Limpopo DestinationsPafuri Gate, Valley of the Olifants
The Kruger National Park is a massive, protected reserve in which some of South Africa’s most exciting fauna and flora (including the Big 5, and a host of other species) can be observed in their natural habitat. It is world renowned for its variety and abundance and welcomes more than a million visitors every year. The Pafuri Gate is one of its beautiful entrances, and is situated about 6.5 hours from Johannesburg, the epicentre of Gauteng.
Pafuri Gate follows the H1-9, and takes visitors right into the beautiful area between the Limpopo River and the Luvuvhu River. This is not only scenically gorgeous, but is known for having one the highest levels of biodiversity of the entire Kruger National Park. As a result, it is also called the northern biome. The landscape is laden with South African Lowveld and tropical African woodland vegetation; peppered with bushwillow, white syringe and silver cluster leaves trees.
The animals here are intriguing and exciting to see. They include kudu, impala, nyala, duiker, leopard (an elusive species that is a real treat to spot), crocodile, hippo, elephant and baboon. Pafuri Gate is also a great place to stop for keen bird-watchers; who should keep an eye and ear out for the bee eater, kingfisher, woodpecker, Pel’s fishing owl, thick-billed cuckoo, trumpeter hornbill, and fish eagle.
The Pafuri Gate is equipped with a picnic and barbecue area, as well as toilet facilities and a place to buy firewood and cold refreshments. The Thulamela Iron Age Site is near to the gate, and offers visitors the opportunity to see the evidence of this area’s being inhabited in prehistoric times.