Pafuri Gate is in the very top left corner of Kruger National Park. It’s the closest gate if you’re travelling by road from Zimbabwe to the game reserve.
Most people would enter Kruger Park from gates further south, especially that many visitors are already in South Africa when they start their safari. It’s natural to want to get into the game reserve as soon as possible, rather than driving along the western flank of the park to the far north gate.
That’s unless of course you’re staying especially at one of the northern region’s rest camps or even at the luxury Pafuri Camp concession.
The gate is 609km (378 miles) from Johannesburg. It takes about 8 hours to drive this far on the most direct route. Quite a distance! If you take some of the other roads which go north along the edge of the park, some of them have quite a few pot holes which’ll slow you down a bit.
When you get to the gate, you’ll need to pay your park conservation fees. Once you’re through, the closest rest camp is Punda Maria, 76km (47 miles) away. It’ll take about 3 hours to get to the camp from the gate though.
The next rest camp that you could get to is Sirheni, 20km (12 miles) further, and has fewer facilities than Punda Maria Rest Camp. The latter is a main rest camp and has a shop, restaurants and petrol station, amongst other facilities. You can caravan, camp, or stay in bungalows or chalets there.
If you’re travelling to Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, it’s a relatively short distance to the Pafuri Border Gate from Pafuri (36km (22 miles)). The only other gate from Kruger Park that goes directly into Limpopo Park is Giriyondo Gate, quite a distance away to the south.
If you’re flying to Pafuri, there are some charter flights that go to Pafuri Reserve Airstrip from which the luxury lodge Pafuri Camp will collect you by minibus. The shuttle transfer would all have to be pre-arranged and it can only be booked if you’re staying at Pafuri Camp.
This region of Kruger National Park is well known for its birdlife. Be sure to keep a look out for a variety of species when you enter the game reserve via this northern gate!