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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:22 pm 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Welcome Quin2008 :D

Look here as well for some Trip Reports on Bontebok!!!

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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:50 pm 
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joshilewis wrote:
This might be a good starting point.

Thanks, Josh, for posting the link to my TR whilst I was sleeping (I'm 7 hours behind SA :wink: ) I will be adding a bit more to my TR over the next few days.

@Quin2008: There is a mountain bike trail and 4 walking/hiking trails, ranging from 1.6km (the Acacia trail, which I did) to 5.4km (the Bushbuck trail, which did appear to be open). One thing that I did not know until I arrived at the park is that because of construction of a new entrance gate, reception building and day visitors' centre, most of the drive on the western side of the park, including Die Stroom, was closed. However, there was plenty else to explore, so don't be put off just because of that. And Die Stroom is accessible, I believe, if you do the Bushbuck trail. I'd suggest calling the park to check on progress.

Enjoy you visit to Bontebok! It's a lovely, quiet park :thumbs_up:

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20-16 Oct Joburg
27-30 Oct Mapungubwe: Limpopo forest tented camp, Leokwe camp
31 Oct-1 Nov Pafuri River Camp
2-15 Nov KNP: Punda Maria, Sirheni, Olifants, Tamboti, Skukuza
16-22 Nov Cape Town
23 Nov-20 Jan Darling


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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:54 pm 
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kudu83 wrote:
We took our mountain bikes along and visitors are allowed to use all the routes(22km all-in-all). You'll get a map at reception which shows where the paths lead.

The mountain bike trail is 9.2km and I don't think that you are allowed to ride bikes on the hiking trails, which are designed for those of us who are interested in looking at the smaller things, such as insects, plants and birds. I know that I would have been very upset if bikers had come along the trail that I was walking :twisted: :roll: :twisted:

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RSA 2014
20-16 Oct Joburg
27-30 Oct Mapungubwe: Limpopo forest tented camp, Leokwe camp
31 Oct-1 Nov Pafuri River Camp
2-15 Nov KNP: Punda Maria, Sirheni, Olifants, Tamboti, Skukuza
16-22 Nov Cape Town
23 Nov-20 Jan Darling


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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:28 am 
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arks wrote:
The mountain bike trail is 9.2km and I don't think that you are allowed to ride bikes on the hiking trails...

I may be wrong, but I seem to remember being able to mountain bike on the roads in the reserve?

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 Post subject: Bontebok in June
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 6:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:49 am
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Hi,

I am planning on visiting Bontebok National Park in June, I was hoping to use a 4WD with a roof-top tent, will this be suitable, or is the weather too cold / wet for camping at this time of year?

Any other tips appreciaed, I am a first-timer (in fact this will be my first trip to Africa!).


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 Post subject: Re: Bontebok in June
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:35 am 
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Hi

A visit to Bontebok is always a good idea - The weather in June, although supposed to be the start of the rainy season - had changed over the past few years and nowadays it is quite moderate (Not to cold, but not as hot as during summer).

Your choice of accomodation would be suitable, weather permitting! (And nobody could predict what Mother Nature would do!!)

Regards


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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:53 pm 
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
joshilewis wrote:
arks wrote:
The mountain bike trail is 9.2km and I don't think that you are allowed to ride bikes on the hiking trails...

I may be wrong, but I seem to remember being able to mountain bike on the roads in the reserve?

Because of this discussion and the confusion about biking is allowed in Bontebok NP, I asked Carli Venter, the manager of the park, and this is her reply, which she has asked me to post on the forum:

Quote:
There seems to be some confusion between Hiking trails and normal tourist vehicle roads. It is indeed correct that we have the 9,2km Mountain bike trail, which is for use by non-motorized transport (thus bicycles) only in the quiet zone of the Park. We then do also allow mountain bikes and walking on all our normal vehicle roads – 22km’s of them. You are indeed correct that our 4 hiking trails are ONLY for hiking, although we have had some reports of a few locals trying them out with bikes – we are looking out for the culprits in that case!!


So yes, Josh, you are correct, biking IS allowed on the vehicle roads as well as the mountain bike trail, but bikes are NOT allowed on the hiking trails.

Many thanks to Carli for her definitive response on this "grey area". Bontebok is indeed a little gem of a park and I'm sure all who choose to visit will never regret that choice!

I will be adding a few more pix to my Bontebok trip report in the next day or two.

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RSA 2014
20-16 Oct Joburg
27-30 Oct Mapungubwe: Limpopo forest tented camp, Leokwe camp
31 Oct-1 Nov Pafuri River Camp
2-15 Nov KNP: Punda Maria, Sirheni, Olifants, Tamboti, Skukuza
16-22 Nov Cape Town
23 Nov-20 Jan Darling


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 Post subject: Re: Bontebok in June
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:49 am
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Thanks for your prompt reply - sounds encouraging, fingers crossed mother nature is kind to us :)


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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:29 pm 
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We were at Bontebok this past weekend camping with friends. Overall I was very impressed. The riverside campsites are still not available which was a bit of a disappointment.

I only have two complaints:
1) The place suitable to enter the water at the river near the campsite is rather small, so if there are a lot of kiddies swiming there then its kinda crowded.
2) Swimming at Die Stroom is much nicer, but it would be nice if some trees could be planted for shade or some kind of shade structures, near the water. Its boiling hot there and the wind made using umbrellas a problem.

I am interested in photography and got some awesome shots with my new camera which made me very pleased. We are hoping to go back again towards the end of the year to do the hiking trails and some more photography.


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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:11 am 
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Munchkin wrote:
:thumbs_up: Thanks Senyetse for the update. Will be spending one night - end April - at Bontebok so will make sure to look in at the picnic site to see what changes have been made.

My 5c! WRT the riverview sites - I do hope that SANParks does decide to re-open them as soon as is reasonably possible. I do understand that flooding can cause major damage and the cost of a huge cleanup is probably enormous - but it's been months now and things seem to be happening very slowly. :roll:

:thumbs_up: The riverview sites were extremely popular and I for one am sooo looking forward to be able to camp there once again. :pray:


Hi Munchkin

I took your wish to the Park Manager, Carli Venter and she responded as follows:

The area damaged by the severe flooding in November 2008 was cleaned up and repaired within 3 months. Flooding however is a seasonal occurrence, from June to September these sites are “flooded” virtually on a weekly basis due to high river levels. Due to staff constraints and the extensive time spent on mopping up and maintenance at the lower bank, management decided it more efficient to move our sites without power into the main camp on the higher level permanently. The 2008 flood also highlighted the risks in allowing visitors to set up camp below flood lines.



These sites have been in place within the main camp for the past year. We do understand some of our regular visitors would love to camp right next to the river, but this change has not deterred them from returning to the Park anyway.



The move has meant that there is more space available on the river bank, giving fair usage of the area to our campers preferring to camp with power as well as the occupants of our chalets. The Park has seen continued growth in visitor numbers, and the new arrangement is beneficial to the majority of our visitors.



A few other changes – we don’t allow any vehicles down at the river. This is a safety arrangement as we do have a lot of children up and down the dodgy little road down to the river. Fishing inside the camp is also prohibited in peak times – children swimming, people in canoes and fishing just don’t mix that well. We have identified a dedicated fishing spot, with shaded parking, further up river – reports on catches at the new spot have been excellent.



The rule remains that we don’t allow day visitors into the camp. Due to construction at our Day visitors area we did allow it temporarily over the past year, but things are now back to normal with the day visitors area open again.



I can assure you that management don’t take any decisions affecting our visitors lightly, and we appreciate any feedback and responses.



Regards,



Carli Venter

Park Manager: Bontebok National Park


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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:21 am 
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CarolWard wrote:
We were at Bontebok this past weekend camping with friends. Overall I was very impressed. The riverside campsites are still not available which was a bit of a disappointment.

I only have two complaints:
1) The place suitable to enter the water at the river near the campsite is rather small, so if there are a lot of kiddies swiming there then its kinda crowded.
2) Swimming at Die Stroom is much nicer, but it would be nice if some trees could be planted for shade or some kind of shade structures, near the water. Its boiling hot there and the wind made using umbrellas a problem.

I am interested in photography and got some awesome shots with my new camera which made me very pleased. We are hoping to go back again towards the end of the year to do the hiking trails and some more photography.


Hi Carol

Welcom to the forum!

I have taken your complaints up with the Park manager and this was her response.

"Thank you for the comments on the swimming area at the rest camp. The park has been investigating methods to stabilize the riverbank in that area, which would also allow easier access to the water. There is however a bit of a clash between tourism and conservation here as this is a naturally eroding bank, with the eroded material being deposited on the opposite side of the river. The matter is under discussion and we hope to have a satisfactory outcome for our visitors soon.



Secondly, around shade at Die Stroom – all the large trees in the area were washed away during the flood in 2008, you can still see some remains on the bank. When considering tree planting we have to look at indigenous trees, and most visitors would know that we are not exactly a tree-rich area. The most obvious choice would be Breede River Yellow woods, but they do grow rather slowly and are not very large trees. We are looking at landscaping solutions where we could have built structures at the braais, with a combination of tree planting. The issue has been raised by our Honorary Rangers, and we hope that they will take fund raising on the matter forward in the near future."

Regards

Bontebok


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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:46 am 
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Awesome. Thanks for the feedback Bontebok. I had noticed the erosion of the riverbank in fact, I had thought that it looked like more of it could go at any time. What about a kind of jetty into the water, which wouldn't affect the riverbank that much - although I realize that flooding might make that idea impossible - a floating jetty maybe, that could be taken out if it looks like flooding will occur?

Oh, and while we are on the subject of the waterhole at the campsite. My hubby did notice that there was a pole underwater and therefore unseen near the logged entrance to the water. We later saw kiddies jumping in the water there and warned their parents of the underwater pole. I think it could pose a danger to kiddies doing jumping. Its on the right side as you enter the water, quite near the entrance area. (maybe the remains of a previous jetty?)

Another compliment - I bought the 'Bontebok National Park' pictorical essay book from the shop and think that the way it is set out in the seasons is a fantastic idea. Its helped my hubby and I to decide what time of year to go back again.


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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:43 pm 
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:thumbs_up: Thanks Bontebok Guru for all the updates and feedback. While I am sad that the riverview sites will not be re-opened, I totally understand SANParks reasons for doing so.

I support BB's comment in that I too will continue to promote and support Bontebok NP.

Fantastic Park, great staff and only good experiences to report! :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:46 pm 
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The following letter (directly translated) was published in the Afrikaans paper "Die Burger" of Saturday, 27 March 2010:

"Ten out of ten for management and personnel responsible for maintaining the camp site at Bontebokpark near Swellendam.

Our extented family pitched our tents in the park during the past long weekend. The camping area was particularly well taken care of and the ablutions were clean and attractive with more than ample hot water to shower and to bath.

The chalets, which we only admired from outside, appeared very charming. All chalets and about all camping sites were occupied - this being an indication of the park's popularity.

Annemarie Esterhuyse
Stellenbosch"

Congratulations to the management of one of my favourite parks.

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 Post subject: Re: BONTEBOK
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:15 pm 
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I agree with that. :thumbs_up:

They have the best showers I have ever test driven in a NP. I scalded myself because I was not used to the hot water getting hot immediately and such a strong flow.

BTW Bontebok, what's the latest happening in the park?

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