1. Arrive at Punda Maria in Kruger
There are two ways of getting to the Phalaborwa Gate entrance to the Kruger National Park. You can book an early morning flight or a shuttle service from OR Tambo Airport to Phalaborwa Gate. We recommend flying into the area as our accommodation is situated in the far northern part of the Kruger Park.
We have a 4-hour journey ahead of us from Phalaborwa Gate to Punda Maria where we will stay for the remainder of the tour. We will stop for lunch en route.
We will arrive at Punda Maria in the late afternoon for check-in. Our tented accommodation is situated in the safety of the camp on a slight hill which will give you a beautiful view over the bushveld.
2. Start Exploring Kruger
Depending on the time of the year – it could be as early as 04h30 in the morning – we will depart on our early morning game drive. We will spend the early morning around Punda Maria camp exploring Mahoney Loop and Shomgonbye watering hole. We will not venture too far away from Punda Maria camp today. We will return to camp for a late brunch at approximately 11h00.
The best game viewing time is early mornings and late afternoons. After brunch, enjoy a siesta or make use of the swimming pool in the camp.
In the late afternoon, we will depart for another game drive. Your guide will interpret for you all the spoor, sounds and smells you come across. We will return to the camp at gate closing time.
3. Discover the Pafuri Region
Today, it’s another early start as we head to the Pafuri area. On the way, we will stop at Klopperfontein watering hole, and hopefully, we will be in time to see herds of animals drinking and wallowing in the water.
From here we will head to Nyala Loop which runs along the Luvuvhu river – a birding hotspot. Along the Nyala Loop, we will encounter different species of animals and also see the most impressive Baobab trees.
We will stop at Pafuri picnic spot where your guide will prepare a scrumptious hot English breakfast on a gas skottel (gas cooker). Here is your chance to see if you can spot the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl as well as many other bird species. You will be expected to assist your guide with setting up your breakfast table and also to do guard duty keeping the monkeys away from eating your meal.
From here we head to Crooks Corner along the Luvuvhu river. Crooks Corner has a fascinating history, and this is also where you will see the mighty Limpopo river.
After leaving Crooks Corner, we head back to Punda Maria Camp.
You can spend the remainder of the afternoon at the swimming pool or at the bird hide in the camp which attracts many animals, especially large herds of elephant. This is also an excellent spot for close-up photos.
4. Visit the Dzundzwini Spring
Once again, another early departure from camp. The Kruger Park is a vast area (as big as a small country), and you need time to not only find animals but to watch them.
It is up to you and your guide to decide if you are having breakfast again on a skottel (gas cooker) – this time at Babalala picnic spot – or to return to Punda Maria for breakfast in the restaurant.
You will also go to the Dzundzwini Spring and lookout point. From here you will see how large the Kruger Park is. We will return to camp by 11h00 again. You can spend some time at the bird hide or laze around the swimming pool.
We will head out on an afternoon game drive looking for wildlife and those elusive night creatures and return to camp at gate closing time.
5. Bid Farewell to the Kruger
Unfortunately, this is our last day in this beautiful game reserve. We will be leaving relatively early to head back to Phalaborwa where you will either catch your flight or shuttle back to Johannesburg. On your way, you will still encounter more animals for that last photo opportunity.