Tropical storm Dineo was expected to bring devastation and flooding to Pafuri. The storm passed overhead but left nothing more than brimming pans, replenished aquafers and swollen rivers in its wake. Heading into the winter months, Dineo has been a blessing after the drought experienced in late 2016.
Makwadzi Limpopo Lookout after the rain
In anticipation of tropical storm Dineo, Godfrey Baloyi, General Manager of RETURNAfrica’s Pafuri Collection, kept front of mind the safety of our guests and staff. The predictions were that the storm would be a nasty one with extremely strong winds and heavy rainfall that would last through the night and into the weekend. But this was not to be. Dineo passed ever so lightly over Pafuri in the north of the Kruger National Park, blessing us with a steady rain and inflicting no damage to our main camp on the banks of the Luvuvhu River.
Lone buffalo bull lazing in the Luvuvhu River in front of Pafuri Camp
The Makuleke Contract Park is well known as a wetland of global importance with 2 major rivers as well as 31 pans and wetlands scattered throughout the private 26,500 hectare concession. It is no wonder that Pafuri contains more than three quarters of the Kruger National Park’s biodiversity spread across spectacular habitats like giant baobabs, charismatic commiphoras, gorges carved from ancient rock, and the renowned fever tree forest. It is also worth mentioning that Makuleke’s wetlands were the first RAMSAR site in the world that is both owned and co-managed by a local African community.
Map of the Makuleke Contract Park showcasing the various habitats and wetland areas
These wetlands are an exceptional example of a floodplain-wetland encompassing pans, riparian forests, floodplains and river channels. The pans are of great importance in this ecosystem. In good years such as this one, they hold water right through the dry season. The recent heavy rains received in Pafuri coupled with the tropical storm have filled our rivers, pans and other wetlands. Going into the drier winter months, these wetlands will become a vital source of life for Pafuri’s wildlife.
Pafuri after the storm
We expect that Pafuri will stay a little greener a little longer this year. We look forward to a dry season that will be even more spectacular than usual.
Photo credits:Feature image Morgan TrimblePhoto 1 – WisemanPhoto’s 2 & 4 – Enos