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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:54 pm
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Location: Rural Midlands, UK
:redface: what is a matter with me - I forget the San rock paintings (dof). They were magnificent and I doubt any one has been to see art displayed in such an awe inspiring location. Having read laurens van De Post's sands of the kalahari at school I felt a connection straight away and was humbled to be in such close proximity to these fantastic paintings.


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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:54 pm
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Location: Rural Midlands, UK
16 sleeps to go - the KNP is consuming more of my thoughts the closer it gets. It is like waiting to meet your wife/lover after being away !!! wierd feeling.

oliphants 2007 Son number 3 ( have now run out and too late to start making any more) has reached 18 so off he comes. What a location, the call of the fish eagle and those crocodiles just waiting for fish to swim into their gapping jaws. The bird life was excellent around the river - hammerkop, dikop herons and kingfisher. The walks were again excellent and the rangers sharing their knowledge of plants and all the mini beasts. We saw the hippos crashing around in the pool as they tried to herd the youngsters into the middle of themselves. For me the sight of a small pool full of flowering lillies with a jacana tenderly walking on them was a highlight. We sprinkled some of my mums ashes( only a a little - sorry if rules were broken but she also had a love of the bush and had seen her first leopard the previous year). On the drive back from our sundowners we saw the silhouette of a pair of cheetah in the distance -they kindly waited for us and we watched them in the dying of the day as they sat near the side of the road. Scrub hare and grass owl were also plentiful on our drive back in the ever increasing darkness.

Next day on our drive back from the early walk a male lion ( in very poor shape), two lionesses and cubs crossed our road, leaving a kill(widlebeast) just off the road which had already started to attract the attention of the vultures and hyenas. We alighted and from a small hill, but still close, watched the carcass and the interaction of these animals. Vultures spiralling down from the thermals, forming an ever increasing blanket of birds on the floor, occasionally leaping in the air as hyenas darted in to pull off a limb or piece of flesh. A compelling sight.

We stayed at Talamati the night before our wilderness walk and had the pleasure of seeing a pride of lions, not 50 metres from the gate as we left the camp as the gates opened.

We ended the trip with a few days canoeing the mighty zambezi (out of Zambia) and although the brochure said no experience necessary - all i can say they were being economical with the truth. However, despite the pain it was a fantastic experience seeing the animals from a different perspective than foot or out of a vehicle. 2 days canoe and one overnight on Bovu island

Next trip report - Napi - I have never seen so much game before or since. Although cannot fault the other camps - it was nice to have ensuite ablutions!!!


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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:54 pm
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Location: Rural Midlands, UK
TheMightyBush wrote:
to get a few opinions on the best of the Wilderness Trails in Kruger
Each of the wilderness trails are unique and are of similar quality. People may have their favourites based on a number of factors: game seen, close encounters, social mix of rest of the walkers even the weather. All i can say is that i have enjoyed every single one. I would like one that combined the kopies of the bushmans/wolhuter trail where we had breakfasts and sundowners with the location of oliphants, the game i saw on Napi(and the en suite arrangements) and the bird life of nayalaland. But based on my own experience Napi it is.


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 Post subject: Re: wilderness trails 2004 - 2010 (24 sleeps)
Unread postPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:54 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Rural Midlands, UK
Napi 2008 Joined on this trip by a friend from the UK and my dad, who travelled from Australia. Met up with the other trailists, a mature SA family of 3 and a close friend. Met the rangers Tally and his 2 i c and off we went, on that special drive onto roads other visitors do not get to drive on, into the wilderness.

We were greeted by a herd of about 10 elephants lolling around the camp. The whole trip was fantastic as regards game spotting. It was wall to wall animals. The birding was good and the walks fantastic. Day 1 we walked out of camp, crossed the dry Byamiti and were immediatly in the middle of a herd of 30/40 ellies, who were also crossing the river. They were either side of us not 30 metres away. We stood still and watched these magnificent animals saunter across the dry river bed, before continuing our walk. also herds of buffalo, and wildebeast sooo close to us, as well as Rhino and journeys of giraffe. The highlight of day 1 was spotting a juvenile white Rhino, we walked into the river and peered over a bank . There in a dry meander of the river was a female rhino, lying down and suckling a 2/3 day old baby. Photos not allowed, but the sight will stay with me forever.

Day 2 - All night we had been seranaded by the roar of the lion, very close to camp. So early next morning off we went to track these animals. All went well, we followed the sound and spoor. Suddenly the rangers saw them ahead - the lions ran off and to my surprise we started to run towards them, eventually catching a glimpse of 2 females running into the bush. We sat on a small kopie to gather ourselves. The lions were still "talking " to each other - when over the edge of the hill came a huge black mained male - looking for his ladies - time stood still as he looked at us and we looked at him. Then he was gone. What a privilege and a true encounter with the King of the beasts.

With the wilderness trial coming to an end we journeyed on to Talamatif or a night then onto Hans Merensky, for a game of golf and then back to Pilgrims Rest and Mount Sheba - where apart from some great walks around the hotel, the thatch roof caught fire. A very interesting end to our stay in the KNP and surrounding areas.

Only 7 sleeps left til my 2010 trip.


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 Post subject: Wilderness Trails in March
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:26 pm 
Can anyone tell me how do the wilderness trails compare?? What is the weather like in March?


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness Trails in March
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:04 pm 
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Location: Pretoria, RSA
Each one is unique and special and yet at the same time they offer the same basic experience.

If you are looking for more animal sightings, do trails such as Napi, Metsimetsi, Sand river and Sweni. But the other trails offer great sightings as well, and have their own charm in the area they transgress. Sand river offers a special added experience in the catering and the contact with the Honorary Rangers.

Weather in March. Warm but no longer as hot as December to February. You may find some rain around still. Bush will still be green and in a good condition.

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Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

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


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness Trails - General Advice
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:59 am 
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Hi MarcSF welcome to the forum and to our beautiful country.
I do not know which trails you intend doing, to me Napi and Metsi-Metsi were the best of those I had done.
The grass may be quite tall during January on the Napi.
My advice - take lots of non alcoholic fluid with you while walking on the trail. Avoid caffeine containing liquids - they may cause severe cramping.
SANParks provide good bush fare, take a beer or whatever you prefer for the sundowners and for consumption around the campfire while enjoying the AFRICAN night.
Plenty of ice is provided, I do not know the size of your apparatus but there is ample space in the attached trailer, I have never seen it filled up.
Comfortable broken in footwear is a must with woollen socks, and a hat and suntan lotion and insect repellent, check yourself for ticks.
A small torch is handy at night , you may not get the expected photo opportunities, but believe me your experience will be imprinted into your mind forever and you will recall what you saw, smelt, heard and felt out on foot in our Park.
Enjoy your trip and keep us informed. :)

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness Trails - General Advice
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:45 pm
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Location: southern gauteng
MarcSF wrote:
Also, I note that at least one trail has no bookings at all. What is the minimum number of guests for a trip to avoid cancellation?


The minimum is 4 people , unless you pay for 4 places ...
Phone the dedicated trails reservations number on 012 426 5111 to ascertain if there are any other prospective trailists waiting for another person to book in order to make up the minimum amount of participants .

The grass is likely to be very long in most areas , it is in the Metsi & Sweni trails areas , animals are widely distributed , but yet as GMLSmit advises do not let that put you off a unique experience .

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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: Kruger trails March 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
Hi Mandy, and welcome to the forums! :)

I want to point out that the Mphongolo (and Olifants River) Backpack trail is very different from the Wilderness Trails. You will need different kit, more training etc. Just pointing it out to avoid any surprises

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

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 Post subject: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
I have generally always walked with boots.
Just about everyone I know who does trails wears boots.
The major exception to this is a lot of field guides I've encountered, both Sanparks and in private reserves, who instead wear sandals.

A while ago I tried a day trail in sandals, and wore them for about 6km before I changed to boots.
I found them very comfortable, and because of the ventilation I was much cooler.
Its also easier when walking through water since you don't have to change to boots (like the multiple river crossings on the Olifants River Backpack Trail).

When I mentioned to a friend that I walked with sandals, he made the good point that boots will protect you from snakes and scorpions etc, whereas sandals won't.
I've also read the opinion that although boots protect your ankle in the case of twisting, wearing boots makes you more susceptible to twisting since the ankle becomes weaker; whereas wearing sandals would lead to strengthened ankles, less twisting and less impact when it does happen.

Sandals are also lighter, smaller and generally cheaper.

What are your thoughts?
Sandals or boots?
Would do the Sanparks guides say?

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal


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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:54 pm 
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Sandals, and more specific, Rockys.
I have done a couple of walks in the Drakensberg where one has to cross numerous streams.
To take off your boots every couple of metres is a big schlep.
Sandals are easy to take off, they are ventilated and as you stated, they are relatively cheap, about R400,00 a pair.
The only problem is that grass and little stones get stuck in the sandal, therefore I prefer the ones with a closed toe.
Scorpions may be a problem during the evenings but IMHO, you are just as vulnerable to snake bites if wearing boots.

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Something like this?

Image

They sure are ugly, but do suit the purpose


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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:00 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
I also use Rockys, almost a closed toe (Hiker or Peak models), and sometimes my Salomon Techamphibians (though they're not rugged enough for regular trails).

A few tihngs I dislike: the sole has a lot of ridges on them, which start to hurt my feet after a while. I should be able to overcome this tho with time and enough wear. Some of the plastic pieces on the edges chafe me badly sometimes too.

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal


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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
Micetta, similar to these.
I have a pair like this: Image

I also have a pair like this: Image (but an earlier model)

sorry for the big sizes!

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The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal


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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:10 am
Posts: 327
Location: Pretoria
Hi Joshilewis,

Thanks for asking this question.
I walked the OBPT in 2008, and did it with Hi-tec boots.
Man, that was hot, sweating stuff. I really think that is where a lot of the blisters come from.

I plan on walking the Mpongolo walk in April with G@mespotter, and have decided to co in my tekkies similar to your Solomons.

But from what I read here, I am glad I made that decision.

Thanks

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Elephants Back Pack Trail - 2009
Mphongolo Back Pack Trail - 2011


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