About the South West
At Malelane Gate
Malelane Skukuza via Afsaal
Malelane Skukuza via Biyamiti
Malelane to Berg-en-Dal
Malelane to Crocodile Bridge
Numbi Gate to Skukuza
Pretoriuskop to Malelane
See map of South West Kruger Park
The granite koppies adorned with large-leaved rock figs and bushwillows, and the valleys graced by jackal-berries, magic guarries and tambotis, lie in stark contrast to the agribusiness that has taken root on the other side of the Crocodile River. Malelane Gate is on the Crocodile River, about 50km upstream from Crocodile Bridge. Be warned, it is one of Kruger's busiest gates and there are often long queues of cars waiting to get into the Park at weekends and during school holidays.
The Malelane area has long been an area of human habitation. Just south of the entrance gate is the ancient ochre mining site of Dumaneni. Kruger historians JJ Kloppers and Hans Bornman believe that over 100 000 tons of red ochre were mined at Dumaneni between 46 000 and 28 000 years ago.The San appeared to have been the first miners, using ochre for artistic and medicinal purposes. Iron-Age smelters found at Dumaneni indicate that the mine was operative during the Iron Age, which began in southern Africa approximately 2 000 years ago. Red ochre has long been associated with power.
Superb drive through rolling plains and granite koppies; stop off for refreshments at Afsaal where there is usually a concentration of game, drive slowly through the woodlands past Jock's, take in Shirimantanga koppies or Mathekenyane hill (Granokop) for good views over the surrounding woodlands.
Allow three-and-a-half hours, including stops.
Malelane is a small camp on the banks of the Crocodile River just over three kilometres from Malelane Gate.
No day visitors are allowed.
The nearest shop is at Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp, six kilometres away.
In the Siswati language it is known as 'ludumane' which means "power four times the sound of thunder". In Swazi culture only chiefs and sangomas were allowed to wear ochre, which was mixed with animal fat and smeared on their bodies.
Malelane has been a river crossing for hundreds of years and takes its name from the Malelane Regiment of King Mswati II of Swaziland which was stationed here in the 1850s when the area was under Swazi control.
Mswati's regiments conducted regular forays into present-day Kruger during the mid-19th century and, at points, his influence extended as far as southern Zimbabwe and central Mozambique. Many of the names in southern Kruger are Swazi in origin, while Shangaan names dominate further to the north.