At 7am we left Shingwedzi and we separated ways with BSRJ. They were headed south to exit out the Kruger Park at Phalaborwa and then onto to Haartebeestpoort Dam (or somewhere near there). We were heading further north to Pafuri which was about a 90 km drive. We did both go and have a quick look at the lion on the giraffe kill again and found a male lion had joined the females and the male was eating while we were there.
We stopped for a quick break the Babalaba picnic spot again and then headed on north. We couldn’t check in until later and so we did a quick loop in the north which takes you to Crook’s Corner. Crook’s Corner is where Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa meet. It is also where the Limpopo and Luvhuvhu rivers meet. It is called that because it was an idea place for fugitives to just jump from one country to another and therefore evade capture. It is also an area which has some birds that you can really only see in that area of SA. That was one of the major reasons for us to try and get to Pafuri during this trip so we could hopefully see some of the specials of the area. I did add some trippers but no lifers but for others (B, S & K) it was a fruitful detour allowing them to add some lifers.
We then headed over the Luvhuvhu River and toward Return Africa’s Pafuri Tented Camp. The camp is situated right on the river which each of the luxury tents having a river view. After dispensing with the formalities of the check in process during Covid times, we were taken to our tents. We quickly realised that you’re either at the tent or in the lodge and you’re going to stay at that place once there. It was a 250 meter walk to H & my tent and we were the nearest to the lodge! Forget something in the tent and you have to walk 0.5km just to correct your mistake.
The tents were really nice with a large King size bed and both an indoor and outdoor shower (so you could be one with nature while showering off the dust). Lunch was served at 2:30pm and then we headed off on our first game drive. Our ranger was Bongani. He was from the local community you owned the land and grew up in the nearby village. It was great to have a local to guide us. We made it clear that the animals we saw would be a bonus but we were there for the birds and most especially Pels Fishing Owl (which has eluded us despite being to places that boast you will see it).
Very quickly we added some trip birds to our list and some of the group added lifers (none for me though). We did see a large herd of Eland in the drive – it was the first time we had seen them on the trip and so that was an interesting sighting. We stopped for drinks as the sunset over a pan. You simply never get used to or tired of bushveld sunsets.
We hopped back onto the game vehicle and now headed off in the dark back to the camp. They have no trackers so the ranger does the driving and also shining the spotlight. I had my doubts about the effectiveness of that but as it turned out Bongani was incredibly good at it. We saw a LOT of game on the way back including driving through a herd of elephant (not something you really want to do in the dark!). Most impressively we saw a spotted genet in a tree and then not much further down the road we saw another one as well. We saw night-jars (unfortunately we were unable to ID them as they didn’t call) and bush babies in the trees as well. H concluded that she reckons that was the best night drive we have ever had in a game park (pretty high praise).
After dinner we were all pretty exhausted and headed back to our tents for the night. I think we were in bed and asleep by 8:30pm!
Until next time …
P, H, J, K, B, C & S