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Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
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Mant
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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread postby Mant » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:12 am

Hi,

I've done the Olifant's River Trail and it was really nice.

It was a bit scary walking in the Kruger knowing that there were Big 5 around and other dangerous animals, but I really enjoyed it.

When we were staying in the "A" frame huts that you stay in on the walk, there was a big round hole in my mom's and mine and the whole night we had bats flying over our heads and going out the other hole on the other side of the hut.

I was scared that one of them where going to land on me. :pray:

The next night we had a genet that was scratching on the outside of our hut, it kept me awake the whole night. :sniper:

We didn't see much on the walk, but what we did see was the Pel's Fishing Owl, and 2 hippo's that were following us along the river that we were abit weary about. :pray:

The one was in the water and the other one was on land. The guide kept on telling us to look behind us all the time to check on the hippo. He had his gun ready incase he had to shoot at it. :sniper:

But luckily they both left us alone after a while, which was a relief. :pray:

It was a nice experience though. :)

Samantha

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Lourens
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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread postby Lourens » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:23 am

:D Good morning to all!!!

Okay what you were all waiting for...

Jannie Jurgens and I did the Olifants River Backpack Trail from the 9th to the 12th of August.

We left on Sunday and started walking around 11:00, it was hot and the wind was blowing in our favour. We went over the small Hills and down to the River where we found a nice sighting of Hippo (Pictures coming).

We found lots of Impalas, Waterbuck, Giraffes, Kudus and more Hippos before we found our first Elephant about 4 km's from our first camping spot.

When we arrived around 16:15 at our camping spot we all put our tents up and went for a bath in the River and had a lovely view of Elephants coming down to drink water (pictures coming). The second morning we crossed the River just before we had breakfast and found Baboons and fresh Leopard Tracks. We went passed Hell Eden which is an old Ranger's picket which Mr. Tedd Whitfield build in the late 70's early 80's.

After a few kilometres we found Lions on the Northern side of the River but when they spotted us they jumped up and ran up the slope and disappeared into the Mopanies. Later the afternoon we were tracking fresh Lion spoor and it lead us to a Hippo that jumped up behind the bush and ran into the opposite direction. The Lion spoor were leading us away from the River and because it was late we had to turn back and look for a camping spot.

Got our camping spot, putting up our tents and took a bath. After a hot day the Sunset was lovely and I took a few pictures (coming).

The amazing thing of this trail was we heard Lions roaring every night and every morning!!!

After preparing supper and sitting around the camp fire, slowly but surely everyone went to bed to get ourselves ready for the 3rd day.

Tuesday morning came and we woke up at 05:00 again, taking down our tents and as it got light we started walking again. We found fresh tracks of a Male Lion, but he was going into the opposite direction, we were walking on his trail for a few kilometres and it eventually lead us to a dead Hippo in the River.

We believe the Hippo died because of a territorial fight and found lots of Lion tracks and Vultures at the carcass.

Not far from there we had our breakfast next to the River. After our breakfast we got to a spot which looked like a snake that moved over the animal path and as we looked down we saw the Leopard tracks next to the dragmark and knew he killed something and dragged it up the slope. We quickly dropped our backpacks and got the spot where he pulled the hair out and wasn't sure what it was and kept on following it and found the fresh evidence. It was a young Baboon, he killed, we first got the one arm then the heap bone with a leg and heard a Tree squirrel complaining not far from there and went into that direction when we just spotted the Leopard running away very fast!!!

We walked and walked and walked and found some Impala Lillies, Impalas, Hippo's, Crocodiles- big and small, Giraffes, Waterbuck, Bushbucks, Duikers, Sharpes Grysbok, and put up camp for the last night close to a Hippo pool.

For that afternoon we had our own amphitheater and man the Hippo's entertain us with their calls and showing their teeth.

The last morning as we got close to the finish point which is the Fig Tree we just heard a sound, like lots of racing horses, and knew it is a breeding herd of Buffalo. We dropped our backpacks and went and sat down behind a fallen down Mopanie Tree, but unfortunately as the Buffaloes came down they smelled us and turned around. We quickly moved up the slope and found this huge herd of Buffaloes. Their thirst was a bigger and more important factor, than watching us and they started running down to the River. It was a huge herd at least 1000 Buffaloes!!! We made our way down to the River and where we could see, it was just Buffaloes, more and more coming down and eventually with a huge dust cloud in the air they all moved away from us.

It was another exciting backpack trail with great sightings and moments which will always be a memory for me, Jannie Jurgens and the 8 guests...:D
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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread postby M.Paxton » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:01 pm

Greetings All

Here is a quick trail report for the trail 16 to 19 August.

Sunday Morning picked 7 Guests up at Olifants Camp. The group call themselves "Dapper Stapper" group, great group of freinds.
We arrived at the drop of point at 10:30 and started walking shortly after that.

We had lunsh around 12 and then crossed the river to walk on the southern bank. The plan was to walk the whole trail on the southern bank. this is only possible when the river is low enough to cross.
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Sightings for the the day: Hippo, Croc, bushbuck, elephant, grysbok, kudu, zebra, klipspringer,impala, waterbuck.

the weather was good for walking, cool and a slight breeze.
this is camp sight for the first night.
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i can not explain the setting as photos can not give the feeling one has when you you camp in the middle of a wilderness area, with the olifants river flowing past.

Will post day two tommorrow.

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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread postby M.Paxton » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:33 pm

Greetings All

Day Two

We woke up at 5:30 and got packing. Did not here much in the the night due to the rapids. we left camp at 7:00. the morning was cool so we covered good ground. sightings for the day; crocs, elephant, impala, baboon, giant eagle owl, fish eagles, hippos, duiker, kudu, klipspringer, scrub hare and a nile monitor lizard. oh and a mozambique spitting cobra.

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some of the many hippo along the river

Once again we camped on the southern bank just down stream from a grove of riverine thicket. no rapids near by so we hoped for a night filled with sounds. the sound for the night was most definetly they haunting call of the Pels Fishing Owl. sounds like some one blowing into a bottle.

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You know how the sying goes. "another @#$ day in Africa"

Day three to follow

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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:35 pm

More from Lourens 8)

Our first Hipppo’s we found along the River on the Backpack Trail from the 9th to 12th of August.

Our first night’s camp and the lovely view of Elephants while taking a bath.

Sunset pictures from our 2nd night’s camping spot.


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Sawubona
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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread postby M.Paxton » Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:30 pm

Greetings

Day 3

Up early and ready to walk just after sunrise, day 3 is personally my favorite day. it is the has the most amazing stand of trees on the southern bank, huge jackal berries, apple-leaf, leadwood and the spectacular Matuni/migerhout trees. Which once again can not be described in words or photos.
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the day was hot so the swim during the lunch break was very wellcome. we had a hippo bull charge us from the water but luckly he did not leave the water and we were safely stand high on the river bank. just goes to show the hippo are starting to feel the pressure of the water levels dropping and the long distances they have to travel for grazing during the last months of the dry season.

game for the day included elephant, giraffe, impala, bushbuck, hippo, and crocs.

we arrived close to our camping site for the night early, so we decided to drop the packs and go for a short walk up the mvubu stream. amazingly it still had water in and up stream there was a large rock intrusion through the stream causing the water to form a cristle clear pool below the rocks.

That night at the camp site i counted 26 springhare on the grass bank behind the tents.

the sunset that night was breathtaking
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cheers

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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread postby DocD » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:27 pm

@ Rooikat - The trail only runs from 1 April to 31 october, as the weather is milder and the river levels are at their lowest. You also can only make a block booking for 8 people, even if only 3 go.

You can contact Hester (012) 426 5117 about availability or email sanparks reservations directly.

Give me a shout if you need anymore info.
Sometimes its worth walking around with wet shoes all day, if it means you can jump in the puddle.
2 x Olifants river back packers trails completed

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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread postby M.Paxton » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:34 pm

Greetings Trail Blazers

Day 4

Not the best day of the trail as you know it is about to end. The morning we did not have far to go so we climbed a koppie that was close by, the veiw was amazing as one could see up stream and down stream of the olifants. Hippo bend (one of the last bends in the river before the end) had all the usal hippo in it even the checky one with the floppy ear. A good trail. So until next time, enjoy.

Cheers
Michael

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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread postby Lourens » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:25 am

:D Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sunday to Wednesday I did a Olifants River Backpack Trail on short notice and it was awesome!!!!

Sunday just before Donavan dropped Steven Oosthuizen and myself off with the 8 guests we found a herd of Buffaloes. The heat broke everyone in and after a long struggle we reached our 1st camping site. During the 3 and a half day walk we saw herd of Elephants, some Kudu, Waterbuck, Giraffes, Sharpe's Grysbok, a few Saddle Billed Storks, 3 Pels Fishing Owls a spear from the people that lived in the area long time ago, and we ended the trail with a big herd of Buffaloes. Between all the jokes, stories and stunning camping sites we experienced over the 3 and a half days, it was once more the best backpack trail I have done up to so far!!!!

So enjoy another spring day until next time... :D
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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread postby gerharddb » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:26 pm

Lourens wrote:The 2 Backpack Trails I have done…


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Ratpack Member.

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Oliphants Back-Pack trail

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue May 17, 2011 12:01 pm

drtess, welcome to the forums! :yaya:
I'm sure you will love the trail.
I did the trail in early September 2009. The weather was great. We had some slightly unseasonal weather, it was very hot. During one of the days of our trail, they measured 40 degrees C at Olifants camp. (You don't walk during the hottest part of the day).
The nights were very pleasant. I took only track-suit pants and a light fleece.
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Re: Oliphants Back-Pack trail

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue May 17, 2011 1:20 pm

You're not likely to need thermals. I used a light-weight sleeping bag and a self-inflating pad (like a ThermaRest).

It'll be harder for you, but I took a selection of clothes, and took out what I didn't need based on the weather and the guide's recommendations.
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Re: Oliphants Back-Pack trail

Unread postby Imberbe » Tue May 17, 2011 4:08 pm

It might be cool late at night and early mornings, but expect warm days. I would pack a track suite for warmth. That is all that should be needed.

A light sleeping bag should be sufficient, especially when sleeping in a track suite.
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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread postby Lourens » Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:42 pm

:popcorn: :popcorn:

The Olifants River Backpack Trail 24th to 27th of August 2011:
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Sunrise
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More to come... :popcorn: :popcorn:
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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread postby Lourens » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:17 pm

:popcorn: :popcorn:
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:popcorn: :popcorn:
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