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Mapungubwe National Park
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West Rand HRs open Tsugulu 4x4 Eco-Route
On the Easter weekend and again on the weekend of 23 to 27 April 2010, a group of 16 Honorary Rangers (HRs) of the West Rand Region began the task of opening the Tsugulu 4X4 Eco Route. Five of the Honorary Rangers were applicants, who soon found out, in a very rough and tumble way, that to be an Honorary Ranger can be quite challenging at times. During both weekends, HRs got drenched with tropical rain, close to Mapungubwe's average annual rain fall of 350mm.
The Tsugulu 4x4 Eco-Route was in a bad state of repair, caused by fallen trees ( thanks to elephants), soil erosion, bush encroachment and unbridgeable streams. Using chain saws, axes, cables, hand saws, vehicles and plenty of elbow grease, the task of clearing was completed. At times they endured the tropical sun, at other times they would slip and slide in the mud, but eventually the approximately 45km route was completed and beautifully demarcated with the Golden Rhino emblem.
The Tsugulu 4x4 Eco-Route is not meant to be a test for vehicle or driver, but rather a scenic route of moon-like landscapes with amazing sandstone rock formations and climbing rock figs. The huge baobab trees tower above the Mopani forests. Of the approximately 380 plant species which occur in the park, 26 are listed red data species. Birdlife is rich and varied, 400 in total , with 8 breeding pairs of Verreaux Eagle.
This extraordinary national park, with its three country experiences, is a must-do for every Honorary Ranger to get involved in.