Western Limpopo Valley – Ratho Bush Camps

About the Birding

Ratho is located on the banks of the Limpopo River just west of Pont Drift. The stand of large Nyalaberry trees at the homestead is the most reliable stakeout for Pel’s Fishing Owl in the region. The farm has vast tracts of open bushveld and sandstone hills at the Vulture restaurant. The vulture restaurant regularly attracts the Lappet-faced, White-backed and Cape Vultures while the Hooded and White-headed Vultures are only irregularly encountered.

Around the irrigated fields, look out for Montagu’s Harrier (summer) and both the Grey-backed and Chestnut-backed Sparrowlarks. Ratho is well positioned for day visits to the new Mapungubwe National Park, The Den Staat Wetlands and to the Tuli Block in Botswana.

About the Birding Site

Accommodation at Ratho Bush Camps consists of one tented camp and two camp sites. The tented camp is on the banks of the Limpopo River. It has a fully equipped kitchen with electricity, hot water and ablution facilities. Meals can be provided on request. Mopane Camp is up in the hills and has wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. This camp site is equipped with drinking water and ablution facilities. Ana Boom camp site is in the Limpopo River and you should come fully equipped. For more information or to make a reservation, please consult the website listed below.

A guided visit to the Rakwena Crocodile Farm can be arranged to see, close up, hatchling & adult crocodiles.

Other Related Information

For more information, please contact:
Tel: +27(0)82 448 7998
Email: sandra@ratho.co.za
Website: www.rathobushcamps.co.za

Text prepared by:

Daniel Danckwerts (Rockjumper Birding Tours)

Other related information:


The easiest access to Addo Elephant National Park is from Port Elizabeth. To reach the Matyholweni Gate, take the N2 east from Port Elizabeth for 40km. The gate itself is located a few kilometres to the north of the small village of Colchester along a well sign-posted road. Alternatively, take the Motherwell off-ramp from the N2 and follow the R335 to the left for about 50Km to enter the main gate. The main gate is 70Km north of Port Elizabeth and 15km from Addo village.

Notable points of interest include the:

Addo Elephant National Park main gate: -33.4444, 25.7383
Addo Elephant National Park main camp: -33.4434, 25.7460
Bird hide at the main camp: -33.4443, 25.7470
Underground wildlife and bird viewing hide: -33.4453, 25.7465
Reserve entrance: -33.4416, 25.7506
PPC discovery trail: -33.4427, 25.74954
River Bend Lodge: -33.4260880119258, 25.75315138742868
Jack’s Picnic site: -33.5168, 25.7615
Spekboom tented camp: -33.5126, 25.7535
Matyholweni gate: -33.6804, 25.7992

The nearest towns to the main rest camp at Addo Elephant National Park are:
Addo: 16Km
Paterson: 27Km
Uitenhage: 55Km
Port Elizabeth: 70Km
Colchester: 41Km

Access and facilities:

Gate times vary seasonally (Apr-Sept: 06:00-18:00; Oct-Mar: 05:30-18:30), and standard national park conservation fees apply. Wild Cards are accepted for both day visitors and overnight stays. Note that accommodations are mostly of a self-catering nature, however there is a small restaurant and convenience shop at the main rest camp. Various shopping facilities are available in Port Elizabeth and the nearby villages of Colchester and Addo. A fuel station is provided at the main rest camp for your convenience, though it is advisable to top up in either Colchester or Addo prior to entering the park itself. A selection of activities are available through the lodges in Addo Elephant National Park including game drives, walking safaris, horse trails and elephant back safaris. However, self-driven tours are permissible.

Contact details:
Addo Elephant National Park
PO Box 52, Addo, 6105
Tel: +27 (0)42 233 8600
Fax: +27 (0)42 233 8643
Email: addoenquiries@sanparks.org

For more information, visit: www.addoelephantpark.com

For bookings, visit: www.sanparks.org

SANPARKS head office
Tel: +27 (0)12 426 5000

Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency
17-25 Oxford Street
East London CBD
Tel: 043 492 0081
Email: info@ecpta.co.za

Recommended accommodation nearby:

The nearest Birder Friendly Establishment is within the Nytathi private concession of Addo Elephant National Park. Through River Bend Lodge, one has private access to over 14 000 hectares and over 332 species are known to occur in this section of the park. Guided birding activities are on offer. For more information, or to make a reservation, contact:

River Bend Lodge
Tel: +27 (0)42 233 8000
Fax: +27 (0)42 233 8028
Email: reservations@riverbendlodge.co.za


A range of self-catering accommodation options are available through SANPARKS, mainly at the Addo Main Camp and the Spekboom tented camp. Accommodation options include luxury guest houses, chalets, rondavels, and both caravan and camping sites. Gorah Elephant Camp offers high-end accommodation options, located in private concessions within the park and with limited access to standard Addo visitors.

To reserve accommodations at the main camp, contact:

SANPARKS reservations
Tel: +27 (0)12 428 9111
Fax: +27 (0)12 426 5500

Alternatively, to reserve accommodations at Gorah Elephant Camp, visit: https://gorah.hunterhotels.com/

Local guide information:

No local guides are currently available for Addo Elephant National Park, though a range of guided activities are available through the Main Camp and private lodges.

Text prepared by:

Daniel Danckwerts (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Tours)

Key species:

Pel’s Fishing Owl, Cape Vulture, Montagu’s Harrier.

Contact details:

For more information, please contact:
Tel: +27(0)82 448 7998
Email: sandra@ratho.co.za

Website: www.rathobushcamps.co.za