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Punda Maria Rest Camp

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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Unread postby MarkWildDog » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:53 pm

As far as I know, the Pafuri Picnic Spot/Nyala Drive/Crooks Corner area is probably the best place to see them. They are quite rare birds and I'm yet to tick them off on my list.

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Unread postby christo » Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:05 pm

I must admit that I've not seen any of the above frequently enough on the same road to make a dead certain statement, but here goes (my sightings only, others might differ):

Rhino-not seen in the area
Lion-Main road en-route to Shingwedzi, S99.
Leopard- s99, Pafuri
Cheetah-not seen
Wildog-S99, Pafuri (but no sightings the last 5 years)
Jackal-no sightings
hyeana-Around camp, spreaded over all roads, but not that a frequent sight for me in the area.
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Unread postby Boulder » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:05 pm

Side Striped Jackal ...Mahonie Loop
Lion Mahonie loop both in the last 10 days.
Saw Pels also on the Boundary where Levuvu joins Park just north of Punda Gate 2kms off Mahonie Loop ( i went in San Parks Truck with Technicicians who had to do small repair on a fence )
There are at last count 3 known pairs easiest seen from bridge at Pafuri or between picnic spot and Crooks Corner.
Cheetah near Klopperfontein Dam year after year got only a glimpse last week
Hope that helps.

Oh yes 6 now 7 White Rhino released last year North of Pafuri Bridge in the Concession. saw them in Sept (3 of them)
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Unread postby Yves » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:41 am

Boulder wrote
Well done Yves for reporting and SEEING the Punda cats and I'm sure you saw them without the prerequisite H4-1/2 and S100 traffic jams!!

Boulder you are so correct. The first young leopard in the tree we spotted ourselves. We watched her for 45 mins before we had to leave as it was getting dark.
The female lion a bit further on i spotted myself and again only one car approached as we where leaving. We told them about the young female in the tree just down the road but they missed it (we spoke to them at the restaurant that night). The pride of lions the next morning where all to ourselves. We approached the waterhole near the entrance gate and we could hear the distress call of the impala near the water. We switched the car off and two mins later they appeared from a gully. The female watched the impala and then suddenly gave a half harted chase, giving up after 200m. Again nobody else was around to witness the sighting.
Last edited by Yves on Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postby lisa » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:13 pm

I must say we did not see any lion or leopard around Punda Maria although we drove the Mahonie Loop completely three times.
We did hear lions roaring when we were in our tent at night though, such a fantastic sound!

Tent number 5 at Punda has an AMAZING view, it is elevated up high.
We loved it.
And the food in the restaurant is very good, especially the bobotie and the breakfasts.
The store could use better and more frequent stocking though.
Overall we liked Punda a lot even though sightings were a little scarce.
Did see a huge herd of buffalo on the loop, and lots of birds.
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:31 am

Maybe I can add this... as you drive into the camping area, go towards the birdhide, it is very close to the ablution block and on the fence... That is a favourite spot of mine... So if my tent doesn't stand there next to the hide then you can take that spot with pleasure. :lol:

With a strong light you see quite alot at the waterhole @ night. And its not too far back to your tent from there. :wink:
Last edited by wildtuinman on Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby mja » Wed May 30, 2007 5:38 pm

Don't know if this helps but I believe that Safari Tent #4 is the most private, or at least the furthest away -- although all you have between you and the outside is some canvas, and sound does carry, I know :wink:
I'm attaching some #4 tent photos.
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Unread postby Freda » Wed May 30, 2007 6:12 pm

I would say #4 has the most privacy,
#3 is great but has sewerage pipes,
#2 has the best view (my favourite), but you can't go wrong with any of them :D

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Unread postby Kingfisha » Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:20 am

Hi elpaco
It seems that the advice you have received up to now is spot-on. It is a good idea to choose one day and leave quite early from Punda. Take the road up to Pafuri for a breakfast while making a list of the wonderful birds you will identify. This is about a 50 km drive.
After that you can take a slow drive to Crooks corner (leisurely hours drive if you take it very slow along the Levuvhu River) and coming back past Pafuri you have to go on the S64 towards Thulamela. Here you will see more birds including the trumpeter Hornbill!

A great sundowner drive is on the Mahonie Loop which goes 'around' the Punda Maria camp. Another productive drive is the H13-1 towards the lookout at Dzundzwini hill (on the S 58). Don't miss the Fever tree forest! (Am not sure on which road it is....?)

Another lovely day trip is out to Babalala picnic spot to the south with a few waterholes on the road (H1-7) and the little gravel roads and the Mphongolo Loop past Sirheni camp.

These northern parts are very special because the vegetation is so different and you need to look for Nyala, Eland, Roan, Sharps Grysbok and wilddog. (have never seen wilddog in this area, but they are there...)

If you are a birder - well, there is no better place to go. Look for Purple-crested Louries,Wattle-eyed Flycatcher, Narina Trogon, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike, Pel's fishing owl etc.

ENJOY and remember to give us a report on your trip. I will be there in August as well - and cannot wait!

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Unread postby Senyetse » Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:46 am

The fever tree forest is on the way to Crooks corner.

Also look out for Crowned Hornbill in PM camp. There is also a short walking trail in camp. If you're self-catering then make sure you buy groceries outside the park because the shop at PM is not very well stocked at all.
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Unread postby Kingfisha » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:41 pm

We had a WONDERFUL time in Punda Maria.
We stayed in a Safari Tent and were treated like VIP's.
The staff were amazing and very friendly.
The Flycatcher trail offered a new bird on our list (Yellowbreasted Apallis) and the Mahonie loop was the BEST!!! :dance:

On 14 August (although we are not big 5 chasers) we saw the big 5 in one day - only on Mahonie loop.
The birding was fantastic and we saw crested guinea-fowl, crowned hornbill, Mashona Hyliota, purplecrested louries, Retz hermetshrike - I can go on forever (total of 92 birds for the 3 days and 7 new lifers).

PUNDA MARIA will be upgraded soon and management informed us that they will be moving the petrol station to the Punda Gate and they will be moving the reception and shop to the area where the petrol station is now.
The restaurant will be upgraded and will be in the same spot.
This is so exciting. :clap:

I don't know if you guys are aware that the little huts in Punda were declared a National Monument (built in 1933) and they cannot be changed.
They have however started with renovation of them inside.

Punda Maria - we love you! Will be back asap! :D

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Unread postby Kingfisha » Fri Aug 17, 2007 9:21 am

Some pics of the upgraded Family Units at Punda Maria camp:

Two en-suite bedrooms on the ground floor. There is another bedroom upstairs with bathroom and a viewing deck!
Last edited by Elsa on Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Pics resized.

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Unread postby richardharris » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:36 pm

My one complaint about these is that the upstairs bedroom is not airconditioned. I don't know why this is done; it applies to other cottages (eg the 3 bedroom ones at Mopani, where 2 have aircon and the third does not).

Can make it difficult to decide who is getting which room!


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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 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 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 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 of my happiest memories.
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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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