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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:37 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
But if leather boots get wet inside, thats it, they take a while to dry. Goretex are waterproof but breathable, so they (should) dry out quicker.

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:52 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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I'm totally on the boots side.....!
Being the city boy I am, I'm used to walk on almost any shoe except a proper boots, but for hiking purposes I'll recommend a boot over a shoe or sandal anytime!

Just my personal opinion, the ankle support is just great and although it might not feel like you need it, once you step in a ditch you'll be glad you had the ankle support...!
Was 'privileged' to snap my ankle muscles when I was 15 and it hurts more than breaking your arm (then I was 14 ) and takes longer to recover!

Furthermore, the protection from sandals/low ankle hiking shoes are limited.
On our last Olifants Backpack Trial, we had extreme difficulties with little objects coming into our shoes while walking in the longer grass / veld.
So gaiters are a MUST in my opinion, and will simply be less effective with the low profile shoes.

Donovan (trails guide) walks with sandals, because HE CAN, he does it often and is used the terrain, walking conditions etc.
But I remember him also struggling with small stones etc coming into his sandals.
I had a long thorn come RIGHT THROUGH my sole and I wore Wolverine Hiking shoes, which are proper hiking shoes IMO.

In the end, I think whatever suits you will work best, you should test it at home though!!
However blisters cannot be blamed on a shoe.
It's simply telling you that you haven't prepared enough.
Just walking around with your brand new hiking shoes is not enough to prepare for the Backpack trails.
I'd say walk around with them for a while, maybe jog with them a few times, to stretch the shoes.
However, (Donovan the guide told me this) it will be ineffective to just walk around with your shoes doing a backpack. The trick is:

1. You should actually walk around with your new shoes carrying a 15-20kg backpack on your back. This adds much more pressure on your feet, and makes your inner shoe shape quicker, which will prevent blisters.
You don't need blisters when hiking, really.

2. Get proper Valke hiking socks.
These are the best!
They seem thick, but absorb the sweat and protect your feet and if you are not a die-hard trailist are just as important as the shoes!

(3) Optional : rub your feet with spirits 3 days before, every day.
This will cause your skin to get harder and tougher, so then even low profile shoes may do the job better


Can't wait to see Sawubona limping the Mphongolo Backpack Trial in April after the 2nd day.
Poor guy is just like his rugby team: full of courage, but left his brains at home

BTW... I was one a the few guys who did not have a single blister... So guess I must have done something right. Just gotta get those gaiters!!

Will report back upon return

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:03 pm 
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Good tip about the socks Josh
In my running days I would always run with 2 pairs of socks to prevent blisters.
Without 2 pairs I would be covered in bleeding blisters, with them I could complete a marathon or ultra marathon with ease and baby soft skin.
The friction of walking or running is taken by the layer between the socks and leaves the skin intact and friction free.

I am busy reading Sonia and Alexandre's, "In the footsteps of Mankind, Africa Trek".
They used Hi-Tec boots/shoes for their trek.
Sonia had terrible problems with blisters and tried many methods to prevent them, but to no avail.
Pity Josh and I could not advise her.
I also wear only Falke socks.
The best value for money and excellent quality.

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:54 pm 
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I recently bough a pair of Hi-tec V-Lite Mach 2 and did a fair amount of hiking with them recently and was very impressed! What is very nice is that they weigh next to nothing and are completely waterproof. MM also used falke socks and had no problems!

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:41 am 
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TP, that can work, but I prefer to avoid them altogether
I have good memories of my mate being injected on the ORBT and its not my idea of fun.

Another technique I've used (and read about again recently) is to sterilise a needle, and thread some thread through the blister, leaving some thread hanging out.
This drains the blister and keeps it from reforming.
It worked for the back of my heels on the Otter Trail when I dried my leather boots in front of the fire and they dried in a bad shape.

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

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Glen Reenen TR

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 Post subject: Re: Which wilderness trail??
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:35 pm 
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WE have been on the Sweni and Bushmans trails and neither were at all tiring.
We are both over the 60 mark and the SO has already reached the three score years and ten.. ( they do say till 65 but have never queried his age and he is probably a lot fitter than some much younger than himself.) This year we have booked the Nyalaland trail .
The trail does not want to prove anything..
You go to admire the bush around you. and if you are birdie people you might not get too far.
Do a little "training " beforehand and do make sure your hiking shoes have been well worn in before going (dont want blisters) and now the most difficult part --choosing which trail to go on. !!!

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 Post subject: Re: Which wilderness trail??
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:56 am 
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The Wolhuter , Bushmans & Nyalaland trails areas are in predominantly hilly terrain , so bear in mind if your knees are prone to being painfull , though the hills offer better viewpoints !

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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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 Post subject: Re: Which wilderness trail??
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:17 pm 
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Do any one of them - each of them will offer a unique experience, the aromas, the sounds, the priviledge of being in the wilderness outside of the confines of a car, the anticipation of seeing an animal without it seeing you (though the opposite is usually the case) also knowing you will not encounter any other people besides your group (there is a small possibility of encountering field staff) the chances of getting close up to a large animal and the silence of the wilderness will possibly change your outlook of how the Kruger should be experienced ... as has happened to me, sitting on a koppie and hearing the breaking of a branch, the squealing of fighting rhinos , the curved tail if a cheetah in the distance , the roar of a lion , a black rhino in the open , too many wonderful memories to relate ...

My favourite trail remains the Metsi Metsi as I have seen some of the best on foot sightings of all the 56 trails I have walked in Kruger, though again I have seen very little on certain Metsi trails - it is very much a function of luck, of rainfall and the mystical ways of the wild ... the human factor also plays a roll, the fellow trailists can make the experience, or break it, if they do not shut up while walking or at a breakfast break it ruins my experience, this can also change the guides mood .

Nyaland , though with the lower game concentration but great beauty brings me much pleasure for various reasons , mainly that it makes me feel that I am the furthest from civilisation.
The new Napi en suite tent camp is too modern for me - the older wood & thatch camp was more to my liking and the Olifants has a wonderful view, the Sweni must not be discounted though is overrated, the Bushman & Wolhuter have their own special charms .

So , to offer the best advice , take pot luck and do each one thereafter !

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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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 Post subject: Re: Rating wilderness trails!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Out of a wilderness perspective, they are as follow.

Mphongolo back pack trail 12/10

Olifants river back pack trail 9/10

Nyalaland 8.5/10

Olifants 8/10

Metsi Metsi 7/10

Sweni, Wolhuter, Napi, Bushman 6/10

All of the trails are excellent and compared with anything else in the market of similar fashion, they are incomparable.


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 Post subject: Re: Rating wilderness trails!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Katamboega wrote:
All of the trails are excellent and compared with anything else in the market of similar fashion, they are incomparable.

Not sure I agree with this. I recently did a wilderness trail in another reserve with another organisation, and they emphasize the 'wilderness' aspect of the trails. No tents, night watch, and to the extent of taking trailists' watches away. I discussed with the guide the difference between that trail and the Kruger wilderness and backpack trails. He correctly pointed out that by using a tent, and retiring very soon after dark on the backpack trail, one misses out on a large part of the wilderness experience on trails in Kruger. After much thought I tend to agree with him.

I will still take any opportunity I can to do the Mphongolo and Olifants River backpack trails, as well as the wilderness trails, especially Nyalaland

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Glen Reenen TR

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 Post subject: Re: Rating wilderness trails!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:07 am 
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ndloti wrote:
The night watch heightens your senses , connects you strongly with the wilderness ...
I also believe in the no watch idea !
Exactly. While sleeping in a tent (or a-frame) just removes you from the environment.

Katamboega wrote:
The Mphongolo trails area is over 140 000 ha exclusive for the trail, no other development within at least an 8km radius around the boundary,

Some famous reserves are not even a quarter of this size.
Fantastic! That was one of my favourite aspect of the Olifants trail. But that's not what I'm comparing.

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

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Glen Reenen TR

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 Post subject: Re: Rating wilderness trails!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:04 am 
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Quote:
Josh of the Bushveld"ndloti, I'm sure you'd agree that in 2011, the Wilderness trails in KNP are 'wilderness' in name only.


I was disappointed to see the demise of the "donkey" and the appearance of gas geysers on wilderness trails as far back as the early 90's and when the wood fire for the kettle was replaced with a gas bottle I was devastated - though I do understand that wood must be conserved . As the earlier wilderness trails rangers moved on some of the new generation of trails guides seem to use vehicles more frequently - it seems to me there is more driving than previously .

Rather economise on fossil fuel and allow more wood ?

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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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 Post subject: Max age for Wilderness Trails
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:15 pm 
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we have booked out the entire wolhuter trail for later in the year. how strictly is the max age limit of 65 enforced? we have two 72 year olds who would like to partake in this trail. both are very fit (one climbed mount kenya earlier in the year). as we have the whole trail, would they be allowed to participate? any ideas on whom i can contact for an official response?


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 Post subject: Re: max age for wilderness trails
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:28 am 
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When there is a group booking the entire trail Sanparks is more lenient regarding the age limit .
I have walked in KNP with fitter 70 yr olds than 20 yr olds !

I have heard that a medical doctors certificate is required for those participants above the max advertised age .

Contact Bridget Bagley at Sanparks head office - direct tel no 012 426 5111 or 012 428 9111

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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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 Post subject: Re: max age for wilderness trails
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:26 am 
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ndloti

thank you very much. I emailed Bridget and got a reply back within seconds, what great service! the over 70s'just need to bring a doctors fitness letter along to attach to the indemnity and they are allowed to walk. great news, Wolhuter here we come!!!


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