Orpen Main Rest Camp is situated in the central region on the western border of the Kruger National Park. It is a small main camp and serves as an entrance gate to the central region. The scattered trees and wide-open plains covered by sweet grass attract many browsers; this in turn attracts the eye-catching Cheetah, Lion and Leopard, to Orpen's Kruger National Park accommodation and lodging. Rabelais Dam is 7km (4.5 miles) from the rest camp.
Orpen Rest Camp offers lodging in 15 comfortable thatched cottages with 2 beds each and two with 3 beds. This Kruger National Park accommodation includes; one communal kitchen and ablution block. In addition, there are 3 larger more luxurious guest cottages, offering accommodation to a maximum of 6 people.
These larger cottages have 2 air-conditioned bedrooms, each with 3 single beds and bathroom en-suite. It also has one bathroom with a bath, toilet and basin and the other with a shower, toilet and basin. There is also a grocery shop which stocks not only essentials but a few luxury items and a public card phone at Orpen Camp.
Just outside the fence of Orpen Camp is a small waterhole, and game can be seen here at just about any time of day from Orpen. Mostly it is Impala and Baboon that forage round the stony area, but often in the evenings Elephant will come to quench their thirst. Orpen Camp offers game drives, game walks, and night drives. From time to time wildlife videos are also shown.
Orpen Camp did not exist in the early days of Kruger National Park. Nor did Orpen gate, which today is one of the principal access points to the central part of the Park. Between 1926 and 1954, the entrance to this part of the Park was at Rabelais, the name of the original farm. A small, white rondawel (hut) indicates the place where the gate once stood, and is now a museum dedicated to JH Orpen and his wife Eileen.
One of the urgent needs of the infant Kruger National Park was the provision of water to the growing number of game. The park represented a cause that was close to many people's hearts.
JH Orpen, a surveyor and member of the National Parks Board helped sponsor boreholes for the park. His wife Eileen bought up 7 farms immediately to the west of Rabelais gate during the 1930s and 1940s and donated them to the Park, thereby extending the total area by almost 24 500 hectares. When the entrance to the Park was moved 10km (6 miles) to the west of Rabelais in 1954, and a new rest camp was established beside the gate, it was named in honour of the Orpen family.
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