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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness Trails - General Advice
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:09 pm 
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Have all you "trailists" :) read about the new !Xerry trail here ????

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 Post subject: Re: Which trail?
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:46 pm 
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Pat, I have recently returned from the Bushman's trail and my daughters did the Wolhuter trail in July.

We all had very good experiences. The one factor that makes the Bushman's trail unique is the 25 000 year old rock paintings. They are mind blowing and unbelievably well preserved. It is difficult to describe the feelings when looking at something this old.

In terms of the actual camp, I loved the rustic feel of the Bushmans camp. It reminded me a bit of Tamboti. My daughters experienced a plague of "Dwarf Mongoose" in Wolhuter... :wink: I am not sure of what is preferable.

All of us were impressed with the field guides.... and we were all very impressed with the food. I do not think that I have eaten that well for a long, long time.

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 Post subject: Re: Which trail?
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:59 pm 
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If you fancy a bit of comfort , Napi - it has larger safari tent accom units vs the A frame wood & thatch of Bushmans & Wolhuter .
Also at Napi you are further from the borders and possible outside influences (Wolhuter & Bushmans - visible populations when on high ground and audible aeroplanes as well as occasional trains on Bushmans .)

ImageImage

As an "old" trailist I prefer the old style camps above Napi , but Napi again has a slightly better setting .
Just my personal opinions , though ...

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Which trail?
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Wolhuter was the first trail I walked in Feb/March 1985 , it was still a tented camp with a pit toilet and for a warm shower hot water had to be carried up a ladder in bucket to add to the cold water in an adapted dustbin then - transported there in an old Land Rover station wagon from Skukuza , it was very wet after cyclone Demoina - all the streamlets were bubbling and running with crystal clear water - what wonderfull memories for me .

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Choosing between Wolhuter and Bushmans?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:59 pm 
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So which walk should we do?

My priorities:
1. See lots of Bushman paintings
2. See some stunning scenery.
3. Experience peace and quiet.
4. Learn some new bush secrets.

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing between Wolhuter and Bushmans?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:28 am 
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The Bushman Paintings are up a steepish Koppie in an alcove not a cave so they are in the bright sunlight and very easlily visable. Good view of the Koppie too as a bonus.

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 Post subject: Re: Choosing between Wolhuter and Bushmans?
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:15 pm 
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I have done the Bushmantrail in May 2008 and loved it. Here are some photos for you.
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The campfire in the camp.

Image
This elephant is drinking in front of the camp. The camp is situated in the bushes behind the elephant.

Image
A view from a koppie during a walk.

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These two made it impossible for us to look at some bushpaintings. Quite exciting to see them on foot.

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Bushpaintings.


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 Post subject: Advice needed - Wilderness Trails
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:16 pm 
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I hope someone can advise me.

My son turns 12 in February next year, and I know he is allowed to do a wilderness trail. But is he actually old enough (in about April). He has grown up with regular visits to the bush, and is quite happy to drive around all day, even in the North of the park with fewer sightings.

Would the mites do the trails with a 12 year old or not? :doh:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - Wilderness Trails
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:17 pm 
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I would be more than happy, if he is able to manage it. It is a privilege to expose the youth to such an opportunity. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - Wilderness Trails
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:27 pm 
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I would say 12 years is an ideal age at which one could start instilling the wonders of the wilderness .

I have come accross a larger proportion of unsuitable trailists in the older age groups - perhaps their parents have allready instilled the ethos , many of those who embark on trails are more quiet by nature .... or they know their "place" in life ?

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:32 pm 
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Location: Rural Midlands, UK
Thanks for your replies - should be applying for new job (deadline 23/4/2010) but as usual the KNP comes first !!!

2004 Nayaland - Well what a great first trail. With son number 1 and brother number 2(remember lives in Joburg). flew out on usual route Birmingham (UK) Amsterdam then onwards to Joburg. Then out again to Cape town - The docks and robben Island great experience. Then Back to Joburg for drive through Venda to the far North and Punda Maria. Long way and only just made pick up point.

Was it us or what but we were the only guys who made the trip. Talk about staff to guest ratio ( including the cook - 3 staff and 3 guests). However, as food etc had already been packed for 8 guests this is how many the cook catered for every meal !!!!! and brought them to us on his wheelbarrow.

It was excellent trip - game a little scarce, but there is soooooo much else to see and experience. One of which included a bull elephant, complete with tusks which nearly touched the floor (honest) which charged to within 3 metres of our little group and despite all the waving and shouting carried out by the rangers it was only when lawrence ( now at Sweni i believe) discharged his gun over the elephants head did he stop and turn away. Luckily we were all wearing kahki coloured shorts so the walk continued - after a smoke or two !!!!

The sunsets, the sundowners (Cane lime and soda) the bush TV, the bush, the noises or the periods of solitude it over whelmed the senses. I was hooked (Son number 3 has informed me he can do photographs so may include some on other shared experiences). Due to only us being there I think the walks became a little longer and harder than normal especially when we were momentarily disorientated (lost) in the bush but eh what else was there to do !!!

Only downside - back in UK for a few days and got flu like symptoms and spent 5 days on quinnine based drip in hospital with Malaria !!! PLEASE TAKE YOUR TABLETS. Doctors from various UK based hospitals came to see me and ask me questions about it !!! so again good staff to customer ratio.


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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:43 pm 
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Location: Rural Midlands, UK
wolhuter 2005
After Nayalaland I was hooked ,needed more of the KNP and wilderness trails in particular. Had decided to take sons 2 and 3 on trails as 21st birthday presents(to me) however, son 3 only 17 so this rule was to be amended at a later date. So son number 2 allowed to come.

A ritual had been decided upon, over the year and goes like this: fly in on a friday. Saturday Vaal river trip, my brother has access to a boat !!! lunch at Stonehaven cruise back. To Loftus for Bulls game, evening meal in Norwood. Sunday drive to KNP trail for 3 nights. Thursday and Friday spent in eastern transvaal (Mpumalanga) Mount Sheba or stay in KNP. Then Saturday back to Loftus then airport and home. This we have kept up more or less for all the other trails. This suits my ASD and OCD tendencies!!!

Wolhuter exceeded my wildest dreams. We walked in a place of wonderment,of creatures great and small over plains and Kopies, we breakfasted on top of a kopie as a crash of 10/12 white Rhino grazed right below us. In the distance Giraffe journeyed silently behind the Acacia trees, as wart hogs supped at the little water hole. I was in the lion King film set.

The trail group was great we had a biker chick from Alaska, her brother from texas and a swiss guy who had this multi pocketed jacket with every, and i mean every, gadget known to man there in. Tour led by Jaco who had just returned from USA trip studying grizzle bears. One learns so much when the trail is done and we all sit and relax around the fire and chat about this and that. Note to Sanparks more wood is needed as has been very scarce on latest trips. I know it is brought in, just a little bit more would be appreciated !!

Elephants visited the camp and we were all excited and nervous (the fence around the camp was under repair) as the Bull decided to show off and demolish as many trees as possible, just in front of the camp gates. the noise as these trees went over and the smells were so over whelming i needed a siesta before sundowners. Another hard day in KNP

We had sundowners with a herd of elephants having a final drink and cool down at the river. We saw 2 young bull giraffe play fighting - using their necks like whips powering into each other. A flock of thousands of butterflies exploding into the air near a water hole as we got near. Birds galour . I have become a bit of a twitcher on SA birds, only to find recent name changes - I still use old ones - sorry

On the journey back to Guateng Son number 2 ,who is in the music industry, struggled without a radio, so we started a game of humming/singing your favourite 10 songs - neeedless to say this game stopped at Loftus( and while we had a break at Dulstrum) with a list of at least 100 favourite top 10 songs which he has now put on a CD for us to enjoy at our leisure when we travel to and from the park.

I must also state, for the record, our rangers have all been model professionals and fantastic hosts ,with an obvious love of the KNP and their jobs. Must not forget the cooks who have never failed to provide great hearty meals which always hit the spot.

Next report Bushmans 2006 and the trail group who should all have been at some UN global confrence but ended up in the bush with us, much to our absolute humble delight and privilege to be party to this great collection of nice and informed people.


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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:26 pm 
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Location: Rural Midlands, UK
Ok - Job application completed back to the important issues in my life KNP

BUSHMANS 2006 THe trail was again fantastic ticked all the boxes and more. However our trail buddies were such an unbelievable bunch i must tell you about them. We had a young Canadian anthropologist working for the Leaky project in East Africa, her father, a retired bio chemist. Two young American doctors working for HIV charity in RSA and Botswana. The then BBC Southeren African correspondent, and our selves.

The walks became a university, a centre of learning - the anthropologist knew every bone we found, what type of animal, the age, how old and what part of the animal it was from and somtimes if it had had an illness FANTASTIC. Her dad and the trail rangers were busy examing the flora and we were told of how these had or were being used in local medicines, the Bio chemist learning their latin name was able to equate the properties of this genus into modern uses and the doctors were telling us that they actually use equivalents in their treatments in modern medicine again FANTASTIC. The BBC correspondent dished the inside dirt on local and world events/politics over the camp fire. As there was no engineering processes involved in our whole time in the bush my brother and I could only listen and learn.
The whole area seemd to be alive with Rhino - more Rhino than our friend the Impala. Bird life was also good - we sat and breakfasted on a kopie while a couple of scarlet breasted sundirds were suping from a few flowers.

Trail done we returned to the pick up point and re fuelled the car - the young doctors were there as well, and paid just before us. We drove out of the camp and saw their car stopped in the middle of the road at a junction, we came along side to see if they needed directions - But no they had stopped to let a flock of guinea fowl cross the road when a leopard had leaped out and grabbed one of the fowl and run off !!! what an experience for them and a shame for us, never mind I felt good for them.

We drove through the park and stayed over night at Lower Sabie camp - sunset dam etc very good, but more was to come. We were out as the gate opened next day out over the river n the H10 then onto the S128, as we turned onto the dirt road a car was pulled up - looking at a couple of lions hidden way in the bush, we looked but not a particualr good viewing so we drove on. There was nothing else on the road, after about 5 k we could see (I actually saw it) something in the distance slowly walking towards us It was a male Lion ambling down the road towards us, slowly pacing his territory, roaring and just plodding on down the road. His head came up to side window of our sedan. We turned round , when safe to do so and followed all the way back to virtualy the junction with the H10 - about 20 minutes - he was in no rush) and do you Know not a single car came along the road at that time. It was OUR lion. Continued along the S128 onto the S30 not much game except for a serval just sitting there on the side of the road - again no other cars. What a trip .
THE BUSH CHALLENGE
It was while on this trip that we decided to add an element of competition into our forays into the KNP. We decided to give each type of animal points and who ever spotted that animal would acumulate the points. These would be added up at the end of the trip and the winner would be announced and hold the title of BUSH MASTER for the year. I will go into grater detail on how this works, other people are always free to use this as a basis for their own spotting.


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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:40 pm 
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Location: Rural Midlands, UK
:redface: what is a matter with me - I forget the San rock paintings (dof). They were magnificent and I doubt any one has been to see art displayed in such an awe inspiring location. Having read laurens van De Post's sands of the kalahari at school I felt a connection straight away and was humbled to be in such close proximity to these fantastic paintings.


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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:02 pm 
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Location: Rural Midlands, UK
16 sleeps to go - the KNP is consuming more of my thoughts the closer it gets. It is like waiting to meet your wife/lover after being away !!! wierd feeling.

oliphants 2007 Son number 3 ( have now run out and too late to start making any more) has reached 18 so off he comes. What a location, the call of the fish eagle and those crocodiles just waiting for fish to swim into their gapping jaws. The bird life was excellent around the river - hammerkop, dikop herons and kingfisher. The walks were again excellent and the rangers sharing their knowledge of plants and all the mini beasts. We saw the hippos crashing around in the pool as they tried to herd the youngsters into the middle of themselves. For me the sight of a small pool full of flowering lillies with a jacana tenderly walking on them was a highlight. We sprinkled some of my mums ashes( only a a little - sorry if rules were broken but she also had a love of the bush and had seen her first leopard the previous year). On the drive back from our sundowners we saw the silhouette of a pair of cheetah in the distance -they kindly waited for us and we watched them in the dying of the day as they sat near the side of the road. Scrub hare and grass owl were also plentiful on our drive back in the ever increasing darkness.

Next day on our drive back from the early walk a male lion ( in very poor shape), two lionesses and cubs crossed our road, leaving a kill(widlebeast) just off the road which had already started to attract the attention of the vultures and hyenas. We alighted and from a small hill, but still close, watched the carcass and the interaction of these animals. Vultures spiralling down from the thermals, forming an ever increasing blanket of birds on the floor, occasionally leaping in the air as hyenas darted in to pull off a limb or piece of flesh. A compelling sight.

We stayed at Talamati the night before our wilderness walk and had the pleasure of seeing a pride of lions, not 50 metres from the gate as we left the camp as the gates opened.

We ended the trip with a few days canoeing the mighty zambezi (out of Zambia) and although the brochure said no experience necessary - all i can say they were being economical with the truth. However, despite the pain it was a fantastic experience seeing the animals from a different perspective than foot or out of a vehicle. 2 days canoe and one overnight on Bovu island

Next trip report - Napi - I have never seen so much game before or since. Although cannot fault the other camps - it was nice to have ensuite ablutions!!!


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