Tag Archives: Pafuri Border Camp

Our 2015 in pictures

Looking back at the marvelous places we stayed at while exploring South Africa’s wild places in 2015 ūüėÄ


> Glen Reenen, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, January 2015

> Forever Resorts Loskop Dam, Loskop Dam Nature Reserve, April 2015

> Glen Reenen, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, April 2015

> Kamberg Nature Reserve, uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, May 2015

> Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, May 2015

> Cape Vidal, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, June 2015

> Mpila, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, July 2015

> Lower Sabie, Kruger National Park, July 2015

> Sweni Wilderness Trail, Kruger National Park, July 2015

> Thendele, Royal Natal National Park, uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, August 2015

> Ntshondwe, Ithala Game Reserve, September 2015

> Mopani Rest Camp, Kruger National Park, October 2015

> Pafuri Border Camp, Kruger National Park, October 2015

> Lower Sabie, Olifants and Shingwedzi, Kruger National Park, December 2015 (trip reports to follow soon!)


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Getting to Pafuri

Last week, we were so excited to tell you about our time at Kruger National Park’s newest accommodation offering, the Pafuri Border Camp, that we skipped over the¬†part¬†of our visit leading up to our time in the extreme Far North of the Park.

We’ll take this opportunity¬†to rectify that now.

We arrived at Phalaborwa Gate on the Friday, early enough to allow a slow drive along the H14-road up to Mopani Rest Camp, where we were booked for a one-night stopover on the way to Pafuri Border Camp.

A quick afternoon sojourn past Mooiplaas, the Nshawu Vlei and Tinhongonyeni delivered¬†no less than 6¬†tsessebe sightings, lots of energetic zebras, good numbers of other animals and birds, and a very dramatic storm brewing over the plains…

That evening we enjoyed a lovely meal at Mopani’s restaurant, the howling wind putting an end to any ideas we might have had of braaiing (the traditional South African barbeque) at our bungalow. Afterwards we¬†searched for nocturnal animals among Mopani’s natural vegetation, and were not disappointed.

Leaving Mopani as soon as¬†the gate opened Saturday morning, under heavy skies accompanied by a¬†constant soft drizzle, we anticipated at least one good predator sighting. Sure enough, near Olifantsbadpan, we had a terrific encounter with¬†two big female spotted hyenas and¬†three of the cutest, most playful cubs you could imagine. Only afterwards did I realise that they were so close to our vehicle that I didn’t manage even one full body photo of them!

We expected to have good sightings of elephants around Shingwedzi, and our favourite rest camp delivered the goods just as we had hoped. It was still raining softly as we set of from Shingwedzi after breakfast, heading northward past Babalala Picnic Spot. The north of the Kruger Park is also well known for its exceptional birdlife and all these special sightings made the long road seem much shorter.

After a quick turn in Punda Maria for lunch, fuel and to stock up on some last minute goodies, we could tackle the last stretch of road to the magical paradise that is Pafuri.

Road to Mopani

A new treasure unveiled in Kruger; the Pafuri Border Camp

An omnipresent sense of history permeates the grounds and buildings of Pafuri Border Camp, with the call of a wild frontier on your doorstep clarion clear and impossible to refuse.

Here at Pafuri¬†in the Far North of the Kruger National Park,¬†Harold and Tiny Mockford built their lives, raised¬†a family, grew old. From 1938 to 1985, Mockford was the recruiting agent and administrative officer¬†at the labour recruitment station established at Pafuri¬†by the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association (WNLA, colloquially simply “Wenela”, later TEBA – The Employment Bureau of Africa) to provide migrant workers for the mushrooming gold mines at Johannesburg.

Comprising the beautifully restored and period-furnished residences inhabited by the Mockfords and other WNLA / TEBA staff,¬†the Pafuri Border Camp will offer overnight accommodation in three very spacious¬†self-catering units: the one-bedroom (4-sleeper) Mockford Cottage, the three-bedroom (6-sleeper) Doctor’s House, and the four-bedroom (8-sleeper) Mockford House. Relaxing on the wide¬†verandas that wrap around the houses, enclosed by mosquito gauze just as they were when their original inhabitants¬†lived there, it is hard not to imagine what daily life entailed¬†for those who lived and worked here all those years ago.¬†The camp’s deep swimming pool will be a delight on hot summer days, as it was no doubt for the family Mockford. A small room next to the tiny reception office will be dedicated as a museum in which Pafuri’s¬†fascinating history can be regaled. More “modern”¬†amenities, such as a fuel station, shop and restaurant, is available at Punda Maria Rest Camp, approximately 65km to the South-West.

One of the biggest highlights of the new Pafuri Border Camp is its proximity to Crooks Corner, the Luvuvhu River and Pafuri Picnic Site. Being first to arrive at the river viewpoints in the morning and the last to have to leave those serenely beautiful scenes in the evening is a privilege not to be underestimated. Crooks Corner, so named because the borders of South Africa, Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) and Mozambique (then Portuguese East Africa) meet here and allowed scoundrels of all description to escape the long arm of the law, has a very special allure in the golden light of sunrise and dusk. Spending time along the Luvuvhu as the riverine forest slowly awakes in the morning delivers a serenity to the human spirit that must be experienced to be truly appreciated.

You can bet that the birdwatching fraternity will be ecstatic at¬†the news of Pafuri Border Camp’s opening. Pafuri is South Africa’s bird-watching mecca; the diversity of its feathered inhabitants simply astounding.

Mammalian wildlife abounds in the Luvuvhu’s riverine bush, with nyala, impala, warthog, baboon and vervet monkey occurring in exceptional numbers. Several other species, including elephant, buffalo, hippo, waterbuck, kudu, blue wildebeest, zebra, and seldomly-seen¬†predators, add to the show. An astonishing number of Nile crocodiles, some in excess of 5 meters in length and probably weighing more than a ton, rule the murky waters of the Luvuvhu.

Come 1 November 2015, this¬†new destination, hard not to describe in superlatives and quite literally a stone’s throw away from the border post into Mozambique, will open to its first official guests. We recently had the immense pleasure and privilege to spend two nights at Pafuri Border Camp while the finishing touches were being made to the accommodation. It is¬†sure to prove very popular with nature lovers and history buffs from all over the world.¬†Bookings for Pafuri Border Camp is¬†through South African National Parks. Via the N1 highway and Kruger’s most northern entrance, Pafuri Gate, the camp is located approximately 620km from Pretoria.

(Google maps)

(Google maps)