Baobab Hill Bush Camp
Words Harriet Nimmo, pics Mike Kendrick
One of the biggest drawcards of Pafuri, in the Makuleke Concession, are the regular sightings of Pel’s fishing owl. Now, in addition to the lodge option, there’s luxury self-catering.
I have fallen in love with Kruger all over again. Having previously somewhat dismissed the far north of Kruger as “just mopane and not much game”, I have been proved wrong. Remarkably, the north has now become my favourite part of the park.
For a group of friends who want to get away from it all, there’s an exciting new accommodation option. The former warden’s house in the northern Pafuri section has been converted into the stylish Baobab Hill Bush House, with room for eight. It's by Return Africa, which has developed a range of accommodation options in the Makuleke Concession, including the luxury Pafuri Camp, multi-day wilderness hiking trails. Although self-catering, Baobab Hill Bush House comes with a chef to help prepare your food, an expert guide and a game-viewing vehicle. Best of all, it is only you, in your very own bit of Kruger wilderness.
Photographing Lanner Gorge.
Over three days at Baobab Hill Bush House we learnt why this part of Kruger is unique. With Calvin de la Rey, our passionate and knowledgeable guide, we explored all those “do not enter” private roads and discovered the most amazing scenery together with some very special sightings. The Makuleke Concession makes up only one percent of the park, yet it has three-quarters of Kruger’s biodiversity. This is because five different biomes are found close together here: acacia veld, mopane, sandveld, flood plains and riverine forest are interwoven with the beautiful Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers.
In Eden-like glades, we saw herds of buffalo, eland and elephant crossing the Luvuvhu River. On both nights we watched a Pel’s fishing owl as it was fishing! Our first-ever sighting in South Africa, yet Calvin told us he has a 90 percent success rate with these birds here. The north of Kruger is famed for its bird specialities including Arnot’s chat, crested guinea fowl, golden oriole and Meves’s starling, although the racket-tailed roller remained elusive. The haunting fever tree forest was our very own cathedral, filled with a cacophony of bird song.
Fever tree forest.
A rock elephant shrew joined us for sundowners overlooking Lanner Gorge, possibly the most spectacular viewpoint in all of Kruger. We wondered at the tales to be told by Kruger’s largest baobab tree, 35 metres in diameter and estimated to be at least 1 400 years old. Best of all, these locations are all on private roads, free of self-drive tourists. You can choose to stop and get out of your vehicle where you want, accompanied by your guide. In addition to game drives, you can also arrange to go on half- or full-day hikes with your guide.
Back at Baobab Hill Bush House, we spent our evenings dining outside, relishing the presence of chef Flora Tinyiko and the solitude. With stars glittering through the baobab trees and lions calling, the northern region is a very wild place indeed.
Baobab Hill Bush House is R11,000 a night and sleeps eight in four bedrooms.
Bookings 011-646-1391, [email protected]
Source: Wild Magazine