Pafuri Lodge

History of the Area – Makuleke Contractual Park (MCP)

Pafuri Lodge, Pafuri Camp as its often called is located in the Makuleke Concession on the banks of the Luvuvhu river amongst the stunning landscapes of the Northern Kruger National Park, Limpopo – South Africa. 

During the 1820’s the Maluleke settled on the land (where the Pafuri Lodge now sits) between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers with the area remaining in their control.

However, when the Kruger National Park decided to extend the park North to the Limpopo and incorporate their land, the Shangan community under Chief Maluleke was forcibly removed from the area between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu River in 1969 and relocated to their current area next to the Park.

The Lands Returned

In 1998, the land was returned to the Makuleke community, who chose to leave it with the Kruger Park system and use it to generate development funds and jobs. The 22,000 hectares of land that the community have a stake in also incredibility has 80% of the biodiversity of the Kruger National Park.

Area Information – Northern Kruger National Park

The Pafuri Camp in the  spectacular, private Makuleke Concession of the Northern Kruger National Park is perhaps the best area for walking in the entire Park and is blessed not only with exceptional biodiversity but also spectacular scenery, seasonally high densities of many large mammal species, and especially birds. Many of South Africa’s birding specials lie in the Northern Kruger. Here one has a feeling of wilderness and remoteness, and a sense of history.

Habitats include the life-giving arteries of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers, both with well-developed floodplains and a series of vitally important seasonal pans. Between the two rivers lies a ridge of hills with a network of drainage lines and secret perennial springs to which the area’s game is drawn. Rugged Baobab (trees) dotted Kopjes (hills) jut from Mopane woodland and endless vistas across palm-studded floodplains, acacia woodland and ethereal riverine forests.

The Pafuri Camp

Operated by Return Africa this stunningly beautiful and somewhat unique camp offers guests 4 distinct safari and travel experiences. 

Guests can choose to cater for themselves or a cook can be on hand, guide and safari vehicle at their disposal twice a day at the beautiful Baobab Hills Bush House.

Alternatively one can be accommodated at the Pafuri luxury designer tented camp, which aligns the banks of the Luvuvhu river. This family orientated tented camp is one of the premier northern Kruger camps. 

Luvuvhu River Camp offer guests ultimate secluded luxury along the river, with a cook,  private pools, camp hand, safari vehicle and guide at your disposal.

For those who want to explore on foot this vast and beautiful land the Pafuri walking trails camp (a seasonal bush camp) is open from April to October each year. Comfortable tented accommodation and bucket showers.

Child Policy

Children of all ages are welcome at Pafuri Lodge but only children from the age of 6 will be able to join in on game drives from Pafuri Camp generally. Children 16 years and older may participate in bush walks.

Pafuri Lodge – Access

Access to all the accommodation at the Pafuri Camps is via the Kruger road system the same as all Kruger National Park Camps. However, their is a private Pafuri airstrip that can be utilised and guest wishing to take advantage of flying in should contact us in this respect at the time of booking.

Pafuri Lodge - Lanner Gorge couple sat on the rocks
Pafuri Lodge (Lanner Gorge)
Game Drive - Pafuri Camp
Game Drive - Pafuri Lodge

Baobab Hills Bush House

Baobab Hills Pafuri at dusk
Baobab Hills Bush House (Pafuri Camp)

The Accommodation

The old rangers station has been transformed into a luxury bush house which is suitable for 8 guests. This exclusive house is situated on a small hill just to the north of the Luvuvhu river.

Whats on offer

This rustic homestead offers ideal accommodation for families or friends seeking privacy and comfort in the bush. It consists of four bedrooms and sleeps up to eight people, with a home kitchen, open plan dining room and lounge, a swimming pool, and an Out of Africa veranda, perfect for sundowner’s or dinners in the early evenings. 

Safe for children

The property is fenced, offering a child friendly environment.

Help is on hand

To help you the house comes with a cook, housekeeper, a professional guide and an open safari vehicle to help you explore the rich diversity of our concession.

The house is self-catering but, if you choose not to provide for yourself, the restaurant and bar at Pafuri Camp are at your disposal.

The Accommodation

Luvuvhu River Camp is a private and ‘exclusive’ only use camp on the banks of the Luvuvhu river. It has very limited availability through out the year and guest are requested to book well in advance.

Exclusivity guaranteed

There are 5 luxury en-suite tents, (sleeps 10) covered by thatch. The communal area offers a private swimming pool, lounging deck and dinning area.

This camp is ideal for families and groups of friends wanting to experience the wild north of the Kruger National Park.

A Special Bush Retreat

Luvuvhu River Camp is a one of a kind, exclusive haven on the banks of the Luvuvhu River near the legendary Crooks’ Corner in the north of the Kruger National Park.

Overlooking the Luvuvhu River, in an area that is prolific in wildlife, this camp is a sanctuary in the heart of Pafuri. A private game vehicle and guide are available to take guests on game drives in an area known for its biodiversity.

The lodge consists of a main area and five tents sleeping 10 people, so it is perfect for group or family bookings.

The main area has a large and beautifully decorated lounge and dining area and a large wooden deck, and there is also a plunge pool.

The camp is serviced daily, has a private open game viewing vehicle and guide and a cook to assist at mealtimes.

Luvuvhu River Camp

Luvuvu River Camp - Bedroom

Pafuri Luxury Tented Camp

Pafuri Luxury Tented Camp - Night Shot

The Accommodation

This comfortable camp has 19 luxury designer tents with en-suite bathrooms. There are seven ‘family tents’ that sleep up to four persons, making this a 52-bed camp. The tents offer gorgeous views over the Luvuvhu River, there is also a communal area with a swimming pool

Whats on offer

This is a full-service camp and three meals per day are provided. Guests can take part in game drives in the morning and evening. These game drives explore the history and archaeology of the Pafuri area. 

Wildlife

Wildlife viewing from this camp can be rather extraordinary with large herds  of herbivores like elephants, which can be seen in the area in large numbers during the dryer months. There is also a healthy population of buffalo. Pafuri Camp is known for regular sightings of Leopard and the ‘holy grail’ of South African birding the Pels Fishing Owl due to its fantastic location on the Luvuvhu River. 

Pafuri Walking Trails

The Accommodation

Pafuri walking trails camp is only open from April to October annually. The camp consists of  4 x comfortable walk in tents with bucket showers. The trail is a minimum two night stay and includes accommodation, all meals and two walks per day.

Location

The camps home base is a seasonal bush camp near the banks of the Luvuvhu in the wildest part of the Kruger National Park (also known as the Makuleke Contractual Park) where  hearty food and drink in a setting that allows you a close-up experience of untamed Africa.

Whats on Offer

Pafuri in the wild north of the Kruger National Park is unrivalled walking country.  the area is renowned for offering true bush lovers an opportunity to experience one of Kruger’s remotest corners on foot.

Biodiversity of the Kruger National Park

Led by experienced field guides, you will explore a place that is as vast as it is varied and wild. The trail offers you a chance to focus on the little things but you will also experience the rush of adrenaline when you happen upon members of Africa’s  Big Five safari animals.

For the truly adventurous, occasionally these walking trails offer minimalist trails when you can camp under the stars or foray across the border into the Transfrontier Park.

Stunning Landscapes

You’ll notice how the landscape changes from woodland to riverine forests, mountains, floodplains and pans where animals roam freely. It is here that you will find forests of fever trees, groves of baobabs and vast herds of wildlife. Highlights of the experience include Crook’s Corner, where the Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers meet, Lanner Gorge and the Luvuvhu fever tree forest.

 

Pafuri Walking Trails - 5 People Walking

Please click on the individual tabs below for more detailed information

  • Safari
  • Itinerary
  • Costs
  • Country
  • General

Northern Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is considered to be one of the world’s best known wildlife sanctuaries and this is where, in its Northern region one will find the Pafuri Lodge.  Safaris in the Kruger National Park should be on everybody's 'bucket list', despite your preference of how you travel. The park accommodates those luxury travellers and those energetic souls who participate in the many walking trails the park offers. For those who may want to sleep in the great outdoors, one can choose from the many camping sites, the Kruger offers, it truly has something for everybody. The Northern Kruger has its share of everything the Kruger Park has to offer further south, except for the number of tourists.

Wildlife of the North

The Kruger National Park is a massive protected area, measuring some 20,000 sq km in size, approximately. That’s the size of Wales or Israel, in comparison. The North is a fascinating part of the Kruger National Park, not least because the habitats there are noticeably different from other areas in the Kruger. The Northern Kruger has a diverse number of animals and is believed to hold 80% of the parks bio-diversity. The North holds a healthy population of Elephants, Zebra, Wildebeest, Eland and Kudu. Rhino can also be found despite the South African population's decimation through poaching over recent years. The big cats, such predators as the lion and leopard can frequently be seen.

Bird Watching

The northern region is well-known for its variety of birdlife over 450 species documented. If you’re a keen bird watcher, you ought to come across a good array there! Some of South Africa's specials can be seen in the North. Pafuri Camp is particularly renowned for one of those. Sightings of the Pel's Fishing Owl (Scotopelia peli) are frequent from the Pafuri camp. This bird though is a rare birding sighting indeed in South Africa.

Pafuri Camp Northern Kruger

Guests at Baobab Hills Bush House will arrange there own times for their exclusive use safari vehicle with there own guide and driver. Those in the 'Trails Camp' will start on foot at similar times from the main camp, but generally safari times will be as described below.

Generally though for guests staying at the Luxury Tented Camp or Luvuvhu River Camp your days on safari will start with a very early hot beverage and a 'rusk'. This is before setting off in your open top safari vehicle, often before the sun has risen high above the horizon. Your professional guide will provide you with a plethora of information about the flora & fauna of the area that you will see on your morning drive in the Northern Kruger Park. 

Experience Diversity

Guests will also have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and take photographs while on their drive. Expect to see some, if not all of Africa's large mammals, including the Big 5. Bird enthusiasts will 'tick off' some of the 450 bird species that can be seen in the area. All guests will experience the  wonder of the giant fever tree forests the Northern Kruger is famed for.

Time To Relax

After your morning game drive which will last approximately 3 hrs, guest will return to  there respective camps for a hearty breakfast. After breakfast, guest can relax in and around there  respective accommodation and or in and around the pool area.

Sunset Game Drives

The afternoon game drive's start in late afternoon and follow the general guidelines of the morning drive. By starting quite late in the afternoon this sunset drives returns to the camp after dark but in plenty of time  for guests to relax and change for dinner.

COSTS & INCLUSIONS/EXCLUSIONS FOR PAFURI LODGE IN THE NORTHERN KRUGER PARK

 

(ZAR prices are an estimation linked to the exchange rate and the exact price will be confirmed via invoice at the time of booking) 

Please be advised: Generally Pafuri Lodge's wildlife safaris run throughout the year.  Walking safaris are limited to 7 months of the year (April - October). Please contact us for any single supplement requirements, together with your preferred travel  arrangements, so we can advise you on the availability of your dates.

 

BAOBAB HILLS BUSH HOUSE - Safari Cost : from ZAR 17,305 per night (sleeps 8)

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • Own Open Safari Vehicle
  • Exclusive Use
  • Professional Guide
  • Private Pool
  • Cook
  • House Keeper
  • Self Catering
  • The house is self-catering but, if you choose not to provide for yourself, the restaurant and bar at Pafuri Camp are at your disposal. Please contact us about the catered option.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Any flights
  • Visa's
  • Transfers to Pafuri Camp
  • Gratuities (Please allow between $US 5-10 a day or rand equivalent for the driver and the tracker) if you wish to give anything. This should be paid in cash.
  • Purchases of a personal nature
  • Kruger National Park gate entry fees and conservation levies paid per person per stay.
  • All Meals
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Telephone Calls

LUVUVHU RIVER CAMP - Safari Cost : from ZAR 18,000 per night (sleeps 10)

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • 2 x Game Drives Daily
  • Exclusive Use
  • Professional Guide
  • Communal Pool
  • Cook
  • House Keeper
  • Self Catering
  • The camp is self-catering but, if you choose not to provide for yourself, the restaurant and bar at Pafuri Camp are at your disposal. Please contact us about the catered option.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Any flights
  • Visa's
  • Transfers to Pafuri Camp
  • Gratuities (Please allow between $US 5-10 a day or rand equivalent for the driver and the tracker) if you wish to give anything. This should be paid in cash.
  • Purchases of a personal nature
  • Kruger National Park gate entry fees and conservation levies paid per person per stay.
  • All Meals
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Telephone Calls

PAFURI LUXURY TENTED  CAMP - Safari Cost : from ZAR 4,595 pppn sharing

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • Luxury Tent  En-suite
  • 3 Meals a Day
  • 2 x Game Drives Daily
  • Professional Guide
  • Communal Pool

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Any flights
  • Visa's
  • Transfers to Pafuri Camp
  • Gratuities (Please allow between $US 5-10 a day or rand equivalent for the driver and the tracker) if you wish to give anything. This should be paid in cash.
  • Purchases of a personal nature
  • Kruger National Park gate entry fees and conservation levies paid per person per stay.
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Telephone Calls

PAFURI WALKING TRAILS - Safari Cost : from ZAR 2,860 pppn sharing

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • Walk in Tent & Shower
  • 3 Meals a Day
  • Selected Local Beverages
  • 2 x Trails Walks Daily
  • Late Afternoon Game Drive
  • Professional Guide

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Any flights
  • Visa's
  • Transfers to Pafuri Camp
  • Gratuities (Please allow between $US 5-10 a day or rand equivalent for the driver and the tracker) if you wish to give anything. This should be paid in cash.
  • Purchases of a personal nature
  • Kruger National Park gate entry fees and conservation levies paid per person per stay.
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Telephone Calls

 

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa is officially listed as one of the most biologically diverse countries on earth.  With South Africa being made up of an astonishing kaleidoscope of landscapes as well as a plethora of eco-systems.

From the arid, near-deserts on its west coast to the montane forests and sub-alpine zones at the top of the beautiful Drakensberg at nearly 3,500 metres above sea-level.  In the South African cape, you will find pristine beaches and the uniqueness of its Fynbos ecosystems and lest we forget the vast wildlife and birds to encounter on the rich Savannah's of its north-east provinces.

Without a doubt, any visitor to South Africa will be captivated by its constantly changing landscapes and the warm friendly people one encounters.  All this goes towards making up, what can only be described as, experiences one will never forget and want to keep coming back for more of the same.

This applies particularly for those who wish to capture and record their experience no matter what photographic genre, as South Africa remains a primary destination for experiencing a Big 5 wildlife safari, phenomenal birding and nature photography. Read more about South Africa

GENERAL INFORMATION

PAFURI CAMP IN THE NORTHERN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK - (THE  COMMUNITY)

RETURNAfrica (the company) works in partnership with local communities in the wilderness areas where they operate. In most cases, it is the communities that own the land (through various land claims), while the company is the operating partner assisting in the commercial running of the camp or the activity on offer.

Until their removal by the apartheid government in 1969, the Makuleke people lived in scattered villages between the Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers along South Africa’s northeastern frontier with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This is the area that was to become – following the ejection of the people – the Pafuri region of the Kruger Park.

After a three-decade struggle during which they suffered severe hardship, the Makulekes regained ownership of this prime piece of African wilderness (one with so many species of trees, plants, birds, insects, fish and mammals that it is rumoured to contain more than three quarters of Kruger's biodiversity). Despite an enduring attachment to the land, the Makuleke's decided not to resettle the area. Instead, they left it as a contract park, the Makuleke Contractual Park, within the wider Kruger wildlife system.

NATURE TOURISM

Today, the community are relying on a responsible form of nature tourism to remedy the negative effects that the forced removal had on their livelihoods. The company says its is proud to be the partner of the Makuleke community in this endeavour. Together they have created a suite of tourism experiences that celebrate both the rugged beauty of one of the world’s few remaining wild places and the steadfast spirit of its people.

OTHER GENERAL SAFARI INFORMATION

  • It should be noted that the Kruger National Park is located within in a Malaria area, guests are advised to seek medical advice from your own doctor in this respect.
  • Please read our Safari Safety and Etiquette.
  • There is limited WiFi access (main camp area only) and no mobile phone reception at Pafuri Camp due to its remoteness. 

WHAT TO BRING ON SAFARI

  • Mornings and evenings in an open safari vehicle are cold to cool (even in the summer), bring a fleece and a windbreaker jacket
  • Rain jacket, hat, cap or beanie
  • Sunblock
  • Binoculars
  • Spare batteries for your camera
  • Torch
  • Camera/video camera & flash (for wildlife photography a 300 – 400mm lens is ideal but there are opportunities for wildlife images for all sizes of lenses.
  • Should you wish to hire any camera equipment or binoculars for your trip then we can assist, you can enquire here

Finally to ensure all guests who book travel destinations through us have a memorable experience we ask you to read and fully understand our Payment Terms and Conditions, Copyright & Disclaimer and Privacy Policy If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us

PS: Don't forget to catch up with our Safari Buddies blog, read interesting posts about our other wildlife tours and safaris's  Why not join our Safari Buddies monthly journal to be sure you are first to receive into your inbox all our latest tour and safari news. Learn about our new tour destinations, discounts, photography and travel tips, tricks and news.

Pafuri Camp Videos

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Photo Gallery – Pafuri Lodge

Tony Sparkes
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