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Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
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Katamboega
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Katamboega » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:53 am

Katamboega was there.

The launch date has not been decided yet but i will tell you as soon as the bookings open for it.
The area is huge and there is no route,but we have divided the area into blocks that we will use on a rotational basis to minimise the impact.

This last trail we got dropped of in the Malalhapanga block and only did 1km before pitching camp close to a waterhole were two ellies were drinking.During the night we heard lions roaring so started tracking them in the morning from the waterhole close to our camp for about 3.5 km along the Mphongolo river until they spotted us and ran off,we gave them a rest to settle down while we were having breakfast at a beautiful pool.We continued tracking them for about 2km but gave up on stony ground around mid day.Returning to camp we packed up and headed to the Malalhapanga spring and enjoyed a bath in the warm water and camped close by.Lots of other game was sighted during the tracking
and even sign of Black rhino.

This is the type of day that you can expect (total freedom)WILDERNESS

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Imberbe
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Imberbe » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:39 pm

This sounds like a dream trail! :thumbs_up:
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Katamboega
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Katamboega » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:09 am

Did another trial run last weak in the Mooi Gesig area along the Pugwane
and it was ekselent

You should ask Betelgeuse for her comments as she was on this trail.

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Betelgeuse
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Betelgeuse » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:09 am

There's no getting away from this one hey?! :whistle: :lol:

It was such an awesome experience, I don't really know where to begin...
This trail is not everybody's cup of tea, definitely something different!

Things that are etched in my memory are:
Mooigesig dam and the amazing amount of wildlife around on day 1 - eles, buff and rhino and their interactions. The location of our camp. Listening to the sounds of the wild under the stars.

Sweating it out between the Mopani trees on day 2 and digging for water in dry river beds untill we got to the windmill. Having a rhino peep at us over the river bank and an elephant heading towards the water diggings in the river bed and smelling us in the sand (or was it that elephant bull in musth that he smelt??? :wink: ), but he decided not to hang around anyway. All those elephant sightings! Walking past Sharpe's grysbok & sleeping warthogs (they were huge!). Pitching camp under those big trees and having a swim (we were smelling like elephants by then)...

Being blessed with a cool day, we walked quite a distance since we didn't break up the camp (we took water and food for the day) and saw eland while tracking buffaloes. How cool is that - eland on foot! Whalberg's eagle, impala, kudu, warthogs, elephants and scrub hares were on our list as well.

Walking back we didn't see the large numbers of game at the dam like on day 1 (due to the cooler weather) but we had a good time observing the crocodiles, general game and birds around the water like white-backed vultures, Mosque swallows, Egyptian geese + goslings. We also came across a clean buffalo carcass and had a very ineresting, in-depth geology lesson at an erosion site.

And as it is with all good things, the trail came to an end.
There is nothing like looking, if u want to find sumthing. You certainly usually find sumthing, if u look, but it is not always quite the sumthing you were after. - JRR Tolkien.

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DANKBAAR
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby DANKBAAR » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:44 am

Su that sounds amazing.

Thanks for sharing the experience with us.
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ndloti
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby ndloti » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:48 am

Su Marie , great news !
Did you walk far from the drop off point to the campsite ?
How many nights did you spend in the wilderness ?
Did you use the same campsite ?
Did you lift your backpacks into trees when you went on the walk you mentioned ? (water & food for the day)
The OBPT was a bit of a slog for me with the distances with a backpack

Please tell us more !
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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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby G@mespotter » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:21 am

:thumbs_up: Beutelgeuse :dance:

Sounds like a winner, with less preassure than the Olifants Back Pack Trail. I wish I could do some planning for next year...... :x

Eland on foot is indeed special, although not in Kruger I've experienced it once :D You mention a lot of rhino...interesting as I have not seen them often up north.

I hope that WHEN you have time sometime and got hold of some pics, a few pictures of camp might be accidentially posted here :wink: :tongue:

:thumbs_up: Thanks for the update!!
Tambotie 20 July, Shipandane Birdhide 21 July, Mphongolo Backpack Trail 22 -25 July, Tzendze 26 July, and Greater Limpopo National Park 27 -29 July :D

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:49 pm

The wording on the website has now changed:
The trail stretches over 4 days and three nights, with departures every Wednesday and Sunday between 1 February and 30 November.


Further down the page, the text is still the original:
Bookings can be made through Bridget Bagley email: bridgetb@sanparks.org or Tel: +27 (0)12 426-5117 or alternatively Hesther Van Den Berg hestherv@sanparks.org at the same number as of 1 November 2009 although the first trail will only depart on 1 April 2010.


Can anyone confirm whether the trail will in fact run from 1 Feb to 30 Nov?
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Katamboega
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Katamboega » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:57 am

Just completed two Mphongolo Trails.

It was awesome,good rains have fallen in the area and it is beautiful. The Pugwane and the Mphongolo rivers were flowing and there was lots of water in the pans.

Along the Mphongolo river we found the carcass of a big Hippo bull that was killed in a fight with another bull, crocodiles were feeding on it out of the water. Black rhino tracks at Mahlahluvane waterhole.lions roared one night and hyena calling most nights.

Found elephant breeding herds, elephant bulls, buffalo bulls and tracked ten lion successfully. The lions we eventually found sleeping in the Pugwane river, very nice sighting. Tracked leopard female but she got wind of us and headed for the hills before we could get to see her. We also found plenty of general game and the scenery is beautiful as usual, new trees distribution for the area was also recorded.

The trail an excellent wilderness experience and you feel like a new person after such an experience.

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Katamboega
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Katamboega » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:44 am

On some trails we don't move camp, but it really depends on how you feel.
the last two trails we camped on a different spot each night but we were at our camping spots around eleven each morning and settled in and went for walks without the pack in the afternoon. Time is of no importance and the distance that you walk is dictated around what you find or are able to track down.

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:45 am

Katamboega wrote:Time is of no importance and the distance that you walk is dictated around what you find or are able to track down.

Awesome.
How far apart are the drop-off and pick-up points? Do these change?
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Katamboega
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Katamboega » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:49 am

You can get dropped of or picked up at the same spot or if your trails ranger decides you can get picked up at a different point.

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Lourens
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Lourens » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:34 pm

:D Greetings,

Katamboega asked me to post some Mphongolo Backpack Trail photos.

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Enjoy... :D
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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Strider » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:13 am

Quick Review: Mphongolo Backpack Wilderness Trail, Kruger National Park

The Mphongolo Wilderness Trail is the newest adventure activity offered by the Kruger National Park and it is one of the greatest trekking wilderness experiences I have ever had. It is a unique 3 night and 3 day trail which has no route and no daily schedule. You the guest determine how far, for how long, and how much of this 900 km2 area you want to explore. You carry all your food and equipment with you, collecting water on the way and camping out every night. You are escorted by highly trained and skilled Wilderness Trails Rangers, who not only provide you with protection but teach you to enjoy this unique area by interpreting the signs, sounds and interactions of the different fauna and flora.

Our wilderness rangers, Robbie, and Julie, interpreted all aspects of the bush from tracks to insects to wild flowers, making it an interesting and rewarding experience every time we ventured out on foot. They offered tips on how to collect water by digging for it, explained how to use flint to make fire, pointed out edible fruit, demonstrated how to use trees for survival (to make rope etc) and built shelters to protect us from the rain. Their knowledge of the area, not only its natural phenomena but the historical aspects of the area was astounding. If anything, you should just do this trail to learn about the bush from some of the most skilled and knowledgably guides in the industry.

The greatest aspect of this trail is that you don’t need to finish as there is no end point, making for easy hiking. You may choose to Camp up in one spot for the 3 nights and explore the local area, or hike with backpacks in the morning, setup Camp at lunch and then explore without packs in the afternoon, or you could go the full hog, and trek everyday with packs on exploring as much as you can! This makes it accessible to all, our group included a 62 year old Maths teacher, who according to her own admissions was not fit, but she never struggled and loved every second of it.

The wildlife is abundant but due to the remoteness of the area, rather skittish. Nevertheless, by utilising the weather conditions and vegetation, we were able to approach a wide variety of game and had some fantastic sightings. We came across Impala, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Nyala, Zebra, Kudu, Warthog, Steenbok as well as other little critters like Banded and Dwarf Mongoose. And yes, we also found the Big stuff too, with awesome sightings of Elephant and Buffalo, while we spent time tracking and finding (!!) Lion on foot, a pride of 10!!! The area also boasts White Rhino, Roan and Sable Antelope, Eland, Cheetah, while signs of leopard were everywhere. Bird life is prolific (especially since most of the summer visitors are still here), and we must have sighted over a 100 birds without actually trying.

The atmosphere is unbelievable; it is so quite with no man-made noises. This even troubled some of the guests who actually struggled to sleep the first night. The stars in the night sky are fantastic unaffected by unnatural light, with clear views of Orion, Taurus (only briefly), Leo, Centauries, the Southern Cross, Canis Major and Canis Minor easily visible.

We lay on our backs watching satellites float by while listening to Hyeanas call out into the night! We had no watches, and determined our activities according to our bodies, we woke up to Francolin calling in the morning, ate when we were hungry and went to bed when we were tired, we forgot about daily routines and work schedules. We swam in hot springs (a first for me in Kruger), and bathed in fast flowing rivers. On the final day we all felt in sync with our environment, and incredibly revitalised.

I would suggest this trail to anyone who is keen on a completely different wildlife experience. It goes far beyond the standard safari, and you will gain far more out of the 3 days on foot in the wilderness, than you will doing a standard vehicle safari to Kruger.

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Re: Mphongolo Back Pack Trail

Unread postby Strider » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:57 am

ndloti wrote:

Was this at Malahlapanga ?


Hot springs were at Matiovila, not far from Ribye Windmill - awesome!

joshilewis wrote:How easy/feasible would it be to organise two back-back to trails, and stay in the wilderness for 6 nights? ndloti, you interested?


As far as I know there are guests who have already booked to do so. So more than possible


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