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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:59 pm 
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Strider wrote:
we went for a short relaxed walk north, we decided to do it in complete silence, just to listen, smell and feel the bush around us. I think it is one of the most relaxing things you can do, and it almost makes you want to stay silent for ever!


Thank you for these entertaining reports Strider . I wish to walk in such circumstances ! These reports are getting me thinking of a mid September trail prior to my camping excursion .

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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: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:10 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
ndloti, send me those dates. Am also salivating

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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:20 pm 
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6 places available on 15 Sept .

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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: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:39 pm 
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@ ndloti and joshilewis: or you can join me on 3 october (6 places left !)

The first forumites who'll join me on the third of october shall be spoiled with a bottle of the world's finest beer: Westvleteren, brewed inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren from Belgium!
Only to be consumed on a sundowner when on the back pack trail :D

:thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:17 pm 
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Did a Mphongolo trail from the 1-4 August.
We walked the area from Malahlapanga-Mahlahluvane.

As always a unforgettable experience, good guests. 7 friends that do quite a bit of hiking around South Africa. But their first wilderness experience in the Kruger National Park.

On the first afternoon we did not go to far from the drop of point before we encountered our first game, Impala and water birds along the Mphongolo. In the first big open area we met a big elephant bull with very impressive ivory. I don't think he has been named yet in the emerging tuskers project as an impressive bull like him would not have gone unnoticed. Unfortunately he might have kept to the wilderness areas for the last couple of years and will not be seen again unless you bump into him on one of the Mphongolo trails, he looks old and i think the chances of him crossing a tourist road in the near future seems unlikely. He isn't as big as the magnificent seven but a encounter with one of Africa's monarchs at close quarters in such splendid surrounding will be something you will always remember. We sat there watching him for a couple of minutes, he was feeding venting his boules and we could hear him communicate with one of his far of Buddy's with his low communication rumbles, he never even knew we were there.

After this we headed to Malahlapanga were we encountered more general game and bumped into a young male lion, he ran of into the thickets with a couple of rumbles as we unknowingly disturbed his sleep.

We pitched camp a couple of hundred meters away from the hot water spring and got settled into camp routine, as we were getting ready to go and collect water we could figure out by the amount of ox pecker coming and going from the water that there must be a buffalo heard about. At the water we found the tracks of a big breeding herd that had drunk there during the morning. As buffalo usually ruminate after drinking and don't move too much during the heat of the day we decided to track them.
We found were they had been resting and marched on their track to catch up to them before sunset. after about 900m we could hear them in the distance and picked up some more speed as they were feeding along at quite a pace. Suddenly the noise changed and was coming closer, threw the mopanies we could see a large breading herd of elephant coming in our direction. We moved out of their way and let the pass.
the sound their bodies made threw the dry grass and dying mopane leaves amazing never hearing any plodding from their feet. After another Km we caught up to them and viewed them from a termite mound. we headed strait back to camp before sunset but found ellies close to our camp and only got back into camp routine as normal wen it was starting to get dark.

During the night the lion from the afternoon repaid us by keeping most of the guest awake by roaring close by all night and calling some friends over just to ensure that the nightly ablutions had to wait for the light of day.

The next day we headed inland and back along the Mphongolo to Malahlapanga, we spent the whole day out with some wonderful sightins and experiences, that night we spent at the same place with elephants for sunset and elephants during the night coming for a drink.

We headed down the Mphongolo the next day to later camp close to Mahlahluvane.

During our breakfast break we were sitting close to the water on some rocks when a herd of elephant came down to drink, we watched them come and go without ever knowing that we were so close to them, later during the day we got ourselves between two groups of elephant and needed to get our boots dirty wile crossing the river so as not to disturb them.

At camp that night we could hear leopard and a herd of buffalo that came to say goodbye the next morning drinking at the waterhole close to camp wile we were packing up our packs.

just another lekker trail.


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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:22 pm 
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:thumbs_up: Lekker indeed!

Had that same silent approach experience with an elephant last week. Though we stood watching him at less than 30 meters we could not hear him walking. Amazing!

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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:13 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
We had over 35 elephants at the lodge in Welgevonden on Saturday night, also couldn't believe how little sound they made

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Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal


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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:39 am 
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MBPT 4-7 August

The group comprised 5 young gents from Jo berg and a couple from Pretoria. We headed out on the hour and a half drive to the drop of point along the Boubop drainage line, on route passing at least 10 different breeding herds of elephant all along the Shingwedzi river. With the bush drying up the elephants in particular are feeding closer to permanent water.

The first afternoon we headed in a easterly direction towards the Phondo hills windmill. In that area there are large open sodic sites and plenty of general game, impala, wildebeest, warthog, giraffe. We set up camp a little way of from the windmill, and went about collecting firewood, hand fresh water, there is still some surface water at that point in the drainage, but we chose to put in a little effort and dig a small well to collect the drinking water. While sitting around the fire preparing “ delicious” dehydrated food the lions made their presence known. During the night those that were not snoring ( not many!!) heard leopards, hyenas, and in the early morning giant eagle owls and fire necked night jar and ground hornbills.

We packed up daypacks and enough water to last the whole day out, and set of towards the Phondo hills. We scrambled up the first koppie and enjoyed a relaxed breakfast ad awesome view of the area. We made the treacherous decent and on route to the next koppie we were alerted to by the red billed oxpecker and sighted two buffalo bulls in the scrub, they quickly picked us up as we tried to approach closer, the undergrowth and rocky terrain made a quite approach tricky. They blundered of through the bush. We lunched under 4 regal nyala trees on the banks of the bouboup . when we reached camp and headed down to the drainage to collect water we found “ our drinking spot already occupied” by a breeding herd of elephant. We snatched what we could and headed back up to camp. After a little wait and a good look around, I took one “ volunteer” to carry the two buckets and we snuck back into the drainage and quickly collected another 20l just to get us through the night. The dehydrated food packs loosing their appeal, and the breeding herd in the area lead to an early night.

On the last full morning we packed up camp and headed upstream moving along the northern bank of the drainage, which is much thicker and dense when compared to the southern bank. The day was hot and windy ( typical August weather) and there was the lovely smell of smoke in the air, nothing smells like a bush fire. We were afforded a fantastic opportunity to view a young elephant bull, and he appeared latter again at the reservoir, were with a little more cover he was a little more confident and gave the group a little of a display. After the bull had lost interested in us we headed to the reservoir, we after a little bit of coaxing the 5 gents ventured into the pea green waters of the reservoir for a cool dip, while the other couple selected the less strenuous climb into the water troughs. The water level of the reservoir is getting quite low indicating that the area is being heavily utilized by game as a water point, this is also made more evident by the wagon wheel effect of game paths coming into the troughs. After the swim we headed out to a large open area were we set up camp for the last night. The last morning was cold and windy, making game and bird spotting difficult however the bush is never quite, we found a lovely stand of impala lilies flowering.


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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:24 am 
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Thanks for more wonderful and exciting reports Asanja & Katamboega. :clap:
Must be fascinating to see the veld and bush/water changing with the seasons and how the animals adapt to that.

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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:49 pm 
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:thumbs_up: Thanks!

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Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparkshr.org


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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:43 am 
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Reading all of these posts has had me salivating! :D

Yesterday I booked for my husband and I to do the trail in June next year! A long time away I know, but enough time for me to get myself fully prepared for a hike without ablutions! :tongue:

We are really looking forward to it, will be our first walk in Kruger. We decided it was time to take our Kruger experiences to the next level!!!
:dance:


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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:53 am 
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The ultimate level! :thumbs_up:

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Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparkshr.org


One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.


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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:40 pm 
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Hello everybody,

I will be doing the Mphongolo Trail at the end of October :dance: - and at the moment I am searching for a lightweight tent. The one I have set my eyes on only comes in a bright yellow. Does that matter? - Or is it better to go for a more neutral coloured tent?

And what about the sleeping bag: mine has got a 'comfort' temperature of 14° C. I think that should be alright for end of Oct. What do you think?

Many greetings,
Zappel


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 Post subject: Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:38 am 
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The bright yellow colored tent is not an issue - your clothing should be of a more neutral colour .

The sleeping bag will be warm emough - unless an very intense cold front passes by , which is most unlikely for the end of October - minimum early morning temperatures should not be less than 10 degrees centigrade .

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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: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:32 pm 
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For those of you who are interested there is an article in the "Weg" magazine, October.


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