Nonokani - Translates to 'Drive Slowly. From a little east of close to Masorini picnic site, 14 km from Phalaborwa Gate, this route meanders southward through mopane / bushwillow woodlands to Reënvoël Dam, an ideal spot for breakfast if you make an early start. The route then continues towards and along the Olifants River where lunch can be eaten at any of the two viewpoints of the river itself. White rhino middens indicate the presence of these enormous animals in the area. Look out for the many pure-white rock outcrops in the rugged Olifants River Bushveld. The trail eventually ends once past Sable Dam.Taken from KNP 4x4 adventure trails
The day dawned without a cloud in the sky – perfect to tackle the adventure trail. We ensured we left Letaba as the gates opened with extra water, emergency kit and picnics packed. By the time we had gotten to Phalaborwa Gate, booked in for the trail and turned off the tar road, it was just after 8am.
Once a few kilos into the veld away from the rest of the world, we stopped to enjoy coffee and rusks – adhering to the rules on the pamphlet supplied to us. A few meters off impala enjoyed their brekkie too! larger view
For us, the excitement of going deep into the veld ‘away from it all’ was all that mattered – if we saw animals, that would be a bonus.
So after a few kilos on the trail we were thrilled to come across a fresh kudu carcass. An eagle was feeding on it and a single vulture. As they heard the vehicle they flew up and perched in a nearby tree. I scanned the area carefully for the predator. We spent some time there, just watching as more vultures arrived and as a cheeky raven acted like he owned the whole kill, showing off with the vultures every now and again. After we realised the vultures were not going to come down while we were there, we moved on.
Soon after, to our right another carcass - this time an older one of a buffalo.
Reenvoel Dam was lovely – and no other humans around!!! Again a reason for more coffee and muffins this time. While standing, just enveloped by the silence, we suddenly heard a loud splashing ... ellies! To the left, a breeding herd had come to the stream to drink. How wonderful to watch this from the safe vantage point of the dam wall. larger view larger view
I did the driving – my navigator ... well he decided he was rather a camera man that day ... so along we drove, happily enjoying our time in the bush until I noticed looking ahead that the road went on east for a heck of a long way along the powerlines
Time to consult the map – oops ... we were not suppose to be there. Checked gps and way points, turned around and back tracked to the correct turnoff. (Hint keep a close eye on the printed instructions of the route – there are only two markers along the route) larger view of the wrong way! one of two signs
The trail dips through a very scenic watercourse – where we found a herd of buffalo. larger view
Lunch was had at the view point over the Olifants River. Four kudu males welcomed us to the area ... and in the riverbed below was a pod of hippo.
Trying to write here of the experience of being the only two people on the banks of the Olifants for many kms around can do it no justice. larger view larger view
The trail then hugs the Olifants River for a couple of kms before turning north again. larger view
We stopped to watch a Double banded sandgrouse pair with their chicks – what a special sighting that was!
The trail was about 5km from the end – both SO and I were very relaxed. Just enjoying the scenery, when suddenly, there in front of us, right next to the track was a lion pair. We stopped and spent the next hour and a half with this mating pair. larger view larger view larger view larger view larger view
We had to leave if we were going to make camp before gates closed....
After passing opposite Sable bird hide, the trail ends. larger view
By all accounts, we were the only folk on the trail that day. What a blessing to have been able to spend 8 hours in Kruger, just Hawk and me, on the Nonokani Trail.