Words Santi van Niekerk, pics Johannes van Niekerk
It’s 05h00 at Crook’s Corner and we have the Pafuri area to ourselves for a few hours before the throng of visitors arrive. We are overdosing on the quiet solitude of this beautiful area in northern Kruger and enjoying this privilege thanks to a reservation at the newly opened Pafuri Border Camp.
The soft greys of dawn, infused with warm colours, announce the imminent daybreak. As the bright orange orb peeks shyly over the horizon, an African fish eagle pierces the silence and signals the dawn chorus to welcome a new day in Africa.
Pafuri Border Camp appears unassuming at first glance, perched on a hill that overlooks the border post between South Africa and Mozambique as well as the vast Pafuri valley. There are three accommodation units, Mockford House, Mockford Cottage and Doctor House, with architecture attesting to the history of the camp. The interiors are all about memories and it is difficult not to feel the romance of bygone days in the lovingly restored rooms. An eclectic mix of 1930s architecture, some Victoriana and a splash of modern adds to the ambience.
Garth Holt, who manages both Punda Maria and Pafuri Border camps, explained that this new camp was the culmination of a large team effort by various SANParks personnel. His personal dedication to the project is evident. In many respects the challenge was to retain the authenticity of the buildings while creating a facility that would be comfortable for guests. Hours of research and consultations with the Mockford family members resulted in a camp SANParks can proudly present to visitors.
Each of the three units is unique, though all have large enclosed verandas furnished with sofas that beg for lazy afternoon naps and conversations deep into the night. Mockford House has four bedrooms, Doctor House has three and Mockford Cottage has one bedroom with two daybeds on its enclosed veranda. All the units feature en-suite bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and a private braai area with outdoor furniture. An absolute treat is the large pool with sun loungers, shared by the three units. Guests can use Punda Maria or Pafuri gates and check in at the camp’s on-site reception.
Pafuri Border Camp will surely become one of the best birding destinations in Kruger National Park as the Pafuri area is renowned for its magnificent birdlife. Each unit can be booked separately or the camp as a whole. Be it a birding excursion, an immersion into the area’s rich past, or to seek peace in the ancient riparian forest, Pafuri offers a wealth of special experiences. The location of the camp affords easy drives along the lush Luvuvhu River road with the added bonus of leisurely picnics at the Pafuri picnic spot, as well as the option of guided game drives to find that elusive leopard or Pel’s fishing owl under the cloak of darkness.
Getting there: The Pafuri region is in the far north of the Kruger National Park, some 600km from Gauteng.
Cost: Base rates for one to four people a night are R2,150 at Mockford Cottage, which sleeps four, R3,100 at Doctor House, sleeps six, and R4,000 at Mockford House R4,000 , sleeps eight. R640 an additional adult, R320 an additional child. Don’t forget to bring your Wild Card to enjoy free entry into the park.
Bookings: SANParks Central Reservations 012-428-9111 www.sanparks.org
Source: Wild Magazine