Overview – Spioenkop GR

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Spioenkop is a small, but very scenic, game reserve at the base of the Drakensberg Mountains. Central to the reserve is a large dam open to the public for fishing and water sports. There is a small wildlife-viewing circuit for self-drive visitors. Other activities include horseback safaris and a self-guided walking trail. Only white rhino, giraffe and zebra are present of the high profile safari animals. The park is nice to visit on a half-day trip while en route to somewhere else, but not as a sole safari destination.

Best Time to Go Jun-Sep (wildlife), Oct-Apr (lake activities)
High Season Never (The reserve is never busy)
Size 60km² / 23mi²
Altitude 1,069-1,186m / 3,507-3,891ft

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful scenery with mountain and lake views
  • Great birding
  • Little visited park and only busy during weekends
  • Horse riding available
  • Inexpensive rest camp in the park
  • Malaria-free
  • Not many big safari animals present
  • Very small game-drive circuit
  • Busy with locals visiting for lake activities on the weekend

Spioenkop GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

The small size of Spioenkop isn’t able to sustain populations of some of the bigger animals and predators. The exception is white rhino, which roam around the reserve. Since part of the park is not accessible by car, seeing them is not guaranteed. Other species regularly encountered are giraffe, kudu, eland, blue wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck and blesbok.

Scenery

Spioenkop has a real bush feel, with acacia thorns studding the grassy plains. The Drakensberg Mountains form a dramatic backdrop, and the big lake a scenic center point. In winter, the slopes are covered with massive flowering aloes.

Weather & Climate

The weather and climate of Spioenkop is comparable to that of South Africa in general. More info:

Best Time to Visit

Spioenkop can be visited throughout the year, but the best time for wildlife viewing is during the dry months of June to September. The end of the Dry season (from August to September) is a particularly nice time since all water in the bush is exhausted, and the animals congregate on the lakeshore. For lake activities, the summer months (October to April) are better.

Getting There

Spioenkop lies at the base of the Drakensberg Mountains between Johannesburg (350km/217mi) and Durban (250km/155mi). It can easily be incorporated in a self-drive itinerary including that part of the country.

Health & Safety

Please read our vaccinations and malaria page for South Africa, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Spioenkop GR?

Spioenkop GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Spioenkop – battlefield tour with added animals
2/5

You don’t go to Spioenkop for the animals. It does have some but this 4,400 ha/10,900 acre reserve in the western section of Kwazulu-Natal is really a daytrippers’ special in wildlife terms. The northern half of the reserve is sectioned...

Latest User Review
5/5

We had only a short visit but the landscape with the big lake in the middle is really nice. Also the animals are very easy to see. It is a park for only self-guiding with camping accomodations.