Rabelais Hut & Orpen Gate via H7 Returning on Rabelais Loop S106 to H1-4


I’d left Olifants Camp around 7 am and reached the start of the H7 just south of Satara by driving down the S90 and S41 then along the H6 in a westerly direction. It had taken me about 5 hours to get to this point. The highlight of the drive in the morning had been the Hyaena Den close to Balule. I would now make my way back to Olifants.

Orpen and Timbavati Drives via Rabelais Hut | Kruger National Park The map shows the roads I would complete before arriving back at Olifants just before 6pm. This page will cover the westerly drive along the H7 to Orpen Gate at which I would turn around and drive back to the H1-4 intersection, drive north to S127 turn off and complete the Timbavati Loop drive.
The first part of the drive along the H7 has been covered in the section dealing with Satara drives. However since I completed the H7 drive by using Olifants as a base I have placed the content here.
Pink Fuchsia-Like Flower Climber | Kruger National Park Waypoint 471 is a viewpoint overlooking the dry Timbavati River as it makes a large 90 degrees turn while running between banks 380 metres above sea level (the river was probably about 30 metres below from memory). Almost directly west of the viewpoint rising in the distance is Masala Koppie (meaning fruit of the Nsala tree also known as the Green Monkey Orange) that rises to 500 metres. Because it so easily seen from a distance it was used by early travelers as a bearing point to navigate by.
Close Up Fuchsia-Like Flower | Kruger National Park The viewpoint is about 1.5 kms off the main road and I was struck by a beautiful pink flower on a kind of vine with succulent type green leaves (i.e. fat, oval-shaped). I’ve shown the picture but haven't yet been able to identify it. If anybody reading this page does know what it is please leave a comment for others to learn from. It reminded me a bit of a Fuchsia.
Rocks in Dry Bed River Makukutswana | Kruger National Park Driving west along the H7 from the main H1-4 is a completely and utterly different experience than driving east (road covered this morning). The Granite rock underlying the westerly drive is the major factor that governs this biodiversity change seen in the different vegetation and in turn the numbers and species of animals. Waypoint 472 is the crossing of the dry river named after the “Pouched Mouse” in Tsonga. The River is called The Makukutswana. Here’s a description of the Pouched Mouse.
Rabelais Hut Orpen Museum S106 | Kruger National Park Waypoint 474 was the turn off the the Tamboti Camp (waypoint 475) and a little further on was the Maroela Campsite. The Tamboti is a very poisonous tree avoided by man and beast in general. Even the smoke from burning timbers can make you sick. It’s a wood to be avoided if camping out and contemplating a braai or barbecue. Just before the turn off the the Rabelais Loop at waypoint 477 I did a detour to the N’Wamatsatsa watering point. I couldn’t help but think to myself on the short drive that the country around here seemed perfect lion hunting territory and close to water also. The veld was a mixture of open areas, trees and closed areas with longer grass. Waypoint 476 is the watering point and in a state of disrepair.
Not far along the S106 at waypoint 478 is the Rabelais Hut which used to be the entrance point to the Park between 1926 and 1954. Today the Hut is a museum. Here are a few interesting facts you’ll discover by visiting the Rabelais Hut. The name was derived from the farm of the same name.
Red Bracts Close Up  | Kruger National Park A large section (some 24,529 hectares) of this area was donated to the country by the Orpen family who bought up a number of farms in the area. The Rabelais Hut is a small museum in memory of the Orpens and there are a number of photographs of the Eileen and James Havelock Orpen. When I came to South Africa in 1972 as a youngish chemical engineer seeking employment I was recruited by a CMW Orpen (Chris) who was a relative of this same Orpen family although he came from Barkley East farming stock if I remember correctly. Chris, if you ever see this feel free to comment and put the facts right. James Havelock Orpen in 1935 began the surveying of the western boundary of the Park and completed this massive job without recompense. He married, in 1909, Eileen Barry from a successful trading family (they owned their own steamer and even printed their own banknotes). James Orpen laid out the Shingwedzi Camp.
Bush Shrike | Kruger National Park Waypoint 479 is the turn off to the Talamati Bush camp down the S106, a really beautiful out-of-the way camp as I would discover tomorrow. Close by was the Rabelais Dam at 480. It was still smoldering after a recent burn. There were lots of Hornbills patrolling no doubt feasting on roasted grasshoppers and other braaied morsels. Two lone Buffalos in dagga-boy outfits (ie out of a recent mud bath) were close by. The rest of the drive along the sand S106 was very pleasant and quiet although not a lot of animal life was seen. After rejoining the H7 at waypoint 481 I drove some 26 kms back to Satara. At some point along the drive I was able to get a close up photo of the red flower bracts I’d seen growing along the N’wanetsi and Gudzani Rivers that morning.
Bush Shrike | Kruger National Park n the road beyond Satara I continued north until I reached waypoint 482 which was the turn off to the Timbavati Loop on the S127. Wildebeest, Kudu, Elephants (black as coal from mud baths) and Zebra were seen alongside the main H1-4.
Raptors Soaring in Blue Sky Thermals | Kruger National Park

Saccostomus campestris has a robust body (94-188 mm length, 40-85 g mass) with a short tail (30-81 mm). Their short legs and strong toes are well-adapted to digging. They have a broad head with short, rounded ears and small eyes. Pouched mice are named for their cheek pouches that stretch from the corners of their mouths to their shoulders that is used to carry seeds and grains. Female pouched mice have 10-12 mammae and both sexes have incisors that are not grooved. The rear feet of S. campestris are small, like many other members of the family Muridae.

The pelage of S. campestris is long, yet dense and fine. The coat is gray/gray-brown on top with lighter sides and white underparts (including the underside of the tail). S. campestris is sometimes said to resemble the common hamsters that are part of the U.S. pet trade.

Drives From Olifants Camp

Corumana Dam Threatens Last Kruger Gorge on Perennial River.

Hippo Galore in Olifants River. Single Rhino & Waterbuck on S91

Kori Bustard on Display, Large Olifants River Crocodile | H1-4 South to H7

Massingir Dam & Flooding of Olifants Gorge … Important Breeding Ground for Nile Crocodile

Rabelais Hut & Orpen Gate via H7 Returning on Rabelais Loop S106 to H1-4

Talamati Camp Twisting Roads, Raptors & Sleeping Lions| S140, S145, S36 & S125 East

Timbavati River, Ratelpan and Roodewal Bird Hide Along the S39