Sunrise on the Limpopo

Kruger National Park’s new Pafuri Border Camp allows access to a mystical world.

The far northern reaches of Kruger National Park, known as the Pafuri area, are relatively unexplored. Once, there was no park accommodation in the area, the closest camp being two hours’ drive away, which meant it was almost impossible for visitors to experience sunrise or sunset – the two most magical times of day. This has now changed…

For years South Africa’s mining industry had recruitment offices for migrant labour from neighbouring countries at Pafuri Border Post, inside the park. Now, though, the employment bureau’s three management houses have been handed back to SANParks and converted into 8-, 6- and 4-bed accommodation.

The 4-bed Mockford Cottage has been equipped with:

  • access ramps at the entrance doors
  • an ablution area fitted with roll-in shower, shower seat, grab rails, detachable shower hose, and lever action mixers
  • a single-level interior.

Attractions of Pafuri

  • The Pafuri Area has a colourful history, encompassing ancient iron-age settlements, explorers, smugglers, ivory hunters, and rogues evading the law.
  • The area is renowned for its baobab and fever trees, the Limpopo floodplain and the spectacular riverine forests.
  • Its wildlife includes crocodiles, hippos, baboons, leopards, nyalas, elephants, buffalos, as well as abundant birdlife.
  • Crooks Corner, the meeting point of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers, is a wonderful place to salute the sunrise or sunset. Visitors are permitted to alight from their vehicles. The surface is mostly firm, which makes it easier for wheelchair users to move around.
  • Visitors can also leave their vehicle at the Pafuri Entrance Gate and Pafuri Border Gate (accessible toilets at both), on Pafuri Bridge and at Pafuri Picnic Site (one ablution has a ramp, but there are no other accessible features). The archaeological ruins at Thulamela are not accessible to wheelchair users.

How to get there

Take the N1 north from Gauteng and branch off east on the R525 to enter at Pafuri Gate. Pafuri Border Camp is about 30km from the gate. Or enter the park at Punda Maria Gate and drive 70km to Pafuri Border Camp.

More information (including rates) can be found on the SANParks website www.sanparks.org. Designated UA units can be booked directly with SANParks on request.

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