The Sirheni area is home to lots of elephants. Image via Adobe Stock

Bush diaries of a teen: Sirheni Bushveld Camp, Kruger National Park

Now that the Kruger National Park has opened up to guests, we got a first-hand account of what it is like to visit Sirheni Bushveld Camp.


The Sirheni area is home to lots of elephants. Image via Adobe Stock

The Kruger National Park opened its gates once again on Friday 14 August following the announcement that inter-provincial travel will be allowed under Level 2 lockdown.  

As stipulated by SANParks, only certain rest camps and accommodation facilities will be open, one of which is Sirheni Bushveld Camp.

This gem of a bush camp embodies all the great parts of northern Kruger offering tranquillity, peace and the ultimate escape.

Sirheni Bushveld Camp

Getting to the camp

The closest gate to Sirheni is Punda Maria. A drive of 54km south on the road to Shingwedzi takes you to the camp nestled in a thicket of trees alongside the Mphongolo River.


There are 10 six-bed chalets and five four-bed chalets at Sirheni. The chalets are situated along the fence of the camp with spectacular views of the Mphongolo River. Each chalet has its own braai facility, kitchenette and electricity.

Activities and game viewing around Sirheni

Sirheni Bush Camp is away from the “hustle and bustle” that is characteristic of the larger main camps like Skukuza in the South. Sirheni is perfect if you want to truly get away from it all and soak up the bush in your own little piece of paradise.

Noteworthy animals that inhabit the bush around Sirheni include roan and sable antelope, reedbuck and a resident leopard. Herds upon herds of elephant wander amongst the thick mopani which blankets the landscape.

An elephant graveyard is located near Sirheni which gives the camp its Tsonga name for “cemetery”.

A drive out of Sirheni takes you up and along the high river bank of the Mphonogolo. The high population density of elephant can make for some spectacular sundowner evenings and photographs at many of the waterholes along the river.

Since the chalets in the camp are along the river, game viewing can be done at leisure from your chalet deck.

When my family and I visited last year during the dry season we saw elephant wander up and down the river bed, a variety of antelope and even an early morning sighting of hyena. We heard the leopard calling on a couple of evenings but, unfortunately, he remained out of sight. Animals regularly come to drink from the water hole which is located at one end of the camp. There are two hides in the camp that both give a great view over the riverbed.

A leisurely stroll through the camp can reveal all sorts of birds to tick off your list. During a game drive, look out for fish eagles as they are a common sighting along the river.

Finally, to truly experience the full circle of bush life at Sirheni, I highly recommend going on a night drive. I have been to Sirheni Camp twice with my family, a few years apart, and both times we were driven by Kensani. She is an extremely knowledgeable guide and made both of our drives incredibly memorable. 

On our most recent drive, we ended off the night watching and listening as a male lion lay in the middle of the road and roared out to some distant partner. The moment was made all the more special because Kensani turned off all the lights. We sat in the darkness of the night as the lion’s roar engulfed us from only a few metres away under a spectacular night’s sky full of stars.

If you want to experience your own piece of paradise and get lost in the beauty and peace of northern Kruger, then definitely drop in for a stay at Sirheni Bush Camp.