of Thula Mela, situated on a hill at the fork of the Limpopo and Lebuvu Rivers, 200 km north of Jock Safari Lodge, served as the trading centre of Southern Africa.

The prospectors passed through some of Africa’s most scenic, untamed wilderness. It is in this area that Jock Safari Lodge is based, with our Southern Boundary being the old Voortrekker road from Delagoa Bay (now Maputo) to the goldfields of the interior at Pilgrims Rest. Today, the wilderness experience we offer is unchanged from those early times and is an area noted for its diversity in game, particularly the Big Five.

Nestled at the confluence of the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers at the southern tip of the KNP, the legend of an intrepid explorer, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and his trusted dog, Jock, lives on at Jock Safari Lodge.

The concept was born by the descendants of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick – the Niven family. They used the trust funds of Sir Fitzpatrick to fence off and build a lodge, in 1982 to protect the area, and indigenous trees, close to where the story of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and his dog, Jock took place.

Sir Fitzpatrick was educated at Downside Abbey, near Bath (England), and later at St. Aidan’s College, Grahamstown. In 1884, he went to the Eastern Transvaal gold-fields, where he worked as storeman, prospector’s hand, journalist and transport-rider, travelling from Lourenco Marques to Lydenburg and Barberton by ox-wagon.

It was in Barberton, where he became editor of the Gold Fields News. His adventures during the pioneering days in the Bushveld are vividly described in Jock of the Bushveld, now a South African classic.

Rudyard Kipling persuaded Fitzpatrick to collect the stories in book form. The book appeared in 1907, and has remained a firm favourite in South Africa and has been widely read abroad, appearing in several forms and languages.

Jock Safari Lodge takes the utmost care to make your stay as unique and memorable as possible whilst bringing in historical elements of the Kruger area and indeed South Africa. Join us and relive the days of authentic safari experiences.

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Our best experience of Kruger was at Jock’s. You can feel the love for nature in the heart and soul of the wonderful owners. The rooms are practically in the wild. We saw elephants just passing in front of the room. Sleeping in matras under the stars (if you want), amazing food in the river bed. Will never forget this experience!

-Jacob Yavin Vermeulen

We spent several days here in early March — simply, the best! Very comfortable room and excellent food, with a warm staff. Highlights are the twice a day game drives. This definitely is not “pre-packaged” stuff — your guide (ours was Jacob) has a keen sense of where to find the animals, and drives over river beds and down back trails to find them -in a respectful way. We eagerly anticipated this part of our trip, and it exceeded expectations. You must go to have this experience.

-Robert D

I visited Kruger and Jock Lodge in 2017 and all I wanted to do is come back. That happened in Jan 2022 and once again it was wonderful in every way. The location is on a normally dry river bed so you can see wildlife from your window or terrace. The staff is so gracious and helpful. The wildlife guides are the most knowledgable and enthusiastic I have ever met. I come for the beauty and the animals and Jock Lodge delivers every time.

-Eva Fellner

Our best experience of Kruger was at Jock’s. You can feel the love for nature in the heart and soul of the wonderful owners. The rooms are practically in the wild. We saw elephants just passing in front of the room. Sleeping in matras under the stars (if you want), amazing food in the river bed. Will never forget this experience!

-Jacob Yavin Vermeulen

We spent several days here in early March — simply, the best! Very comfortable room and excellent food, with a warm staff. Highlights are the twice a day game drives. This definitely is not “pre-packaged” stuff — your guide (ours was Jacob) has a keen sense of where to find the animals, and drives over river beds and down back trails to find them -in a respectful way. We eagerly anticipated this part of our trip, and it exceeded expectations. You must go to have this experience.

-Robert D