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Pafuri Camp

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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Barcud
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Re: Pafuri

Unread postby Barcud » Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:07 pm

I'm getting seriously itchy feet reading some of the posts here.
I love this area and have only been to a very small section of the region (Crooks corner, Nyala Drive, Pafuri Picnic spot & the bridge over the river).
Never been lucky enough to see Pel's, despite searching, but Bohm's Spinetail from the bridge, Crested Guinea fowl from the picnic spot and both Tropical Boubou & Lemon-breasted Canary at Crooks Corner were very special.

Palm-nut Vulture was seen and photographed at the Southern end of the Mphongolo Loop on the 25th August 2009 by Neil Grey.
I've not read of any other records in Kruger since then, but would be interested to know if there have been more.

Multiflorum
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Re: Pafuri

Unread postby Multiflorum » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:01 pm

I'm a bit under the whip at the moment but thought I would do a trip report of the trail I completed on Monday at Pafuri in the Makuleke Concession.
It is of course not quite possible to capture all the thoughts and emotions that one experiences during and after a trail, but I will try to describe some of that in this report.

I am not a serious trailist, although I have done the Olifants backpackers and the equivalent thereof along the Mphongolo river in recent times.
These were both excellent but walking the Pafuri bush offers that something different which is not quite so easy to articulate.
The Pafuri trail should however not be compared to the former two as it is not a backpackers trail but more akin to Metsi-Metsi or Wolhuter with the only difference being that no permanent camping infrastructure is left at Pafuri.

The trail lasted four days and three nights, all of which were spent at premier camp, a temporary tented camp only erected for individual trails and broken down once the guests leave.
The camp will only see the light of day in April 2011 again when the next trail season opens.

Now for those who know the Pafuri region, premier camp is about two or so kilometres upstream from where Nyala drive bends towards Tulamela but situated on the northern side of the Luvuvhu river among a cathedral of giant ana trees (faidherbia albida) that grow in the Luvuvhu floodplain, all of which are about one hundred years old I would say.
At night, the trees come alive with the call of the wood owl and the echo of Wahlberg's epauletted fruit bat.

To the north of the camp, the vegetation becomes sparser along the floodplain with the odd brack thorn (acacia robusta) here and there until the landscape is confronted by Hutwini - a hillside that forms a natural barrier on the northern side of the Luvuvhu floodplain and part of a series of hills that lead all the way to Lanner Gorge further to the west.
What is impressive about Hutwini is the number of large leave rock fig and wonderboom fig trees that scatter the rock face to eke out a living.
When one looks towards the south from atop Hutwini, using a pair of binoculars, one can catch a glimpse of Tulamela on the horizon depending on the sun's position and imagine what grand a civilization must have inhabited the hill south of the Luvuvhu.

Hutwini is special for two reasons: first, there are a pair of nesting Verreaux eagles that nest on a cliff face close by and; second, there is Hutwini gorge, a narrow gorge system that breaks open the hillside and creates a natural passageway for game to migrate to and from the Luvuvhu floodplain to the mopane veld to the north.
Walking through the gorge, one soon realizes that elephants have been using this as an autobahn for hundreds of years as evidenced by their dung that has formed a solid floor over time.

The Luvuvhu river is not that far from premier camp - about four hundred meters, but you are completely oblivious to this while at camp, since the area that separates the camp from the river is covered with many large fever berry trees that grow to over two meters high.
These appear to have filled the void left by so many of the sycamore figs that came unstuck (quite literally) during the floods of February 2000.
Walking along the Luvuvhu floodplain today, one still sees the remnants of these past giants that are slowly being etched away by termites.

Wake up call at camp is around 05h00 and after coffee, rusks, some fresh fruit and toast prepared over an open fire, one sets off for the morning walk that could last until about 11h00, depending on how the day heats up.
A brunch is served on returning to the camp and after an afternoon siesta, one sets off for the afternoon walk which lasts about two hours from 16h00 until 18h00.
Sundowners are served around an open fire upon return to the camp when one can sit around the fire and reminisce over the days sightings before and after supper which is served around a big dining room table - except, in this instance, the dining room consists of an open expanse covered by a canopy of giant ana trees that play host to different orchestras with the only differential being whether it is day or night.

The afternoon walk will usually involve a loop along the Luvuvhu and if it has been a hot day, one might cool off in a shallow pool of the Luvuvhu, exercising due discretion as to the presence of crocodiles and hippos. One might also be fortunate enough as we were to see a Pel's fishing owl perched in the upper branches of an Ana tree as it arises from its slumber and prepares for the night's fishing expedition.

We had a landy at our disposal which allowed us to venture into fairly isolated parts of the concession from where we did walks that lasted a good few hours.
One morning we went to the Limpopo floodplains and walked along the northern section of the fever tree forest from a small pan called Mapimbi into a north westerly direction.
On occasion, the fever trees would make way for a pan system out in the open with the northern lala palm scattered all around.
We saw trumpeter Hornbill in good numbers, a little sparrowhawk, an African harrier hawk, many a broad-billed roller, lappet-faced vultures, a black-chested snake eagle as well as a party of retz helmet shrike.

One afternoon we walked to Nyambi pan which is east from the main bridge crossing the Luvuvhu river and towards Crook's corner.
What is remarkable about the pan is that it comes as a bit of a surprise - the Luvuvhu floodplain suddenly makes way for a cluster of fever trees and giant Jackal berry trees shaped around the pan.
My guess is that when the pan is full, the mass of water will probably cover the space of two soccer pitches.

Just as we had settled in for a good night's sleep on our first night, we heard the roar of lions to the north echo off Hutwini followed shortly thereafter by the coughing sound of a leopard in the thick undergrowth close to the river.
Occasionally, one would hear baboons voice their objection to some or other predator passing through and not too infrequently, the wail of the thick tailed bushbaby.

On the morning of the second day, we awoke to the roar of lions once again and it was decided that we would track them.
We left camp shortly after 06h00 and soon picked up the spoor of a few individual lions no more than five minutes after having left camp walking towards Hutwini along the floodplain.

Our attention was soon diverted though as we came across one of the Verreaux eagles perched on the ground enjoying breakfast which we later observed to be an immature white-backed vulture.
There was some irony in this - vulture culture prescribes that vultures do the cleaning out but here it was a hapless young vulture that became the subject-matter of that dogma.

We soon discovered that the lions had gone up Hutwini and it was decided to go up the hill from the eastern side following a well trodden game path frequented by elephant and buffalo.
After about an hour's climbing, we came across the fresh tracks of a lion moving in a westerly direction. The lion was about forty minutes ahead of us I was told but we had to make a choice now - do we go back to camp or do we push ahead in the hope of catching a glimpse but bearing in mind that "lion on mountain usually equals lioness with cubs"?

Having come this far, we pushed ahead, but not before seeing an eastern Nicator shaded in the depth of a small Lebombo ironwood forest.

The climbing was not so taxing, but we had little luck in tracking the lion until another two or so hours had passed when we became aware of the presence of a small herd of buffalo on the hill that appeared somewhat skittish.
Given the rather small floor area that made up the hill table, we climbed a bit higher towards a rocky outcrop just in case we were caught in a buffalo stampede.
This also provided us with a grand seat should there be a buffalo hunt.

We picked up some fresh lion tracks and there he was, after having traced the tracks for about four hours, an adult male lion, regal as ever, holding court on a large boulder about thirty meters from us.
I am not sure if the lion saw us, as he appeared far more interested in the buffalo.
We eventually lost sight of him and tried to pick up his tracks but it soon became evident that he was heading further west, possibly heading to a small spring where it was likely that he would meet up with the rest of the pride that had been heading in that direction.

The lion sighting is not what defined a trail like this.
Yes, it certainly added to the excitement and perhaps awakened some primordial instinct that we all have, but on the whole, what made the trail special was the complete desolation and closeness which one felt to the land and her animals, an experience one does not get from staying in tourist camps.

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Re: Pafuri

Unread postby Multiflorum » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:04 pm

Mockford House has an old world charm and gives a real feeling of what it must have been like to live in Pafuri during another time.
Not many know about it outside the bird watching community.
That is maybe not such a bad thing. Unless you know where to look, you will drive straight pass and not even know that it is there.

The remarkable thing though is that Harold Mockford lived there from 1939 to 1985.
Think about that for a moment, from WWII through the Mozambican civil war to the time of PW Botha's presidency in this country.
In that time, there was WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, civil rights in the US, the cold war, our own apartheid history and so much more.

Mockford apparently loved it so much there that he refused promotions that would involve him moving away.

I wonder what kind of experiences Mockford must have had over the 46 year period?
I know he raised two otters that lived on the property with him and his wife.
They were unfortunately shot by the police when they took control of the border post as I understand it.

During the turbulent 1970's the property was even shelled by mortar fire coming from Mozambique.
Then there are the stories of elephants that stepped onto landmines across the border and came back wandering to the park only to die eventually because of their injuries.

There is certainly lots of history about Pafuri and one wonders whether enough has been done to document it.

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Re: Pafuri Camp

Unread postby sharky74 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:40 pm

Have just returned from 20 days in Kruger and we were lucky enough to stay at Pafuri for the first three nights.
It was my girlfriends first trip to Africa and I couldn't wait to show her :D
Before going we had heard that the north of Kruger would be unbearably hot and we wouldn't see as many animals as we had down south on a previous trip.
Well, how wrong they were!

Whilst it was warm, it was never unbearably so (late February) and we were blown away by the number of animals.
The camp at Pafuri was beautiful right on the banks of the Luvuvhu, and daily we were treated to some fantastic sightings.
We had requested tents numbers 19 and 20, which are the furthest away from the dining/bar area and were lucky enough to get them.
It's a good five minute plus walk on a raised platform to get to those rooms, so at night you really do get that fantastic sense of being in the middle of nowhere.
The first night we awoke to one of the resident male lions roaring nice and close, an awesome welcome to Africa for my SO :clap:

I'd love to post a trip report for you but am not sure it belongs here or on trip report thread, being a private camp?
Also will post some pics when I know where to put them.
The amount of baby animals we saw was brilliant, as last time in Kruger we were there in August and for my SO who is a big bird lover the place was paradise.

Any feedback as to where I can post a trip report and pics for Pafuri would be appreciated. I've got some beautiful pics to share :thumbs_up:
I may not be from Africa, but since my first visit a part of me always remains there. Can’t wait for the next trip, which will be the 10th

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Re: Pafuri Camp

Unread postby johanrebel » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:36 am

sharky74 wrote:Whilst it was warm, it was never unbearably so (late February)
You were lucky! I've spent a couple of weeks at Pafuri Camp every February since they opened in 2005, and this February was the least hot by far, with temparatures some 8 to 10°C lower than normal.

Letaba is officially the hottest place in South Africa, but I strongly suspect that if proper meteorological data had been available, Pafuri would easily take the top spot.

Johan

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Shi
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Re: ACCOMMODATION PHOTO'S

Unread postby Shi » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:48 pm

Not sure if you want these here........

PAFURI PRIVATE CONCESSION, NO 24 (I think)



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Shi
"I have a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Lebombo mountains"


2010 KNP
Nov 13-14 Lower Sabie, 15-18 Satara, 19-22 Skukuza,22-27 Biyamiti
Dec 24-27 Biyamiti, 28-29 Orpen, 30-31 Skukuza
Thought for the day
TR March 2010

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Re: Pafuri Walk.

Unread postby johanrebel » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:34 pm

Excellent report on the trails, thank you. Very accurately describes the experience.

A few comments:

The common fig species in Hutwini Gorge are abutilifolia and ingens, and I know of at least one tettensis round the corner, so to speak (i.e. as you exit the gorge and swing up and left around the back of Hutwini mountain). Wonderboom (salicifolia)? Not to my knowledge, but I shall double-check.

The Acacias on the flood plain are predominantely tortillis (Haak-en-Steek), with robusta subsp. clavigera (River Thorn) along the Luvuvuhu itself, but not really at Mangala. Various other species on the floodplain as well, with Xanthocercis zambesiaca (Nyala Tree) being the most conspicuous.

Nwambi (with a double-u) Pan is huge when full, measuring 1.2 km in length.

The trails used to operate with a mobile camp which moved between Mapimbi, Gwalala and Premier Site, so guests stayed at a differnent location on each ofr their three nights. For logistical reasons (and the noise from the border post disturbing the peace at Gwalala), it was decided to use a single site only.

Makuleke, by the way, is a Contract National Park, which is not at all the same thing as a concession.

Johan

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Re: Pafuri Walk.

Unread postby Multiflorum » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:23 pm

Thank you to all of you for your feedback.

Johan, I have heard your name mentioned at Pafuri by the likes of Enos and Godfrey. It seems you have assumed a legendary status up there with your frequent visits, more so than anyone else I know.

It was unfortunate that when I left on Sunday morning 15 Jan 2012, I was not able to wait long enough for your arrival, since it would have been good to meet up with you. I hope you had a good time.

I am assuming you would have been blessed with some rain during your visit. When we were there in the second week of January, it was still very dry and I believe this impacted on the bird life in that we did not see too many eagles, acipters and storks that are so common after the rains.

We should perhaps make a plan to coincide our visits one of these days since I do believe we share similar interests in the botany and avian life of Pafuri.

There is much jou to be derived in searching for those special trees. Ironically, even some more common trees found in bigger numbers further south are often quite scarce in Pafuri.

Say, have you seen a Matumi tree up there? As common as they are along the Olifants, Letaba and even the eastern parts of the Shingwedzi before she enters Mozambique, I have not seen one in Pafuri. Neither have I seen a Tamboti up there or a Kei Apple, although I have seen the latter outside the park along the Mutale once.

I wish SANPARKS would consider allowing guided walks in the Nwambia sandveld to the south east of Pafuri. I would very much have liked to become more familiar with the botany of the area.

I have been going to that part of the Park since early childhood, maybe 1984, albeit that it was only through the introduction of Wilderness in around 2005 that one could experience the splendour of the floodplains for the first time.

No place quite like it.

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Re: Pafuri Walk.

Unread postby johanrebel » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:18 pm

Ah, so we missed each other by a few hours! Yes, indeed, we should try to coordinate, that would be cool.

Yes, the rain did wonders, but it has been dry since, and they really need more. By the time I left the pans had started to attract water birds in numbers, and lesser spotted eagles were plentiful.

Matumi? Yes, there is one growing on the northern bank of the Luvuvhu between the River Boma and tent #7, but closer to the latter. It is not very big. There is also one sprouting on the same bank, right in front of the main deck, almost directlly opposite the bar. This one is still small. I only noticed it the other week, but dare say that I should have spotted it before.

As for the Wonderboom Fig, I've checked up and received the following information:

"Ficus – abutilifolia and ingens as you say are there. Ficus tettensis is also pretty common and there are many around on Hutwini. As far as salicifolia goes, I once identified what I thought was a salicifolia and actually placed it on a tree list. When I returned to the same area (the gorge system on the southern side of Hutwini Mountain about 2 kilometres west of Hutwini Gorge and 2 km east of Mashisiiti) I could not find it again. I think it was a case of a mis-identification to start with and as my knowledge improved, I realised. So in short, I have not yet positively identified salicifolia at Pafuri."

Johan

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Goronta
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Re: Pafuri

Unread postby Goronta » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:44 am

Johann wrote:
ndloti wrote:
johanrebel wrote:Anyways. If you ever get the chance to go then GO! It's stunning place.


I do agree ,it's really a stunning place and each time I went there from Pafuri camp (by car), I felt I was somewhere else.
This place like a few others around Pafuri makes this Northern section ok Kruger park a very very different and special place.
I was lucky to stay at different occasions at Pafuri camp since the opening and I can only recommend this lodge (not really cheap but nothing compare to some other luxury lodges further down in the south.Overall quality of this lodge,professionnalism of guides and birding,birding,birding is worthwhile !)
I will post some shots i took when in Lanner
Carpe diem

2016: A short one to Northern Kruger
Punda Maria : May 1st-2nd
Pafuri : May 3rd -6th
Mopani : May 7th

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Goronta
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Re: Pafuri Camp

Unread postby Goronta » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:53 pm

Hi Flavia,
I stayed at different occasions at Pafuri camp and it's true they don't accept direct booking.I will pm some information for booking where you book only for nights and be on your own ,self driving, going to and from Pafuri.
During your stay , you have (nice) drives included in the price.

It's such a nice place in the nicest part of Kruger according to me :thumbs_up:
While writing this post ,I 'm wandering why i'm not doing any booking for 2013. :hmz:
I should hurry up
Carpe diem

2016: A short one to Northern Kruger
Punda Maria : May 1st-2nd
Pafuri : May 3rd -6th
Mopani : May 7th

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Bushbuddies
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Re: Pafuri Camp

Unread postby Bushbuddies » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:07 pm

We stayed at Pafuri Camp for the first time in Sept this year. It was un unforgettable experience! Do not go if you don't want to fall in love with the place - because you are going to! :tongue:

I wrote a TR on it - with photos incl Lanner Gorge. Follow the link:

Pafuri Camp TR
22-25 July 2016 - Pafuri Border Camp
25-28 July 2016 - Shingwedzi
28-31 July 2016 - Olifants

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Re: Pafuri Camp

Unread postby Flavia » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:24 pm

Thanks to everyone!

Do you think is OK to stay two nights at Pafuri? To stay more could be interesting, but also too expensive.

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Re: Pafuri Camp

Unread postby billh » Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:13 pm

If I remember our two nights in Pafuri cost more than five nights in the KNP proper, but it was worth it and I think time well spent. A longer stay might have been a bit repetitive, especially since we were too late for the best of the birding but it's a magical place and our guide who had grown up in the area was excellent.
We didn't do the drive to Lanner Gorge, but we did really enjoy the great diversity of Pafuri and we did see the Three Banded Courser!

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Re: Pafuri Camp

Unread postby Goronta » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:56 pm

2 nights can be enough but for me the best should be 3 nights.
It gives you enough time to see the main interesting "corners" but too short when you pack the last morning :cry:
And if you are a birder,you would like to never leave this small paradise in Kruger ! :pray:
It's true ,it's not a cheap place but if you compare to other luxury lodges in or around Kruger,it's rather competitive.
And with all what you eat during the stay you can spend the remaining part of your holidays fasting :whistle:
Carpe diem

2016: A short one to Northern Kruger
Punda Maria : May 1st-2nd
Pafuri : May 3rd -6th
Mopani : May 7th


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