Imagination inspired by history at Hamiltons
Named after Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton, the essence of Hamiltons Tented Camp is captured in the nostalgia of the early exploration of the Kruger National Park. It feels like part of a film set, and as guests, you are made to feel like the stars. There is no escaping the sense of magic you feel - your imagination inspired by the thoughtfully curated arrangement of trinkets and collectables that once lived a life of action. From pith helmets to brass binoculars and silver cigar cases, newspaper cuttings and old photographs of moustached and uniformed hunters - the early pioneers of tourism and conservation in South Africa's "Transvaal". There's a story that whispers to you during your stay at Hamiltons and, surrounded by the treasures - both functional and decorative - that featured in history, your experience here becomes more than a wildlife safari, and offers you a great escape into yesteryear.
There are just six canopied, ivory, canvas suites dotted along the N'waswitstontso River in the south-central Kruger National Park, and each one feels like a luxury time capsule stepping back to the early 1900s. A time when legendary ivory hunter Cecil Barnard, known only as Bvekenya, was a fugitive on the run (before later becoming a game ranger with a life and legacy worth writing a book about). When silverware, crystal, and candlelight decorated tables at dinner time, and wine and whiskey were sipped around the fire while the stars brightened and the sounds of the wild night closed in. There might not have been running water or refrigeration, but there was an air of romance, sophistication, and exploration that has brewed in us a sense of nostalgia, generations later.
Tented suites you won't want to leave
Hamiltons is aesthetically wondrous and imaginative, but it is also ultra-comfortable and generous in its offer of privacy and exclusive enjoyment of the luxuries of camp. Newly renovated tented suites now each have an added outdoor lounge and plunge pool with a freshly stocked drawer of teas and coffees, homebaked biscuits, and a stash of crystal glasses to go with the minibar fridge and all the refreshments it stores. The new outdoor addition to each room really creates a space for couples to enjoy their private rooms, bathtubs, viewing decks over the river, and salas, which are perfect for an after-breakfast nap or even a massage from the nomadic massage therapists. The king-size beds, cotton gowns and slippers, and 180-degree windows offering views into the bird-filled riverine trees.
Top tip - you might want to skip a game drive just to enjoy your little slice of Hamiltons heaven before you head back to reality.
Perusing the Kruger National Park in private
Hamiltons enjoys the luxury of occupying an enviable spot in a 10,000-hectare private concession in the Kruger National Park. South Africa's largest and most historic national park, it is a treasure of the nation, and it has some of the most extraordinary natural landscapes reaching all the way into Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It is certainly the country's safari hotspot, and it is teeming with both local and international tourists during peak holiday seasons. But at Hamiltons - on the Mluwati Concession - you'll get all the benefit of the location, and none of the frustration of having to navigate the crowds. Unless you venture onto the public roads to follow a reported leopard sighting that is... anywhere beyond the private road network of the concession is open for self-drive safari-goers and other game viewers.
The best part of this private Kruger location is that you can stay out after sunset with your guide, so the best time to explore the sights on the public road network is at dusk, once all day-visitors and self-drivers have had to return to camp. This was one of the greatest spoils of our stay at Hamiltons - there's just something about traversing the country's most celebrated national park after dark, a unique privilege belonging to Hamiltons and only a handful of other lodges with the same permission.
What do you need to know about Hamiltons?
- There is wi-fi in the main lounge and dining area, but not in your tent.
- The camp is intimate with only six tents, which only sleep two people each.
- Only children 12 years and older can be accommodated.
- There is no airstrip, so the closest fly-in access is Skukuza Airstrip (1.5 hour drive) or Hoedspruit Airport (2.5 hour drive) - but road transfers from the airport to the lodge are included in the rate.
- Your drinks (including from your room minibar) are included, unless you order from the premium brand list.
- You'll be blown away by the friendly staff and their attention to detail. Prepare to feel special!
- The guides are Trails qualified, so you can opt for a beautiful guided bush walk in the concession.
- This is a superb destination for birders with the presence of the river (water lasts long into the dry season after good rain). Keep your binos close (even at meal times) and enjoy the boardwalk between your room and the main lodge!
- Rooms 1 and 6 are the furthest distance from the main lodge, so they offer the most peace and privacy, but require more of a walk.
- The main lodge is surrounded by an almost-invisible elephant fence, but the rooms are beyond the fence boundaries, so wildlife is free to roam and you'll need an escort to take you to your room after dinner.
Reach out to us for more information on rates and availability at this little historic gem in the Kruger National Park! Honeymooners, self-drive adventurers, or fly-in Kruger first-timers - you'll love this! firstname.lastname@example.org