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Punda Maria Rest Camp

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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Bushmad
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Unread postby Bushmad » Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:19 pm

This little camp has crept its way into my heart.....

There is something intangible about this camp that I really love...the atmosphere seems not to have changed much since the early years.....

I love the Mahonie Loop, the road near Dzundzwini and the area in general.

What I find really special about this camp is that when I have stayed there, the staff are clearly proud of their humble camp...it is a humble camp and that is one of the reasons why I love it.
Also, on two occasions that i have stayed there, I have given written feedback to the Camp Management and sent feedback and compliments to head office in PTA.....on subsequent visits I was delighted to see that my suggestions had actually been acted on!!
This has encouraged me to make notes regarding every camp I stay at, make suggestions if necessary and then forward them to the right people....it helps improve the experience for others and the encouragement inspires the staff.

There is a tree outside reception on the other side of the road...I think its either a tree fuschia or weeping boer bean or something similar...one September that we were there, the tree was ALIVE with sunbirds and other nectar feeders..butterflies too.
It was as if it was "The Tree of Life"...SO MUCH to see in one tree, the tree almost looked as if was being tickled by the fluttering and hopping and hovering on every branch......one of my happiest memories.
"Saving face is easy. Just keep the lower half of it tightly closed." Bob Hope.

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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby Jumbo » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:14 pm

Just a quick question for the guys who know Punda Maria well.…..I have tried to do searches on the forum but seems all is not working that well….or I just do not know how to use the new format :redface: (and currently do not have time to figure it out)

If you had to chose between tents #5, #6 or #7 at Punda…which one will be the better one? (these are the only ones available for the time we wish to visit). Is #5 possibly right next to the fence?
I have previously stayed in #2…really a nice unit….this will however be my SO’s first stay in these tents and it would be nice if we get a good one….especially seeing that he has not been in northern Kruger for quite a few years.
On the same night that we want to stay at Punda, almost the whole of Sirheni is available…a camp we have visited many time and always enjoyed….I’m a bit in 2 minds…staying in one of the “not so nicely placed” tents in Punda (for SO to experience them) or just take another night at Sirheni. :?

Oh, and while on the Punda thread….I have to boast about a sighting Zebra and I had during our visit in October 2007….on the H13-1, about 5 km before the turn-off to Punda, we saw a lone Eland bull….was Zebra’s first ever sighting of an Eland and only my 3 rd in Kruger. 8)

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Bushmad
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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby Bushmad » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:26 pm

Hi Jumbo :D

5, 6 and 7 are not near the fence.

However, they are still great...I would avoid 7 as it looks onto the "road" and you would see everyone driving past.

5 is set back from the others and is at the highest point in that part of the camp and has a good view out towards the South and West, it also feels very private. It has a long board walk, the longest of them all , the first few metres are shared with number six which turns off to the right lower down.

So 5 would be my first choice of the tree and 6 the second choice.

If your SO has never stayed there, go for it.
"Saving face is easy. Just keep the lower half of it tightly closed." Bob Hope.

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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby Bushmad » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:56 pm

Pleasure Jumbo! I know you'll want to go again.

RH, you are right, the tents are set well back from the camping area in their own section of the camp with lots of natural bush having been retained around them.

However, they are quite close to the Western boundary fence and numbers 3 and 4 have a view over the fence, in fact, number 4 is right alongside the Western boundary, the rest are not.

There are wonderful birds flitting around in the trees around the tents, I had a Rock Monitor peer up at me from below the deck of number 5...lots of interesting things inside the camp itself. The tents are also a short walk from the Fly Catcher Trail.
"Saving face is easy. Just keep the lower half of it tightly closed." Bob Hope.

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Re: Very Poor Punda

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:33 pm

Very few camps can get close to Punda in the true sense of a Kruger feeling!

It is an awesome place!
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Re: Very Poor Punda

Unread postby Senyetse » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:30 am

Agreed, Punda is not for everyone, it is more about the atmosphere and the smaller creatures. One of my favourite camps in KNP.

I would love to spend some time there in summer.
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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby Bushmad » Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:54 am

Hi Ndloti and Vonnie!

To my knowledge, the old accomodation and reception building at Punda are officially recognised as SA heritage buildings, because of their age and history.

They therefore cannot be demolished or altered in any way structurally and can only be maintained or renovated to keep them in good condition. :thumbs_up:
"Saving face is easy. Just keep the lower half of it tightly closed." Bob Hope.

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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:18 pm

Hi Eugene123,

I've remembered this from years ago.

I agree that Punda is one of the most charming camps and its historical features are indeed important.
The problem experienced at Punda Maria Camp is one of space. At present, in the "main" building, there is the shop, the kitchen, the restaurant and the reception.
Our offices for staff are just too small. The hospitality services manager, the duty manager and the administration and house keeping staff - not to mention the guides and other tourism people, have to share one really small office behind the wooden facade of the reception counter.
We planning to build a new reception building and office complex between the petrol station and the gate (on the left hand side, facing into the camp). That way, our staff can have better control over who comes in and out and the workings of the petrol station (including the frustration that many guests have had with the credit card machine not working) can also be managed properly.
Those wonderful old units (first built in 1932) are in the process of upgrading - the first line has already received new tiles on the floors and work continues on the second line - but the walls, verandahs, "hurricane" lamps and other traditional features of Punda will stay. Apart from this small upgrade, they will stay as they are (yes, KNP staff love them too!). The interesting feature that you can look out for the next time you stay in one of them is the leather "thongs" (for want of a better word - Afrikaans word is "riempies", ne Wildtuinman?) that hold the wooden beams together. These are still the originals that were used in construction 73 years ago.
Regarding the restaurant/shop, we will be upgrading the present building - keeping its historical theme and atmosphere -so that it can house these two important operations properly. I have spoken to our head of technical services, Mr Blake Schraader, about this and he says the facade or front of the building will definitely be kept for its historical value.
By the way, splash to your heart's content as the swimming pool is officially open.

Hope that explains what we planning for this beautiful camp. As part of the management "machine", I'm not really supposed to have a "favourite" camp, but you can read between the lines.

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman


Taken from here, posted on Tue Jan 25, 2005.
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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby Betelgeuse » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:56 am

Hi G@mespotter
I'm glad that you got a spot in Punda at last!

The guided tour to Thulamela Archeological ruins leaves from Punda Maria rest camp at 7:00; but I'm sure that you can negotiate to leave at an earlier time (circumstances providing). The tour lasts up to a maximum of 5 hours.

The guides drive the guests to where the guided walk starts at the foothill of a kopje on the Nyala drive road. As you climb to the top the guides interpret the area & give a briefing of the history & archeology of Thulamela. The ruins are explored and explained more in detail as you pass through various sections of the ruins. All good things come to an end and you proceed down the kopje and drive to Pafuri picnic area. You might request to go to Crook's corner on the way back to Punda Maria camp.

Kind regards
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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby WildThing » Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:21 pm

Punda Maria has 16 camping site with power and 34 without. I notice that over the coming holidays all the power sites have been booked and a lot of non-power sites also booked.
My question is - what is stopping the people who have "non power" sites using the power anyway, and someone who has paid for power getting nothing. Is there any control over this ?

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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:45 am

The sites with power tend to be more 'central' rather than at the fence, so if you want power and a site at the fence bring a long lead! (I am just leaving Punda today after 2 nights here..... at the fence to the left of the hide)
camping sites report is a link to my report on the camping sites in Kruger - still have to complete the Punda report, and will do so later this week.

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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:33 pm

Hi GS - hope Jumbo has more pics than I do, but here are two I do have.

Mohonie Loop is looking beautiful. We could have driven round and round it for days on end. Had great sightings. Both days, lion for one. The little guys were awesome too - and of course the baby impala 8)

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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby DavenJan » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:25 pm

Numbers 19 to 22 used to be BG3, but have been upgraded to DB3. (Three beds with kitchenette). We have just booked one for next Jan, after staying in the BG2 huts on 1 and 2 Jan. They are also being refurbed.
They are on the back row, end nearest the gate. As far as I can tell they face away from the road.
There is a communal braai area acrossthe road from huts 10 11 and 12. I don't think the area is particularly well organised, there are 4 double braais each with a grid that folds in two. There are only two tables to sit at so I'm not sure how eveyone can eat if all braais are used.
In fact this area, together with the communal kitchen, with 2 rings and a non functional guyser, was one of the main reasons we booked the BD3.

Look at the photos on the availibility page, this should give you an idea of the inside of the huts.
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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby ndloti » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:31 pm

13 -22 look onto the back of the front row (1- 12) huts , which front on the entry road , so you do see passing traffic or at least only hear traffic if in 13 -22 .
The communal braai / picnic site is on top of a terrace (above the camping area) roughly in the area opposite huts 1 - 6 .

If you are considering spending a lot of daytime hours in the camp I would certainly recommend the quieter safari tents , as passing traffic would worry me .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Re: Punda Maria Rest Camp

Unread postby saraf » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:06 pm

We had bungalow 20 - one of the 3 beds with kitchen. As Ndloti says they look onto the backs of the row in front. I spent sometime outside reading and the noise from the road didn't bother me too much. However, unless you are nosey and like watching what everyone else is doing then I think sitting outside the front row would drive me insane.

The refurbed cottages are superb. You get a real feel of understated luxury. Well done to the camp management for such a tasteful refurb. :clap:

One point I have to make about cottage 20. It is designated wheelchair accessible and I would say it is just that rather than wheelchair friendly. There are ramps to get into the bungalow but once inside it will be a tight fit, especially in the bathroom, where there is a small step and no room whatsoever for a wheelchair.
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