Punda Maria - Kruger National Park Hot

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This far northern reach of the Kruger National Park is certainly the wildest and most remote and apart from boasting an incredibly diverse and prolific birdlife, over three-quarters of the Kruger’s wildlife and vegetative biodiversity also occurs in the Punda Maria region of the Park.                                       

The Mahonie Loop is renowned for its rare trees and animals such as the Sable, Sharpe’s Grysbok and the tiny, rare Suni antelope. In the summer months birding specials such as the White-breasted Cuckooshrike and Southern Hyliota can be found in the thickly leaved trees.  The marshland at the junction of the H1-8 & H13-1 provides rare sightings of Black Coucal amongst the more common Burchells Coucal in extremely wet years and the mature Mopane forests en-route are good places to view the Arnot’s Chat and families of Retz’s Helmet-Shrike. The first Baobab trees near Klopperfontein Dam are a good place to start looking for herds of the rare Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest and Roan antelope which often occur in the Mopane scrub veld.


Best Time to Photograph
Undoubtedly, the best time of the day for photography is early morning when birds are particularly active. Game tends to approach the water from mid morning to late afternoon. Late afternoon is also a good time to photograph.
Type of Photography
  • Birds
  • Trees
  • Game
  • Landscapes
Best Time of Year
  • Spring
  • Summer
Photographic Tips
Driving slowly along the road network is the best way to find photographic subjects and it is best to have a window mount or bean bag in place on the window and your camera on your lap or close by to allow for quick response to when a subject is found. Due to high summer temperatures be sure to carry extra drinking water.
Recommended Gear
Window mount and telephoto lenses are a must for photographing birds and animals at Punda Maria.Always carry extra drinking water during the hot summer months.


Site Highlights
Mahonie Loop,Flycatcher Trail in the camp grounds,Picnic site within the camp grounds,Klopperfontein Dam.


Season and Weather
Summer is the hot and wet season, when afternoon thunderstorms can be expected. Temperatures sore into the 40 degrees plus. Winters are cooler and vegetation is drier and easier to see through.
Other Activities
  • Birding
  • Game Viewing


Closest Town
Getting There
Punda Maria can be accessed via the south of Kruger or through the Punda Maria entrance gate which leads from Makhado.
Punda Maria - Kruger National Park


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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: http://www.peterchadwick.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.