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To visit ancient Africa is to return to something primordial and profound.

RETURN Africa’s origins lie at Pafuri in the far north of the Kruger National Park. It is in this vast and varied land that we have built a unique social partnership and a collection of superb safari experiences. We hope you’ll visit  and – like many before you – become a Pafurian, a member of our family who returns, again and again, to a place that stirs your soul.

Our safaris are unhurried. We believe Pafuri should not be rushed. Let’s leave it to others to chase from sighting to sighting. Instead, we invite you to immerse yourself in this wild and majestic land. You will experience magnificent places, great herds, big predators and abundant life. But we do not go bashing off the track with two or three other vehicles in pursuit of a startled leopard. We listen, we observe, we tell stories, and we wait for her to come to us. Our wildlife roams without hindrance across open frontiers, as it always should. We respect it and the ancestors who lived on this land since the dawn of time. Their traces are everywhere. We know we too are transients, with a duty to care for the land and the life – both people and wildlife – it sustains. We’d love to host you and share what Pafuri means to us.

HISTORY

Pafuri has a rich human history stretching back through the Makuleke era and an earlier precolonial trading past...READ MORE

Pafuri has a rich human history stretching back through the Makuleke era and an earlier precolonial trading past to hunter-gatherer and stone age settlements. There are several impressive archaeological sites, including the spectacular Thulamela ruins, where contemporary visitors can encounter the remnants of these early settlements. We will share stories about our stone age ancestors who roamed the game-rich lowlands between the great rivers for millennia, perhaps find some of their handcrafted tools, learn about the great trading civilization that thrived here for a thousand years, linking Pafuri with the interior and, via the East African coast, to the world. You will also encounter the Makuleke people who lived here until 1969 when they were forcibly resettled by the apartheid regime. The remains of their settlements are scattered across the land. Today, they have returned as owners of the land and managers of our operation.

© Simon Espley | Africa Geographic

COMMUNITY

RETURN Africa’s origins lie at Pafuri. It is here, on the ancestral land of the Makuleke people, that we have built a...READ MORE

RETURN Africa’s origins lie at Pafuri. It is here, on the ancestral land of the Makuleke people, that we have built a unique partnership. Our operation is rooted in almost three decades of friendship with the Makulekes, who lost their home under apartheid but who have now returned as our landlords, our business partners and our guides. Today, the Makuleke partnership is the heart of our brand. They own the land at Pafuri, staff the business and share in the returns we generate. Together, we’re taking responsible tourism to new heights - where conservation and community are the driving forces that deliver superb safari experiences. We are unlike any other in this regard. Our ethos is best experienced first-hand, so do visit us, meet our managers, our guides and our staff, and see for yourself the pride they take in what they’ve achieved.

© GideonMendel

ENVIRONMENT

Our concession lies between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers along South Africa’s north-eastern frontier...READ MORE

Our concession lies between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers along South Africa’s north-eastern frontier. The two great rivers embrace one of Africa’s most spectacular and diverse landscapes with mountains and gorges in the west giving way to plains, pans, baobabs and extensive fever tree forests in the east. The land, particularly the low-lying floodplains near the rivers’ confluence at Crooks’ Corner where our camps are located, harbours an everchanging abundance of life, including large seasonal concentrations of elephant, buffalo and other game. Predators and scavengers, ranging from hyenas, crocodiles and leopards to servals, genets, civets, caracals, amongst many others, also find shelter here. Our diversity brings a profusion of birds, with numerous specials in what fundis regard as South Africa’s most rewarding birding destination. Come and explore the area in open vehicles and on foot in the care of our expert and experienced guides.
francoislct
2024-05-07
Give this a shot SA locals & Kruger regulars For Kruger regulars and SA locals, if you can it is worth paying extra to experience the access Pafuri offers - game drives on tap and access to the Thulamela archaeological site, authentically rooted in the Makuleke community's story. Always with some lovely snacks and drinks waiting. Definitely try this at least once.
Tour23565030764
2024-05-06
Return to Return Africa To all concerned: We had the privilege to visit Return Africa for the first time a few weeks ago and what a pleasure it was! The lodge and it’s settings and the Makuleke Contractual Park blew away our breaths and the staff complemented the beauty of the place. On arrival at the bush house we were met by the enthusiastic threesome Wendy, Phiona and Doctor who spoilt us by preparing delicious food. They also saw to it that the house and surrounding area was spotless. Bongz took us on several game drives which we enjoyed immensely. His knowledge, efficiency and kindness was exemplary. We learnt a lot from Bongz about nature. It was a pleasure to meet Godfrey, Enos and Ezra at the beautiful lodge and we hope to return to this precious and unspoilt jewel in Limpopo. Kind regards Andre and Bessie Keun
Sheri M
2024-05-04
One of the most incredible experiences you’d be lucky enough to have… Incredible is an understatement when it comes to trying to explain RETURN Pafuri Camp. Every single aspect of our stay surpassed even the highest of our expectations. From the picturesque setting of the landscapes that surround you, to the most knowledgeable guides & trackers, exquisite food, close encounters with wildlife & incredible team of individuals you will get to meet, a trip to RETURN is a life changing experience. The team are undoubtedly some of the most amazing people you will ever have the privilege of meeting, so welcoming, attentive and kind, you really do feel like you are apart of the family. The aesthetic of the lodge & rooms, in every single detail, is world class. They have got in right in their name, because once you have experienced this place, you will always RETURN.
Corinne H
2024-04-30
A birders dream holiday This tented lodge is a great base for birders who want to find the northern Kruger park ‘specials’ and who are prepared to pay for the privilege of being looked after by a very special team. We always find that attention to detail is a good differentiator between luxury safari providers and the team at the Pafuri Tented Camp, led by Enos, certainly deserved the 5 star rating we’ve given them. The team made us feel at home in a relaxed but smoothly run atmosphere. Everything worked well, from the easy check in, to the friendly care that was provided by every staff member we encountered. Safari guides can make or break your holiday and our wonderful guide Zach certainly added a huge amount to our experience. The team knew we were birders, assigned us a guide who was an outstanding birder and it was a great match. We saw and photographed lots of birds! The tents are lovely and well equipped to a high standard. The food was great and the portion sizes just right. We highly recommend this camp.
QuintonHaddon
2024-04-30
Magical Place! My wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with 4 nights at Pafuri Tented Camp and it was one of the best bush experiences we have ever had. The camp was amazing, the staff both in camp and our guide Esaya, were all incredible and the food was outstanding. But what really made the trip special was the bush, just a magical part of the Kruger that is difficult to fully describe. Amazing diversity meant every drive was different. Thank you to everyone for making our anniversary as special as you did. We cannot wait to return!
jcvisserlaw
2024-04-22
Pafuri Perfection Brilliant Camp and the STAFF IS AMAZING! Very quiet and the birdlife is exceptional. Definitely do a walk with them, as it is brillaint.
Esther V
2024-04-11
The spectacle of ReturnAfrica’s Pafuri Collection. We visited Pafuri Lodge on the banks of the Levuvhu river as well as Baobab Hill House - both part of the ReturnAfrica Collection in the Makuleke Contractual Park - the northernmost part of Kruger National Park. The concession was one of the first successful land claims after 1994, now again belongs to the Makuleke people, and is managed by ReturnAfrica who mostly employ people from the Makuleke Clan. This story makes me feel proudly South African. The land, its people, game, birds, trees, archeology, stars overwhelmed and humbled me. The richness and diversity offers an experience like no other. If you are lucky (and with a guide like Bongz) you may see Pel’s Fishing Owl, Three Banded Coarser, Arnot’s Chat, the most breathtaking baobab trees, and so much more. Next time I’m staying in one of the trails camps to explore that place on foot! Thank you Godfrey, Enos, Ezra, Bongz, and so many other staff members for accepting us into the ReturnAfrica family. We will be back soon.
Philip A
2024-04-11
Incredible African hospitality It's difficult to capture in words how wonderful my stay at Pafuri tented camp was! To be so close to the animals and birds 24/7 and feel safe and so well cared for exceeded my expectations completely. The camp itself is beautiful, with places to chill-out with a book, cool-off in the pool or just stare at the Luvhuvu river flowing past. Great food served all through the day, from 5am when you get gently woken for the dawn game drive, to drinks and snacks for sundowners - everything is thought of effortlessly by the team of Enos, Godfrey and Ezra. The game drives with Bongz were the highlight though. He shares his passion for the whole ecosystem, not just the obvious, educating and pointing out spoor, plants, insects, birds and patiently letting you take photos and just sit and absorb the magnificence of the Makuleke Contractual Park. Thank you for an unforgettable stay!
Gerhard Landrichter
2024-04-07
Exclusive and fabulous location This was the most beautiful and best lodge we have ever booked in South Africa. The service, the accommodation, the food, the game drives, everything was great. Our guide Brigthon was the best guide we have ever had. The entire staff was always very friendly and accommodating. A vacation couldn't be more beautiful.
Fergus K
2024-03-29
Incredible place, wonderful experience. The food is a special treat. My friends and I stayed at Return Africa for 3 nights and only have wonderful things to say about the experience. Everything was perfect from the moment we arrived but highlights definitely include the incredible food, amazing game drives - especially the sundowners, absolutely world class bird watching from the patio and the incredible staff. Godfrey, Ezra, Ellen, Bold, Hilton, Pinkie, Fiona and the rest team - thank you for everything. Our guide, Ezaya, is incredible, being able to see everything in the bush with an incredible wealth of knowledge to share. Andile, Hla-hla, Q and the other guides are also wonderful and finding an opportunity to talk to all of them is highly recommended. Overall, worth every cent. I wish we could have stayed longer.