Northern Kruger National Park
|Kudo browsing along Nyala Drive, near Pafuri|
|The Luvuvhu River, somewhere between the Old Pafuri tented camp site and Crook's Corner.|
Near the Luvuvhu River
There is a very nice drive alongside the Luvuvhu River, which takes you to the confluence with the Limpopo River at Crook's Corner. The latter is the point where Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa join. In the early 1900’s this used to be a smuggler's paradise for hunters, smugglers and poachers, hence its nickname. The hunters realized that they could supplement their income from ivory by recruiting labour for the Witwatersrand mines, and an illegal trade in labour began, until this was finally stopped by the government. Predictably there is lush green and denser foliage of the riverine scrub alongside rivers. The dense foliage taxes your talents as a tracker, and once you have spotted a nyala, a kudu, bushbuck, the Crested Guineafowl, or other animal, it can often be out of sight with a few strides. Fever trees with their yellowish bark stand out beautifully and are vantage points for birds of prey, such as the bateleur, whereas others favour dead branches of trees, such as vultures or the African Marsh Harrier.
|In the Luvuvhu River.
Click on picture for enlarged view
The rivers are magnets to the wildlife. This is where you may spot a Brownhooded kingfisher perched on a tree branch above the water. Or the Hadeda ibis searching for food along the river bank. Or you will encounter elephants, whether it be solitary bulls or a group of females with their offspring, taking a bath and quenching their thirst.
The Kruger National Park, even though it covers only a tiny fraction of the total area, houses over 50% of all birds known in southern Africa. Particularly the north, the Punda Maria and Pafuri region, is favoured by birders because of the great diversity of birds, particularly in the summer months when large numbers of migrants flock in. Among birds to be seen here are the Whitebreasted Cuckooshrike, Crowned Hornbill, Chestnutbellied (Greyhooded) Kingfisher, Gorgeous Bush Shrike, Cape Parrot, African and European Golden Oriole, Yellowspotted Nicator, Stierling’s Barred Warbler and Dickinson’s Kestrel, the Trumpeter Hornbill, Purplecrested Lourie, Wattleeyed Flycatcher, Tropical Boubou, Longtailed Starling, Narina Trogon, Gorgeous, Greyheaded and Orangebreasted Bushshrike and several different species of robin, sunbird and firefinch. This is not at all an exhaustive list, It is a birder's paradise.