The lure of gold brought men from all corners of the world to Southern Africa. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, renowned South African author, was one of these.The gold-rich capital of Thula Mela, situated on a hill at the fork of the Limpopo and Lebuvu Rivers 200 km north of Jock Safari Lodge, served as the trading centre of Southern Africa.The prospectors passed through some of Africa’s most scenic, untamed wilderness. It is in this area that Jock Safari Lodge is based, with our Southern Boundary being the old Voortrekker road from Delagoa Bay (now Maputo) to the goldfields of the interior at Pilgrims Rest. Today, the wilderness experience we offer is unchanged from those early times and is an area noted for its diversity in game, particularly the BIG FIVE. In 1982, the Niven Family built a fence around the camp, which helped in preserving all the trees from destruction by visiting elephants. The conservation-conscious Niven family also planted indigenous trees within the fenced area, which has grown to create a canopied ambience of shade different to the exposed wilderness just outside of the lodge.Nestled at the confluence of the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers at the southern tip of the KNP, the legend of an intrepid explorer, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and his trusted dog, Jock, lives on.
The Legend of Jock
The concept was born by the descendants of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick – the Niven family.They used the trust funds of Sir Fitzpatrick to build a lodge in the area close to where the story of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and his dog Jock took place. Sir Fitzpatrick was educated at Downside Abbey, near Bath (England), and later at St. Aidan’s College, Grahamstown. On his father’s death in 1880, he left college in order to support his mother and her family. In 1884, he went to the Eastern Transvaal goldfields, where he worked as a storeman, prospector’s hand, journalist and transport-rider, travelling from Lourenco Marques to Lydenburg and Barberton by ox-wagon. At the latter place, he became editor of the Gold Fields News.His adventures during the pioneering days in the Bushveld are vividly described in Jock of the Bushveld, now a South African classic. At bedtime, he used to recount his experiences with his dog, Jock, to his four children. Rudyard Kipling, an intimate friend, took part in these story-telling evenings and persuaded Fitzpatrick to collect the stories in book form. When he had done this, the author searched for a suitable artist to illustrate the book and came across Edmund Caldwell. He brought him to South Africa to see the Bushveld and make the drawings on the spot.The book appeared in 1907 and had an enthusiastic reception, being reprinted four times in that year. It has remained a special favourite in South Africa and has been widely read abroad, appearing in several forms and languages.The Caleo Foundation is proud to own this property and is guided by the philosophy of Quality, Excellence and Distinction. The pleasure is ours… make the experience yours!