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

Punda Maria to Pafuri drive H1-8 KNP 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.
Armoured Ground Cricket Kruger National Park 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.
baobab tree with bird nests Waypoint 016 ... There so many magnificent specimens of ancient Baobab trees 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.
Baobab with nests and fruit 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?


Beautiful trees on rocky outcrop in KNP 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.
Mashikiri rock outcrop and borehole road to Pafuri KNP 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.
There are beautiful grasses skirting the roads of Kruger 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.
Kruger Park grasses 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
Approaching Baobab Hill from the south 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 Babalala 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."
Baobab on Baobab Hill Kruger National Park 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