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“A unique experience in Kruger” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Punda Maria Restcamp

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Punda Maria Restcamp
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Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Estcourt, South Africa
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“A unique experience in Kruger”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

We love Punda Maria and will strongly recommend this camp, especially if you are a bird lover. The trees in the Punda Maria/Pafuri area are exquisite and that alone is enough reason to drive so far north. The water hole at the fence is an added bonus and, if you are lucky enough to find a site close to the water hole, you could spend the day in camp and see an abundance of wild life. During peak times the ablution blocks are inadequate, so try to avoid the June/July rush. We also found that the shop was last in line to receive stock and days would go by without basics like bread.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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59 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Philadelphia, PA
Top Contributor
536 reviews 536 reviews
343 hotel reviews
Reviews in 340 cities Reviews in 340 cities
692 helpful votes 692 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2012

Like a previous reviewer, our family had one of the two 3-bedroom cabins reserved. These are probably the most comfortable family cabins in Kruger: huge, with a nice indoor living room, kitchen, plenty of bathrooms, etc. Even satellite TV, if you want it. And the setting is very nice too, just up the hill from the office and other accomodations. In other words, peaceful, with civets joining you outside for your braai!

As also previously mentioned, make sure you stop by the waterhole at the camp ground for the ever-changing wildlife show. And, at least during our winter visit, the wildlife is just as easy to see in the north as in the south (perhaps because the animals gravitate to the waterholes in dry season). Touring the north is also quite pleasant, due to the nice scenery and low number of visitors.

We did not eat in the restaurant, which is small and not scenic (unlike other camp restaurants). The store has basic supplies; if you want something fancy to braai, bring it with you.

The swimming pool looked nice, but was too cold to swim in during winter. The promised laundry room was also broken, but the maids cheerfully did our laundry for a few dollars.

One world of caution on the "regular" accomodations. They look "atmospheric," but are also old and cramped. Nothing like our "fancy" 3-bedroom house. Just know what you're getting into.

I'd also note one oddity: there was no way to lock up our cabin. All the locks were broken, and we weren't given any keys. I know the locals probably think that's safe but, as a foreign visitor, I want to at least be able to lock my cabin at night. If management is reading, I'd fix the locks and give out keys.

Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2012

This was not our first time at Punda Maria Camp, it is one of our favourites in the Kruger. It is a smaller very peaceful camp in a beautiful setting. The busiest place being the caravan & camping area but as we were there "out of season" this was also not very busy at all. The hide & the waterhole in front of the caravan park are terrific and an abundance of game frequents it during the day, and each evening a herd of elephants which were fun to watch with all their antics.

Our last day here was the first day of school holidays & then I have to say I was grateful to be leaving as the kids running around screaming & shouting just spoils the solitude which we come to the bush to enjoy!

We booked a 3 bed bungalow BD3 - No 22, they are very neat & tidy and as always clean. We had a bit of a "hiccup" when the geyser valve blew one morning at around 3am, we thought it was pouring with rain & when my husband got up to check out the rain he climbed out of bed into 2 inches of water covering the entire bungalow. The duty manager was brilliant and this was cleaned up & fixed by the time we returned from our early morning drive, with the added bonus of our towels etc that got dreanched having been laundered for us & returned fluffly & clean. Thanks to Anna the lady who cleaned our section of bungalows for looking after us so well!

We had one dinner at the restaurant on our last night & found as always the service great, the staff freindly & helpful and the meal was super.

We did a "Sunrise Game Drive" with Thomas who was really amazing. He is passionate about what he does and we found him so knowledgeable & interesting & again a great sense of humour & we had a fabulous drive with him with the added bonus of great sightings including lion. The fallacy of there being no game in the North is just that, a fallacy.

We went up to Pafuri Picnic spot & Crooks Corner on two occasions and thorughly enjoyed it seeing a lot of varied game & birds.

Again a super stay at Punda Maria

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
johannesburg
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
71 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2012

Punda Maria is a quiet relaxing camp with efficient staff members. There is never a problem when we request certain units, unlike with Lower Sabie and Letaba camps! We were at Punda for three nights and there were a number of leopard, lion and cheetah sightings around the camp and on the main Pafuri- Punda road. We enjoy the night animals - bush babies, civets and genets that come out after the sun has set. The tents are in the process of being renovated and we stayed in number 2 that was complete - nicely varnished and the top extended by 3 meters to stop rain and wind.

Room Tip: We enjoy the tents as the nocturnal animals visit us to catch insects that are attracted by the ligh...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Farnham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2012

This was the first of nine camps we stayed on our recent family trip to the Kruger and, by popular consent, the best. Very good service by very nice people, the facilities were basic but clean and in good order and exactly as advertised. The camp was very safe (no locks necessary) and really relaxed and close to nature. The staff were fab and the pool was good and I have no hesitation in recommending Punda Maria for those that want to experience the Kruger for what it is

Room Tip: Go on a sunset drive - its the best of both worlds (daylight & nocturnal)
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2012

This was the first SANPARKs camp we were to stay in - so it was going to have a hard time living up to my expectations. As it was, I loved it! It was one of the less developed and simpler of the camps that we stayed in - but it has a special place in my heart. The fact that the cooking / braai facilities are communal means that it is a great way to meet the locals - they were so incredibly friendly and great fun, taking pity on us first time braai-ers and sharing their fires and food with us. they even took time to sit with us, review our itinerary and make suggestions - which we wholeheartedly embraced and this ended up making the holiday for us. We visited roads we'd never have found and saw sights we'd have missed if it was not for the kindness of the people in this camp.
The night skies are also incredible here - take time to walk down toward the gate and lie on the road around midnight - you'll see galaxies with your naked eyes.
The shop is small but reasonably well stocked for its size - we managed two wonderful meals of stew and burgers whilst we were there.
The room itself was compact but had everything we needed. The shower was warm and powerful and the little kitchen has a wee fridge and kettle.
Northern Kruger is a lovely place to stay - far from the maddening crowds and less game intense, but the birdlife and scenery is to die for. be sure to head up to Pafuri if you stay here - the scenery is out of this world.
I loved Punda Maria and would recommend it - but if you want 5* luxury and a ease going holiday then it is not the place for you.
I have also written an additional review about Punda Maria here in an attempt to encourage family and friends to visit! http://www.tarajiblue.com/2012/04/a-review-of-punda-maria-rest-camp-kruger-national-park-south-africa/

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2012

Punda Maria is located about 20 minutes' drive from Punda Gate, in the northern part of the Kruger Park. The rest camp has a rustic feel to it which is enhanced by extreme peace and quiet. The orignal camp was founded in 1934 and to this day the original bungalows, now renovated to include modern amenities, ooze the charm from days gone by. The three-bedroomed units have a convenient kitchenette inside. A swimming pool graces one of the terraces as one makes your way down to the birdhide which provides for interesting entertainment late afternoon, once the gates of the camp have been closed. I would strongly recommend at least two nights' stay in this wonderful camp!

Room Tip: Choose the 3-bed bungalows - code BD3 - for a comfortable stay.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Punda Maria Restcamp

Address: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 14 Hotels in Kruger National Park

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