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WS3. Embracing Nature’s Splendors. Pafuri, July 2023

From the 13th to the 16th of July, WildSide 3 (WS3) set out guiding 8 guests on a backpack trail in the Pafuri wilderness area in the northern section of the Kruger National Park. Guided by Andrew Booth, Marc Jenkins, and a remarkable return of Mark Montgomery, WS3 promised a memorable backpack trail filled with stunning vistas, animal encounters, and a profound connection with nature. As we explored the wonders of the Luvuvhu River and its surrounding areas, we discovered the true essence of untamed beauty and the spirit of camaraderie among fellow trekkers. We lost and found ourselves over a few days, adapted the plan as we went according to the environmental conditions, and made our way through the ancient landscape.

Day 1 – A Riverside Haven

WS3 began by venturing down the picturesque Milkwood Gorge, leading us to the tranquil banks of the Luvuvhu River. Nestled in a superb spot with views of the gently flowing river, we spent our first night immersed in the soothing sounds of nature. The tranquil ambiance and enchanting views set the tone for an unforgettable journey that lay ahead.

Day 2 – Conquering Lanner Gorge

Day 2 brought us the challenge of a longer 14-kilometer trek to Mangala via Lanner Gorge. Taking the river route, we relished the unique experience of walking barefoot through the sandy riverbed, surrounded by towering cliffs that seemed to touch the sky. This enchanting journey proved to be a highlight of the trail. As the day drew to a close, our spirits soared with a thrilling encounter with elephant and buffalo, reminding us of the majestic wildlife that roams these wild terrains. Our scenic camp at Mangala provided the perfect setting to reflect on the day’s adventures and marvel at the beauty of the untamed wilderness.

Day 3 – Exploring Luvuvhu West Floodplain

Day 3 was a day dedicated to exploring the vast expanse of the Luvuvhu West Floodplain. As we embarked on our day, we were greeted by the presence of two more elephants, adding a touch of excitement to our journey. A leisurely lunch under the shade of Nyala Trees offered us the chance to indulge in birdwatching and catch sight of a small herd of eland, a rare and awe-inspiring sight. This day of discovery and serenity truly encapsulated the essence of Pafuri’s untamed beauty. For our final night, we sought solace at the majestic Baobab tree above Hutwini Gorge, offering a unique perspective away from the river. A late afternoon walk to the river allowed us to wash away the dust of the trail and soak in the last moments of our wilderness immersion.

Day 4 – The Walk Out

Time had gone so quickly and it was time to walk out past Mashisiti Sprin to Picket 9 where our pickup would be waiting. Lots to reflect on and lots to ponder as always.


WildSide 3 (WS3) etched memories in our hearts, celebrating the beauty of the Pafuri wilderness area, the camaraderie of fellow adventurers, and the resilience of the human spirit. Under the guidance of Andrew Booth, Marc Jenkins, and the triumphant return of Mark Montgomery, WS3 showcased the magic of the Luvuvhu River and the surrounding landscapes.

We embraced every step of this transformative backpack trail, a transformative journey from the awe-inspiring cliffs of Lanner Gorge to the vastness of Luvuvhu West Floodplain. As we bid adieu to this untamed paradise, we carry with us the spirit of adventure, a deeper connection with nature, and cherished memories that will forever inspire us to explore and protect the wilderness we hold dear. Until the next WildSide adventure beckons, we stand ready to embark on new trails and embrace the beauty of the great outdoors.

For our next available dates for a backpack trail in the Pafuri wilderness area, click HERE. Otherwise Send an Enquiry for specific dates.

Relaxed lunch during a backpack trail in the Pafuri Wilderness area.

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