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Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
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ndloti
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby ndloti » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:43 pm

Brenden wrote:
ndloti wrote:Brenden , is there a scarcity of Mphongholo trailists ... ?
I am afraid we have a scarcity of trailists on all backpack and most wilderness trails. The reason(s) still elude many of us.


I agree with Oryx , I just cannot any longer justify spending R4000 on the traditional wilderness trails , where one runs the chance of having your experience ruined by egotists who cannot shut up while walking , talking incessantly about "silicon" related matters at snack breaks which I try to block out while listening to the music of the wind in the grass or the sound of an elephant breaking a branch ....

Brenden . are you referring to a scarcity of "genuine / purist " wilderness trailists who understand the concept of the wilderness , or trailists in general ?
Are you permitted to quote the actuall occupancy rate of the backpack trails ?
Last edited by ndloti on Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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Brenden
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Brenden » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:14 pm

ndloti wrote:Brenden . are you referring to a scarcity of "genuine / purist " wilderness trailists who understand the concept of wilderness , or trailists in general ?


Trailists in general.
"Keep the Wind in your face, the Sun on your back and the Wilderness deep in your heart".

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Brenden
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Brenden » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:00 pm

The silence of a warm winter’s morning moved us deeper. Floating in a lake of Mopane the leafy mosaic of green, yellow and orange imitate reflecting sparkles as an ancient Elephant path steers us forward like a soft breeze in a sail. Fine flakes of dried mud swivel from the brush as I cause a disturbance in passing. Beads of moisture on my skin intercept and rehydrate it once more. We have traded wet earth, pachyderm and I. None the less we remain but visitors, strangers in our old home.

Diary extract from the trail 29 May to 01 June.
Last edited by Brenden on Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Keep the Wind in your face, the Sun on your back and the Wilderness deep in your heart".

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Brenden
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Brenden » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:09 pm

Vibrant birdsong midst the wooded plane, church bells engaging the pilgrims. Tree colonnades hold green ceilings tall, flank Elephant path and isle. The sun’s energy through the branched windows flow to illuminate the basilica’s dome. Civilisations curse, immense inner burden, we have found a moment of peace. Blue eyed pigeons feed on yellow jackal fruit, may this Wilderness never decease.

Diary extract from the trail 29 May to 01 June.
Last edited by Brenden on Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Keep the Wind in your face, the Sun on your back and the Wilderness deep in your heart".

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Brenden
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Brenden » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:27 pm

Oryx wrote:Brenden, the most obvious reason is cost. It is becoming too expensive


Oryx, I have to agree that R 3900 for a Wilderness trail is excessive. However, I do still find the backpack trail price of R 2050 reasonable.
"Keep the Wind in your face, the Sun on your back and the Wilderness deep in your heart".

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Brenden
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Brenden » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:52 pm

ndloti wrote:Are you permitted to quote the actuall occupancy rate of the backpack trails ?


At this stage only 33 of the 86 Mphongolo Back Pack Trails are booked this season. Even if these going out were all full (8 pax per trail), it is a measly occupancy of 38%.
Last edited by Brenden on Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Keep the Wind in your face, the Sun on your back and the Wilderness deep in your heart".

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Brenden
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Brenden » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:35 am

29 May 2013: Day 1

We followed a well used game trail from the middle firebreak access road down to the Phugwane River. It was only a stones throw away from Maribyeyobasa - 'white stones' in Tsonga referring to the resistant quarts hills of the area. Tracks of Elephant, Buffalo and Hyena litter the path as we move closer to the river's edge. We were greeted by a mass of water, I have never seen anything like it on the Phugwane before. The floods have scattered deep, dark pools along the meandering river and Hippo track have become a common pattern in the sand.

Not too far ahead on the southern bank a lone Buffalo bull seeks out green grass under shrubs and small trees. The wind was in our favour and we unloaded the backpacks to observe him for a few minutes. We managed to stay unnoticed for about 5 minutes before the wind changed direction and the black mass thundered off into the wide open spaces away from the river.

Before long we reached a sharp bend in the river, on the opposite grassy bank we could see Waterbuck and Impala peacefully going about their business. We skipped across a small watershed to the Sheshanyana spruit, a beautifully harsh stretch lay ahead as we roved through open sodic sites with intermittent pans. A branch snapped close by, but we could not find a visual of the culprit. The vegetation was rather dense and the sun not ideally situated. We could now see the grey giant moving parrallel to us, but conditions were not in our favour and it was soon time to move on. Further along, Dwarf mongoose scattered as we selected a resting point under a large Nyala Tree. It was time to drop the packs and rehydrated.

Before long we had reached the Sheshanyana confluence with the Phugwane and it was time to consider settling down for the night. As we moved around the bend two young elephants continued their playful scuffle. They moved away with time as we started pitching our perfectly located camp. Another perfect Kruger night with the stars filling the moonless sky in all their glory. We heard Hyena and Lion in the distance during that night, but managed to secure good rest for the adventure that lay ahead.

30 May 2013: Second Night

The night was still and cool. Bright stars once again provided an extraordinary atmosphere as our little fire flickers on. We will be staying here at Zari for two nights. Fireside stories had already tapered into silence and we were just about ready for bed.

We had just zipped up as the distant crackling began. It grew ever louder as the grunts and sound of breaking branches floated toward camp. It was a big herd and they were most definitely heading this way. The noise deafening, the experience intense as this large herd of Buffalo decided to come have a drink in the pool next to our camp. Thunderous grunts and heavy clicks of hooves on rocks echoed into our camp as we lay silently in our insignificant little tents. What an experience, what a rush!
"Keep the Wind in your face, the Sun on your back and the Wilderness deep in your heart".

mandym
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby mandym » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:53 pm

I have just spent a lovely hour reading all the wonderful trail reports in this thread. Thank you to you all.

So it is looking like my next trip to Kruger is going to be in November when the Mphongolo will still be running and I would so love to do this trail.

In March I was lucky enough to do the Lonely Bull Trail which was such an incredible experience. The participants turned out to be 5 friends from Jo’burg, all guys aged between 28 and 32, Mark, the lead guide, Stanley the ranger and little old me. When I arrived at the departure point and found out that it was 5 strapping young men and myself I wondered if perhaps I should start looking in the mirror and realise that I am not as young as I think I am! But, as it turned out, I was more than capable and I need not have had my moment of self-doubt. What an amazing four days that was!

Judging by the posts (and the fact that I thought noone was going to book the Lonely Bull in March) it does seem that I will be very lucky to find 3 other people to do the Mphongolo trail with me in November ........but you get nowhere without asking. So, if any of you have a backpacking trail on your things-to-do-list, allow me to twist your arm and tell you that it will be an experience to treasure or, if any of you trailists are intending to do another one please let me know what dates you are thinking of.

I haven't booked my flights yet (coming from Barcelona) but, at the moment, it looks like I may be in Kruger to do the trail on 9th, 13th, 16th or 20th November.

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Brenden
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Brenden » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:31 pm

The Mphongolo Backpack Trail departure point has officially been moved back to Shingwedzi Rest Camp as from 7 July 2013.
"Keep the Wind in your face, the Sun on your back and the Wilderness deep in your heart".

mandym
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby mandym » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:19 pm

You lucky thing! Unfortunately, my November departure did not go ahead as there were not enough people.

However, always look on the good side because if I had been on the trail I would not have been on the S100 at 7am on 16th November to witness a cheetah teaching her three cubs how to kill. It was incredible! Two of the cubs chased a baby impala and were literally a metre from my car staring at each other and looking like they were saying "Now what? Are we friends? Should we play?" Such a privilege.

I am hoping to get back to Kruger and do one of the backpacking trails.....maybe the Lonely Bull again or maybe the Mphongolo.

Have a wonderful time in April......it will be such an experience. :D

Mandy

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Phokojwe
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Phokojwe » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:03 am

Thanks mandym, really looking forward to it :dance:

They say everything happens for a reason... what a wonderful sighting of the cheetah and cubs...a once in a lifetime experience!!

Hopefully you will be able to do one of the backpack trails soon :wink:
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Ooruil
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Ooruil » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:08 pm

Been a while I see :shock:
Walking the trail from Sunday!
So looking forward to it!
Hope to have lots to share upon my return!

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Elsa
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Elsa » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:03 am

Wishing you a fantastic trail Ooruil! :dance:
Please do come back and give up a nice report afterwards! :thumbs_up:
Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 22nd May - 5th June 2015

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A Free Living Guide
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby A Free Living Guide » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:32 pm

We did an Mphongolo trail in Feburary, first trail of the 2015 season…

It was HOT! Like seriously, unbelievably hot!
But a lovely trail none the less.
Bush was think, had some rain just before we arrived so all the pans had water in them, beautiful to see.

Followed some big drag marks for what felt like a very very long way, was probably over 1.5km.
They led us to a large hyena den where we bumped into about big 9 hyenas, and I'm sure there must have been cubs stashed away some where close by in a termiterium, but we didn't see them.

When we finally found what had caused the drag marks it turned out to be half a baby buffalo. A hyena must have found it out in the bush and carried it and dragged it for a very very long way back to the den for all to share! Amazing strength and determination these misunderstood animals have.
They are so good at what they do! :D

Also bumped into a 3,5m black mamba :D
Nice trail.

I'll be back up in the north for two back to back trails at the end of the month.
Looking forward to them…

HB.
Walk quietly, but carry a big stick...

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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby ecojunkie » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:50 pm

Good to see you here FLG..... And great doing trails with you too!
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