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 Post subject: Balule Satellite Camp
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:04 pm 
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I thought this gem deserved it's own thread.

We have had our best lion experience inside this camp. We came home one night to find the fence being hecticly patrolled by hyenas (more than usual and in daylight). At about 9pm the hyenas reached a creshendo and it began to sound like a fish market. The next thing the lions began to roar. They were so close that you could feel the roar in your stomach before you heard it, as you lay in the tent. Just when we thought we had heard it all, a second pride down near the river started up and they called all night, back and forth. It was phenominal. Needless to say we weren't bothered by the hyenas again.

This camp is the most romantic and charming camp in the whole park. The quietness is respected and there are so few campers that it tends to take on a "family" feel and becomes very friendly.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:13 pm 
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DinkyBird wrote:
Does Balule have a communal kitchen? If so in the camping area and the bungalow area?


Yes there is one in the Camping site and one where the bungalows are. There is a big freezer as well so that you can keep your meat ect. frozen.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:14 pm 
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Loams wrote:
We went through there in March. There is a Bungalow side? I only saw camping :redface:

Yip - there is and they do not have windows as far as I know. I have some pics actually that I will post later this evening to show you. There is a fence between the two 'camps' but has a gate. You enter the camping side from a different gate to the gate you use to enter the bungalow side.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:30 am 
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The parafin freezers work like a bomb and in the evening you bathe by the light of hurricane lamps. Because there is no electricity it's much quieter and the stars are phenominal.

Still my best.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:28 pm 
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I am sure there are those of you who do not realise that Balule was for "Non-White" people only, in years gone by. I think its quiet ironic that its complete lack of ameneties, size and rustic feel, render it a highly sought after camp for the nature enthusiast these days.

I stand to be corrected, but I think Nwanetsi was the another camp. It is now an upmarket camp and located argueably in the best game viewing area in the KNP.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:39 pm 
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Aquilla wrote:
I am sure there are those of you who do not realise that Balule was for "Non-White" people only, in years gone by.

Hence the reason why there are no windows in the bungalows, just a space between the top of the wall and the roof that acts as a vent for air - they were not built for comfort.

I must just add that I have not been inside any of the bungalows at Balule but have read that they do not have windows so if I am wrong please correct me.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:32 pm 
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From my book of the moment; "Kruger, Portrait of a National Park" published in 1992:

Quote:
Balule is close to the Olifants river where a low level bridge crosses it. The Park authorities some years ago planned to close down Balule and replace it with a caravan camp on the bank of the river at Ngotsamond, where there is an archeological site. But such was the outcry from people who had been using Balule for years that the plan was dropped.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:02 am 
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I would think that also with only the "air vents" between the wall and the roof, mozzies might be an issue in summer?? And isn't Balule quite near the river and in the valley, not high up like Olifants?


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:02 am 
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Balule is indeed very close to the river and will have a problem with mozzies. when I was last there last year, there was no electricity and I am 100% sure that there still aint any.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 3:03 pm 
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Sooo glad to hear there is still no electricity! Love Balule to bits.
You don't get better nightlife :wink: (nightsounds) anywhere else in the park. Even heard the roar of a leopard there 1 night... shivers... you can not explain that sound to anyone.
The peace and quite at night with so few huts, no noice. And only residents are allowed to enter during the day.
The low water bridge over the Olifants has also proven great for birdviewing and the whole area around is teaming with game! Saw even wilddogs there 2 years ago on the S92 to Olifants.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:15 am 
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Only 13 sleeps to Balule!!!

It is my favourite camp in the whole of Kruger. It is where you can truely experience the magic of park - the sounds and smells. Nothing comes close to sitting at the fire, looking outside the fence and hearing the hienas, lions and even the occasional leopard. And then of course getting stuck on the low water bridge between a heard of elephant! Also saw the most beautiful kudus there two years ago.

Someone asked about the heat in December and staying in the huts without windows - I spend New Year's there two years ago and it was boiling! I put wet towels on the bed just to keep cool. But if you can stick it out for a couple of days, it will be worth your while. Anyway, who cares about the heat if you are in such a wonderful place?!?!?


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:28 am 
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I was there from the 24/09/2005 to the 30/09/2005. For the last 5 years we book all six huts for a week around September. This year we were 12 adults & 6 kids. You really get the Africa feel in Balule because of the lack of luxury. During the last year they've upgraded the beds in the huts. They thatched roofs were redone and the replace the old “Coke" freezers with old gas freezers that used to be in Satara. There are no ceiling fans in the huts. Every evening they put out paraffin lamps in the ablution block, the communal kitchen & in all the huts. In the communal kitchen there is a gas stove & a kettle. When we arrived the freezers were working, but only for a day. Three days later they replaced the gas so it started working again but we lost a lot of meat. If the weather is normal Balule is the best camp in the Kruger, but those huts do not give you any protection against the elements of African weather. The first 2 days we clocked temperatures above 45 degrees, and then we had a sand storm witch left everything under a 2cm layer of sand inside the hut because of the gap between the wall & the roof. If you get decent weather it will be the best time of your life, but if not just make sure there are no sissies with you.


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 Post subject: Balule Lowwater Bridge
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:29 am 
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 Post subject: Wonderful Balule
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:01 pm 
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Wonderful Balule

I stayed there in december 2005 for 3 nights.

Balule would be managed by Satara, but you could also check in at Olifants. Because i came from the north i decided to check in at Olifants. The regular thinks to be check in must be done, but the nice lady was very helpful. :clap: After a few minutes i got my permit / voucher to Balule.

I remember the facts on the SANParks Homepage, that there is no shop in Balule, so i shoped some goodies in Olifants. And drove to Balule. I took the main road H8 / H1-4 and than the S91 and crossed the Olifants over the low water bridge. From the bridge i spotted some vultures in the air.

Then i took the gravelled S90 for i think 1 km. There is on the left a small gravelled road, the road to Balule. You drove about 500 m to the 2 gates of Balule. Hmmm? :hmz: Which is the entrance gate, both are closed, i think i will ever take the wrong way in this situations. I took the right gate and right is the wrong. The guard gives me a sign :naughty: to drive to the left gate and opened it for me. Later i know why there are 2 gates.
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There is fence threw the camp, with only a small passing, and the right site (looking in the direction to Olifants river from the gate into the camp) is for the campers and the left site is the luxury site with the luxury huts :D .

I stayed in hut no. 6, i think the best. It stays next to the fence. And you can park your car direct at the huts. In front of the hut the common KNP braai a table and 4 Chairs.
Image

The huts are rustic and round. There is a heavy old wooden door. Inside you have in the middle a wooden pillar for the roof. There are 3 beds and a small cupboard. One bed stays single behind the door, the other 2 stays very close together in the middle of the room. But remember the pillar, there is a little space between the beds.

Before i came to Balule, i had a little bit fear :redface: of the space between the roof and the wall of the hut. But no problem, there is a wire mesh fence and a net. This stops all spiders and mozzies. Every evening came a staff member and brought a petroleum lamp for your hut and put it in the hut at the pillar. When i go to bed, i decide to make the light off for safety. Don't forget your torch! In the night there is no other light, as the stars.

Close to the hut and the fence is the braai. So you could braai or sit there and watch the regular visiting hyenas in the evening.
Image

You could also see at night the lights from the night drives on S90. In the day you could sometimes hear a car on the S90. But it is generally very quiet.
Image

Every day the staff cleaned very well the huts, communal ablution and kitchen and the complete camp. Very nice and helpful service :clap: . You could sit there also in the day, hear the bush and look at the birds, sitting in the shadow of the big trees and realise a movement at the fence. A lovely and relaxed group of ellies walking by.

The communal ablution is a small building with 1 entrance for Angels and 1 entrance for the Musketeers. I ever go to the Musketeers, so i could only write about the Musketeers site. There are to hand basin in the big room, 1 toilet and 1 shower. Remember, no electricity. In the evening the staff puts here also a petroleum lamp in. If you want to shave, you must bring your battery shaver or the knife or be like a good old wild boy :lol: .

The communal kitchen also have no electricity. There are to plates with gas. I think these plates are older then the KNP. They work fine, but in germany it wouldn't be allowed to use these ones, with this old safety. But no problem if you be careful at starting the fire. And don't forget a lighter. Oh silly from me :tongue: . Saffies must have every time a lighter in their pockets for the braai. If you need hot water you must cook it by your self, there is no little 'geysers' (instant hot water makers). There are also to basins where you can wash your dishes.
Image

Near to the fence, it looked like an old hide, is a small hut. In the hut two big cooler boxes, working on gas. They are not very cold. I think 0 degrees. But enough to cool down the castles and sundowners and keep your meat, fruit and veggies fresh for some days.
Image

The camping ground have the same facilities and also the accommodation for the staff. It looks a little bit bigger. But on the hut site are the bigger trees :P . In the camping site is the solar panel for the electric fence.
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The gate, looking outside to the south.
Image

A very lovely place for a small price. I hope, i can be there again.

If you have question, feel free to pm me or send an E-Mail or post the question.

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 Post subject: balule
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 6:26 pm 
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Hi all,

Just confirming all comments on Balule - have just stayed there for the first time. It is now my favourite camp ! It was small, had old pioneer charm, and felt very close to the bush - probably like tourists to the park would have felt in the 30's. Good game in the area too, and general night life.

Good camp, and well worth visiting to any travellers.
yours.
w


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