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 Post subject: Jacov, Reinette, Hawk, DB live the dream - Lebombo Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:11 pm 
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It started as a dream.... about three years ago.... Hawk and I watched a convoy of 4x4's driving over the bridge outside Lower Sabie, and something just connected in both of us - that was what we would love to do. The Lebombo 4x4 Trail. And here we are - about to live the dream. The Land Cruiser is packed with hopefully everything we need to survive out in the Kruger wilderness for 5 days. Tomorrow we set off early and head for Crocodile Bridge gate and on Sunday at 9am we will set off on the trail.

And who better than Mr and Mrs 4x4 to do this trail with :D:D Jv and R - looking forward to meeting up with you guys and having what is promising to be a really special time in KNP!!

(I have not forgotten that I am only halfway with my other trip report :P Can an angel help going to KNP so often :twisted:)

And a ps - there are some of you out there who will be blown away by my new packing skills :P

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


Last edited by DinkyBird on Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:32 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:28 pm 
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Thanks for all the good wishes everyone! We'll drink a sundower to you all!

To add what our esteemed Angel said.

I saw a similar convoy at Olifantscamp in 2004 on our first trip to KNP. I have always had the idea to get a 4x4, and Lebombo has been a dream since I heard of the trail. Now that dream is coming true.

I am busy sorting the final preparations and packing. We are meeting DB and Hawk at 06:00 tomorrow morning, then off to Crocbridge.

DB, I am not Mr 4x4. I have done some trips and trails yes, but one can never stop learning. O and your packing skills? I'll reserve comment till after the trail. As they say, seeing is believing.

Well I need to go pack, still want to see the Boks - England game tonight.

Till later! Keep well

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:42 am 
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Just had call from DB, they having awesome time, just in at Mopani 4 desperately needed showers lol! Only need 2 see leopard 2 complete big 5,very few birds!


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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:25 pm 
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Jay wrote:
Just had call from DB, they having awesome time, just in at Mopani 4 desperately needed showers lol! Only need 2 see leopard 2 complete big 5,very few birds!


Very few birds! :shock:

Hope that situation improves...

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:18 am 
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Just a quick, we are back :( . DB and Hawk still on their way to EL. The trip was great. Will work on our part of the report asap.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:43 am 
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Hello All!
As Reinette said we are back.

What a TRIP!!!!!!! When can we go again????
Great guide + great place + great company = one AWESOME trip!!!

We will start with our trip report ASAP (And we will still beat DB to hers.......)

I have not laughed as much as we did on this trip. Will keep you in suspense till then.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:30 pm 
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We are home! We could turn round right now and do it all again and again and again! It was SPECIAL!!!!! WOW!!!!

As Reinette and Jacov have said - the whole trip was just great. I have to second that the guide/ranger was great, the company was great, the trail was great. We too have not laughed for a very long time as much as we did this past week. We have come away with nothing but very happy memories we will treasure forever!!

Oh - and yes, I did pack into one crate.... tell them now Jv :P

And TXD - there were not too many showers let me tell you!!

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 7:03 pm 
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DinkyBird wrote:
Oh - and yes, I did pack into one crate.... tell them now Jv :P

And TXD - there were not too many showers let me tell you!!


Yip, one crate DB, one crate.... and 500 other bags with shoes and stuff...... :P

TXD sorry, but showers? There was showers? I missed that part.....
(The first camp site has showers, you supply your own water. The others don't have, but then you do visit the main camps almost everyday, and you use the showers there)

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 7:35 pm 
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As mentioned before, this trip did not just start on a sunny Sunday in September. It was coming from way before then. Seeing a convoy of 4x4 vehicles entering or leaving a camp, passing them on a tourist road somewhere, woke something in us. “We can also do it.”

Then one day early this year I got a message from DB. “There is a week open in September on Lebombo, do I book it”. A million things raced through my mind. First though, “YES!!!!! Book it”. Then “Oi, it is expensive!” and “What about the kids?” Children under 12 is not permitted, our eldest is 7, now what.

Well the logistics have this funny way of sorting themselves out. Reinette’s parents would go to KNP and take the kids with them, visiting normal camps. My parents and brother was joining us on the trip, so they where not available to assist.
Both Reinette and I have the best parents! To both moms and dads, THANK YOU!!!!!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:30 pm 
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Saturday, 15 September 2007

Everything is packed. We are up at the crack of dawn to meet Dinky Bird and Hawk at the B&B just after 6:00. With exited greetings Jacov and Hawk sorted the 2-way radios out and we are finally on our way. The way the greetings were going, this promised to be a week with long conversations to follow. At first DB was a bit shy to use the radio. We traveled to the Middelburg Shell Ultra city where we planned to have breakfast and meet with Jacov’s parents and brother. From there we continued to Croc Bridge via Schoemanskloof.

We arrived at Croc Bridge just after 14:00, pitched the tents, delivered the kids and their luggage at my parents, staying in a bungalow at Croc Bridge and enjoy the idea of being in KNP again. Jacov’s folks even met up with friends, leaving the following day. One of the great things of Kruger, seeing friends there you never expected.

We went for a late afternoon drive, on the lookout for Duke. Driving on the S28 the driver of a car coming from the front, told us about a sighting of 3 cheetahs a few km ahead close to the road to Nhlanganzwane Dam. Will you believe, for the first time ever, it was really 5km on. There weren’t too many other vehicles and we could spend some time with them. What a great sighting. It was getting late and we decided it will be better to turn around going back to the camp than driving the loop we planned too. We arrived back at camp before gate closing time.

We had a braai for supper and there was a hyena that made a quick visit at the fence. We enjoyed the night sounds of hippo, hyena and lion before going to sleep, all very excited for the Lebombo Overland Eco Trail (LOET) starting the next morning.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:21 pm 
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Lebombo Eco-Trail. For us, a dream. And a privilege. The trail runs once a week for 7 months of the year. Five vehicles may take part each week. Just one hundred and fifty 4X4's a year.....

Once the booking was secured, the planning and long count down started. One has to be completely self sufficient for the 5 days in the bush. How on earth does one fit everything into the vehicle!! A comprehensive list is supplied on the website here - and we pretty much stuck to it. Thanks too to Jv for the planning tips he gave us.

With excitement at fever pitch, we finally left home at crack of dawn on Friday morning and set off on the long journey to meet up with R and Jv and then on to Kruger. Jv kindly (and fortunately) lent us a radio - the first time I have ever been expected to speak over a radio ... took a bit of a while to get over my shyness.... We met up with Jv's parents and brother and soon we too were part of a 4X4 convoy over a bridge in Kruger. The dream was becoming a reality.

Entering Kruger at Crocodile Bridge Gate:
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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:07 pm 
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Booking into Crocodile Bridge camp went smoothly. And in no time we had all agreed on how best to set up camp for the night, tents went up, beds were made, and we all cracked a cold one and toasted friendship and the exciting days ahead!

The highlight of our late afternoon drive along the S28 was the cheetah sighting. Oh, it was just so great to be back in Kruger again. The veld was bathed in a golden light.

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Braai time, and then off to bed with much anticipation for what the morning would bring!

Sunday morning and in no way did we want to be late, so we were up bright and early - enjoyed coffee and rusks, had a good shower (seeing it was to be our last for a while), packed up, did the necessary as far as letting down tyres etc and went to park at the filling station and wait to meet up with the ranger and other two participants.

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Just before 9am our ranger arrived. Jerry Magale (assistant camp manager at Biyamiti) introduced himself, gave us the briefing and explained that one of the vehicles due to join us had some technical hitch and would meet up with us later during the day.

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At long last we were on our way!!

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:22 am 
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Sunday, 16 September 2007

At 8:00 everybody was packed and ready. Last stuff for the cooler bag on the road bought. The kids are on their way to Pretoriuskop with grandpa and grandma.

The 3 vehicles: Colt (with Jacov’s parents), Land Cruiser (with Hawk and DB), and our Isuzu got the necessary fuel and the tyre pressures adjusted. The 4th vehicle arrived, a Pajero with Chris, Sharon and their son, Greg. No sign of the 5th vehicle and we didn’t know if there is going to be one. Just before 9:00 a white Nissan arrived at the petrol station, our guide, Jerry Magale.

After all the indemnity forms were signed and handed in we heard there is a 5th vehicle, but he has a problem and is in Nelspruit. They will join us as soon as possible.

Unfortunately the radios the park issue all the vehicles with, wasn’t working. Thus we had no communication between Jerry and the rest of the convoy. At least 3 of us were in contact with our own radios, but it was a pity the 4th vehicle and Jerry couldn’t communicate with us on the road.

At about 9:20 we left the camp in convoy. Just outside the Croc Bridge gate we turned right.
We saw a monitor lizard, some ellies and general game. We stop at the power line poles with harness on. Here Jerry told us it is a way to protect the poles against the rhinos using it as a scratching pole. This was already the 3rd one, the other 2 broke.

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We learned about some of the plants in the area and stop next to the Crocodile River where we saw a huge crocodile and a large herd of hippo. There were a giant kingfisher and some elephants, waterbuck and impala to be seen.

Image Image

We continued to the lookout point of the border post and Rezano Garcia.
From here we continued to the Sabie gorge where we had some lunch. After lunch we went to Lower Sabie in case there is something anyone still needs to get at the shop, because we won’t go to a camp the following day, and to hopefully meet up with the 5th vehicle.

There were unfortunately still no sign of Duke. We saw a nice flock of yellow billed stork and some ellies in the Sabie River next to the H4-2 close to Lower-Sabie. Jerry stopped and climbed out. We waited until he got to us and talked about the birds, we asked if we could get out, seeing we are on a tourist route, and got a yes. Wow, what a feeling. We are very strict on climbing out of the vehicle, how else if you want to teach your kids to respect nature, rules and the KNP?

We spent some time at LS. The 5th vehicle is stuck in Nelspruit and they will meet us the following day.

From LS we continued to our camp for the night. Just over the bridge turning right on the S29 we saw lion sleeping in the afternoon sun.

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We were greeted by some giraffe at the camp site for the first day. Pitching the tents was quite a challenge. The wind was blowing and you needed at least 3 to 4 people per tent to hold it down till all the pegs were in the ground. After all houses were standing we made a fire to braai. Even the wind couldn’t stop us from conversation around the fire. All went to bed by 21:00. The wind never stopped blowing that evening. Our first night in the open bush…..


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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:18 pm 
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This was Hawk and myself's first overland trip. We have done the odd 4X4 day trail in the past, but never one where we needed to be self sufficient and would sleep over along the trail. I tried to read up as much about this trail before hand in order to be as prepared as possible. Although the info on this website does not state one is lent two way radios by SANParks to use on the trail, I had read elsewhere this was the case in the past. And the only negative aspect of this whole experience was the fact that the entire group was not in radio contact - particularly with Jerry, due to the fact that the SANP radios were not in working order and have not been for a good while. Jerry handled the situation very well using his indicators to alert the vehicle behind him of special sightings and stopping often to talk to us.

I would not have liked to do the trail without a two way radio - so thank you to Jacov for lending us his handheld one.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:18 pm 
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The first part of the trail runs long the southern boundary of Kruger from Crocodile Bridge Camp to the most south east corner of the Park. We stopped a few times along the way to learn about the vegetation, some of the animals we encountered and to take a walk to a dam built by the Park in the Crocodile River. There we watched the river's namesake - a huge croc, make his way up and over the dam wall. We discussed the farms on the opposite bank and the effect of the animals on their crops. As we spoke an ellie was purposefully making his way through the river with his eye on the lush sugar cane fields!

Before turning northward we stopped again and enjoyed the view out over Mozambique.
Image

We then drove along the eastern boundary of Kruger stopping for lunch at a lovely view site which overlooked the Sabie Gorge. There are no picnic tables to set lunch out on, so perched on some rocks, the hot sun above, we roughed it - but lunch had never tasted this good before!

Sabie Gorge - looking towards Moz:
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Sabie River - looking back across Kruger:
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It was on to Lower Sabie camp for a half an hour stop. Reinette has mentioned alighting from our vehicles along the tar road - and wow, this was so Super Special to be able to do! I just stuck my nose into the air and enjoyed the fact that I was able to walk a good few metres into the bush towards the river.
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Twelve kilometres on from Lower Sabie, close to the Sabie River, was our first overnight stop - Ntini Camp. Jerry asked us to set up our tents in a circle around the camp, vehicles to the outside. As you will see from the pics, we all huddled to the one side of the camp to try and be as upwind as possible of the dust the wind was blowing up. Everyone pitched in to help each other erect their tents in the strong wind. We enjoyed a communal braai and some good conversation getting to know the rest of the group better and loving Jerry's tales of the bushveld. Hippos barked in the distance.

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The shower and long drop. Only Ntini camp had shower facilities, (one had to provide your own water tho) so I would call this the luxury camp of the trail :lol:
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At no point was I nervous that there was no fence between us and Kruger that night. Whether a sixth sense does kick in and one is more alert to movement around one, I am not sure - but to me to be camped out in Kruger like this just seemed second nature.

PS - Jacov, where did you see 500 bags????? :evil:
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