Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Punda Maria Tented Camp, Kruger National Park

Gently Slowing

With soft twin beds, an en-suite bathroom, ceiling fan, a private viewing deck and an outdoor kitchen, Punda Maria Tented Camp is both pleasingly simple and satisfyingly comfortable. The tents are situated on the perimeter of the Punda Maria National Parksboard gate camp at Kruger National Park, overlooking natural, open bushveld. The spacious canvas-enclosed shower has views overlooking wide, green Fever Trees. Located in the far North of the Park, the setting offers a fascinating array of migrant birds, Baobab trees and a viewing site of the great Limpopo River and border to Mozambique.

The camp itself has a forest walk through indigenous bush, a welcome relief after time in the car. In the surrounding area we find the elusive Grey-Hooded Kingfisher, various colourful Rollers and Bee-Eaters, the Saddle-Billed Stork, Ground Hornbills and the cutest little Scops Owl. We also happen upon a leopard just outside the camp and cheeta further South towards Shingwedzi.

Accommodation Experience:
We had started our safari in the game-rich Southern and Central areas of the Park. And after the initial frenzy of the hunt for the Big-5, we began to slow down and appreciate the smaller, rare sightings. We were ready to move North. We watched the landscape change, becoming more lush, with greener trees and bluer waters. Finally the pace slowed, the zoom-lens envy settled and we became content to simply drink in the sounds, sights and smells of the wild. We spent ages at water holes and river bends, content to watch the animals go about their interesting interactions.

This is the power of a game reserve – to bring about a gentle slowing. It can be difficult to move from a very busy life straight into the abyss of free time, and game viewing offers a helpful transition into stillness. While speculating and hunting for wildlife, one can initially be busy, both physically and mentally action-oriented, but in a way that takes one completely away from the everyday stresses of life. This leads naturally into a mindful attentiveness and a quietening. Until finally one is calm and a quieter, better version of oneself - allowing a renewed reconnection and appreciation of oneself, one another and the natural world.

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