In Oct of 2004 I spent four weeks in a tent on the side of the Pafuri camp, apart from the Wilderness Co-coordinator, Gary, we were the first group and the last ever to camp there.
We were part of an Eco-training course, which now has a permanent camp closer to the Limpopo River.
I'm not a birder, but a birder in our group was amazed at the variety, one of the posts above does list quite a few birds in the area.
We had vultures nesting in the tree above the tent.
Animal life was fantastic around the camp, much of it seen on the bank of the Luvuvhu River opposite us. Nyala, impala, buffalo, baboon, elephant, hippos, Vervets, hippos, kudu and crocodiles were seen most days.
For ones like the Nyala and baboon it was almost as if they knew our presence would deter predators because they seemed to spend a lot of time there.
Some exceptional sightings were a crocodile laying eggs on the bank opposite, and bull elephants that came almost into camp to have a look.
At night both lions and leopards also came almost into the camp on occasions, their tracks were seen and one evening one of the Ranger Guides nearly walked into a leopard that was watching the tents.
Apart from Outpost we had the entire concession to ourselves for a month and after that I was lucky enough to be there for another two weeks minding the Eco-training camp, one week of which I spent there alone. Game was quite shy though, not used to vehicles but they were slowly improving.
It was very rare to see lions and leopards, though on occasion we had some good sightings.
The local elephants, a group of about 9 bulls who were sometimes in smaller groups, soon got used to us and ignored the vehicle.
The only time we actually saw a breeding herd north of the Luvuvhu we were on foot, walking down to the river.
We noticed the backs of the cows moving through the bush in front of us, and waited until they reached the river bank and vanished from sight down into the river.
There were five of us, three experienced ranger guides, a semi experienced tracker, and me.
The decision was not to go to the river, but to walk back to the vehicle skirting a large grass clearing that bordered the bush.
Scarcely had we taken two steps into the clearing when two lionesses jumped out of nowhere about ten meters in front of us, growled and ran in different directions.
The lead ranger cocked his rifle and the sound caused the lioness running towards us to reverse direction as she realized exactly where we were, and followed her friend across the clearing.
And could they run, they crossed the fifty meter wide clearing in a few seconds and vanished into the bush on the other side.
We just had time to breathe again when their were some enraged screams from the river, and the elephant herd came boiling back into sight.
Attracted by the noise of the lions and protective of their calves they were obviously heading over to deal to the lions, which was fine except the lions were gone and we were in their path.
The head ranger then told us to do something he said later he had never had to do in 14 years of guiding, RUN!!
Despite the fact that we were wearing sandals and shorts, and there were various obstacles like thorn bushes and fallen logs in our path it's amazing how fast you can run with several dozen tons of enraged motherhood behind you.
Fortunately for us they stopped where the lions had been, and proceeded to mill about to make sure they had gone.
Since those days of visitor shy animals I've learned many animals are getting used to the vehicles, lions are seen often and rhino and giraffe have both been introduced to the area where previously they were absent. But it is still a shame that never again will people be able to camp on the banks of the Luvuvhu knowing they are the only ones there.