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NORTH KRUGER  

As you pass north of the Tropic of Capricorn and go further across the Luvhuvu river, you enter one of the best parts of the Kruger. You also have Mashatu and the Tuli Block in Botswana and Zimbabwe next door to travel in to if you wish to extend your trip. And there is a 4x4 route from here into Mozambique through the Pafuri border.

Hard work to get to, but outstanding when you get to it, we strongly recommend this Northern section of the Park to second or third time visitors, with walkers and birders particularly rewarded. We have some exceptional Guides here, with some unique access to the area.

You leave the monotone Mopane veld of the Central Kruger in to a sub-tropical Paradise - an entirely different ecosystem. Characterised by remarkable groves of baobab trees, fever tree forests and beautiful springs, this area has the best birdlife in South Africa.

It supports the Big Five and has massive seasonal herds of buffalo and elephant in search of water. Your best chance of sightings of the highly endangered sable and roan antelope in the wild are probably here.

The 19th Century novelist and traveller Rudyard Kipling's "great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River" defines the border between three countries at Crooks Corner, where there is an abundance of crocodile and hippo in modern days.

This is real wilderness. Nevertheless, there is usually a small plane flying in every day in a scheduled pattern; charters are possible too.

There is the least infrastructure in the Kruger, but what there is is excellent such as Punda Maria Restcamp a little to the south. There are few tar roads. There are some old military and rangers tracks used by the Private Lodges which give unique access to places like the Lanner Gorge. Here is a place where you will want to get off the vehicle and walk for miles, looked after by our Guides.

There are some real cultural gems. Bushman rock paintings adorn the walls of large numbers of ancient caves - you will need to book a Wilderness Trail or walk with our Guides. The remains of the once-formidable Kingdom of Thulamela are so far off the beaten track that they were only rediscovered by a Ranger in the 1970s. No-one knows why this trading dynasty came to its knees in the seventeenth century. A visit is possible by arrangement with our Guides or through Punda Maria Restcamp. Mapunguwbe, close to the northern Kruger boundaries, is also accessible from here, the remains of a related ancient trading civilisation and now also a National Park in its own right.

There are two excellent Private Lodges in this area, who operate in close co-operation with the Makuleke community, the latter having been removed from the land in the 1970s. We recommend them both and interview them here.

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