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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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Katamboega
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Katamboega » Mon May 17, 2010 12:32 pm

Completed another Mphongolo 12-15 May

8 French young men.

Walked the area from Mahluhluvane to Malahlapanga along the Mphongolo.
Excellent as always good wilderness experience lots of general game 2 different Rhino encounters plenty of elephant even a young bull in must that reminded the french why we need guides to avert situations and keep them safe, sure their story will be shared with lots of world cup visitors.Buffalo and lionesses with cubs were also encountered and will be part of their adventure story. Hippo visited us at dinner and and help with spending the digestive tract along.

All in all a wonderful trail, one to remember.

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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Betelgeuse » Wed May 26, 2010 12:40 am

Thanks for keeping us in the loop Porcupine & Katamboega :thumbs_up:

Keep well
Su
There is nothing like looking, if u want to find sumthing. You certainly usually find sumthing, if u look, but it is not always quite the sumthing you were after. - JRR Tolkien.

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Strider
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Strider » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:48 pm

Hi All,

Good to see this thread has a decent following! The trail is filling up nicely and I highly suggest booking soon if haven't already!

I just got back from a MBPT (30/05 - 02/06) which I led with 6 guides from Londolozi (on a training exercise) and a couple from the USA.

We got dropped off on the Middle Firebreak, and walked along the Zari River to its confluence to the Phugwane where we camped for 2 nights. On the way we picked a breeding Herd of Elies (+- 30), a relaxed young bull who came down to drink, a bull Hippo in one of the last big pools in the river and a fantastic herd of buffalo (100 - 200 strong) drinking in one of the pans along the river bank.

The next day we headed north taking in some fantastic scenery before coming down the Nkomoyahlaba River and back to the Phugwane, heading back to Camp via Boomplaas (some fantastic Jackelberry and Njala Trees here - which just had to be climbed) and Big Bend. We came accross 2 Elephant Breeding Herds, a young Bull Elephant, and another older relaxed Bull Elephant who we watched drinking water for sometime from about 15m (safely on some rocks). We also came across a fresh Black Rhino midden which means these fella's are also moving into the area which is great. All in all the morning walk was approximately 10km.

In afternoon, we took a leisurely afternoon stroll south to a large Baobab which had 2 very beautiful Leopard Orchids (Anselia africana) in its branches, before returning to Camp via our Hippo pool from Day 1.

At night we listened to Hyeana's calling and Lions roaring in the distance.

The next morning we broke up Camp while still listening to the male lion who was approaching our location (fast), we decided to first go look for him before heading on our way. We tracked him for about 1km, and must have been within a 100m of him before the ever changing breeze gave us away. We returned to our packs, and headed up the river on the northern bank to Wik & Weeg Dam, stopping along the way for breakfast. Just before the Camp we got suprised by Bull Elie (visa-versa) and he ultimately had to be chased off before he got too grumpy. We setup camp at the confluence of Shishanyene River, and enjoyed a "lekka" siesta in the shade of a Large Feverberry. Morning walk about (including the looking for the Lion) 8km.

In the afternoon we explored up the Phugwane before going inland and returning on the Shishanyene River. Found a crocodile in a large pool and a pair of Ground Hornbills as well as fresh signs of a White Rhino in the area.

The final morning we had a lie in, before taking the short walk back to the pickup point (+- 2km).

We had a fantastic time, with great sightings of general game (Impala, Giraffe, Grysbok, Warthog and Njala) as well as a few heart stopping moments with the bigger stuff. General bird sightings were good, with the highlight (for me at least) being a pair of very relaxed African Hawk Eagles watching us from Jackelberry.

This is truly special area, and coming from a guide who has walked most of the Wilderness Trails, you can't beat this experience for that remote feeling. Hope to see you soon on this trail.

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ndloti
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby ndloti » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:02 pm

Tks Strider !
After reading I have an empty feeling in my soul , here is a longing sigh from one who could have been camping in the KNP wilderness tonight was it not for work commitments due to a colleagues ineptness and inability to communicate .
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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Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby okkieb » Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:34 pm

Morning Guys

We will be doing the Mphongolo Back Pack Trail from 16-19 June 2010, CAN NOT WAIT!!

I have a few questions for this trip.

1) Are we allowed to carry fresh meat, having a braai the first night will be nice. There after "dry" foods.

2) How much water must we be able to carry on a daily basis?

3) What is the quality of the drinking water we will collect as we walk. Is water purification tablets enough?

4) Any additional information (not in the information provided during booking process) will be welcomed.

Regards,
Okkie

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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Katamboega » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:03 am

Did a trail from the 6-9th of June in the Bububu area from ponda hills to Nyamnyulo pan.

It was once again a awesome area to walk in with wonderful game sighting and the best wilderness experience, not a single outside noise not even aeroplane. This is rare and i think there is almost now were left on earth were such an experience is possible unfortunately it is not possible on all the the trails.
i think for those who are able to join us on these trails will be the people that will appreciating wilderness and understand the concept of wilderness conservation and the value of our last wilderness areas.

Other than numerous big game sighting we were rewarded with a breading herd of about 45 elephants drinking water out of the pan that we camp next to no more than 15m from were we were huddled against termite mound

Natgeo
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Natgeo » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:12 pm

What a great community and a great thread on this new backpacking adventure. My wife and I will be coming to Africa next year in June (2011), and our original plan had been to split the time between South Africa, Botswana and the Serengeti. The more we read about Kruger and it's wilderness trails (and especially this new trail), we are thinking of spending close to a month in this amazing park. We are avid wilderness hikers and paddlers from Vancouver, Canada, and so we prefer this kind of self-propelled adventure.

Just a few questions for those more familiar with the Mphongolo and other wilderness trails. We are hoping to do at least six of them while in Kruger.

1) Is it possible to do the Mphongolo Backpacking Trail twice? Preferably back to back?

2) What are the other best wilderness trails in the park? We are hoping to see a nice cross-section of Kruger (landscapes and wildlife), so currently we are thinking of doing the Wolhuter, Metsi-Metsi, Sweni, Nyalaland, Mphongolo, and possibly the Olifants (or the Mphongolo twice).

3) Is it possible to make connections between some of these trails on a Wednesday? For example, we may want to group the Metsi-Metsi and Sweni together from a Sunday to a Saturday, and thus having to travel between Skukuza and Satara on a Wednesday. Is this possible? We assume the Saturday to Sunday changeover wouldn't be as difficult because of the extra buffer day.

Thanks for any insights you can offer.

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Katamboega
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Katamboega » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:06 am

Natgeo,

It sounds wonderful, yes you can book back to back Mphongolo trails and you wont regret spending the extra time in the wilderness,if you are planing to do the other wilderness trails there wont be a problem in getting from Sweni to Metsi on time on a Wednesday and from Sweni to any other wilderness trail, time only becomes an issue if you want to get up or down to Nyalaland. If you really enjoy the wilderness i will highly recommend the Nyalaland and Olifants wilderness trails.

Don't forget the Olifants river back pack trail.

Natgeo
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Natgeo » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:57 pm

Thanks for the quick reply Katamboega. Since it might be possible to book back-to-back trips on the Mphongolo trail, I think what we might try to schedule something like this:

Wolhuter -- Wednesday to Saturday

Metsi-Metsi -- Sunday to Wednesday
Sweni -- Wednesday to Saturday

Mphongolo -- Sunday to Saturday (two trips)

Nyalaland -- Sunday to Wednesday

Question: If we had time to do the Olifants right after the Nyalaland, is it possible to travel from Punta Maria to Letaba on a Wednesday afternoon?

Thanks,
Natgeo

Zappel
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Zappel » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:51 pm

Hi Natego,

your plan to do so many trails sounds fantastic to me. :-)

But I think you would have difficulties to travel from Punda Maria to Olifants in time. Usually the wilderness trails end quite early and you would be back at Punda Maria maybe at 9:30 already. But it is still 176 km to go - with strict speedlimits applying. And imagine you would come across some great sighting and you wouldn't have the time to stop? - And believe me: there is always something to stop for ....

Here you can find the distances and travel times as given by Sanparks:
[url=null]http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/get_there/KNP_distances_beween_camps.pdf[/url]

They calculate 7 hours. I have travelled once from Parfura Gate to Phalaborwa. I had a few nice sightings and did a lot of scenic shots and it really took me more than 9 hours although it did feel a lot shorter.

Btw: at Sanparks you can book 11 months in advance - which I strongly recommend if you want to put together a schedule as tight as yours...
Here is the overview:
http://www.sanparks.org/assets/docs/par ... bility.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;?
For June only space at two dates are left. But of course from time to time pleople drop their reservations but I am not sure whether there is an official waiting list.

I recommend to place some reservations very soon. You can place a reservation for four weeks and only need to pay at the end of the four weeks. And I think if you cancel 3 months or more before the starting date you can get your full money back.

Greetings,
Zappel

Natgeo
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Natgeo » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:36 pm

Hi Zappel,

Yes, we are very excited about our visit! :dance:

Thanks for the insights on driving between Punta Maria and Olifants. I thought it might be a little too far, but I just wanted to check with somebody who knows. The link you gave us for drive times will be very useful.

Regarding reservations, our plan was to make them ASAP. However, the form you sent regarding availability only goes up to the end of April 2011. I believe that on July 1st reservations for the month of May 2011 will open, and then on August 1st reservations for the month of June 2011. We were told by Bridget Bagley that we could make requests up to fourteen months in advance, but that they would only be entered into a database and then randomly assigned when reservations officially open.

Not sure exactly what to expect. It sounds like there is no guarantee, even booking this far in advance. Does anybody else have experience with making requests between eleven and fourteen months in advance? How often are the requests granted? Or can you end up with a completely different schedule?

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Best regards,
Natgeo

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ndloti
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby ndloti » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:22 am

Natgeo , best of luck with your request , you will beat my tally of 5 back to back trails .
It may be difficult to book such an itinerary up front , as Zappel mentions there are often cancellations once initially hasty applicants realise that their requested dates do not coincide or that they cannot fill the places they requested .
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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ndloti
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby ndloti » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:17 pm

There is an article on this trail in the July issue of Getaway magazine
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.

carson
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Water availability Sept 1 Mpongolo trail departure?

Unread postby carson » Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:26 am

My husband and I are booked on the Sept 1 departure. Somewhere we read it is necessary to carry 5-6 litres of water per person. We plan to bring our "First Need" water filter and supplement with iodine tablets in case it gets clogged. Since we are travelling from the US with all of our camping and backpacking gear, we hate to bring extra water vessels if it isn't necessary.

Questions:
Will there be limited to no water this time of year?
Is the water muddy or somewhat clear?
If there is water, would iodine tablets do the trick or should we pack our filter anyway?
If we need to carry all of our water from Shingdwezi, how much total water should we plan on bringing?

On another topic-fuel for our backpack stove....
We own a jet boil stove and hoped to buy fuel in Nelspruit on the way to the Kruger. Does anyone know of a store that would sell fuel that works with this brand of stove?

Also, we would love to hear from the other 6 people booked on this trip if they happen to be forumites. We are avid backpackers and are quite excited about this trail experience.

Thank You
Carson

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Katamboega
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Re: Water availability Sept 1 Mpongolo trail departure?

Unread postby Katamboega » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:11 am

The iodine tablets will be more than adequate, you don't need to bring lots of water containers from the states. if you bring your normal containers for 2l you can always just by a normal 2l bottle of water at Shingwedzi.
I would recommend always having 4 l of water with you but there will always be places were you could replenish your supply,the water can vary from crystal clear to muddy depending on where you collect. On average people drink about 4-5l per day and you would stop of at places were you can replenish at least twice a day.

Unfortunately i cant help with were you will be able to get fuel.


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