Orpen gate is 490km from Johannesburg and provides immediate access the Central region of the Kruger National Park. The open grasslands in this region of the Kruger support huge herds of antelope, which in turn, support many predators. Lion sightings are common in this Central stretch, as half of the Kruger National Parks lions live here.
Because driving over 40kmph is not permitted in the park, a journey from North to South takes in the region of 10hours of driving time. This makes it crucial to plan trip carefully. The gates close at dusk, as driving is not permitted inside the park after dark. For animal safety, driving inside the park is at a snails pace, and injuring an animal is not taken lightly
JH Orpen, a surveyor and member of the National Parks Board helped sponsor boreholes for the park. His wife Eileen bought up seven 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. The closest airport to Orpen is Eastgate Airport that is situated in Hoedspruit. The airport is approximately 68 km from Orpen Gate.