First day we walked to a seasonal river where there was an area with permanent water. We arrived to find ellies close by, waited a while, they suddenly realised we were there and turned and ran off. We pitched tents close to a steep bank and went to get water. Brenden selected one of the ellie water holes and carefully enlarged it a bit with a spade, then ladled out water until it was almost crystal clear. We filled all our water bottles and added our water purification method of choice - the others had chlorine tablets, I had some drops. The day had been fairly cool which made walking easier than in the heat.
After sitting and chatting a while we cooked - variations were pasta, couscous and my veggies and smoked chicken fried up. Even though we were on river sand the ground felt hard and I did not sleep well.
Next morning we were up early and packed up ready to move to the next camping spot - again near permanent water - where we planned to spend the remaining 2 nights. The sun came out, and it got hot........ we stopped for breaks in shade, and spent a couple of hours or so over lunch-time in the shade of a large nyala tree. Aware of the danger of overheating and dehydration I drank quite a bit of my water. About an hour after we set off again I felt nauseous and called a break in some shade (think our 2 guests were grateful too - one was wobbling a bit at times, and the other looking very red and flushed). We were not far from our destination then and set off again and got to the area with no further trouble. Think I either drank too much fluid, or reacted to the drops to purify the water - cut down a bit on fluid after that and was OK.
We found buffs and ellies in possession of the water point, so camped up on the river bank a short distance from the water. Again we collected water from an ellie hole. This time we also filled 2 collapsible buckets and had more water to use in camp. Brenden even rigged up a camp shower for us behind an nyala tree as a luxury. I was first to try it......and a rhino tried to join me! Fortunately it came along as I headed there and not a few minutes later!!!! It decided we were not interesting enough and moved off, I had my shower and so did everyone else. A great morale booster after a hot day. We heard hyenas and ellies in the night. It became very windy and I had to get up in the night to make sure the fly-sheet would not take off.
Next day we were able to walk without the big packs which made things easier, and it was cooler initially. We walked quite a distance but again rested in the middle of the day in the shade of a big tree. In the evening we sat on a rock near the water point and waited to see what would arrive...... the answer was a large herd of buffalo! They were nervous, and did not stay long allowing us time to get back easily to camp before dark. During the night more hyenas and even lions at one point, but in the distance rather than close.
Final morning we packed up, made the area clean and tried to erase any evidence of our presence by scattering leaves over tent sites etc, and then headed for the pick-up point. It was hot again. We tracked a rhino for a while too, but did not see it, even though it seemed to have decided to check out our route for us and the tracks went most of the way we walked! Again we rested in the shade for a while, and then set off again. Suddenly we got to shade again and Brenden turned round and came to shake our hands......we had reached the pick-up point and survived the trail. The sense of achievement was amazing......
After about 20minutes we heard the vehicle coming to pick us up. One more surprise awaited us......a cool-box with cold drinks packed in ice!!!!!! We loaded up and headed back to camp, seeing nyalas, ellies, bushbuck, impalas on the way.
Back at camp I had a quick shower and then headed for home, not sure if I would make it or not. The GPS indicated I could do it.......and I did 2minutes after initial GPS estimate.
I found some regular campers had arrived at the weekend, and they invited me to share their meal so I only needed to unload the car and then eat with them and get to bed after checking emails etc.
A wonderful few days! Huge learning curve, amazing experience.... Cannot wait for the next one!
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Completed over 6 years in Kruger in my caravan.
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