Yesterday we returned from a long weekend at Mapungubwe -Mazhou camp site. I had been looking forward for some time to this trip as I had hear many good things about this park.
We set out from JHB at 4:30 am and took the N1 north to Polokwane. In Polokwane we took the road to Alldays. This route was pretty quiet and the road was generally in very good condition with very few potholes. Drivers must beware of baboons and monkeys crossing the road - the grass is quite long and grows right up against the road's edge.
We arrived at the main gate at about 11 am, checked in and were told to drive back 5 km to follow the Den Staat road for about 20 km. We did just that. The Den Staat road is a public gravel road and is fairly corrugated. For an easier and qucker drive to Mazhou or Limpopo forest camp drive toward Pontdrift border post and a few km before the border you find the Den Staat turnoff to the right. This section is much less corrugated and is half the distance.
Arriving at the campsite, my first thought was that the area looks very much like the Pafuri area in KNP. The camp site is situated in the Limpopo's riverine forest. The camp attendant told us to choose any site - we chose number 7. We set up camp and then had a look at the ablutions. The ablution building is quite small with only 2 toilets, 2 showers, and 2 open basins. A bathroom for disabled perosns is also supplied. There is no designated ladies/gents. A small communal kitchen has 2 basins and a single 2 plate stove. I must say that even with all 10 camp sites occupied the ablution facilities were not much of a problem. The ladies did complain about the open basins though. Quite often I found myself brushing teeth alongside a woman. Some couples seemed to very much enjoy this setup. Twice I heard the voices of a man and a woman from inside the shower. The toilet is situated right next to the shower so you can pretty much hear everything. I don't think there was any funny business going on though - it didn't sound like it
The camp site itself is lovely. Each campsite is numbered, clearly demarcated and has its own tap, powerpoint, dustbin and light. The camp sites are all very well shaded.
We decided to do a small drive in the afternoon. We followed the river road that passes a really "mean" fence with barbed wire and all. We did not spot much on this road. We took a turnoff and ended up at the waterhole (I forget the name). This waterhole proved to be an excellent place to watch game. This part of the park (the western section) has several areas that are old farmlands in the process of rehabilitation. In several places old pipes, fences and wires are strewn around. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in a national
park and not on a private game farm near Brits somewhere. I realise that this is a park under development but I feel this part should rather have been opened once rehabiitation had taken place and all evidence of prevoius farming activities had been removed. I really did not get that national park feeling on this side of the park if you know what I mean.
We returned back to camp, lit the coals and had our braai. That night we heard hyaena and jackal calling from far off.