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This trip is life-changing. Totally immerse yourself in the spectacular spoils of the far north of the Kruger, exploring on foot the vast, epic landscapes of the exclusive 24,000-hectare Pafuri concession.

Wilderness Camp Visitors
Visitors at a wilderness campsite © Caroline Culbert, Wilderness Safaris

Experience spectacularly diverse landscapes, flora, and fauna. The mighty baobab groves and fever tree forests contain some of the Kruger's largest elephant and buffalo herds. Approach the larger mammals under the instruction of your Guide and get a real taste of the wild.

You will be spending three wild nights under canvas in remote, exclusive camps.


Itinerary details

DEPARTS MON & FRI, APR-OCT; MIN TWO PEOPLE, MAX 8

The opportunity to walk the Pafuri region is, in our opinion, unsurpassed in the Kruger. The scenery is unique: fever tree forests and baobab groves combine with beautiful gorges, spectacular floodplains, peaceful bosky glades and mountain foothills. Game is drawn by the perennial Luvuvhu to a natural choke-point where it meets the great greasy grey green Limpopo. Here, at Crooks' Corner, three countries - Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique — meet, along with large pods of hippo and floats of crocodiles.

The camp is pitched in a beautiful, scenic area where it remains for the duration of the three day walking trail. Tents are twin domes pitched under the comfort of shady trees: stretcher beds with bedrolls, sheets, duvet, pillows and towels are provided. A game drive vehicle remains in camp and depending on where guests walk that day, the trail may start from camp or depart camp by vehicle to visit another area of the concession.

Limpopo floodplain
Leaping the Limpopo © Caroline Culbert, Wilderness Safaris

Pafuri is one of Kruger's biodiversity hotspots, with some of the largest seasonal herds of elephant and buffalo, quality viewings of leopard and lion, and incredibly prolific birdlife. The region is filled with the folklore of early explorers and ancient civilizations, and you may come across some archaeological treasures. Throughout the Makuleke concession, there is an abundance of evidence of previous human inhabitants in the form of rock paintings and artefacts. Under many a baobab you can find Stone Age hand tools.

You spend four days and three nights enjoying it, all on foot and under canvas and a blanket of African stars.

Days One to Four

Mornings begin as the sun rises (or even earlier) to experience dawn and for the best chance of seeing the nocturnal and crepuscular species. Hot bush coffee around a warming fire starts the day before you set out on foot.

Wilderness fire
Comfortable tents nestle under the shade of trees © Wilderness Safaris

This is not a boot camp, but you will require a reasonable level of fitness and it can get quite hot and sweaty. The morning walk is the focus of the day, and typically lasts seven to eight hours. During this time you will cover 15km or so. You will find yourself quickly engaged by the beauty and activity around you, and the pace is set to allow you plenty of time to make the most of both scenic and wildlife encounters. There are good shared bush bucket showers at camp for your return, where a late lunch awaits.

Riverine view
Trail scenery is refreshingly diverse © Wilderness Safaris

Species such as eland, Sharpe's grysbok, four-toed elephants shrew and yellow-spotted rock dassie, difficult to find further south in the Park, are regularly seen here. There is sometimes a small herd of Sable antelope around. A walk along the floodplain and riverine fringe of either of the two large rivers produces good general game in the form of nyala, impala, greater kudu, chacma baboon, waterbuck, warthog and perhaps grey duiker or bushbuck, while careful searching may yield the more elusive residents of the area such as lion.

Leopards hunt the strong populations of nyala and impala living alongside the Luvuvhu system. Other areas hold steenbok, the agile klipspringer and herds of Burchell's zebra.

Sighting in fever trees
Lurking in the fever tree forest © Wilderness Safaris

The area has long been regarded as something of a Mecca for southern African birdwatchers. Some species are exclusive to this region of South Africa and the serious birder will revel in being able to find Böhm's and Mottled Spinetails, Racket-Tailed Roller, Three-Banded Courser, and Southern Hyliota. Other specials are Black-Throated Wattle-Eye, Pel's Fishing Owl, Dickinson's Kestrel, Yellow White-Eye, Meve's Starling, and Tropical Boubou.

A hearty dinner is prepared for you on return to camp to be enjoyed around a roaring fire. There is no electricity at any of the campsites; light is provided by paraffin lamps. Water is raised from a borehole at Pafuri Camp, purified and brought to your campsite. Toilets are en-suite eco-loos.

The final opportunity to immerse yourself in the northern wilderness comes in the form of an early start, seizing the moment and heading out for your last walk among giants. After brunch, you return to Pafuri Camp for onward travel, or to spend a few days slowly re-engaging with the real world.

GALLERY (CLICK PICS)

JOINING DETAILS

Trailists present themselves at Pafuri Camp in order to depart no later than 14h00 on the first day of the Safari. Return is at around 10h00 on the final day. We strongly counsel booking a night here either side of the trail to take the stress out of arrival and departure travel arrangements (additional cost).

Children from the age of 16 are welcomed on all scheduled departures. For guests over the age of 65 years, a certified medical certificate of full health must be supplied.

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