Meet the Jewel of the North: The Kruger’s Makuleke Region.

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The Makuleke region of the Kruger Park, lying to the far north of the park, offers travellers a completely different view of both the Kruger and her wildlife. Rooted firmly on sandstone- as opposed to the basalt and granite of the rest of the park- and with a tropical climate, the ‘sandveld’ habitat created is truly unique, playing home to a vast wealth of animal life, more diverse than anywhere else in the park. This is a very different part of the Kruger, and has to be experienced for itself.

Intriguingly, this sandveld sediment is not actually part of the original park landscape, instead blown there by fierce wind storms from the Kalahari many millions of years ago. Sandveld isn’t all the Makuleke offers, though. Visitors to the area will be greeted by dense mopane woodland, thinning out into shrubland on one side and tropical riverine forest on the other. Experience the towering African Baobab for yourself, and be dwarfed by these ancient and majestic trees. Or visit the bubbling hot springs of Pafuri, where two tectonic plates meet and send water hissing to the surface.

The Makuleke is also home to the elusive Nyala- somewhat similar to both the bushbuck and kudu, this hairy antelope is a unique sight indeed. It’s also the best area of the Kruger to encounter bushbuck themselves. These seemingly-gentle animals have ferocious hearts, able to turn on leopard and even human hunters. Eland, the largest of the African antelope, can also be found in abundance throughout the sandier areas of the North Kruger. After strict anti-poaching measures were put in place late in 2003, lion have ventured back into the area, and elephant tend to winter here. Completely untouched, this area is unique, with exceptional wildlife and fauna alike.

The Makuleke is a wealth of human heritage, too, boasting some of the earliest Stone Age sites in the area and the first evidence of human gaming ever found. Bordered by the raging Limpopo river, the area is peppered with ancient burial grounds and rock art sites. There’s also the Thulamela Iron age kingdom nestled in the southern cliffs of the Luvuvhu… although only guests of the two private lodges in the Reserve itself can access this site. The ancient trading centre, Mapungubwe, also lies nearby, the focal point of the vhembe-Dongola Transfrontier Park.

From mankind's earliest footsteps to some of Africa’s greatest kingdoms, the Makuleke is a gem of human heritage. Add her unique tropical climate and her wealth of animal life, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Why not explore the many fantastic lodges and accommodations in the area on, and find your perfect base to explore this exceptional landscape?

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