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Bush diaries of a teen and his family: Pafuri Border Camp, Kruger Park

Set atop a hill at the most northern point of the Kruger National Park, this minute, unfenced camp offers a unique experience with spectacular views and heaps of privacy.


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The Pafuri Border Rest Camp is in the remote north-east of the Kruger National Park just two and a half kilometres from Crook’s Corner, the meeting point of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. My family and I visited this camp for the first time last year.

We entered the park via the Pafuri Gate after a six-hour drive from Johannesburg. Pafuri Border Camp lies about 30km east of the Pafuri gate. This spectacular, unfenced camp is set atop a hill that looks out over the vista of the northern part of the Kruger, renowned for its spectacular birdlife and magnificent fever tree forest along the Luvuvhu River.

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There are only three cottages in the camp, with no option of camping. The cottages are repurposed buildings from a time when the camp was a checkpoint for miners crossing between Mozambique and South Africa. Our family stayed in the “Doctor’s House” (now called the “English House”) where the checkpoint’s doctor once lived.

All three of the cottages are set a good distance apart from each other, allowing for privacy and immersion in the bush. The Doctor’s House has three two-bed bedrooms with en-suite bathroom and shower facilities. There is also a considerable amount of living space, with a netted veranda running right around the house. The price per person per night is the same as staying in the park’s other cottages. There is also a pool in the camp.

Our braai area had a fantastic view over the bushveld and each evening we were able to watch the sun set over the Mopane from the comfort of our chairs. 

Game viewing at Pafuri

The region around the camp is home to a large community of nyala, waterbuck and some of the largest crocodiles I have ever seen. Herds of elephant also regularly crowd the banks of the Luvuvhu River. The birding is some of the best in the park including specials such as Pel’s Fishing Owl, Thick-billed Cuckoo and Racket-tailed Roller.

On our third and final day in Pafuri we were lucky to witness two male nyala in what must have been some sort of show of dominance for a mating ritual. We watched for fifteen minutes as they butted heads and drove each other backwards with snorts and grunts in clouds of dust. It was an awesome natural display, made even more special because we were the only people around.

Complete immersion

The lack of electric fencing around the camp means that you feel at one with nature and you end up appreciating the beauty of your surroundings even more. The north of the Kruger is far less crowded and the lack of other people in the camp and on the roads was a nice change from the larger bustling, southern camps. We really felt like we were alone in our own private part of the park. A stay at Pafuri Border Camp is definitely one that I can recommend.

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