Where the Wild Things Are Pt.2

Where the Wild Things Are Pt.2

Bush Legends

 

The Greater Honey Guide is a small bird living in sub-Saharan Africa that is said to guide people to wild honey. The tradition advises that when the bird guides you to the bees’ nest, you must share some honey and larva with your it, otherwise next time he will lead you to a black mamba. On our morning walk through the savanna, our brilliant guide Denis showered us with bush know-how and folklore on the vast number of species living on the Pafuri concession.

What fascinated me the most are the baobab trees. They can live for up to 5,000 years, reach up to 30 meters in height and up to an enormous 50 metres in circumference. They are made 80% out of water and actually shrink during drought. Baobab trees provide shelter, food and water for both animals and humans. Their bark can be turned into rope and clothing, the seeds can be used to make cosmetic oils, the leaves are edible and the fruit pulp is extraordinarily rich in nutrients. They say that when God created the world, he thought it wasn’t beautiful enough, so he made the baobab.

Fever Tree Forest

 

Another morning, we head to the Fever Tree Forest. On our way there, Denis manoeuvres around a fallen tree on the ground. “Although it would make sense to remove it and clear the road, we keep it there as it forms a microcosm for insects,” he explains. There is a great respect for the natural order of things at Pafuri safari camp. Restoring the balance of the land is a philosophy that permeates everything and everyone here.

At the forest, Denis tells us the story of how Fever Trees got their name. When the settlers arrived, they unknowingly contracted malaria, and blamed their high fever on the trees, whose bark is covered in a lime green pollen that burns lightly on the skin. He also pointed out the wild basil and explained that it can be used for cooking but also as a mosquito repellent. As the long sunbeams streamed through the Fever trees, we made our way to the nearest estuary where we had our coffee (spiked with Amarula) watching alligators going for their morning swim.

Against the Odds

 

The introduction of significant species and partnering with the Makuleke people in sustainable ecotourism marked the beginning of  restoration of ecological integrity of the Pafuri area. Unfortunately, in spite of the efforts to protect the land and its species, there are still many casualties of poaching and loss of habitat. While we were lucky to see a lion and 4 cheetahs (out of the remaining population of 9,000), their sightings are becoming less and less frequent. Even vultures are now endangered because they are eating elephant meat poisoned by poachers. Understanding the precarious destinies of these animals, made me feel even luckier to have seen them in the wild. It seems despite the collective efforts, and all the hard work being done, greed and ignorance are yet to be beaten.

 

Visit the Pafuri camp in Virtual Reality and join us on an an afternoon safari to see elephants!

Although we did not get to see any rhinos, we did hear the persistent mating call of the legendary Pel’s Fishing Owl as we enjoyed our last dinner at the camp. As night fell, the plains buzzed with nocturnal life and we retreated into the comfort of our tent, with a new sense of awe and wonder at the wild.

Yes, that is the view from our tent. You should see it real life!

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Where the Wild Things Are Pt.2

Bush Legends   The Greater Honey Guide is a small bird living in sub-Saharan Africa that is said to guide people to wild honey. The tradition advises that when the bird guides you to the bees’ nest, you must share some honey and larva with your it, otherwise next time...

read more

Where the Wild Things Are Pt. 1

Where the Wild Things Are Pt. 1

Pafuri ReturnAfrica Camp

 

The Pafuri camp is unique in many ways. Set between the Limpopo and the Luvuvhu rivers, along South Africa’s northeastern frontier with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the concession attracts masses of wildlife. While comprising only about 1% of the Kruger National Park’s actual area, it is said to contain more than three quarters of Kruger’s biodiversity. In winter, there are herds of elephants, zebras, buffalos, hippos and graceful nyalas (their brown and white stripes earned them their name, which means onion). Aside from the big boys of African safari, you also have the chance to see nearly half of bird species living in South Africa. People from all over the country come here hoping to catch a glimpse the illusive Pel’s fishing owl – a large, copper-winged bird that feeds nocturnally on fish and frogs snatched from the surface of lakes and rivers.

Land of the Makuleke

 

Secondly, what makes the camp so special is its fascinating history. Until their removal by the apartheid government in 1969, the Makuleke people lived here in scattered villages. This is the area that was to become – following the ejection of the people – the Pafuri region of the Kruger Park. After a three-decade struggle during which they suffered severe hardship, the Makulekes regained ownership of the land. However, they decided not to resettle. Instead, they left it as a contract park within the wider Kruger system. Due to its proximity to Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the area had been heavily poached by the time the Makuleke people received the land back. Recent anti-poaching efforts and re-introduction of game have resulted in significant increases in the number of animals. Today, they are relying on eco-tourism to remedy the negative effects and restore the natural balance of the land. RETURNAfrica, the camp’s management company, works in partnership with the local communities and helps the commercial running of the camp and its activities. Part of any visit to Pafuri is learning more about the rich traditions and culture of the Makuleke people and their land.

Safari Glamping

 

The camp is as a collection of 19 luxury tents set along the banks of Luvuvhu river. There are seven ‘family tents’ that sleep up to four persons, making this a 52-bed camp. The tents are smart, with wooden floors, four-poster beds, an inside and outside shower and your own front porch offering gorgeous views over the stream.

On our first afternoon at the camp, we watched a dozen elephants drinking and bathing, right in front of our tent.

Visit the Pafuri Camp in Virtual Reality and join us on an afternoon safari

Safari Days

 

The days at Pafuri camp are very organised. There is a wake up call for coffee before the morning safari, then a return to the camp for brunch. After, you have a few hours of free time, when you can enjoy the communal area, Wi-Fi (there is no phone signal in the camp otherwise) and the swimming pool. After a light snack at 3pm, there is an afternoon game drive. While this is the main agenda, the rangers are always on the look out for any surprise visitors. In the evening, as we were about to tuck into our bottle of red by the fire, there was an invitation to go for a night drive to see a young male lion, roaming not too far from the camp…

 

 

To be continued…

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Benguerra and Beyond

An exquisite piece of paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean, &Beyond Benguerra Island is a unique beach holiday destination perfect for a romantic getaway. It is situated on the second largest island in the stunning Bazaruto Archipelago, offering some of the...

read more

Where the Wild Things Are Pt.2

Bush Legends   The Greater Honey Guide is a small bird living in sub-Saharan Africa that is said to guide people to wild honey. The tradition advises that when the bird guides you to the bees’ nest, you must share some honey and larva with your it, otherwise next time...

read more

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