N’wanetsi and Sweni Rivers

Kruger National Park | January 2020

The N’wanetsi and Sweni Rivers are the main two rivers in our concession that keep standing water (in pools) for a long time, until our next rainy season. Both of our lodges are built in front of these rivers and when we have heavy rains during summer we can be lucky to see them flowing (they are non-perennial rivers that do not flow throughout the year).

The N’wanetsi River was supposedly named after the word meaning “shimmering water”. The N’wanetsi River comes from the north west of our concession (it originates from within the Kruger National Park, south of Satara Restcamp) and flows through the concession and then passes in front of Lebombo lodge before flowing east through the Lebombo Hills towards Mozambique (and then on to the Indian Ocean).

The Sweni River also originates within the Kruger National Park, in the western side of the park, and as such both of these rivers tend to be fairly clean (unpolluted – as they do not flow through industrial, residential or agricultural areas). The Sweni River flows east where it then reaches the Lebombo Hills and turns north before passing in front of Sweni Lodge and then merges with the N’wanetsi River at the confluence (which lies between Lebombo and Sweni Lodges).

On the 18 and 19th of January we were lucky enough to receive a fair bit of rain and both rivers started flowing. The N’wanetsi River filled up at the weir and the water started flowing over the wall. The crocodiles were having a good time as many catfish and tilapia were attempting to swim upstream and got caught in the strong flow by the dam wall. This made it much easier for the crocodiles to catch the fish.

The amount of water in the N’wanetsi River at the weir and in the Sweni River upstream from the confluence has made the scenery even more beautiful for the guests. The high-water levels in the river have attracted many animals, from crocodile to hippos. It has also attracted a large number of birds that have come to feed and nest around the edges of the rivers. We have even seen a purple heron at Sweni, which is a very unusual bird to see around this river as it prefers the marshland and reedbeds.

Photos by Brian Rode