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Why photographers love Pafuri Camp
Almost everyone who has ever spent time at Pafuri counts it as one of their favourite locations in South Africa. On the far northern side of Kruger, Pafuri feels wild, remote, and tropical. Its huge baobab trees, rocky canyons, and fever tree forests make it a great safari destination for landscape enthusiasts. It also has a fascinating history and excellent birding. Pafuri Camp offers bush walks and night drives and specialty activities such as mountain biking and fly-fishing in addition to the more traditional game drives.
How we rate Pafuri Camp
Pafuri Camp at a glance
- 19 spacious walk-in tents sleeping 2-4 people.
- Tents feature decks on the Luvuvhu River and en-suite bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers.
- Fans and 220V charging outlets in rooms.
- Central dining area, bar, swimming pool, curio shop, fire pit, lounge and library.
- All rooms and communal areas set for views of the Luvuvhu River.
Pafuri Camp is situated on the Makuleke Concession in the far northern reaches of Kruger National Park. The 24,000 hectare concession is a triangle of land bounded by the Luvuvhu River to the south and the Limpopo River to the north. Ownership of this area of the Kruger was returned from the government to the Makuleke people, who formerly inhabited it, in the late 1990s after a historic court battle. Today, the concession is run as an exclusive ecotourism destination only accessible to visitors staying at its lodges. The area is renowned for excellent birding and amazing landscapes including the incredible Lanner Gorge and iconic fever tree forests. It’s one of the best places in the park to see Pel’s Fishing Owl. The Makuleke Concession has a fascinating history of human occupation stretching back to the stone age. More recently, in the early 1900s, the area was infamous as a haven for outlaws who used the local settlement called Crooks’ Corner to escape law enforcement of any of the bordering three countries–Zimbabwe, South Africa or Mozambique. Many species reach their southern-most distribution in the Pafuri region, making it the most biodiverse area of the Kruger Park.
- June to October (winter) is the dry season and best for wildlife viewing. The height of the dry season is best for finding Pel’s Fishing Owl.
- November to May (summer) offers wonderful birding, moody skies and lush vegetation. The peak of summer can be extremely hot, however.
- Pafuri Camp has its own airstrip for charter flights.
- Otherwise, it is a 600km drive from Johannesburg.
What Pafuri Camp costs
- Rates at Pafuri Camp are approximately R4,000 per person, inclusive of meals, drinks and two activities per day.
Photographers need to know
- Though it’s possible to see the big five here, wildlife densities in the north of Kruger are lower than the south. This is a destination for nature lovers and pairs well with a visit to wildlife hotspots such as the Sabi Sands.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to walk in the fever tree forest or head to Lanner Gorge for a sunset shoot.
- Read T.V. Bulpin’s book The Ivory Trail for a fascinating account of Crooks’ Corner’s most infamous outlaw.
- Pafuri Camp’s rooms are all connected via raised wooden boardwalks that sprawl along the river. It can be a very long walk to the further flung rooms with heavy camera equipment, so request a closer room if possible.
The good news
Return Africa, managers of Pafuri Camp, work in partnership with the local Makuleke communities and partner with the African Safari Foundation, an independently managed nonprofit, to ensure benefits return to the land.