About the Far North
From Punda Maria
Klopperfontein to Parfuri
Luvuvhu and Nyala Drives
Punda Maria Gate
The Mahonie Loop
See Kruger Park Far North Self-drive Map
There are many fine old baobabs in the surrounding landscape. The Limpopo River runs in a parallel arc to the north of the road, but is not visible. There are a series of pans along the Limpopo which are important feeding grounds in summer for migrant water birds. Access to the pans is restricted to guests at The Outpost and Pafuri Game Lodge.
Pafuri Gate takes one directly into the northern sandveld between the Limpopo and Luvhuvu Rivers. This area is one of the most ecologically diverse parts of the Park, incorporating a variety of vegetation types and microclimates.
The shrub mopane to the east of the H1-9 is one of the driest localities in Kruger. The vegetation here is intriguing as it is a mixture of South African lowveld and tropical African woodlands.
Leopard are often seen near the Luvuvhu River bridge, which has engaging views over the river and surrounding forest. This is one of South Africa's best birding spots for rarities such as Pel's fishing-owl, Böhm's spinetail and the African finfoot and white-crowned lapwing.
While driving around the Luvuhvu area, look out for the flood markers that show the high-water point reached by the floods of February 2000 that had such a devastating effect on Kruger.
In the Pafuri area look out for:
The pans along the far eastern extent of the Pafuri region are home to an extraordinary ancient fish - the African lungfish (Protopterus annectens brieni). Lungfish fossils have been found in the Karoo and have been dated back to about 150 million years. Unlike other fish, this species has lungs instead of gills, which makes it able to survive in mud when water dries up.
This kind of fish may represent a time when aquatic creatures evolved into land-based animals. Park scientists have relocated individual lungfish to two other parts of the Park to try to safeguard the species against extinction.
Far northern Kruger is known for its rare birds. Because it falls into the Afro-tropical zone many raptors not seen elsewhere in South Africa can be seen here. Among the special raptors to look out for are Dickinson's kestrel, a small aggressive raptor,
Ayres's hawk-eagle, a rare summer migrant, and Verreauxs' eagle, which nests in the sandstone cliffs of the Luvuvhu River Valley.