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Punda Maria Gate Route

Cumbria, United...
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Punda Maria Gate Route

We are organising a trip to Kruger in November and thinking of entering via Punda Maria Gate and working our way south. any advice as to the state of the roads and routes would be welcome and any advice on stocking up en route. I can see there is a Mall at Polokwane with a Woolworths and Pick and Pay so was thinking that was about half way from JNB for lunch and a stock up. We have previously entered via southern gates and Phalaborwa, so thought we may try something different but just wondered if any advice Thanks in advance.

14 replies to this topic
Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

We have entered via Punda Maria in Oct 2016, and done our shopping in Louis Trichardt. Both Pick n Pay and Spar and opposite of Spar there is a Fruit&Veg with decent butchery inside. The last bigger market along the R524 is at Saselamani - Elephant's Head.

The R524 from Louis Trichardt is (was) in good condition but traffic was dense, and there were many speed limits as that area is fairly populated. We have started our drive in Louis Trichardt; if doing this one more time, I will sleep in LT again.

Cumbria, United...
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2. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

Thanks for that I presume freeway to Louis Trichardt, then after that are Google times roughly accurate.I presume it goes through African villages.

We hope to get an early start as we arrive the evening before on the KLM flight so can get a nights sleep then set off.

Long Island, New...
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3. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

As xelas said, give yourself plenty of time. It took us much longer than expected for that leg of the trip. Maybe consider the R525 to Pafuri gate. It's more rural, or at least it was 10 years ago when we last drove it between Messina and Pafuri. The Pafuri area in Kruger is beautiful - the prettiest picnic area in the park.

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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4. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

Indeed the R525 via Pafuri supposed to be more scenic, and it was highly recommended by our host in LT. However, I would not brave it if starting in Jo'burg. You need to reach the camp in time, and there are way too many obstacles on and along the road between Pafuri and Punda Maria :-))

A few snapshots from the drive (and more from that area) you can find here: safaritalk.net/topic/…page-2

Louis Trichardt to Punda Maria Rest Camp we needed 2 hrs 45 min, between JNB and Louis Trichardt, 450 km and 4 1/2 hours (with one stop).

Edited: 17 March 2017, 10:33
Cumbria, United...
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5. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

thanks for the tips and the link to the trip report, wonderful to read on a very wet afternoon in Cumbria.Interestingly we were in Punda November 2015 and saw 3 lionesses at the same spot so one must have had cubs.we stayed at Shimuwini a few years ago and didn't realise it had such a good bird hide will just have to revisit.The photos are wonderful and its great to get a Kruger fix its very addictive!

Manchester, United...
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6. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

PM one of our favourite areas. The S99 loop a little classic . We have waited for the gates to open On Our Own a number of times.

Cumbria, United...
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7. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

S99 never been great for sightings for us, but very scenic,but every trip seen lions at Klopperfontein coming back from Pafuri and always had them to ourselves not a cat jam in sight

Port Elizabeth
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for South Africa
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8. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

I still prefer starting South and going North. You generally see more animals in the South, so it is nice to get them all ticked off (cat pressure over) before you enjoy the wildness of the North without the crowds. Going South, I tend to get grumpy with the increasing number of people and cars.

Edited: 18 March 2017, 13:18
Long Island, New...
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9. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

I'd rather get stuck in wildlife traffic between Pafuri and PM than human traffic getting to the PM gate. Either way, you need to give yourself plenty of time - no getting around that.

Everyone has different wildlife experiences. That's why we all keep going back!

Cumbria, United...
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10. Re: Punda Maria Gate Route

well just seen Pafuri Gate closed today because of a riot! after reflecting we have decided to do 20 day loop up to Punda starting in the South. one word of warning my credit card was stopped by my company as it was a large sum to SAN Parks and had to ring them and answer security questions to clear it by then SAN Parks said ring them and was a Sunday ! so overnight they reset my booking so lost! Fortunately managed to rebook this morning, I always let them know when I travel overseas, but perhaps need to think of doing before an overseas transaction, only ever happened once before when I tried to book a Kulula flight.

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