Pafuri Border Camp

 

Overview

The SANParks Pafuri Border Rest Camp is situated in the northernmost part of the world-renowned Kruger National Park (KNP) near the confluence of the Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers and falls in the Limpopo province.

Visitors to this camp can look forward to some of the potentially most productive bird watching experiences possible in South Africa.

Pafuri Border Camp counts among the unique Kruger bush lodges. A bush lodge is an exclusive, private lodge with a unique atmosphere and style that provides tourists the opportunity to enjoy absolute privacy, as only residents are allowed entrance to the camp.

The Pafuri Border Camp is one of the gems of this game reserve with its location in the Pafuri section of the Kruger National Park close to the Zimbabwean and Mozambican borders. Pafuri Border Camp is about 70km from the Punda Maria Gate, the closest entry to the camp, although it is around 70km away from the gate.

Accommodation at Pafuri Border Camp is suitable for a variety of guests with different requirements but is best suited for those guests that are looking for an exclusive self-catering bushveld experience.

The Pafuri Border Rest Camp has a bit more facilities as some of the other bush lodges in the KNP, with a reception area, a museum and a communal swimming pool. Several activities are also offered from the camp, which include morning, sunset or all-day guided bush walks, and sunrise, night or all-day guided game drives.

Within an area rich with historical and archaeological sites, visitors can experience a real African experience at this secluded camp. The world-renowned Kruger National Park already offers a wildlife experience ranking with the best in the world and a camp like Pafuri just puts such an experience to the very top.

The park itself is the permanent home of hundreds of different species, including at least 510 bird species, 330 species of trees, almost 150 species of mammals, 110 and more reptile species, about 50 fish species and more than 30 amphibians.

Many of these animals, including the sometimes elusive Big 5, may be encountered during your stay at Pafuri Border Camp.

Few visitors can withstand the temptation to visit South Africa without visiting the Kruger National Park or one of the private reserves along its borders. Whether you are a foreign visitor or a local on a self-drive safari, this area is not to be missed.

You can drive around and stay overnight in one of the many public rest camps but a visit to Pafuri Border Camp should also be on your itinerary. This far northern area of the park remains the wildest area and is perceived more difficult to access. Because of this, it has an alluring quality that makes it even more attractive as vacation destination for the more adventurous visitor.

Pafuri Border Camp
Mockford Cottage (GC4)

Date Range Rate Extra AdultExtra Child Unit Sleeps
01 Nov 2020 — 31 Oct 2021R 3,315 for 4 personsN/AN/A4 people

Rates quoted per night. Facilities include: Self-catering, En-Suite-1 bedroom with 2x 3 Quarter beds, 1 bedroom with 2x 3 quarter beds on veranda bench beds in lounge, Fan, Fridge, Full equip Kitchen, No shop or restaurant, SANPARKS Community Levy  

Pafuri Border Camp
Doctors House (GH6)

Date Range Rate Extra AdultExtra Child Unit Sleeps
01 Nov 2020 — 31 Oct 2021R 5,016 for 6 personsN/AN/A6 people

Rates quoted per night. Facilities include: Self-catering, En-Suite-3 bedrooms with 2x 3 quarter beds , Fan, Fridge, Full equip Kitchen, No shop or restaurant, SANPARKS Community Levy  

Pafuri Border Camp
Mockfords House (GM8)

Date Range Rate Extra AdultExtra Child Unit Sleeps
01 Nov 2020 — 31 Oct 2021R 6,680 for 8 personsN/AN/A8 people

Rates quoted per night. Facilities include: Self-catering, En-Suite-4 bedrooms with 2x 3 quarter beds , Fan, Fridge, Full equip Kitchen, Lounge and Dining area, No shop or restaurant, SANPARKS Community Levy  

Why would you want to visit the Pafuri Border Camp

The northern part of the Kruger offers the best of all kinds of wildlife as well as a variety of interesting and exquisite trees and plants.

Of the fauna and flora indigenous to the area, guests will be able to see sickle bush, pod mahogany, mixed bushwillow and white syringa flourishing in the sandveld habitat, while on safari, they can expect to see hippo, crocodile, Vervet monkeys, baboons, wild dog, elephant and lion. The area is known for its abundance of antelope, including the elusive nyala, as well as buffalo and Sharpe’s grysbok.

If you want to see the tiny Suni antelope, the Mahonie Loop in the area would also be the best location in the Kruger National Park to find it. A trip around the Pafuri area may also produce a number of bushbuck.

Vervet monkey and baboon can be seen in large quantity and lots of hippo and Nile crocodiles are usually visible in the riverbed itself. An early game drive down Nyala Drive may well bring the rare sight of a bush pig too.

Guests can cool off in a swimming pool in the camp or learn more about the area and its history in a quaint museum on site.

The camp has its own reception area but is fully self-catering. It does however offer a number of activities for guest to enjoy, including bush walks, day safaris, sunset walks and night drives, all of which can be arranged at the reception desk.

With greater ecological co-operation across borders in the recent past, several countries bordering South Africa had agreed to take down some fences, as those between Kruger and Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou game reserve.

This created the nearby Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park and a stay at Pafuri Border Camp offers the ideal base from which to visit this colossal wilderness area.

Where is the Pafuri Border Camp located

The Pafuri Border Camp lies in the northernmost part of the Kruger National Park, not too far from Punda Maria, and near the confluence of the Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers. The Pafuri Border Camp is one of the gems of the game reserve with its location in the Pafuri section of the Kruger National Park It is about 70km from Punda Maria entrance gate.

It is also very close to Pafuri gate but the closest rest camp to stock up and refuel is Punda Maria.

The GPS coordinates for Pafuri Border Camp is 22°26’57.3″S 31°18’38.2″E.

 

How to get to the Pafuri Border Camp

The Pafuri Border Camp is easily reached by road from Johannesburg and Gauteng.

From Gauteng one should take the N1 north through Polokwane (previously known as Pietersburg). At Makhado (previously known as Louis Trichardt) you link up with the R524 and follow this route north eastwards for about 140 km. That route will take you to the Punda Maria entrance gate.

You should allow between 6 to 7 hours for the trip to the gate. After entrance you follow the road until you join the Pafuri Gate-Punda Maria Road north and then the S63 east until you reach the camp, a distance of approximately 70 km from the entrance gate.

You should allow ample time for the drive to the camp, especially if you want to enjoy your first opportunities of game viewing. Remember to adhere to the relevant gate times, not to be locked out or being unable to reach your destination in time.

From January to March the Mopani camp gates open at 04:30 and close at 18:30; from April to September the camp gates open at 06:00 and close at 18:00; in October the camp gates open at 05:30 and close at 18:00 and in November and December the camp gates open at 04:30 and close at 18:30.

What to do while staying at the Pafuri Border Camp

Apart from just enjoying the tranquillity of the bush and wildlife at the camp, there are a number of activities on offer from Pafuri Border camp.

The Pafuri area is known for its many rare sightings of both birds and mammals but guests can go on guided game drives and guided walks and enjoy several walking trails. More information is available at reception, but these activities entail the following:

Day Bush Walks

Guests can spend a whole day hiking through the bush in the capable hands of a ranger. A minimum of six people will depart at 05:30 and spend 10 hours in the veld. Breakfast and lunch are included and no children under 12 are allowed.

Day Safari

Guests (a minimum of two people, no children under 6) can spend the day where they prefer with a ranger and be shown the more exclusive parts of the reserve. You depart from the camp at 05:30 and the duration of the safari is about 10 hours. Breakfast and lunch are included.

Morning Walk

The morning walk poses a great opportunity to experience the bush on foot, learn more about birds, trees and other things you won’t see from a vehicle. A minimum of two people and a maximum of eight people are allowed per walk and no children under 12 can participate. The group depart from the camp at 05:30 and the duration of the walk is 3 hours, with breakfast included.

Night Drive

A night drive, starting before sunset, allows for a perfect opportunity to witness the beauty of the bush as it changes from day to night. This is also the time when nocturnal animals emerge. You can enjoy a sundowner drink overlooking a waterhole or at a secluded spot in the bush and look for more animals using spotlights on your way back to the camp.

It is also your chance to enjoy the star-filled sky away from city lights.

The drive takes about 3 hours and depart at 16:30 for a minimum of two people. No children under 6 are allowed. Snacks and cold drinks are provided.

Sunrise Drive

Departing at 05:30 the early morning, you can enjoy the beauty and splendour of sunrise in the African bush, with 3 hours of viewing a variety of animals in their natural environment. A minimum of two people are needed to make this happen, but unfortunately no children under 6 are allowed. Tea, coffee and rusks are provided.

Sunset Walk

You can experience the bush at a peak activity period, just when the nocturnal animals are starting to get active for a night’s hunting. Departing at 15:00, you can watch an African sunset as you make your way back to your destination about three hours later.

A minimum of two people and a maximum of eight people are allowed per walk, but no children under 12. Cold drinks are provided.

There is also a communal swimming pool in the gardens at the camp.

The abundance of large trees due to its proximity to the Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers, offers great birding opportunities too.

What to watch out for when staying at the Pafuri Border Camp

The camp itself is situated in so-called “sandveld”, with the typical sandy soil resulting in the area being well drained with several natural springs. The plant communities are quite complex with no specific tree species that dominates, but several of the species that occur are specifically restricted to this ecozone.

Visitors should search for white syringa, mixed bushwillow, silver cluster-leaf, baobab, pod mahogany, sickle bush and weeping wattle. Grazing is sparse to moderate sweet grass.

Of the fauna and flora indigenous to the area, guests will be able to see sickle bush, pod mahogany, mixed bushwillow and white syringa flourishing in the sandveld habitat, while on safari, they can expect to see hippo, crocodile, Vervet monkeys, baboons, wild dog, elephant and lion. The area is known for its abundance of antelope, including the elusive nyala and sable, as well as buffalo and Sharpe’s grysbok.

If you want to see the tiny Suni antelope, the Mahonie Loop in the area would also be the best location in the Kruger National Park to find it. A trip around Pafuri may also produce plenty of bushbuck.

Vervet monkey and baboon can be seen in large quantity and lots of hippo and Nile crocodiles are usually visible in the riverbed itself. An early game drive down Nyala Drive may well bring the rare sight of a bush pig too.

Bird watchers can look out for Pel’s Fishing Owl, the African Wood Owl and Lemon Doves.

What type of accommodation does the Pafuri Border Camp offer and what amenities/facilities are available

Accommodation at Pafuri Border Camp is provided in the form of the following:

The eight sleeper Mockford House

This accommodation offers four bedrooms with two three-quarter beds in each room. Rooms have en-suite bathrooms, some with shower and toilet, one with shower, bath and toilet.  One room has a fireplace.

There is a fully equipped kitchenette, dining room and spacious patio which serves as a lounge. The unit has outside braai facilities.

The four sleeper Mockford Cottage

The Mockford Cottage is smaller than Mockford House, and it only has 2 bedrooms, both with en-suite shower and bath facilities. It further boasts a fully equipped kitchenette, dining room and spacious patio which serves as a lounge. The unit has an outside braai facility.

The six sleeper English House

This unit has three bedrooms with en-suite shower and bath facilities. Room 1 and 2 have a shower and toilet while Room 3 has a shower, bath and toilet, as well as a fireplace in the room.

It has a fully equipped kitchenette, dining room and spacious patio which doubles as a lounge. The house also offers an outside braai facility.

No smoking is allowed in units.

There are picnic facilities available for day visitors at Pafuri and Babalala.

 

What do you need to know and bring for a safe and comfortable stay at the Pafuri Border Camp

There are no restaurant or shop facilities available in this camp.

Being one of the “wild” camps in the game reserve, park officials warn that some creatures like spiders, snakes, and scorpions may be present and could prove “dangerous” if not approached or handled correctly.

If you walk around at night, you should not do so without a torch. Don’t feed any wildlife, since by doing it you are actually signing their death warrant as they become aggressive.

The camp is situated within a malaria area and summer times in particular can leave guests vulnerable. Malaria is carried by mosquitos and guests visiting the area must make sure that they protect themselves against being bitten.

It is wise to use reliable insect repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net. Both are great ways to prevent infection, but if you want to make double sure, using preventative medication, prescribed by a doctor, would be the best way to totally avoid the sickness.

 

When to visit the Pafuri Border Camp

The best time of the year to make your trip to this area may either be early spring or late autumn, since summers in the Kruger can get very hot and humid and often end with a thunderstorm in the late afternoon.

Such hot summer weather can make any safari experience unpleasant. Kruger is in a summer rainfall area and the summer months (October to April) are hot and often balmy. Winters are warm and mild, although visitors going on night-drives will require warm clothing.

Even animals sometimes shy away from the heat. Winters are usually mild, but the days can get very cold and the nights even colder – especially when sleeping in the hide with no windowpanes and curtains to keep the cold out.

FAQs

1. Where is the Pafuri Border Camp located?

The Pafuri Border Camp is located in the Pafuri section in the northernmost part of the Kruger National Park, close to the Zimbabwean and Mozambican borders. The camp is about 70 km from the Punda Maria entrance gate.

 

2. What to expect and look out for when staying at the Pafuri Border Camp

Visitors can enjoy the specific fauna and flora of the area, including white syringa, mixed bushwillow, silver cluster-leaf, baobab, pod mahogany, sickle bush and weeping wattle and can expect to see hippo, crocodile, Vervet monkeys, baboons, wild dog, elephant and lion. The area is known for the elusive nyala and sable, as well as buffalo and Sharpe’s grysbok, the tiny Suni antelope, Pel’s Fishing Owl, the African Wood Owl and Lemon Doves.

 

3. What facilities are provided at the Pafuri Border Camp and what do you need to bring along?

The camp boasts different fully equipped accommodation units, ideal for self-catering. There is no restaurant or shop.

 

4. Can you directly book accommodation at the Pafuri Border Camp online?

Yes, you can make reservations directly on the SANParks website.

 

5. When is the best time to visit the Pafuri Border Camp?

The best time of the year to make your trip to this area may either be early spring or late autumn, since summers in the Kruger can be very hot and humid.

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