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Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
Friedrich von Hörsten
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Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:02 pm

I have never driven the Tropic of Capricorn drive in 60 years of Kruger Park visiting... but did so this past March as a 60th birthday variation on a theme...

Obviously it looked stunning after good rains, and it could look a bit bare and dry in October, but this is a very special part of Kruger.

I think it deserves better treatment.

It was earmarked/closed for a while as I have read in the forums, but recently re-opened for the drought.

Reasons for my plea:

1. It is a unique area in Kruger.
Usually you drive in dense bush in the south, open savannah/grassland in the central areas, thick mopani further north... but here you travel in scrub mopani with great visibility, then suddenly a vast open plain... you could think you were in Etosha for a moment... or the floodplain at Lake Manyara in Tanzania... with the hazy blue Lebombo mountains in the distance as the perfect backdrop for hundreds and hundreds of zebra, wildebeest, impala, ostriches and many more animals in the distance.

2. The bird life is also special. So many different species congregated around the water.

3. A perfect stopover for those travelling in the thick mopani bush with its more limited number of animals when compared to the south.

4. But no shade, no toilet, nowhere to stretch your legs... and a long way from camp.

5. Tourists need more places where they can FEEL AT ONE WITH NATURE!

Like...

* Bobbejaankrans near Tamboti camp. Hundreds of people stop here every day for breakfast or to stretch their legs...
* Matekenyane rock near Skukuza. There are always people sitting at sunrise/sunset to absorb the sounds of the bush and admire the teeny flowers...
* Nkumbe lookout high in the Lebombo mountains. My wife and I sat there for about 2 hours on a 40 degree afternoon this year. Not an animal, but so peaceful...

I would like to propose something like the famous hides in Hwange:

Image

Thank you and God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

Ps. Kgalagadi never had any hides. I wrote to them so many times, asking for a hide at each camp. Today they are so popular!

Tihoyongeni would be the perfect spot for such a hide!
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

naomi c
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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by naomi c » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:22 am

Awesome suggestion - I agree 110%!! :thumbs_up:

So glad to hear that the area looked good during your visit last month - in December it looked like a desert, really heartbreaking! :D

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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Div » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:21 pm

Hides are fantastic. Take the Pilanesberg hides as an example, which are always great to visit.

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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by DinkyBird » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:10 pm

I love that waterhole - we have spent hours and hours there, on many different days. I love that it is so open; one can see all around you. I love the openess, the vastness. I love sitting and watching the flocks of quelea as the perform in massive numbers, but as one, from that exact spot. I love watching the ellies make there way, from far off, to come and drink. I love watching the shy eland keeping their distance. This is pure Africa.

Please do not ruin it with a birdhide stuck up in the middle of that beautiful open vast plains of Africa!
5. Tourists need more places where they can FEEL AT ONE WITH NATURE!
I agree, leave it as untouched as it is.
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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Afriphile » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:45 pm

Surely the bigger question is the future of the waterhole,once the current drought breaks.
If it is due to close in the long term then the question of a hide is irrelevant .
We love this area and have many pleasant hours watching the game come and go.Its also a great birding spot.
Afriphile.

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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Elsa » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:05 pm

I think the reopening of certain waterholes during the drought period was just an emergency and temporary exercise and once that passes they will revert to the original plan of closing certain artificial water points within a time frame.
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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Grantmissy » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:20 am

I feel that the Kruger National Park should remain for the nature and the animals as there had been sufficient provision made for humans already.
“Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.”

Friedrich von Hörsten
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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:03 pm

Thanks to all of you for the interesting comments and observations. Most likely it will just end up as a dry dustbowl that has water for 3 months per year and then no more...

To those who do not like the idea of a hide. Thanks. I appreciate your opinion. There are small hides and big hides, some low, some high. You have amazing ones at eg. Little Toms waterhole in Hwange, that would only seat about 10 people, and that are on ground level with NO fence around. You just keep your eyes open for predators... lol.

Ultimately Kruger has already got so many tarred roads and man made structures that I doubt another hide would really mess things up. It would not be much bigger than the existing cement reservoirs anyway... (and nobody has complained about them, or asked for their removal because they spoil the natural look of the waterhole)... Dinkybird said the following:
I agree, leave it as untouched as it is.
x

Image
(I "borrowed" this pic of the "untouched" Tihongonyeni windmill, trough and dam from another discussion -- definitely NOT my picture -- I hope Abraham Mouton will not object!)

and if you check all picnic spots... they are still amazingly "natural" with animals and birds all around you, eg. Muzandzeni picnic spot near Satara. I love it, and feel part of nature... in spite of the toilet, kitchen etc. Or Mlondozi picnic spot. What a lovely place to have your breakfast before the crowds arrive. I have yet to hear anybody complain about the horrible man made dam wall that interferes with the natural look of the place... (same for Orpen dam).

Just dreaming...from a cold and wet Cape Town...

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by fazekma » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:53 pm

As a wildlife photographer I like your idea of a hide here - currently there are only two hides that provide exceptional wildlife viewing and photo opportunities - Lake Panic and Sweni. This open area is an ideal spot, especially for the north! There's a 200-bed hotel going up in the south and a new gate with picnic spot planned for the north with a new road that will be running past Bateleur Camp - a hide is far less intrusive. Let's see what's done with your idea...
Mario

Friedrich von Hörsten
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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:59 pm

Hi Fazekma,
Seems like you have secret info! Where on earth can we read up about these new developments?
Thanks for the positive comments.
God bless,
Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by fazekma » Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:31 pm

Hi Friedrich

You can read about the 240-room hotel here: http://traveller24.news24.com/Explore/B ... d-20160425

The Kruger EIA notices here: https://www.sanparks.org/groups/eia_notices/

You can read about the Shangoni Gate here: http://s980.photobucket.com/user/Toko45 ... d.jpg.html and this map shows where the new Shangoni gate will be Image.

You can read about another two proposed gates in the Kruger here: http://www.mbombela.gov.za/part%202%20sdf-web.pdf - gates at Makoko and another at Luphisi. The maps are unfortunately not great quality.

Hopefully we'll be able to send other visitors info on the new Tihongonyeni hide soon! (we can dream!)
Mario

Friedrich von Hörsten
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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:52 pm

Fazekma,

Fascinating reading!

I don't like hotels etc. but know that in East Africa that is all they have apart from public campsits and exclusive tented camps, so maybe foreigners and a few rich locals like that after all...???

I also don't see much light in the 2 new gates proposed in the south at Luphisi and Makoko -- both are in the middle of nowhere -- Makoko is only about 15 km from Numbi as the crow flies, so not far from Pretoriuskop. Waste of money. Luphisi is southeast of Kruger International Airport, about 15 km west of Bergendal in the mountains...???

I DO like the development along the Shingwedzi river!!!

New gate via Giyani should give much easier access to Shingwedzi and Mopani... but the idea of a picnic site on this road is good...and even better GOOD NEWS:

1. A TENTED CAMP ON THE SHINGWEDZI RIVER!
2. A CAMP SITE ALONG THE SHINGWEDZI RIVER!

Sounds very much like Tamboti/Maroela setup at Orpen gate. For those of us who are trying to get away from lots of people, it should be great. I don't see it seriously making Shingwedzi that much busier anyway... most people prefer the higher densities of game in the south.
Should be a pressure-releaser for Tzendze that has become so popular!

Thanks so much for sharing!

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay

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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by G@mespotter » Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:13 am

Hmmm very interesting about the new proposals up north. So a new gate between Punda Maria and Phalaborwa. Let's think:

Positive
Distance from the gate to Shingwedzi and Mopanie is considerably shorter
Mopanie and Shingwedzi will be more effectively used (referring to the capacity)
New area that becomes open to visitors
New (rustic?) camps that are availible
It is in a rather less pupular area, so I don't think numbers will be sky-high from the start
Traffic in the north will be more spread out
Good for local awareness, sustainability and job creation outside the park
Rather have these camps than the concession camps who 'rule their own part of Kruger'

Negative
More overnight facilities results in higher traffic numbers
Once you establish a gate and camps they will most probably remain for ever
It's based on a demand-supply (commercial) mode, and demand will always be huge (danger of using this argument as single justification)
The north get's cut into smaller parts, making it less remote and more sought after

All in all I am quite excited about these developments. I still like the idea that a few 'rustic' places will open up as the south is getting too popular and has too much traffic. I like the idea that Shingwedzi will be easier availible, it sure is a lovely place and still a far drive for day visitors. However: opening up an area should not be done lightly as one take a piece of Kruger can 'hardly be given back'..

I would love to see an emergency brake on the developments in the south of Kruger! And for what it's worth, the Limpopo Park in Mozambique is wonderful and a real new heaven for the true bush lovers. The park management should do more to integrate these two parks.

Thanks for sharing anyways :thumbs_up:
Tlopi 11 July Tambotie 12 July, Olifants Backpack trail 13-16 July, Letaba 16 July, Balule 17 July, and Sable Hide 18 July and Lower Sabie 19-20 July Can't wait actually :)

Friedrich von Hörsten
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Re: Plea for a hide at Tihongonyeni waterhole

Unread post by Friedrich von Hörsten » Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:17 am

Hi Gamespotter,

Very relevant points you raised. I love the drive to Red Rock, and my wife and I often go and have lunch there, with hardly a car around.
I suspect the road to Giyani would never get that busy, but it would give true nature lovers who do not have 4x4 another option to have a small, private camp + tented camp in a more remote part of the park.
Whenever I can't get place in Kruger, I just click on Shingwedzi or Punda, and therer is always place till the last minute. I don't think those camps will suddenly be over run with tourists, but they will be slightly more accessible.
It should also be a major boost for locals outside of the park, so Sanparks can get them more involved in nature conservation and appreciation.
Hopefully not a shortcut for locals in a rush to get to Mozambique...?

Lets see what happens!
God bless,
Friedrich von Hörsten
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay


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