Most of the extreme north-west of Kruger is classified as sandveld, which, as the name suggests, consists of very sandy, well-drained soils supporting a complicated mass of plant communities in which no particular tree or plant is dominant. Unlike other geological formations in the Park, some sandveld sediments are not part of the original landscape, having been deposited in northern Kruger by raging wind storms blowing in from the Kalahari several million years ago.
The main features of the far northern landscape are the Limpopo and Luvuvhu River systems, the rugged sandstone mountains in the north-west and far more diversity than the mopaneveld. There is also a small, biologically significant ecosystem in the north-east known as the Nwambiya sandveld.
Far northern Kruger lies on a fault-line known as the Limpopo Mobile Belt, which is the joint between the Kaapvaal Craton – the crust of the earth supporting South Africa – and the Central African Craton to the north. The hot springs in the Pafuri area are evidence of water being heated through cracks from deep below the earth’s surface.
The far north is the birding mecca of South Africa because it has so many Afrotropical species not seen further south. The far north is a long-standing winter feeding ground for elephant and there is a rich variety of game, particularly between the Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers.
Antelope of the North
The riverine forest along the Luvuvhu River is the best place to see nyala in South Africa. They are tropical animals that look like a cross between a kudu and a bushbuck. They are the hairiest African antelope.
The Luvuvhu River valley is also suited to bushbuck, rarely seen in Kruger because they keep to the thicker bush and browse mostly at night. The bushbuck males are known to be pugnacious animals that will turn suddenly on an attacker.
According to former Kruger information officer PF Fourie, bushbuck have been known to kill leopards and even humans trying to hunt them.
The northern sandveld is one of the best places to see eland in Kruger. Small herds are found in the drier areas away from the river.
The eland is the largest African antelope and is one of nature’s gentlest animals. It is the most frequently depicted animal in southern African rock art.
Camps in Far North