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TThe northern section of the Kruger National Park is an area of unique biodiversity. It's one of the few places where fever tree forests grow side by side with forests of giant baobabs. The trees line the banks of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers: the slim, pale, luminescent green trunks of the fever trees glimmering between the massive dark brown trunks of the baobabs.
When you stay at Pafuri Camp, one of the Kruger National Park's private lodges, you're in the ancestral lands of the Makuleke people, who, in partnership with RETURNAfrica, act as custodians of this wildly beautiful area. Local staff are trained and encouraged by experienced rangers and service staff from all over South Africa.
Your birding guide will spot a fleeting feather as easily as you can find your way around your home town. If you're looking for that special bird, they'll find it, entice it nearer with its own individual call, and then all you have to do is tick it off on your list.
The crowned eagle, the wattle-eyed flycatcher, Bohm's spinetail and, of course, the elusive and highly sought-after Pels fishing owl, are some of the specials. The Big5 – lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo – are present, and you will encounter elephants everywhere.
Well over a million years ago, Homo erectus walked and lived here. You'll be shown Stone-Age hand-axes and unexcavated dinosaur fossils.
Crooks' Corner, which links South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, is where the villains of yesteryear hung out. In winter, when the Limpopo is dry, they could easily move from one country to another, dodging the herds of elephants which take mud baths along the banks.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)11 646 1391
SANParks Central Reservations
Tel: +27 (0)12 428 9111
How to get here
By road from Johannesburg to Phalaborwa, and then north to the Pafuri gate. Pafuri Camp can organise charter flights from Johannesburg to the Satara airstrip in the Kruger National Park and will collect you from there.
Best time to visit
The winter months – May to September - are best for game viewing as the grass is low and it's easier to spot game. Summer is very hot but the vegetation is at its best, the migrant birds are back and there are lots of baby animals.
Things to do
If you are doing a self-drive, then you can drive to other areas in the park. The area around Satara camp is particularly rich in game.
Your guide will offer you a range of activities from a guided walk to night game drives.
What to pack
Light clothing for the day, a warm jacket, beanie and scarf for the evening. Pafuri Camp provides toiletries, insect repellent and a laundry service.
Where to stay
The Pafuri Camp.
What to eat
The Pafuri Camp's home-cooked meals are delicious!