Skip to Content

Lebombo 4 x 4 Eco Trail

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
User avatar
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 8:22 am
Location: Western Australia

Lebombo Motorised Trail

Unread post by Rooikat » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:54 am


Have any of the forum members been on the Lebombo trail?
I read an article about it in an old magazine,just when it started around 2001 I think, and the author was not thrilled with the amout of animals they saw?
(Just showing that it is not true that all the animals hide were you can't drive...)

Anyway, would be interesting to hear what you say...

Also, I would like to know if you think that it was worth your money?

29/12 - 30/12 Skukuza
30/12 - 1/1 Olifants
1/1 - 3/1 Letaba
3/1 - 6/1 Satara
6/1 - 8/1 Skukuza
8/1 - 10/1 Lower Sabie

User avatar
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 5002
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Location: Chasing down the rarities

Unread post by wildtuinman » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:12 am

If you are expecting to only c many animals on the 4x4 trail you have got the wrong activity at the throat. Remember that non of these activities will give you the specialised opportunity to c more animals than anywhere else.

This and the other 4x4 day trails are there to enjoy nature in a different way. By driving your 4x4 around in Kruger and as in the case with the Lebombo to sleep out in the veld.

It is worth every cent if you go out as a 4x4 enthusiast to enjoy that aspect of what Kruger provides. It is all down to luck if you c any special stuff.

Non of these activities should be regarded as a better opportunity to view game than by the selfdrive option. It should be regarded as a different viewpoint to experience this great Park.
Latest Lifer(s): Burchell's Courser, Cory's Shearwater, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, European Storm-Petrel, Great Winged Petrel, Grey Waxbill, Cape Rock-jumper

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman

Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:28 pm
Location: Johannesburg

Unread post by Aquilla » Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:14 pm

I did the trail in June 2004 IE. the Lebombo trail.
I loved it but its not the kind of thing you would do too often.
Travelled over 500km and only saw 3 of the big 5!
No buff on the whole journey.

The things that really stand out are
Spending the first night on the banks of the Sabie river with lion walking through the camp at night and roaring not 20m from my flimsy tent.
I could here him panting.
It was also bitterly cold and there was ice on the tent the next morning. Awesome!!!

The abundance of holes in the fence. Its a free for all.

The amount of army and anti poaching patrols we encounted.
We must have seen at least six. who knows how many saw us.

Driving about 250km next to a fence in the middle of the bush.

The observation that the bush on eastern side of the fence is exactly the same as on the western side. Funny, because we are told that the western side has too many elephants.
I reject this totally as i have seen with my own eyes.
I saw no elephant damage on both sides.
I challenge anyone to dispute this with me.

In conclusion, its a trip well worth it even though it is a little pricey.
You see the park from the side where, as a youngster, i thought all the animals were.
You also realise that the tourist roads are actually the best roads to view game.

User avatar
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1360
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2004 1:38 pm

Unread post by francoisd » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:19 am

Thanks for the short report Aquilla. The lion encounter sounds awesome but the ice on the tent part I'm not so sure off :lol:

When you say:
The observation that the bush on eastern side of the fence is exactly the same as on the western side.

Do you mean there is exactly the same amount of vegetation or is the number of tree and plant species in that area the same on both sides of the fence?

It was brought to my attention (by a person who was part of the advising comitte on elephant management to government) during the Birding weekend that if one look at photos over the past 20 years of one specific are, taken from exactly the same spot, in areas with high elephant density that one would clearly see the change in tree diversity with som areas loosing all Jakkalberry, Maroela etc. and now predominated by Mopani.

Not being a tree spotter myself it is not something I normally would pay attention to or notice as I will not know a Jakkalberry tree even if one falls on me :redface:

It will be interesting to hear form someone who was in that area on how they experienced the tree biodiversity.

{Now I went totally off-topic}
"The measure of life is not its duration but its donation." - Peter Marshall

Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:28 pm
Location: Johannesburg

Unread post by Aquilla » Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:04 am

5 vehicles plus the guide vehicle travel in convoy.
Each vehicle is given a hand held radio so any sighting can be reported or just chit chat.
I took 2 of the 5 vehicles.
I am a social person so it was fine with me.
The other members were a little offish at first.
However when you reach Crook's Corner after the trip, its hugs and kisses all around.
At night you set up camp away from one another in stunning areas.
They do have a communal fire, but you need not join.
Meeting like minded Krugerholics is half the fun to me...

I was referring to the abundance of trees , all species, especially Baobabs.
There is more than enough space for the ellies in my book.
I remember the park in the late 70's and early 80's when the elephant population was a third of what it is today.
The bush was in a dismal and chronic state, caused by drought.
Drought has by far the bigger influence, not ellies.
It was far worse state than it is today.

User avatar
KNP Spokesman
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:18 am
Location: Skukuza

Unread post by KNP Spokesman » Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:40 pm

Hi Forum Folks

The Lebombo Overland Eco Trail (or LOET as some call it) is another of the adventure tourism success stories of the Kruger National Park.
Not only is it booked well in advance, but it is also extremely popular among our (suitably qualified) staff who fight for the privilege to lead this trail.

To "sort-of" answer your concern Jumbo - many book the trail outright and are a group of friends/family/work colleagues etc - thus you spend the time with people you know.
To be honest, we actually prefer this as group dynamics is easier to manage.

But there are trails that go with five different vehicles and people that have never met each other before which, as Aquilla has pointed out, often bonds the group into best friends.

I recently spoke to one of the rangers who often does the trail and he tells me he once took a group of strangers on the trail.
At the beginning of the trail, no one knew each other from that proverbial soap bar, but at the end they were best of friends.
Apparently they now do the trail every year together and put in a special request that he is the trail leader. He has even been invited to birthdays, anniversaries and other social get-togethers in Johannesburg and Pretoria! Amazing!

So it really depends on the group and the guide's ability to interact with the group, in my humble opinion. Incidentally the trail leaders are either off duty rangers or senior guides.

Our partner in this trail is Nissan who provide the lead vehicle.

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman
Kruger National Park
110 Years of Conservation Success - Now isn't that worthy of a Celebration!

Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 8:52 pm
Location: Johannesburg

4x4 Eco Trail

Unread post by Safariranger » Sat May 05, 2007 10:26 pm

I did the Eco trail recently and all i can say is, it was an absolutely amazing experience.
To see this side of the Kruger is a real treat, camping wild etc.
We go to the Kruger very often and whilst using normal roads to do your drives is always great, the Eco trail provides something much different.
All i can say is that i highly recommend it to anyone.
Bookings usually open on the 1st day of every month and you need to get hold of Hester at SANParks in Pretoria.
Oh and a big thank you to our guide, Piet van der Merwe who made the trip unforgettable.
Shilowa koppies on day 3 provided our group with sights we will never forget.
What a beautiful country we live in!

User avatar
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:00 pm
Location: Nelspruit, Mpumulanga (Very close 2 Kruger)

Lebombo 4 x 4

Unread post by PAGE 5 » Tue May 15, 2007 8:14 am


We are going to Lebombo April 2008.

Is it better to take a offraod trailer or a tent ?

The way i see it you are only one night at a specific spot so the smaller the tent which takes little time the better.

What do you guys suggest ?

User avatar
Posts: 45558
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
Location: The Beautiful Cape

Unread post by DinkyBird » Tue May 15, 2007 9:01 am

I think a lot of people sleep in ground tents on the LOET. Risk? I have no idea :? Let me see if I can find someone behind the scenes to help us out here. Jacov has overlanding experience but is on a course at the mo (I will ask him though) and Freda will also report when she returns next week.

Watch this space :D
- Dalene

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1657
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:40 pm
Location: At work

Unread post by restio » Tue May 15, 2007 6:05 pm

I've slept in tents in unfenced camps before in Botswana and Zimbabwe. We never had the "luxury" of a rooftop tent, so they were always on the ground.

Animals view tents as a solid structure, and I've always felt safe in my tent at night. The most important thing is that you do the zips up properly before you go to sleep! My mom has a funny story involving Etosha, a playful pride of lions and a tent with a broken zip.

You should also avoid taking food into your tent, as that will encourage animals to try to get in. And you wouldn't want a "motivated" elephant trying to get to your oranges... :lol: Food should be locked up in the car at night.

The description of the Lebombo Eco-Trail says that there will be experience guides, so I think it'll be much safer than driving around Jozi at night! :twisted:
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

User avatar
Jaco V
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 442
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:13 pm
Location: Midrand

Unread post by Jaco V » Tue May 15, 2007 7:36 pm

DinkyBird wrote: Jacov has overlanding experience.....

Now how should I know? The only time I camped in Lion country I used a rooftop tent :lol:

Restio has made some good points re food in your tent! A definite no-no.
A normal tent should be fine. Especially a canvas type tent. I know a cat can tear it to shreds, but afaik they see it as a rock etc.

Remember that you are in the animals territory, not your own. You are camping in the wild, remember that. Keep your wits about you, and don't be stupid.

No walking around at night for example.

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 884
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 7:10 pm
Location: Golden Mile,West Coast, CFG

Unread post by Jay » Tue May 15, 2007 7:48 pm

If you can use a rooftop tent, rather go that route, I am not going to repeat the "why" stories here :twisted:

User avatar
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1507
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 7:01 am
Location: Marloth Park, South Africa

Unread post by Freda » Tue May 22, 2007 6:45 am

I'm back after a great trip, we used a ground tent and I am still here to tell the tale :wink:
The secret is 'keep it simple', everything has to be put up and taken down every day and you have to be ready to hit the road by 7am.
Our ranger had a rooftop but didn't use it, he just erected a small ground tent each night.
Two rigs had offroad trailers, one was very simple to use and just had the bare essentials, the other took too long and tended to hold up the whole convoy, think they even took the ironing board and vacuum cleaner :lol:
The other two had rooftops which worked fine apart from a ladder that broke, he was rather a big guy :shock:
Word of advice: it is a very dusty trip, I thought the feather duster on the list was a joke, but it works great to dust off your rooftops before opening them.
Hope this helps, if you have any more questions just ask :)

User avatar
Posts: 45558
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
Location: The Beautiful Cape

Unread post by DinkyBird » Sun May 27, 2007 8:11 pm

Freda's report....which should come with a health warning ;) going to make you :mrgreen:
- Dalene

User avatar
Wild about cats
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1848
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Location: SA

Unread post by Wild about cats » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:47 am

July 2007

Back to Letaba in April, July and September

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14

Letaba Ladies, 3rd Edition - '14 - '15

Return to “KNP Activities & Sightings”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Webcam Highlights

Submitted by Mischief at 07:41:30
Submitted by Sabina01 at 08:31:23
Submitted by Sabina01 at 08:15:30
Submitted by Trrp-trrrrrrrr at 07:05:43