Traveling from Vilanculos to Pafuri 17 april

Nathalie created the topic: Traveling from Vilanculos to Pafuri 17 april

  • Posts: 1

Hi Mike
We are traveling from vilanculos to pafuri on the 17th april can we cross the Limpopo or is there an alternative route? I have heard that there is a natural bridge.....we have 2 days and drive a discovery 4 can you please advise?

Thank you


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mozman replied the topic: Traveling from Vilanculos to Pafuri 17 april

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Hi Nathalie and welcome to Mozguide.

I have used the Pafuri border post perhaps a dozen times over the past twenty years and this is still my favourite route into Mozambique as well as when going to Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe and beyond.

The challenge or complication is often the level of the Limpopo River as there is no bridge between Beitbridge and Chokwe.

The 2016/2017 rainy season has been quite wet and so currently the level of the Limpopo is higher than it would normally be mid-March.

I do not expect that the Limpopo will be low enough to drive through (in any 4x4) until mid July and perhaps even later in the year, so you will certainly not be able to ford the river in April.

As the river drops, a group of local entrepreneurs, under the direction of a man called Rogers, do build a makeshift causeway to facilitate crossings, and for this they charge a toll of R70 - R100 per vehicle. This commonly operates from mid June, but this year I think a month later is likely.

Rogers also owns a home-built barge capable of taking a large 4x4 across at Mapai. I have used it to cross with a laden Chevrolet Trailblazer, but this was when the Limpopo was quite low, so the crossing was on a very gently flowing river only about 20 metres wide. I was charged R1000.

The problem with the homemade barge is that when the river wide and flowing strongly, currents and sandbanks become a very serious hazard and the crossing becomes treacherous with a good likelihood that the barge capsizes or runs aground mid-stream. Rogers and his team are quite adept at ferrying vehicles across, but when things go wrong you will be a long way from help.

There is a very nice campsite 7km from Pafuri on the Moz side south bank of the Limpopo called Dumela Wilderness Safaris. Contact them as they are very knowledgeable and helpful. If you do decide on the Pafuri route, stay over at Dumela and have a dawn start the next day.

Rogers, the ferryman at Mapai, cell number is +258867654898. He speaks a mix of Shangaan, Afrikaans, English and Portuguese.

With two days your options are limited so unless you can add in a day, I recommend that you use the Giriyondo route and stay a night at Covane Lodge near Massingir, with a dawn start you will then make Vilankulo before dark the next day.

With 3 days I would stay over at Dumela first night, drive to Mapai, check out whether a crossing by barge is feasible, failing which carry on through the Limpopo Reserve and stay over at Covane Lodge. Next day to Vilankulo.

Another great resource is the DriveMoz page on Facebook.

For a lot of other great info do a search on mozguide forum for terms such as Pafuri, Mapai, Machaila, Mabote and Giriyondo.

Go well and keep in touch.



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