Due to the underlying geology the area surrounding Punda Maria is well known for sightings of larger herds of buffalo and elephant and rarer antelope, plant and bird species
About Punda Maria
Punda Maria is very different from other camps in the Kruger by looks and surroundings. The area to the east has the only large Mopane trees, whereas they are stunted further south. Flowers are more abundant here in the sandveld(based on sandy soils), than anywhere else in the park. Archaeological sites in the area are well preserved and worth a visit. The far north of the park was well known, for ivory poachers and even diamond prospectors around the 1900’s, which led to the appointment of Capt. JJ Coetser as the first ranger in the north around 1919. The camp is named after his wife Maria. A story was told about the camp meaning ‘punda milia’ as striped donkey in swahili, but this language is not spoken around here.
Due to the underlying geology and location north of the tropic of Capricorn, the area surrounding Punda Maria the area is well known for sightings of larger herds of buffalo and elephant and rarer antelope species, including Eland, Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest, Nyala, Roan, Sharpe’s grysbok, Suni and Tsessebe. Tree species in this area of the park are also very different to elsewhere in the park and support a host of birds not found elsewhere in Kruger either. The camp itself still has some of the original bungalows available for accommodation, as opposed to most of the other camps, that have rebuilt.
Why visit Punda Maria?
- Punda Maria supports a variety of trees, birdlife and plants not found elsewhere in the park.
- Archeological sites are easily accessible and well preserved.
- Interesting trees and shrubs in the area include baobab, bushwillow, pod mahogany, sickle bush, silver cluster-leaf, weeping wattle, white syringa.
A base camp for seekers of historical adventure trails and stories of adventure and survival against all odds. Birders will find many unique bird species and botanists will find many beautiful flowering plants and trees not found in these numbers or size elsewhere.
Great game viewing especially close to water and the route to Pafuri.
The waterhole on the camp edge can offer some good intimate game viewing.
Swimming pool for residents will entertain the kids on hot summer days.
Biome(animal and plant habitat)
Sandveld – Sandy soil
Animals to look out for in the area:
Big 5 area
Wild dog, only if you’re lucky
Birds to look out for in the area:
Bearded Scrub Robin,
Eastern (Yellow-spotted) Nicator,
Gorgeous Bush Shrike,
Grey-headed (Chestnut-bellied) Kingfisher,
Narina Trogon if you’re really lucky,
Oriole European Golden,
Southern (Mashona) Hyliota,
Stierling’s Wren-Warbler (Barred Warbler),
Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle,
Not to miss routes in the area:
Pafuri H13-2, S60, S61, H1-8, S63 – Follow the loop, returning along the Luvuvhu, H1-8, H13-1, H13-2 135km 6 hours
Mahoni/Thulamila H13-2, S99, H13-2, H13-1, S98, Thulamila, H13-1, H13-2 35km 2 hours
Shingwedzi H13-2, H13-1, H1-7, S56, H1-7, Shingwedzi, return on H1-7, H13-1, H13-2 155 km 6 hours
Klopperfontein/Dzudzwini H13-2, S60, S61 Klopperfontein waterhole and dam, H1-8, S58, H13-1, H13-2
Water centered game and bird viewing:
The waterhole, on the perimeter of the Punda Maria camp
Springs: Thulamila and the springs on the S99 and S58
Waterholes: Klopperforntein dam and the riverine drive on the S61
Luvuvhu Close to the Pafuri Border post along the S63
Notable Camp Facilities and Activities:
Bird hide overlooking waterhole on the camping site fence.
Game drive in an open vehicle, with a trained guide
Paradise Flycatcher camp walk
Nyalaland Wilderness Trail (pre-booked overnight activity)
Family Bungalow 2
Safari Tents 7
Contact Punda Maria
- Tel: +27 (0)13 735 6873
- Mobile: 082 802 0066
More Camps in the Kruger National Park
Find more camps in the Kruger National Park here
© images Jacques Fouché