Kruger accommodation review Punda Maria Rest Camp MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Kruger accommodation review – Punda Maria Rest Camp

Hello there! I’m currently exploring the Kruger National Park and my mission is to check out all the awesome campsites, lodges, and places to stay in the park. Throughout this journey, I’m not only creating a comprehensive list, but I’m also discovering what each place has to offer in terms of lodging, food, facilities, wildlife, cell phone signal, and highlights. If you want to read about all the places I’ve visited so far, you can find my reviews here: Kruger Accommodation. Now, let me tell you about my latest adventure at the lovely Punda Maria Rest Camp!

Punda Maria Rest Camp

Kruger accommodation review Punda Maria Rest Camp MzansiBride

When you visit the Kruger National Park, you might end up staying at Punda Maria Rest Camp. It’s located in the northernmost part of the park, making it a popular starting or ending point for visitors. However, Punda Maria offers something special that sets it apart from the rest: its accommodation and the unique vegetation that surrounds it.

What makes the accommodation at Punda Maria Rest Camp unique?

At Punda Maria, the bungalows for two people are quite different from those at the other camps. In fact, they are more social because each unit is made up of three rooms. This means that you will be sharing a long front porch with two other couples. Although these two-sleeper bungalows come with their own bathrooms, the only kitchen facilities provided are a fridge and a kettle. So, all your cooking and eating will take place on the porch or at the communal kitchens.

The three-sleeper bungalows, on the other hand, have a full kitchen inside. And if you’re traveling with a bigger group, the family cottage is perfect as it can accommodate up to six people. This cottage comes with a full kitchen, a lounge, and all the things you would expect in a holiday home.

When you’re looking for the perfect place to stay at camp, there are a few things you should keep in mind. One of the most important factors is the location of the camping area. What’s great about this camp is that the camping area is actually quite far away from the rest of the camp. But don’t worry, that’s actually a good thing! You see, being far away means that it’s much closer to the swimming pool than the bungalows. And who doesn’t love being close to the pool?

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Now, I know what you might be thinking. “But what about electricity?” Well, let me tell you, some of the camping spots here have electricity and some don’t. So when you’re booking your spot, make sure you let them know if you need electricity. That way, you won’t be left in the dark!

Now, let’s talk about the safari tents. These little gems are found at the far end of the camp. And you know what that means? It means they’re quiet and secluded. You won’t have to worry about noisy neighbors or interruptions while you’re enjoying your stay. It’s like having your own little oasis in the middle of nature.

Each safari tent is designed to sleep two people, so it’s perfect for a cozy getaway with your loved one. And the best part? Each tent has a full kitchen! That’s right, you can cook up your favorite meals right in your own tent. It’s like having a little home away from home.

Kruger accommodation review Punda Maria Rest Camp MzansiBride

Hey there! I’m excited to tell you about the cozy two-sleeper bungalows. They may look small on the inside, but trust me, they’ve got everything you need for a comfy stay.

Discover the Best Spots

Now, let’s talk about the bungalows themselves. They’re pretty similar, so you won’t have to stress about choosing between them. Oh, and none of them runs along the fence, so that’s something you don’t have to worry about either. You do, however, have the option of staying in the first row of units. These are located along the main road that leads into and out of the camp. Or, if you prefer, you can stay in the second row, where you’ll have a view of the back of the first row. Just keep in mind that units 1-12 are at the bottom, while units 13-22 are at the top.

Now, let’s talk convenience. Once you arrive at the camping area and check-in at reception, you can decide where to park. It’s up to you! Whether you want to be closer to the bird hide, near the fence, or closer to the pool, the choice is yours.

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Kruger accommodation review Punda Maria Rest Camp MzansiBride

I enter the swimming pool through the campsite, which is a convenient change for us campers.

The animals

The area surrounding Punda Maria is teeming with wildlife, like elephants, impalas, zebras, and giraffes. But, of course, everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard and the mighty lion. Sometimes, at night, we can hear the lions roaring, which is our signal to rise early in the morning and go in search of them. The terrain in this area, with its hills and rocky outcrops, is ideal for spotting leopards. We always have to stay alert and keep our eyes peeled for these mysterious creatures. The Mopani plains, covered in shrubs, are home to rare game such as roan and tsessebe.

Kruger accommodation review Punda Maria Rest Camp MzansiBride

Hey there! I wanted to share some information about the Punda Maria Rest Camp day visitors picnic site and environmental education centre. It’s located just outside the rest camp, about 5km away, right before you reach the Punda Maria Gate. I think it’s pretty cool that they have this separate area for day visitors!

Let’s talk about the food

Now, the restaurant at Punda Maria is not very big, but don’t worry! They offer the exact same menu as at most of the other camps. So whether you prefer to sit inside or outside, you can enjoy a delicious meal here. The shop is a bit small too, but don’t fret! You’ll still be able to grab all the things you need for a tasty braai or to cook in the kitchen, if you have one.

Kruger accommodation review Punda Maria Rest Camp MzansiBride

When I went to Punda Maria’s restaurant, I was disappointed to find that their card machine was not working. So, it’s a good idea to have some cash with you, just in case.

Things to Look Out For

One of the highlights of Punda Maria Rest Camp is its bird hide, which you won’t find at many other camps. The hide is located near the lower fence within the camping area, giving you a chance to observe birds up close.

The vegetation around Punda Maria is truly unique. This part of the park, known as the Pafuri region, experiences both the highest and lowest rainfall in the entire Kruger National Park. As a result, you’ll see remarkable sandstone hills in the surrounding area.

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As I journey through the breathtaking flatlands of the north, I can’t help but anticipate the vibrant beauty that awaits me in Punda Maria. Here, the scenery bursts to life with a mesmerizing array of majestic trees.

Once you set foot in this enchanting region, you’ll be in awe of the towering Mopani trees that stretch towards the heavens. These giants, known for their impressive height, create a mesmerizing canopy that bathes the landscape in dappled sunlight.

But that’s not all! As you wander through this arboreal wonderland, you’ll encounter a plethora of other tree species that add to the kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. The pod-mahogany trees, with their glossy leaves and elegant form, will captivate your imagination. The mustard-trees, with their brilliant yellow flowers, will infuse your senses with a burst of vibrant energy. And the nyala trees, with their intricate patterns and lush foliage, will transport you to a world of tranquility.

As I find myself surrounded by this breathtaking collection of trees, it’s impossible not to be filled with a sense of wonder and reverence. Each tree holds its own story, a testament to the remarkable diversity and resilience of nature.

So, if you’re seeking a true communion with the natural world, Punda Maria is the perfect destination. Traverse its awe-inspiring landscape, immerse yourself in the beauty of its trees, and let the grandeur of nature envelop you.

Kruger accommodation review Punda Maria Rest Camp MzansiBride

When I visited the bird hide at the start of the dry season, I was treated to a stunning view. It was a sight to behold!

How to get there

Getting to Punda Maria is incredibly easy. It’s just 5km away from the Punda Maria Gate, which is located right at the northern tip of the park. If you’re driving from Makhado (Louis Trichardt), the closest town, it will take you about 170km to reach your destination.

The important details

Let’s talk logistics. Here are some key pieces of information you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • ATMs: Nope, there are no ATMs available at Punda Maria. Make sure to bring enough cash with you!
  • Credit card facilities: Yes, they do accept credit cards, so you can use plastic to pay for your expenses.
  • Mobile reception: It’s not perfect, but you’ll have good enough reception to make calls and send texts. Stay connected!

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