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Kruger National Park

Olifants Trail

The departure point is from Letaba Rest Camp.

  • Situated on the banks of the Olifants river this wilderness area is very popular as it offers remote valleys and gorges where the river flows through the Lebombo mountains as well as flat open plains with good game viewing potential.
  • The river is a big attraction especially as both the Olifants and Letaba rivers join before flowing into Mozambique. These rivers are the focal point of the trail experience as it has a lot to offer. Large concentrations of hippo and crocodiles are dominant features.
  • The day is incomplete without the call of fish eagles, ever present on the rivers. Birding as well as a divers plantlife are a big plus for this popular wilderness trail.
  • Check availability

Duration of the trail

  • Wilderness trails start on either a Wednesday afternoon to a Saturday morning or a Sunday afternoon to a Wednesday morning.
  • It is a three-night trail with the two days in between spent walking.
  • Trailists arrive and book in at the reception of the rest camp from where the trail departs.
  • The trail ranger meets the group at 15h30 in a designated parking area in the respective rest camp.
  • At this point trailists must be ready and equipped as well as all last minute shopping done before the trail departs which only comes back after the three nights in the wilderness camp.

What to bring

  • Clothing should be comfortable and durable. Neutral colours such as khaki are preferable. Light or bright coloured garments should be avoided. T-shirts are not recommended as they provide little protection against the sun on the neck. A hat and an all-weather jacket should be taken along. A tracksuit, either woollen or lightweight depending on the season, is a useful garment.
  • Footwear should be worn in prior to the trail, have thick soles and provide good ankle support. Sandals can be worn in camp.
  • Cameras, binoculars, walking sticks, sunscreen lotion and reference books are optional.
    A good quality torch is essential for moving around camp at night. Lighting is provided in the form of kerosene lanterns, as there is no electricity.
  • Malaria prophylactics are essential. Consult your chemist. Insect repellents can also help to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes or other insects.

Catering

  • The trail provides simple but wholesome meals prepared by a cook on either an open fire or a gas stove. Trailists with special dietary requirements must please realize that although the trail can cater for some (e.g. vegetarians) it is very difficult to suit every individual’s special need. Prior arrangements in this regard are essential. We will help if it is in any way possible.
  • Trailists provide their own liquid refreshments in the form of alcohol or any other cool drinks. Drinking water is provided as well as coffee and tea with a fruit juice as part of the bush breakfast. There are limited cooling facilities in each camp. Alcohol abuse will not and can not be tolerated.

Wilderness Atmosphere

The camps are situated within a wilderness trail area and far away from normal tourist activities.
The reason why people come on these trails is to get away from modern day living. We request all trailists to respect the environment that they are in and to keep the atmosphere wild even when in camp.

Please comply by the following rules:

  • No cell phones
  • No radios or tape/cd/mp3 players
  • No private vehicles out to trail camps
  • No generators

Important tips

  • A maximum of eight persons between the ages of 12 and 65 years may participate per trail. To derive the optimum benefit and enjoyment from a trail adventure, it is recommended that a group comprises persons of a similar age, with common interests and the same level of fitness.
  • A reasonable level of fitness is required as up to 20 km may be walked per day. The distance is covered at a leisurely pace, however, to afford trailists an intimate encounter with the wilderness. Due to the terrain covered and the safety factor, handicapped persons should not participate in these trails.
  • All participants have to complete an indemnity form before embarking on a trail. Minors must be in possession of a form signed by a parent or legal guardian. These forms should be handed to the trail ranger before departing on the trail.
  • The general rules and regulations of the Kruger National Park also apply to trailists.
  • Trailists depend on the trail ranger for their safety and for guidance. The trail ranger should therefore be obeyed at all times. Failure to co-operate in this respect could lead to the immediate cancellation of the trail.
  • For safety and ethical reasons liquor may be consumed at the trail camp only. Excessive consumption of liquor is strongly discouraged.
  • Trailists provide their own liquor and soft drinks.
  • Limited space is available in a communal refrigerator.
  • Malaria Prophylactics are essential. Please consult your chemist.

Routine

  • Trailists arrive at the trail camp late afternoon after a slow drive from the individual restcamps. Upon arrival guests are orientated or introduced to the camp and then given time to settle in and relax. The trail leader will give the trailists a full briefing on the camp rules, routine for the next couple of days, what to expect, safety aspects and will answer any questions.
  • After a wholesome meal the guests have the opportunity to sit around the fire, socialise, listen to night sounds and marvel at the stunning night skies.
  • The mornings start before the crack of dawn with a cup of coffee, tea and a rusk after which the walk will start from camp or a drive might be taken out into the wilderness area to a point from where the morning walk will commence.
  • We return late morning and after a well-deserved brunch a siesta is a welcome treat till mid afternoon. The afternoon activity consists of a short walk and traditional “sundowners”.
  • We return to camp where once again a well cooked meal is served to restore body and soul.
  • The second day is a repeat of the first day’s activities.
  • The last morning trailists have the opportunity to enjoy the early morning bush chorus from the camp as no walking takes place. Guests are then returned to point of departure after a small breakfast.

Infrastructure

  • The trail camps are rustic and spartan. There are no electricity or power generators. Accommodation consists of A-frame huts or tents, as is the case at Napi camp. There are four units that sleep two each. Ablution facilities are communal except the Napi tents where it is en-suite. All linen and towels are provided.
  • Ablutions consist of flush toilets and gas geyser showers.
  • There is a communal social area (lapa) with thatched roof or open campfire area.
  • Cooling facilities consists of a fridge with limited space.
  • The cook prepares all meals in a very basic kitchen with washing up basins and storing facilities.
  • A fence surrounds the camp but it is basically only to tell animals and people where the camp boundary is.
  • Water for washing gets pumped from boreholes close to camp. Water should not be wasted unnecessarily – especially in dry times.

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Photographs by Pieter Myburgh.

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