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Whilst the nation continues to fight the COVID – 19 pandemic our Pafuri Luxury Tented Camp and Walking Trails camps, like all other tourist destinations in South Africa, remain locked down. The impoverished communities of the northern Limpopo province rely heavily on tourism sourced revenue. As a result of the protracted lockdown they have been left hungrier and more desperate than before, and less certain of what the future may hold

Despite the difficulties being experienced by households all over the world we are so very grateful for the amazing kindness and generosity that organisations and many of our previous guests have shown towards our local Makuleke community, from where almost all of our staff are drawn.  To those who have already opened their hearts and made charitable donations to the Makuleke community, we thank you!

An abbreviated history of the Makuleke Community:  

During 1969, the apartheid government forcibly removed the Makuleke people from the place they called home … the triangle of land known as Pafuri which lies between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers. Following the release of Nelson Mandela and the birth of the new democracy in 1994 the Makuleke regained ownership of their land in 1998 and, remarkably, decided to maintain its conservation status within the Kruger National Park and use it responsibly for the benefit of their people and the wildlife it sustains.

As part of our agreement with the Makuleke, RETURNAfrica pays a concession fee to the Community Property Association. We also create jobs, transfer skills, support local entrepreneurs and invest in community development projects. In return, we can operate in this ancient, diverse, and magnificent place and share it with our guests.

How we are helping today:

With the vital assistance of third-party donors, RETURNAfrica supports three “Drop-In” centres – one in each of the three Makuleke villages – Makuleke (Ntshuxekani Centre), Mabiligwe (Qaza Centre) and Makahlule (see pics below). The Drop-In centres provide after-school care for the most needy and impoverished children of the villages – including many orphans and children from child-headed households.  In many instances, the Drop-Ins provide the children with the only solid meal they will have all day. RETURNAfrica administers the donations received from organisations and guests. 100% of the funds received are utilised to purchase food, firewood for cooking, and water. The staff of the Drop-In centres are all community members who volunteer their services.

At last count, the number of children benefitting from this programme were as follows:

  • Makahlule           – 165
  • Qaza                   – 145
  • Ntshuxekani       – 136

During the lock-down the children are unable to visit the centres, but RETURNAfrica staff who live in the villages are assisting the Drop-In staff to purchase and distribute food parcels directly to the children and their households. We are also raising funds to build a toilet at one centre which currently has no facilities.

Whilst tourism is in lock-down, our ability to support the Drop-In centre programme is severely impacted. If you would like to make a donation to the Drop-In centres, please do get in touch on


Image 3 – Morgan Trimble

Feature Image – Morgan Trimble