The Punda Maria Camp is the most northerly camp in the Kruger National Park. Some of its rich biodiversity is unique to this sandveld area. It falls within the original Shingwedzi Reserve which was proclaimed in 1903. The name of the camp has been the subject of conjecture for many years with two main possibilities. Captain Johannes Jacobus (“Kat”) Coetser was appointed as game ranger on 01 May 1919 for this far northern region of the park and due to the abundance of zebra in the area, he combined the Swahili name for zebra ( punda milia = striped donkey) and his wife’s name, Maria, who also had a love of black striped dresses and came up with Punda Maria. In 1959 the Park’s board thought this was an error in the Swahili spelling and changed the name to Punda Milia only to restore it in 1981 when Coetser’s intension in the name was made manifest.
There is a second postulation comes from the old Venda name for the area: Phande Mariha, which crudely means “winter stops here”. It is thought to be so as the area to the west is more moderate and green compared to the eastern area which is susceptible to the winter frost which turns the grass dry and brown in winter. Wherever the truth lies, it is still a beautiful area of the country. The existing camp was first opened to the public as a tented camp in 1931. Traditional mud huts were built using pole and thatch, some of which remain to this day. The first ablutions block was completed in 1933. These original huts, up until recently, still preserved the old world charm of the old paraffin lamps outside on the verandas. In the early 2000s a bird hide was constructed at the edge of the campsite overlooking a man-made waterhole. A wide variety of game come and use this waterhole at different times of the day and night. Floodlights afford one the opportunity of seeing some of the elusive nocturnal animals coming to drink.
The task for this virtual is to take a photograph of the waterhole from the hide. You need not show your face but it does need to reflect the date of your visit - Maybe the date stamp from your permit, a newspaper front page or just writing the date in the sand. It will be interesting to compile a compendium of photographs of the animals encountered at this waterhole from all the virtual logs. In keeping with the park rules, do not litter or deface anything and be considerate to others while in the bird hide by remaining quiet.
Virtual Reward - 2017/2018
This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.