Punda Maria to Pafuri Gate Drive Continued, Kruger National Park South Africa
Drive to Pafuri Gate Northernmost Park Entrance
To see the first section of the drive please click this link
Many images on this Kruger Park GPS (global positioning system) and map-based site will be in thumbnail view so click these to see the enlarged image.
The Elephant, Baobab, Fever Tree and Nyala Route Continued
Pafuri is the Northernmost part of the Kruger National Park although this may not be the case much longer as the final stages of creating the political will to extend the park across the Zimbabwe border is underway.
Waypoints 016 to 024
The map view clearly shows a fairly straight drive south to north on the
main H1-8 road in flat Mopane bush country (as shown by the lack of brown
contour lines). Remember waypoint 050 here was created on the way back and will
be described on a later page. Take note of the scale at the bottom right.
I have visited the Kruger Park many times over the last 30 years or so yet
this was the first time I can remember encountering the Armoured Ground Cricket
in such vast numbers and over such a large area (everywhere I went they were
present in large numbers). The cricket is a monster in terms of appearance and
does look fully armoured for protection including spikes across its back. The
crickets that I encountered in their many thousands were a rustic red colour
although some appeared to be burgundy coloured also. Crickets are
insects that eat plant life except when there is an
over-population. On many occasions I noticed that one or more were feasting on
their dead comrades ... those that had been squashed by passing traffic. It was
impossible not to run over some of these crickets so vast were the numbers
crawling across and up and down the roads.
Waypoint 016 ... There so many magnificent specimens of ancient
on this drive. This tree is so full of character that it is almost impossible to
drive past a specimen. The Baobab has a life span of hundreds of years and over
long periods of time becomes extremely large. Over its life span it also acts as
host and home to many different animals, birds,
reptiles and insects which
between them slowly but surely reduce the inner core to fresh air. Then one day
the Baobab just collapses into a heap. Here today gone tomorrow is a phrase that
can be aptly used to describe this magnificent tree. The Baobab is deciduous
although I saw quite a few that had leaves still intact and in autumn colours.
You'll see one of two of these photos on later pages including my favourite one
close to Mooiplaas ranger station. This whole drive allows you to marvel at many
of these giants.
The shot here shows that same Baobab with focus on the lower left branches
to show 2 things ... the communal starling nests and the hanging fruit pods of
the Baobab of which we'll see a clearer shot later. One of the very biggest
Baobab tree can be found at Sagole in Venda, South Africa. Its circumference is
around 44metres and has a diameter of some 14metres.
Waypoint 017 ... Here you'll see a large rock structure and in view of the flatness of the bush in this area you will undoubtedly stop to admire and ask yourself the question ... how on earth did this get here and when?
Waypoint 018 ... Close to the Kremetart borehole you'll see these 2
beautifully shaped trees growing on the side of a rocky outcrop that suddenly
appeared from the flat earth. Stop and search with your binoculars ... look for
small animals as well as birds and reptiles. Waypoint 019 provides a different
view well worth looking at.
This view close to waypoint 019 which marks the Mashikiri borehole. The name
comes from the creek of the same name and has relevance to a person's name from
the historical past.
At waypoint 20 I stopped to marvel at the sight ... take a look at the map
above and you'll see it is close to a 400 metre high ridge and highpoint of the
drive. I made a note to myself that apart from the sweet and varied bird calls
(including that of a grey loerie) all that could be experienced was visible
beauty and golden silence. The spot was marked by a well used animal trail and a
small family group of graceful Impala. The roads of Kruger are lined with many
types of gorgeously coloured grasses that wave and dance in the breeze. You just
have to stop and admire especially when the light is just right.
Waypoint 21 ... another borehole and chance to see elephants and various
other types of game as they tread the well beaten paths to drink. And another
beautiful grass to enjoy along with the animal sightings. Click here to follow
the drive to Pafuri
Waypoint 22 ... There are 4 adventure trails (opened in 2003) in the Kruger
Park including the 49 kms Northern Plains trail that goes from the
picnic spot and heads in an easterly direction through vast Mopane scrubland or
shrubveld. Only 4 x 4 vehicles are permitted to do the trails and it is always
recommended that at least 2 vehicles should travel together. The trail traverses
slippery dark clay soils. It can be expected to see a wide range of animals as
the trail is covered. Very few people have been privileged to see these remote
parts of the Kruger. This waypoint marks the exit from the trail close to the
historical site of Baobab Hill. Here's an extract from the Park brochure ... " All vehicles should have at least 5 litres of drinking water,
a GPS, a cell phone, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and a rubbish bag. It
goes on to say take great care at all times. and keep well away from animals if
you have to leave the vehicle. If you become stuck try to sort yourself out. If
you can't then stay with your vehicle ... you will be found when you fail to
return to camp."
|Waypoints 23 and 24 ... A famous spot in the Kruger. And probably one of the most photographed areas along the roadside. I'm talking about Baobab Hill. This is a spot marked by a weathered plaque that tells the story of how this was a meeting and overnight point for Mozambiquean labour recruits in the period 1919 to 1927. The recruits were to be taken to the mines in Johannesburg. Names of those travelers have been carved onto the Baobab at Baobab Hill. Continue on the route to Pafuri Gate|