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Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

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Re: 4 x 4 Trails in Mapungubwe

Unread postby Cassius » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:36 am

I am delighted that you have enjoyed the time spent in Mapungubwe and that the canary has provided you with serenity. While the Elephants and other jewels of the royal Mapungubwe have brought jovial moments that will forever be engraved in you’re thoughts. :clap: :dance: :D
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby HippoPotty » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:47 am

Hello everyone!

In exactly 16 days we will be heading to Mapungubwe for the very first time! :dance:

We will be travelling in two cars (a 4x4 and a 4x2). We would like to do the 4x4 trail(s?), but we don't really have experience in such routes. Are the routes graded and how 'bad' are they? (Especially after the floods?) Would first-timers be able to drive them? And would the 4x2 make it? Are the routes even open?! :hmz: We don't really want to take chances and any info or help would be appreciated. 8)

Thanks!
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WeskusKlong
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby WeskusKlong » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:57 pm

Hi HippoPotty,

I was wondering if you (or anybody else for that matter) have any feedback - about the 4x4 routes and the general condition of the roads after the floods? We are on our way to Mapungubwe in a few days as well. Will appreciate some info thanks.
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby NetEk » Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:48 am

Weskusklong- when were you there? We probably saw each other... were you flying a Yellow Ribbon? I didn't see any thats why I ask.
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby Remozami » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:42 pm

I miss that place soooo much..

You have to keep your compass in order at some places though.. :D

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WeskusKlong
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby WeskusKlong » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:58 pm

Hi NetEk, we just returned from Mazhou. We were there 10 and 11 July.

Some feedback: Wonderful place but to get there from Langebaan is hectic far. The main route to the western section is severely potholed, elephants are rampant. We saw fresh elephant dung in the road, saw a big herd on private land right next to the road. Many fences here are standard game fences with nothing to stop an elephant so large sections are down due to elephant damage. Not a road to travel on by night, there is NO road side signs to warn you of possible elephant presence.

Day-time game viewing in Mapungubwe's western block is made difficult by the dense river shore vegetation but night sounds around Mazhou is great. We had lion and elephant in close vicinity both nights with lion spoor just outside the "fence" in the road. "Fence" because a lion will pass through underneath without even noticing the two strand waist high electric fence. One strand was dangling loose so I suspect it was inoperative in any way.

From my own take the 4x4 routes are worth it. The only bit where it became difficult (on a blind rocky crest in the eastern part close to the river) was due to the fact that I could not see where the "road" goes, as there was a sharp drop to negotiate. As it goes with proper 4x4ing**, I contemplated getting out the vehicle to see if it was safe to proceed (road wise). At that very moment my wife said "elephant!" Indeed a massive cow rose from the other side of the rock - a few meters away from us. Although she seemed relaxed I did not like the situation we were in and backed off to give here room. More elephants appeared from behind the rocks. From experience this situation could turn bad if baby elephants were present. so we chose an alternative by-pass route - leaving them room to proceed.

**It is never safe to proceed on a 4x4 route if you can't see the road in front of the vehicle. It is standard 4x4 practice to get out and inspect the road ahead in a situation like this, but Park's standard policy never to leave your vehicle is in contradiction. I believe Park's should make an exception in a situation like this - allowing to leave the vehicle for road inspection (on own risk), or stop allowing 4x4ing on roads where it is necessary to do so.

A lot of effort has been put in by Parks to make this Park work. However the fact that the western and eastern sections are divided leaves an awkward situation. Hope this changes in future but in general it was a great experience. I liked Mazhou - it was a bit like camping on an un-fenced camp site - very uncommon for SANParks. Normally I have to go to non SANParks resereves to have such an experience. Hope it stays this way.
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby JenB » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:30 am

WeskusKlong wrote:**It is never safe to proceed on a 4x4 route if you can't see the road in front of the vehicle. It is standard 4x4 practice to get out and inspect the road ahead in a situation like this, but Park's standard policy never to leave your vehicle is in contradiction. I believe Park's should make an exception in a situation like this - allowing to leave the vehicle for road inspection (on own risk), or stop allowing 4x4ing on roads where it is necessary to do so.

WeskusKlong, as far as I know you are allowed to leave your vehicle on the 4x4 routes. I cannot find any rules relating to the 4x4 routes in particular but:
.........You should take great care at all times, especially when alighting from your vehicle, and keep well away from animals...........

From here.
We'll ask Lesego to confirm.... or not. :)
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby giraffee » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:30 am

WeskusKlong wrote:elephants are rampant.
8) 8) 8)

Weskusklong - Those three words are the best I read in a long time. Did you see many elephants in the western section? Near Maloustwa Pan now Maloutswa dam?

As for the 4x4 route around Tshugulu. We found it easy to navigate. although there're a couple of sections with deep sand that could be a problem. Also beware of the mopanie stumps that tear a tyre in no time, as we found out.
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WeskusKlong
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby WeskusKlong » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:51 am

Hi giraffee,

According to the the camp manager, they chased the elephants out the western section - due to the (very visible) damage to trees. However the elephants are smart and now seem to visit the area after dark only. We could hear them all night - braking trees and that familiar rumbling sound but by day break they are gone - as if they were never there.

The "rampant elephants" we saw were OUTSIDE the park. We saw herds both sides of the R572. They were on the other side of the fences at that point in time but dung in the road and bent fences are a clear indication that they go as they please. We also saw dung on the dirt road near the T junction with the R572. One must have some sympathy with the locals - I think to them the elephants are more of a problem than a blessing.

On the eastern side we saw a few individuals and small groups but nothing like the big herds west.

I deflated our 4x4's tyres quite a bit so the sandy sections were easy enough but yes you could get stuck there easily if not careful.
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby Elsa » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:04 pm

I took this piece from the info for 4 x 4 trails in Kruger. Here

The trails are self-drive and undertaken at your own risk, but a little common sense and preparation should keep you out of serious trouble. There are no facilities along the routes and you should make sure that you bring out with you what you take in. You should take great care at all times, especially when alighting from your vehicle, and keep well away from animals. Participants are requested to take their GPS with.

So unless the Mapungubwe trail is run differently I would say you can get out and inspect the track.
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby giraffee » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:26 pm

It’s so good to hear that there are still elephants around. We could not find them after the floods. Before the rains came it was truly dire straits for a couple of months. The elephants were browsing everywhere, probably following old routes from the time before fences. The farming guys we spoke to did not have deep issues with the eles. I know ZZ2 dumps excess tomatoes in the riverbed from time to time. A feast for all.

Just be sure that the route you are talking is a 4 x4 route. I think I know what section next to the river on the eastern side Weskusklong is talking about. Is that not the “normal” next to the river drive? Isn’t the 4x4 route on the western section were you have to book and pay R100?
Then I also could be complete and utterly wrong .
Of all the things I'd been skeptical about, I didn't feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me. ~Cheryl Strayed

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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby NogardGio » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:43 pm

Hello
We'll be in Mazhou next month
is accessible so now Maloustwa Pan (Hide)? but by car or by trail?
is accessible the farm road between section west and east

Thanks
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby WeskusKlong » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:35 am

Good morning,

Thank you Elsa, I totally agree with that viewpoint.

Giraffee, if a route is marked "4x4 only", I take it that normal 4x4ing rules kick in. The bit east of the confluence viewpoint is clearly marked "4x4 only". The spot I am referring to is @ S22 11 08.9 E29 23 57.6 so no not on the 4x4 route you referring to but most certainly justified to get out the vehicle to inspect the track.

NogardGio I take it you are referring to the "Den Staat" dirt road. I asked the Parks official, but he said I must take the tar road, then the dirt road past ZZ2 to get to Mazhou - which we did. I would also like to know if that route can be used to get to Mazhou.
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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby giraffee » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:26 am

Hi Weskusklong. I think the 4 x 4 route Elsa’s referring to is the 4 x 4 Eco route as per the Mapungubwe map. We received a more detailed 4 x 4 Eco Route map at the office. It’s different to the standard map guests receive when booking in. The route from the confluence next to the river and past Vembe Camp turn off is a normal road as I see it, but let’s wait for an official reply.

Hi NogardGio. Maloutswa hide itself is not open, you can easily reach the water’s edge by car. The Den Staat road used to be bad, now it’s a horror story. (Which is a very good thing to curb traffic at all hours through the park.)

I would suggest you rather do a slow game drive from Mazhou, via the Tambotie loop, than use it to reach Mazhou. The Den Staat Road reads like a book with gone hard mud tracks of cars, elephants and antelope. Also a bridge on the dirt road has washed away. Coming from the Main Gate it’s near the Mazhou /LFTC turn-off. There is a small dirt road down the left side of the donga. It was at the time we visited rather steep. A normal sedan should do it if you go really slow. You should rather take the tar road as Weskusklong said to Pondrift then the short stretch of Den Staat, past ZZ2.
Of all the things I'd been skeptical about, I didn't feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me. ~Cheryl Strayed

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Re: Mapungubwe: 4x4 Trail

Unread postby WeskusKlong » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:11 am

@ giraffee thanks for the reply. Glad I did not do the Den Staat route!

As you exit the picnic site at the confluence to the east there is a very clear sign that says "4x4 only" Also marked as such on my GPS:

Image

The Khongoni Loop is marked 4x4 as well but I found no reason for that - easy gravel road. The only two spots on that route I found to be 4x4 category is the one already mentioned and past the waterhole at S22 11 08.5 E29 24 15.2. Maybe the floods washed some soil away but there's no way that a standard car will make it through there as I found it. So I would say the sign is totally justified. See the 2 spots marked with red triangles in the pic below:

Image
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