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Pafuri Camp

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
johanrebel
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Unread post by johanrebel » Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:04 pm

willd57 wrote: rhino and giraffe have both been introduced to the area where previously they were absent.
I spent ten nights at Pafuri Camp late last month.
The giraffe all ran away shortly after their reintroduction, never to be seen again.
There is single giraffe in the area (which is a contractual national park, not a concession), which is seen on occasion.

One of the reintroduced rhinos has moved south of the Levuvhu, the others mainly hang out in the area between the River and the tar road.
There is a year-round water in the form of a spring in that block, so it hoped the rhinos will settle down and establish a home range there.
The Levuvhu West road to Lanner Gorge via Mangala is the only road in the entire block, although a track at the base of the hills rising at the northern end of the Mangala plain is in the planning stages.
So is a walking trails camp, which will hopefully open in the near future.

I spent a morning with the rhino researchers, whose job it is to locate the rhinos on a daily basis.
They also have to check the western boundary fence every day, to make sure the rhinos do not escape into the former SADF zone along the Limpopo.
Although this is now part of the contractual national park, there is no fence on its western side, so once in there, the rhinos could keep on walking all the way to Musina.

We managed to get to within 10 meters of a rhino cow and calf, but the Mopani bush was so thick that we could not see them, only hear them breathe.

An interesting observation on the local elephant population is that they move out of the area as soon as the first rains come, almost to a man (so to speak).
During my visit there were only two or three bulls left in an area of 24,000 hectares!
It is also quite obvious that elephants stick to the riverine areas in the dry season.
Elephant spoor is very scarce away from the rivers, and the Mopani veld has suffered very little elephant impact.

Local game has become habituated to vehicles very quickly, animals are no longer as skittish as they were only half a year ago.

Poaching used to be rampant in the area.
The Makuleke have set up their own anti-poaching unit (financed by Wilderness Safaris to the tune of R 2 million) which removed over 3,000 snares within the first few months of operations (I can't help but wonder how well the area was patrolled when SANParks were still in charge).

Time constraints prevent me from posting a full report on the lodge and the area.
Suffice to say that it is not only stunningly beautiful, but very different from the rest of the KNP.
The numerous pans large and small on the Limpopo floodplain, fringed by huge and almost pure stands of Northern Lala Palm Hyphaene petersiana are amazing.

Questions welcome.

Johan

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arks
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Unread post by arks » Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:40 am

This is my photo of the same spot, but taken in late April. However, what I'm wondering is whether this is the luxury Parfuri camp or the camp used for the Eco-Training? Does anyone know?

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Unread post by DuQues » Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:54 am

It's the luxury camp. The ecotraining camp is located more north and west.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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Re: Pafuri Wilderness Camp

Unread post by Kingfisha » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:04 pm

Hi
I see this is a very old posting.
But I have to say that I had the honour last year to stay at Pafuri Camp for 4 nights.
It was ABSOLUTELY fantastic!!
The staff were so accommodating (we wanted to do a lot of bird watching) and the luxury tent accommodation was out of this world.
We did game watching from our deck - Elephant, Nyala, kudu, bushbuck, warthog, baboon, eland, Duiker, leopard, etc. etc.

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Re: Moderately upscale places to stay in or around KNP

Unread post by Mant » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:55 am

Hi,

Here is some info on Pafuri Lodge:

Pafuri Camp lies on a gentle bend along the northern bank of the Luvuvhu River, under the shade of enormous ebony and nyala berry trees.
The Luvuvhu draws many different animals to its waters, from elephant, buffalo and nyala to wading birds and fish eagles.
The main deck has ample room to sit and watch the daily passage of wildlife to and from the river, and the swimming pool is perfect for cooling off in the heat of the day.
The dining and lounge areas are open to the river view, and a lower-level terrace is perfect for watching sunrise with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, or sipping sundowners as the sky darkens and the crickets begin to sing.

The camp has 20 tents, six of which are family tents sleeping four people.
Each tent is on a raised platform two metres off the ground and joined by elevated walkways.
This allows wildlife to move undisturbed to and from the river, and also catches the breeze moving through the tree canopy overhead.
The bathroom is en suite with both indoor and outdoor showers for those who would like to bathe under the stars!

The main area, with its large decks and open-sided lounge and dining rooms, forms the centre of the camp. The tents are spread out along the riverbank on either side effectively creating two “wings” – Pafuri East and West.

The colourful fabrics with which the camp is furnished have been made locally and reflect the culture of the Makuleke community.
The décor has been designed to represent elements of the local heritage and history, its unique stone walls evocative of the famous Thulamela culture that existed in the area in the 1500s.

Pafuri Camp blends into its surroundings and offers a superb all-round experience.
The diverse Pafuri region forms an integral part of anyone’s visit to the Kruger National Park.
The Pafuri Wilderness Trail is a wonderful alternative for exploring this fascinating area on foot.

Pafuri Camp is found in the private 24 000-hectare Makuleke Concession at the extreme north of the Kruger National Park.
The Pafuri “triangle” is created by the intersection of two great rivers – the ancient and dying Limpopo and the young and powerful Luvuvhu River.
The latter is actively carving its way through the sandstone of the escarpment, in the process creating the impressive Lanner Gorge.
Their intersection forms the meeting point of three countries – South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The Concession is home to large herds of buffalo, as well as hippo, white rhino, lion, leopard and high seasonal concentrations of elephant.
The Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers host the highest density of nyala in Kruger and species such as eland, Sharpe’s grysbok and yellow-spotted rock dassie, which are difficult to find further south in the Park.

A drive along the floodplain and riverine fringe of either of the two large rivers usually produces good general game in the form of nyala, impala, greater kudu, zebra, chacma baboon, waterbuck, warthog and perhaps grey duiker or bushbuck.
Patience and a little luck may yield the more elusive residents of the area such as lion, leopard and sable.

The area has long been regarded as something of a Mecca for southern African birdwatchers.
Some species are found nowhere else in South Africa and the serious birder will revel in being able to find Böhm’s and Mottled Spinetails, Racket-tailed Roller, Three-banded Courser, Arnot’s Chat, Black-throated Wattle-Eye and Pel’s Fishing-Owl.

The aura of human history is particularly prevalent, with cultural landmarks such as the ancient Thulamela civilisation,
Early Stone Age sites and the more recent signs of Makuleke habitation. Crooks’ Corner at the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers is redolent of long-ago hunters and colourful characters who searched for adventure, as well as the smoking fires and dwellings of the Makuleke villages.
It is this unique aspect as well as a combination of phenomenal diversity and spectacular scenery that makes this area unlike any other in Kruger.

Location

Situated in the 24 000-hectare Makuleke concession in northern Kruger National Park.
The camp is situated on a bend on the northern bank of the Luvuvhu River.

Child policy

Children of 6 years and older are welcome.

Accommodation

Numbers of tents
Pafuri consists of 20 tents divided into Pafuri East – 7 tents and Pafuri West – 13 tents.

Pafuri East
3 x twin bedded tents
2 x double tents
2 x family tents – accommodates 4 guests
Pafuri West
6 x twin bedded tents
3 x double tents
4 x family tents – accommodates 4 guests
The camp can accommodate a maximum of 52 guests in 20 tents some of which can accommodate families of up to 4 guests.

Tent details

20 East African-style Meru tents – 6 of which can be used as family units.
Tents are en-suite and are under a shaded canopy on elevated boardwalks.
Safe in each tent.

Camp Description

Dining and bar area are under a canopy of majestic ebony trees.
Dinners are served on wooden decks overlooking the river or the pool or indoors under thatch.
Large swimming pool overlooking the river on the eastern side of the camp.
There is also a small boma.

Activities

Guests can take part in guided activities in the concession or can self-drive in and around the Kruger National Park in their own vehicles on Park roads. However, self-driving cannot take place anywhere in the Makuleke Concession except on the main access road into and through the area.

Summer / winter schedule

Early morning wake up – summer 05h00 / winter 05h30
Pre-game drive breakfast – summer 05h30 / winter 06h00
Depart game drive – summer 05h45 - 06h00 / winter 06h30 - 07h00 depending on weather
Brunch – summer 10h00 / winter 10h30
Afternoon Tea/High tea – summer 15h30 – 16h00 / winter 15h00
Depart afternoon drive – summer 16h00 – 16h30 / winter 15h30
Dinner – summer from about 20h00 / winter from about 19h30

Drinks Policy

The camp offers a fully stocked bar with a good selection of South African wines. Costs of drinks are on the guests’ account and must be settled directly at the camp.

Electricity & Water

Power from generator and 220-volt power inverted from a battery bank.
Constant 220-volt power to rooms for battery charging, razors, fans etc.
Potable water to the camp comes from 2 strong boreholes.

Laundry Policy

Same-day laundry facility is available at a charge.

Extras Payment

Extras can be paid for by cash, MasterCard, Visa, Amex and Diners Club. Cheques are not accepted. Travellers’ cheques are also accepted.

I recommend that you try out Pafuri Lodge. :)

Samantha
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Re: Pafuri

Unread post by DuQues » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:19 pm

Carole, SANParks doesn't "do the accomodation" for Pafuri camp.
It's part of the Makuleke concession.
The concession is owned by the Makuleke Community, displaced from the area under the apartheid regime, and the camp is a joint venture between the Makuleke and Wilderness Safaris.

Have a look on these pages.
It is a fantastic area.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Re: Pafuri

Unread post by ndloti » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:57 pm

One can drive there with ones own passenger motor vehicle .
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.

Richprins

Re: Pafuri

Unread post by Richprins » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:57 pm

DuQues wrote:The concession is owned by the Makuleke Community


It is not really "owned", in a strict sense, as the area still forms part of Kruger and the veld is managed entirely by SANPARKS, as per the Land Claim agreement.

A part of the revenue forthcoming from lodge activities goes to the chiefs involved, and then to the community! :thumbs_up:

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Re: Pafuri

Unread post by johanrebel » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:55 pm

DuQues wrote:and you can happily drive the roads in the consession.

You may most definitely not.
The general public can drive the tar road between Pafuri Gate and Luvuvhu Bridge and guests with a confirmed reservation for Pafuri Camp can drive the gravel access road from Luvuvhu Bridge to camp.
All other roads are strictly off limits, only official game viewing vehicles from Pafuri Camp and The Outpost are allowed to use them.

But yes, the area is fantastic, and Pafuri Camp comes warmly recommended.
Nothing else in Kruger can even remotely compare.

Johan

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Re: Pafuri

Unread post by Multiflorum » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:09 pm

Here are some of my thoughts on Pafuri.
If they come across in a somewhat unstructured manner, I apologize, but I wish to speak from the heart since this is what one should do when you talk about the magic of Pafuri.

I agree with Johan. I take it that he has spent time at Pafuri.
I too have spent quite some time there and will be going back there soon.

Since I have been going there, it has resulted in me spending less time down south.
In school holidays I avoid southern Kruger completely.
The only downside to Pafuri is the distance from JHB - no less than seven hours by car which means you can't really go there for a weekend unless you are prepared to spend lots of time traveling.
The good thing I suppose is that many people avoid the place, especially in summer when it can get unbearably hot.
I recall a day just before Christmas 2009 when the maximum temperature reached 49 degrees Celsius.

In terms of biodiversity, Pafuri is quite different from the rest of Kruger.
For the birdwatcher and botanist, the concession presents the best opportunity to see some very special birds and trees which you won't easily see south of the Luvuvhu.
Think here of Pel's Fishing Owl, Bluecheeked bee eaters (of which there are quite a good number in summer) or the Paperbark Corkwood, or if you are into aloes, Aloe Angelica (Wylies Poort Aloe) which you are unlikely to see down south.

If your interest is the big five, Pafuri may disappoint you (compared to Lower Sabie)since lions you will not see easily.
The best time to see the big five would be now (before the rains) since the Limpopo is completely dried up and the Luvuvhu the only source of water, save for a few pans on the Limpopo Floodplains like Makwatsi.

The result of this water scarcity means that game viewing is excellent, with big herd of buffalo, elephant and plenty of game along the Luvuvhu including of course lion and leopard.

In summer game viewing is less rewarding to be honest given the abundance of water but the birdwatching then is of course unlike anything else in Kruger.
After a thunder shower, it is not uncommon to see ten or twenty Steppe Eagles or Lesser Spotted Eagles in a small area.
I am also told that the elephants go south in summer while I have it on good authority that some of the bulls are now crossing into Gonarezou through the narrow corridor that links Kruger with that reserve.
It may be that they have done so in the past but stopped as a result of the civil war in Mozambique.

There are places up at Pafuri (like Lanner Gorge, Mutale Gorge and the Limpopo Flood Plains not to mention Nyambi pan, a small little pan you walk to since there is no road to the pan itself, set among many fewer trees and which provides excellent shade on a hot day which present unrivaled natural splendour and which you will not encounter anywhere else in South Africa for that matter.

The first time I walked in the bush there it reminded me more of East Africa or Botswana than Kruger.
Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic places in the Kruger (think of the views from Nkumbe, Nwanetsi, the Kanniedood dam road from Shingwedzi to Nyawutsi bird hide or hiking along the Olifants river) but yet, there is something different about Pafuri - the sense of isolation, Thulamela, the gentle flow of the Luvuvhu brown water - I am not sure, but the place has a certain magnetism which draws one back time and time again.

The camp itself is excellent.
If one can afford it, one should go there.
Although generally more expensive than Kruger, it is still far more affordable than places like Singita or Sabi-Sabi.
Also, they are always looking at attracting South Africans to go given that international visitors tend to visit seasonally.
Hence, specials are not uncommon and one should keep a lookout for them.

No camp in Kruger is quite like this and that includes the bush veld camps.
I find that the Kruger camps nowadays get noisy - I have had some bad experiences in places like Shingwedzi where staff have their families over for the holidays and then play loud music - no chance of such music at Pafuri, the only music you will hear at Pafuri as you rise at 05h00 is the dawn chorus of the birds that make the trees and vegetation along the Luvuvhu their home.

Then there is the excellent quality of the guides up there.
If one goes there with a particular interest in say birds or amphibians, they will go out of their way to accommodate that interest.
Although there are some excellent SANParks guides, I sometimes get the impression they are not quite so passionate although this is the exception rather than the rule.
I have generally had very good experiences with SANParks guides.

In all, Pafuri has no equal in all of Kruger and until one has seen the beauty of a disappearing sun at Lanner Gorge as it illuminates the rocky outcrops before disappearing to the west or a sunrise at Banini Pan or an afternoon drive along the Luvuvhu river approaching the Fewer Tree forest (which is far more impressive than the Fewer tree forest on the southern side of the Luvuvhu) I don't think one can truly say that you have been to Kruger.

Richprins

Re: Pafuri

Unread post by Richprins » Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:12 pm

Welcome, Multiflorum! :thumbs_up:

You write very well, and I am sure you could add a lot to the forums!

There was a Pel's opposite the picnic spot last Thursday, according to the attendant, so they are around.

I'm not sure about the 7 hour trip from Jhb, though...if you klap the N1 up to Tshipise turnoff and enter via Pafuri gate it should be closer to 5 hours.

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Re: Pafuri

Unread post by johanrebel » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:40 pm

joshilewis wrote:As far as I know, doing a trail from Pafuri camp is the only way to access Lanner Gorge (think that's the right one).
The Lanner Gorge lookout can be reached by vehicle (no public access), but if you want to walk the Gorge itself you indeed have to explore it on foot.

Johan

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Re: Pafuri

Unread post by johanrebel » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:23 pm

Multiflorum wrote:I take it that he has spent time at Pafuri.
You are correct. 56 nights in total at Pafuri Camp when I last counted about half a year ago.

Multiflorum wrote:The only downside to Pafuri is the distance from JHB
This is indeed an issue.
I fly to Phalaborwa, rent a car and drive up through the KNP on fairly quiet roads.
It is possible to fly direct to the Pafuri Camp airstrip, if you are lucky enough to own your own aircraft, or can afford the charter flights the camp offers.

Multiflorum wrote:I recall a day just before Christmas 2009 when the maximum temperature reached 49 degrees celcius.
They recorded 47°C the Monday before last.

Multiflorum wrote: lions you will not see easily.
That varies.
They had two kills in camp recently, one impala and one nyala.

Multiflorum wrote:The best time to see the big five would be now (before the rains) since the Limpopo is completely dried up and the Luvuvhu the only source of water, save for a few pans on the Limpopo Floodplans like Makwatsi.
And a couple of springs.

Multiflorum wrote:In summer game viewing is less rewarding to be honest
Yes, but it has improved tremendously since the Makuleke took over.
Especially the general game populations have increased dramatically.
That of course begs the question what SANParks and the SADF were up to when they ran the place, but we should perhaps not go there . . . .

Multiflorum wrote:I am also told that the elephants go south in summer while I have it on good authority that some of the bulls are now crossing into Gonarezou through the narrow corridor that links Kruger with that reserve.
The first statement is correct, as the ongoing collared elephant bull research project has shown.
I'll check up on the latter.
Whatever the case may be, elephants of all sizes are very few and far between in summer.

Multiflorum wrote:the Luvuvhu's brown water
There was a time when the Luvuvhu was crystal clear all year round.
It still is on occasion, and then one knows that buffalo or elephant herds are splashing around upstream when the water suddenly goes brown.

Multiflorum wrote:Then there is the excellent quality of the guides up there.
You can say that again.

Multiflorum wrote:sunrise at Banini Pan
Good luck with that, you would have to make a heck of an early start from Pafuri Camp to get to Banyini before sunrise! :)

Multiflorum wrote:which is far more impressive than the Fewer tree forest on the southern side of the Luvuvhu
What fever tree forest on the southern side?
Is there any left?
Last time I checked I could only find the signpost.

Johan

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Re: Pafuri

Unread post by johanrebel » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:31 pm

ndloti wrote:I was under the impression these operated as day walks from the existing camps.
The Outpost offers walks from camp, the nice thing about these is that the maximum number of participants is four. That's still a few too many, but better than anywhere else.

Pafuri offers trails, where the camp is set up by the support team at various locations.
You only carry a daypack on the walks.
The usual duration is three nights.
These trails operate in the dry (less hot) season only.
They have also recently started KNP backpack style trails, I'd have to check up on the exact details.

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Re: Pafuri

Unread post by Multiflorum » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:01 pm

Pel's is not easy to observe.

I know of birders who have been searching for Pel's for thirty years without any luck, people who come from abroad and spent big money to track down this elusive owl that lives along the Luvuvhu.

Unless you stay at Pafuri itself (or perhaps Balule in the KNP), you will be hard pressed to find this bird.
I once saw one after a heavy storm along the Shingwedzi but I am reluctant to conclude from this sighting that these birds in fact live along the Shingwedzi river.
I know however of sporadic sightings along rivers further south even the Crocodile.

Now I know some birders say that they have observed Pel's at Tinga along the Sabie and of course, there is the odd nesting sight along the Olifants which you may be able to see if you do the backpackers trail, but on the whole, staying at Pafuri gives you the best possible opportunity to see one.

I have had good sightings of Pel's on the Luvuvhu River bridge in the last year but this was only through good fortune and cannot be attributed to anything else.

Moving on to another feathered friend, one of the guides at Pafuri saw a Palmnut Vulture this winter.
I would be interested to know if anybody else has seen the Palmnut in Kruger?

Then what about the Egyptian vulture? I am not aware of any recorded sightings in KNP but perhaps some of you may know better.


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