The park, which is also known as the Pafuri Triangle, is situated in the Kruger National Park – in fact, it comprises the Kruger’s northernmost region. The word Pafuri is the name for Venda chieftains, and the triangular area is formed by the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers at the famous tri-border Crook’s Corner, where South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe meet.
Makuleke’s total area is about 240 sq km. Access into Makuleke is usually via self-drive or flight from local airports. For example, air transfers are possible from any of the three airports in the Kruger area – Mpumalanga, Hoedspruit, or Phalaborwa. And once you’ve touched down at the nearest airstrip to your accommodation, a member of staff from that camp will drive you the remaining distance.
One major attraction of a stay in Makuleke is the opportunity to take trips into Mozambique’s Gaza National Park and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou without the need for an additional visa for each country! This is because Gaza, Gonarezhou, and the entire Kruger area form part of the Peace Park, or the Great Limpopo Park, which covers an impressive 35,000 square kilometres. Exploring the Peace Park is an exciting prospect for safarists hoping to cover a lot of ground.
The history of Makuleke Contractual Park
Wrenched from the local tribe by the Apartheid South African government in 1969, the land was returned to the Makuleke people in 1996, and they opted to construct several tourist properties. We sell The Outpost and its satellite camp Pel’s Post, both providing a luxurious base from which to enjoy both wildlife and cultural activities.
Moving back to their land in the mid-1990s, the Makuleke people found a dearth of some species due to poaching. However, endeavours to prevent further poaching in combination with reintroduction to the park of animals including white rhino have really boosted wildlife numbers.
Among the mammal species you can expect to see in the park today are all the Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo! Smaller predators include cheetah, spotted hyena, side-striped jackal, serval, caracal, African wild cat, and wild dog. The herbivore count features giraffe, blue wildebeest, plains zebra, and over ten types of antelope. There are primates too – chacma baboon, vervet monkey, and bushbabies – and plentiful hippo in the rivers. And hundreds of birds are in residence, altogether a thrilling variety of raptors, waterbirds, songbirds, and more. Both The Outpost and Pel’s Post offer expertly guided game drives and walks, providing wonderful opportunities to feast your eyes on all this wildlife!
The sheer diversity of species within Makuleke is due in no small part to the varied nature of the park’s geography, which encompasses savanna, acacia thickets, mopane woodlands, fever tree forests, and of course the rivers where so many species quench their thirst. This mixture of features results in some gorgeous scenery, not least as the park also contains some big baobab trees, providing ample cool shade for a picnic!
Other things to do here include visiting the local village and taking a guided tour of Crook’s Corner and the ruins of Thulamela, an ancient city. For more information on these activities and anything else to do with staying in Makuleke, please get in touch with a member of our own expert team!