Pafuri to Vilanculos in April 2019

De Freitas created the topic: Pafuri to Vilanculos in April 2019

  • Posts: 3

Hi there Mike

A few mates and I are looking to head to Vilanculos from Pafuri over the last week in April 2019. We will be travelling in 3 Toyota Land Cruisers and have a fair amount of 4x4 experience. We would ideally like to cross the Mapai river and head on to Mabote before arriving in Vilanculos. As the river is normally too high to cross at that time of year, we are planning to take the barge across and would like your thoughts on this? If you feel this is not a feasible option could you suggest an alternative route around were we can still drive the back roads to vilanculos, camping along the way and avoiding tar roads if possible? We want to do more of the off roading thing where possible as we will take the main tar road along the coast back to SA after our stay at Vilanculos.
If we are able to cross the Mapai river on the barge, we plan to do so on 28 April which is Easter Saturday, as this is a long weekend do you think we will experience any issues getting across or would you advise we head over a week earlier/later?

Thank you in advance for your advice, really appreciate it!
Carmen

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mozman replied the topic: Pafuri to Vilanculos in April 2019

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Hi Carmen

This is a true wilderness route and you are correct that you will probably not be able to drive through the Limpopo which is usually low enough to drive through from around July to around December.

I have used the ferry twice, and when the river is not flowing strongly, or has only one main channel, it has proven to be quite stable.
However, when the Limpopo is rising, or is flowing strongly and has numerous channels, there is a real danger that the barge could run aground or be washed up against an island, spilling its load.

Currently, as reported on mozguide forum by Casa Bufalo Mapai Lodge, zambezi.ws/casa-bufalo/ , their construction manager has been using the Mapai Limpopo River ferry without incident.

If you are using the Pafuri border, there is no regulation stating that you must overnight in the Kruger or Limpopo Transfrontier Parks - this only applies to Giriyondo.

This is (usually) my itinerary and route when entering Mozambique at the Pafuri Border:
On the night before I enter Mozambique via Pafuri, I overnight either at Punda Maria Rest Camp or at Pafuri River Camp www.pafuri.co.za
I have also stayed at the very nice and more upmarket Return Africa Pafuri Camp (formerly owned by Wilderness Safaris): www.returnafrica.com/activities/pafuri-camp/

Then my first night in Mozambique is usually at Dumela Wilderness Safaris, 7km from the Pafuri Border post www.pafurimoz.co.za They have fantastic campsites and a fixed tent (or two) furnished with beds and chairs. Really worth spending more than a night here, especially if you are a birder or fisherman.

Once is has opened (due to open June 2018), another place to stay relatively close to the Pafuri border is Casa Bufalo Mapai but 110km and about a 4 hour drive from Pafuri Border: zambezi.ws/casa-bufalo/

Second night in Mozambique either at:

Banhine National Park HQ (Fish Eagle Camp) email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: +258 84 706 5812 orCel. (+258) 827228070 / 860422009
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Banhine has proper ablutions, fixed Safari tents with beds and linen (or use your own tent).

Machaila Community Camp: Gerhard Erasmus. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Mozambique : +258 87 2588 741, South Africa: +27 82 4133 872. Mozaic Office in Manjacaze, Mozambique: +258 84 216 6248. Machaila has no facilities except for flat, cleared bush and a long drop.

Pafuri to Vilanculos distances and times.
Pafuri Border to Mapai River Crossing (Chicumbane): 90km, 3-4hrs.
Mapai River crossing to Mapai Rail 17km, 30 minutes.
Mapai Rail to Machaila: 120km, 2-3hrs.
Mapai Rail to Banhine HQ (Fish Eagle Camp): 180km, 4-5hrs.
Machaila to Vilanculos (via Mabote and Mapinhane): 320km, 7hrs.
Banhine HQ (Fish Eagle Camp) to Vilanculos (via Ofice, Mabote and Mapinhane): 300km, 7hrs.

Mike

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De Freitas replied the topic: Pafuri to Vilanculos in April 2019

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Hi Mike

Wow thank you! Awesome advice! Really appreciate it!

If Dumela is only open in June and we plan to head to Vilanculos in April then spending a night there will not be possible. In that case do you think it is feasible to spend the night at the Pafuri River Camp and then cross the border at Pafuri at 8am the following morning and then head straight to Mapai from there to cross the river all within the same day? How long do you estimate it will take us to get through the Pafuri border and then to get 3 cruisers (possibly 4 now) across the river on the barge?

Also do you have an alternative route to suggest if crossing at Mapai is not possible and we then need to drive around?

Thanks again for the advice!

Carmen

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mozman replied the topic: Pafuri to Vilanculos in April 2019

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Hi again

As far as I know Dumela is open right now, but Casa Bufalo Mapai is currently under construction and my guess is they will open around June.

You will be able to cross the Limpopo if you are willing to use the ferry. Otherwise you could enter the Limpopo Reserve at the Mapai Gate (R140 pp and per car), and then head to Massingir, but no real bush route after that.

Mike

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mozman replied the topic: Pafuri to Vilanculos in April 2019

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Hi again. Sorry I did not fully answer your questions. Pafuri Kruger Park Gate winter opening time is 0600, so you should be at Pafuri Border by 0800. Expect about an hour or two to get through both sides of border. Another 3-4hrs to Mapai Ferry and perhaps two hours to get three vehicles across. So you should get to Mapai rail about 3pm.

I would get through border and stay over at Dumela Wilderness Safaris.

Mike

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De Freitas replied the topic: Pafuri to Vilanculos in April 2019

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Hi Mike

You have been incredibly helpful! Thank you!
We are in fact doing the Lebombo eco trail through the Kruger from Croc Bridge to Pafuri at the beginning of our trip before crossing over into Moz. The trail ends at the Pafuri picnic site at noon on Easter Sunday. In your opinion, do you think it will be possible to still cross the border at Pafuri into Mozambique and then head to Dumela all within the same day. Alternatively we can stay over at Punda Maria and then head to the boarder first thing the following morning but then we will need to skip Dumela (which ideally we don’t want to do) and head straight to the Mapai river crossing.

If we are at the boarder by 1pm latest is that too late to attempt to cross? Also is there enough time to get to Dumela from the border before the camp gate closes?

Thanks again in advance for your advice! Much appreciated!

Regards
Carmen

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