The Mahonie Loop around Punda Maria is a excellent beginning to the sandveld. It was named after the pod mahogany tree, of which there are many specimens in the area.
The Mahonie Loop route is famous for plants and animals that are rare elsewhere in the Park.Trees such as the knobbly fig, wild syringa, wild kirkia, wild custard apple and myrtle bushwillow. Some of the less common buck that may be seen along the drive are the rare, tiny suni antelope, the smallest in the Park and the timid Sharpe’s grysbok.
The suni, also known as Livingstone’s antelope, inhabits the thicker sandveld woodlands. It likes to follow monkeys about, feeding off fruit and leaves dropped by them from the trees. This diminutive antelope, which stands not much taller than a school ruler, is easy prey for a wide variety of predators, including pythons, leopards and the larger birds of prey.
The bat hawk is among the less common birds to be seen. Its presence here is not surprising, as in Kruger most of the bat species on which it is known to feed are associated with the Punda sandveld.
Mahonie Loop has two noteworthy water holes, Matukwala and Witsand. During winter when water is scarce elsewhere there is notable animal activity at Witsand windmill. Birds such as Dickinson’s kestrel and the grey-headed parrot can be spotted in the surrounding woodlands at Matukwala Dam. Leopard and wild dogs have been seen on the odd occasion whilst kudu are frequently seen.
The Drive 10 is 28 kilometers (17 miles) long.