Tired of the crowds and cars in Kruger? Here's why you should head north to visit Pafuri in Kruger Park.
The same size as Belgium, Kruger National Park is truly massive. It stretches 360 kilometres long and spans two million hectares. However, despite its vast area, the park can sometimes feel crowded with traffic jams at sightings, especially during school holidays and long weekends.
The southern end of Kruger is definitely the most popular section of the park, due to its easy accessibility and wildlife density. Unfortunately this means that sometimes you can forget just how big the park is when there are so many people in one area.
Nothing but wilderness
If you want to beat the crowds, you need to head north, to Pafuri. This is a remote and little-visited but incredibly beautiful area of the park. While there isn’t as much big game as in the south of the park, Pafuri has a whopping 75% of the entire park’s biodiversity, even though it only makes up 1% of its landmass.
That means that you’ll see a dazzling variety of trees, plants and birds. In fact, it’s rated as one of the best birding areas in the country. But there are also plenty of nyala, eland and herds of elephants and buffalo.
Pafuri’s landscapes are also breathtaking: there are valleys of ancient baobabs, dramatic gorges, fever tree forests and mopane woodland. And, best of all, you'll hardly see another vehicle.
Pafuri is a great choice if it’s not your first time in Kruger Park. If you’ve seen the Big Five before and you’re more after a quiet bush experience than ticking wildlife off your list, this most northern part of Kruger will be ideal.
Where to stay in Pafuri
A stylish and minimalist luxury lodge with 12 rooms set on stilts, on a ridge overlooking the baobab-strewn Levuvhu River Valley. The rooms each have an entire open-sided wall, so you get uninterrupted 180-degree views, and you can even spot wildlife from your bathtub. In addition to game drives, you can also go on walking safaris to explore this magical wilderness area.
Pafuri River Camp
Bordering the Pafuri Gate, this camp offers rustic accommodation for 22 people in treehouses built on stilts, as well as a swimming pool, pub and a central lapa where meals are served. You can also choose to self-cater. Apart from game drives, there are loads of activities on offer, from tubing and canoeing, to mountain biking and abseiling.