Kruger Park | Punda Maria and Pafuri Gates
Punda Maria is the most accessible entrance to the Pafuri area of the Park.
Routes to Punda Maria
1) Directly to Punda Maria Camp, just over 10 kilometres/6.2 miles from the gate
2) To the main road which connects Shingwedzi to Pafuri, either via the dirt road S60, or the tar road, the H13-1 and the H1-8.
The far north of Kruger is indeed a unique place due to its geological features
. Punda Maria is the most accessible entrance to the Pafuri area of the Park. Punda Maria offers the thickest stands of Mopane in the country due to the heavy rainfall in this region.
Punda Maria Rest Camp creates a warm and intimate atmosphere with friendly people and complete privacy. This camp boasts the most dramatic views of the surrounding sandveld. Guests can enjoy the short but rewarding Flycatcher Trail, a walk that offers good birdlife and vegetation of the region.
This route can be quite placid in comparison to Mahogany Loop
or the Pafuri area, so save time on this trip and take the dirt road past Gumbandebvu (S60) which joins to the main tar road south of the Klopperfontein Dam.
Punda Maria to Pafuri (H1-8):
This dam is home to jacana and other water fowl. Ostriches and Elephant can be seen on this road and Lion have also been spotted
in the area of Klopperfontein Dam. In the summer you will be able to see the carmine bee eater and the lilac breasted roller along the road.
North of the waterhole where the grazing is less sweet are fewer animals until you get to the Luvuvhu River. Klopperfontein Dam is home to Crocodile and Elephant and Eland
also make appearances.
You will then head north to Baobab Hill. From Baobab Hill the road will descend into the floodplains of the Luvuvhu River Valley. Game is quite plentiful in this area
and the scenery quite spectacular.
Punda Maria to Singwedzi (H1-8):
Mopane trees and Elephant are common in this area
. Just before the H13-1 joins the Shingwedzi-Pafuri road you will find a loop road that will take you to the Dzundzwini view point. Being 600, it is one of the highest points in the northern Park.
The road south from Dzundzwini takes you through fairly flat and featureless Mopaneveld. There are quite a few waterholes along these roads
but game is scarce because the grazing is mostly sourveld. Babalala is a great get out point that is highly recommended.
Here a thatched shelter has been built around a huge sycamore fig. After Babalala you will find Sirheni Bush Camp which overlooks the Sirheni Dam. Sirheni is an intimate and private bush camp that offers great birding opportunities and even occasional sightings of Lichtenstein's hartebeest.
Luvuvhu River Drive to Crook's Corner:
The plains along the Luvuvhu River attract diverse wildlife
. In this area you will find most of the Nyala in the Park. There are quite a few loops along this road and are worthwhile to stop at. The water's edge is home to many rare birds such as Abdim's stork along with yellowbilled stork and spoonbills.
The green fever trees provide eeriness to the riverine forest
dominated by Nyala trees. These trees have roots that reaches deep into the soil and are able to tap into water resources that are unavailable to other trees.
The nyala tree is a delicious snack for the Nyala antelope
. Kudu, Impala and Baboons make regular appearances in this part of the region. Although the Leopard is elusive, they live and hunt in the Luvuvhu River undergrowth.
This river is also home to a large amount of Crocodile
. These animals feed mostly on fish and control the balance of barbell in the river. In nature, all animal and plant life work together to balance the environment.