The distinctive contours of Mariepskop, part of the Northern Drakensberg mountain range, that loom over the Blyde River Canyon define the western boundaries of the lowveld town of Hoedspruit. To the east the Kruger National Park stretches right to the border of Mozambique.
Hoedspruit is a fast-growing town, where like-minded people are seeking quality in their lives, rather than quantity. It’s not just the area’s natural beauty that attracts them though. The town is the gateway to some of South Africa’s best safari destinations. It’s the ideal base from which to explore Kruger National Park, the Blyde River Canyon and the area’s rich culture.
Using Unembeza as your base, you’ll be surrounded by natural beauty and beautiful people. Here, there are enough hours in every day to really enjoy the extraordinary quality of life that this special town gives its residents and shares with visitors like you.
It offers an array of experiences, facilities and amenities that cater for a growing community, with frequent direct flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg from Hoedspruit’s Eastgate Airport and regular road transfers.While the town’s economic life has traditionally centred around tourism and agriculture, its laid-back lifestyle appeals to a wide range of people.
There are more than half a dozen restaurants and coffee shops in Hoedspruit. Entertainment is generally of the outdoors and active kind; the town offers seasonal white water rafting, microlight flights, hot air balloon trips, game drives, bush walks and hikes, spa facilities and more. There are also art galleries such as iNyoka Gallery and Imbizo Art Gallery, as well as a good mix of activities like yoga, horse-riding and mountain-biking. There are frequent outings for birders, courses for naturalists and art classes, writing groups and more.
Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate
This private residential wildlife reserve is on the outskirts of Hoedspruit. The well-managed environment is home to a variety of game species that roam over 680ha. The animals have free-range over the estate, so you can watch them passing by the lodge, or go and look for them on foot, by bike or on a game drive. It’s possible to see giraffe, duiker, impala, waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra, kudu, nyala, bushbuck, warthog, leopard, hyena, black-backed jackal, civet, genet, bush baby, ardvaark and more on the estate, along with hundreds of species of birds.
Security is strictly monitored through a security gate with 24 hour access control.
Although fairly habituated to people, the animals are wild and touching or feeding them is strictly prohibited.
We encourage you to enjoy some of our local dining experiences during your stay. From authentic Italian to distinctive Lowveld haute cuisine, Hoedspruit’s putting itself firmly on the culinary map, with a range of interesting restauranteurs waiting to welcome you. Here are a few of our favourites.
Cooked on Route 40
Leaving Franschhoek for the Lowveld, chef Chris Hoffman’s unpretentious new restaurant is a great option for lunch or breakfast. “I cook who I am; that means big portions of robust and tasty food that doesn’t take itself too seriously,” he explains. “Charlie Trotter once said that cooking is a collaboration between man and god and man must contribute the least. That resonates with me. Food is so often close to perfect in its simplest form,” he explains. Guests can enjoy an often-changing menu stuff full of local, seasonal ingredients, lovingly cooked…
The Hat & Creek
Husband and wife team Andre and Cheryl Nel have raised the bar when it comes to fine dining in the fast-growing town with the The Hat & Creek restaurant. They focus on freshness, quality, flavour and presentation; specialising in signature meat and fish dishes paired with fine wines. Its open plan design, green lawns and fairy lights create an ambience that’s at once romantic, distinctive and elegant. Guests can expect to enjoy dishes like their signature wild game platter, fantastic steaks and freshly flown-in seafood.
Cala la Pasta
Luca Properzi and Erika Taverna made the bold move to leave L’Aquila in Rome to introduce the people of Hoedspruit to authentic Italian cuisine. Luca is the chef, having studied at a culinary school near Rome, and by his assurance, every dish that they serve is prepared fresh; from the hand-made pasta and pizza bases, to the subtle pasta sauces they both love. Expect an atmosphere – replete with red checked table cloths – that’s as welcoming as the food.
This restaurant has been running for more than 20 years. Located along the railway tracks at the town’s old station; the atmospheric restaurant’s cosy interior is papered with old newspapers and train-related memorabilia; while the outside deck makes the most of Hoedspruit’s balmy evenings, with tables set under a huge Natal Mahogany tree. It’s a great opportunity to eat where the Hoedspruit locals eat and the restaurant is well-supported by a Hoedspruit’s volunteers, students and rangers. Known for their piri piri; the restaurant is also famous for its gourmet burgers, pizzas and grills.
The restaurant’s pub, The Puffing Billy, also has a loyal – and lively – client base.
Fig and Bean
This charming coffee shop is the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch or an indulgent slice of cake. Located close to the entrance of the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, it’s varied menu offers a wonderful selection of fresh baking, pressed juices, great coffees and lighter menu options, with daily specials making the most of seasonal ingredients. Expect a warm welcome and a great coffee shop vibe as people meet with friends, do business and enjoy the bustle and flow of a busy little town.