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Wolhuter Trail

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
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Imberbe
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Imberbe » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:09 pm

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The sound of the drum announces the arrival of food.

Johan was our cook, and he prepared all the meals. You are provided with an early morning coffee and rusks, and after the morning walk a good brunch is served, usually around 12 o'clock. This would usually be something like bacon, eggs and some just made pot bread. Dinner would consists of a chicken dish on the first evening, mince and a combination of vegetables on the second evening and a braai with proper pap (type of porridge) on the last evening. There were salads, and provision can be made for vegetarians, should you beforehand give them an indication. The food was more than enough, but - and here is my only bit of criticism - at times a bit basic. The last evenings pudding of canned fruit was a treat.

And did I mention that our one brunch was interrupted by lions? :whistle:

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Tee and coffee are available throughout the day. Snacks and a cooldrink is provided for the half way break during the morning walk. Guests should bring their own snacks, cooldrinks or wines should they prefer.
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Bennievis » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:46 pm

Thanks for the report back.. makes my feet itch :thumbs_up:

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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Elsa » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:39 pm

I am sure this has got many itchy feet a-tapping.
Great description Imberbe. :clap:

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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Imberbe » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:45 pm

The program:

Day one.

Guests are met in Berg-en-Dal and taken on a drive to the camp. On the way you will see some amazing natural scenery and do some game viewing. After settling in to your accommodation, dinner is served around the fire and the program plus all the do's and dont's are discussed.

Day two and three

Half an hour before sunrise you are awaken by the assistant guide and warm water is placed in the wash bowl in front of your unit. After getting dressed, coffee and rusks can be enjoyed at the dining area.

Now you either drive to your departure point, or the walk departs directly from camp. The morning walk is around 9/10 km. Different areas are explored, so as not to damage the environment or make the animals used to regular human contact. One area we explored had last been visited some seven months earlier. With some 40 000 hectares of walking area, the options of routes are numerous. At a nice scenic point some snacks will be enjoyed.

At around 12 twelve you return to camp, to enjoy the brunch the cook has prepared. After that the guests may enjoy a nice siesta until approx. 3pm or just sit around and chat.

Now you drive to a spot, where a shorter afternoon walk of around 3/4 km is taken, and afterwards a sundowner is enjoyed. Guests provide their own snacks and drinks for the sundowner. Driving back to camp you may be lucky to see some of the nocturnal animals starting to become active. As this is a wildernis area, no spotlights are used.

Back at camp, you enjoy dinner and start telling bush stories around the camp fire. You become aware of the bush and the silence. The last night is reserved for the guide to entertain you with all the stories of close escapes.

Day four.

Sleeping in for a full half an hour later, you are awaken and start packing. After breakfast you depart back to Berg-en-Dal, wishing it was three days earlier and you were just arriving.

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What you need for the walks:


Good shoes are probably the most important. Good walking boots are a plus, but ordinary good quality trainers will do. Do not use open shoes.

Clothing should be practical and comfortable. No whites and no brites. Camouflage is not necessary, but if you want to look the part and entertain the other trailists you can invest in some of those.

A hat and some sunscreen is always a good idea. If you do not have a water bottle, one will be provided, as it is important to keep on drinking, especially when it is hot. A number of small rucksacks are also provided.

You do not need to be super fit to do such a trail, but it is important that you have good mobility and a basic walking fitness. The walking is done on the trails the animals use, and at time just going straight through the bush. It is quite different to walking on human roads. There are some climbing involved, but nothing serious or threatening. A person who are not able to keep up will impact on the group, as the group needs to keep together.

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The group is led by the trails ranger. He is followed by the assistant trails ranger, and then the group follows in single file. The guides walk in front as most problem situations approach from the front. Being together they can communicate and face the danger. The assistant will take control of the group in a dangerous situation, indicating where to go, while the trails ranger will manage the dangerous animal.

The group may not talk while you are walking, as this will alert the animals. You are however encouraged to ask questions, and the guides will share lots of interesting observations and information.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Imberbe » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:37 pm

Now for the difficult part of the report. How do you describe magic? Put smell and silence in to words? How do you convey wonder? :huh:

Our guides:

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Gordon was our trails guide and he was backed up by John as assistant guide. They have been working as a team for some one and a half years now, and are both very experienced guides, with tremendous knowledge and insight in to nature.

Gordon tells a story of once being charged by a black rhino and being cornered in a gap between boulders. Kicking the rhino in the face had little effect, but luckily the huge animal could not reach them between the boulders.

Now one thing we saw plenty of was rhino, but sadly only white rhino.

Here we approached a group of three rhino, getting quite close to them before they became aware of our presence and moved away.

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Here a cow can be seen in the background. She had her calf with her. We watched her grazing on the other side of a clearing, and eventually moved away without her being aware of us. In the distance we could see another three rhino.

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A rhino rubbing post:

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We also had a great elephant sighting, following a group of bulls for a while and eventually watching the one from above as he rested under a tree while we were higher up against an incline.

Sadly we did not meet the other members of the big five ... oh yes, except those lions ...

Walking in the Wolhuter area offers great diversity in habitat. The koppies are magnets, and offers great views. Some take some climbing, but then we met some elephant right at the top of one of these, so it can't be a too challenging climb.

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Stolsnek dam and the rivers are havens of life and great for birding.

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Just be careful of the crocks!

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A real special experience was watching two giraffe bulls fighting for dominance. They head but each other, but with and incredible punch. It almost looks like a slow motion dance as the two position themselves against each other and then takes a swipe at the body and upper legs of the opponent. A loud thud can be heard for each blow which is landed. It is almost as if the two opponents goes in to a trance as the deliberately circle each other.


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Who won? Only they will know.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by JenB » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:44 pm

You were that close to a rhino scratching post?? :shock:
Awesome, simply awesome! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by MATTHYS » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:36 pm

Now for the difficult part of the report. How do you describe magic?

You have captured the magic well, Imberbe :mrgreen: :clap:
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Imberbe » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:25 pm

But in the end walking is not about meeting the big animals only. The magic of walking is about being part of the bush, instead of just a spectator.

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It is also about seeing the small things and having hands on experiences, such as finding this empty shell of a leopard tortoise that had been killed by ground horn bills.

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It is about getting in touch with nature, and re connecting with your own roots as part of creation.

It is also about walking in ancient footsteps and pondering about the mystery of humanity, who we are and what we are becoming.

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And more recent departures these potsherds tells of.

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And enjoying the quiet.

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All this adds up making Wolhuter an incredible experience no one should miss.

Wolhuter: Wildernis trail of the year 2010.

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You still want to hear about the lion?
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Imberbe » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:05 pm

Eich, I am so glad you are not interested in the lion story. 8)

So let me tell you about the nice marula tree we saw... :dance:

I don't have to tell you that it is often nature that finds you, rather than you finding it. You know, such as when you are just sitting down to a well deserved brunch after a mornings walk, and everyone is real laid back and contented. The group is chatting away and mulling about the mornings experience.

And just say that you happen to glance up and your eye just catching some movement on the other side of the three feet fence, behind some bushes, say 70 meters away. Now typically your eyes and your conscious brain would just ignore that. But is it the many hours spent in the bush, or is it just your imagination, but is something in the back of your head shouting ... marula tree!?

You look up and yes, behind that lioness sulking away behind the grasses you can see the most magnificent looking marula tree. Not the biggest you saw that day, but it just draws you to it. So you promptly order the group to put down their food and approach the fence to have a good look at it. They are for some reason somewhat hesitant to get too close, but knowing the character of marula trees you lead them to the fence to have a proper look.

And yes, there it is! Some 40 meters away, there just behind that patch of bush the group of three lionesses are using to try and stalk the Impala which came down to drink at the waterhole next to the fence. You take a good look at the marula tree, and somehow get the feeling that it is staring back at you. Almost as if it is trying to avoid detection, not quite knowing what to make of you.

After having a good look the group again moves back to the brunch table. Somehow more lively now. When you later return to the fence, the impala and the marula tree is gone. :hmz: :huh:
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Scadoxus » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:39 pm

What Imberbe forgot to tell you, it that after we got back from the marula tree and fence..... there was something busy eating our food....

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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Scadoxus » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:19 pm

The chef, Johan was called from the kitchen to keep the birds off the table while we went over to the fence. These birds have also become accustomed to Johan's pot bread and grabbed at any opportunity to help themselves to some freshly baked bread.

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Later that afternoon we went on a sunset drive and walk around the dam.
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Nothing beats the quiet of the African bush around a dam at sunset. I've saved this as a screen saver - but also to serve as a stress stopper and reminder of our time at Wolhuter.

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This is another special memory of the koppie and the dam.
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Shi » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:14 pm

*SIGH* Sounds blissful Scadoxus :dance: :dance: Lovely photo of the tree and reflection :clap: :clap:
Shi
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by kalulu » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:22 pm

What a great report! Thanks, Imberbe. It was good to be informed so clearly, as I was never sure before what a trail was like. Your lovely pics and descriptions help capture that spirit of place.

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Re: Wolhuter Trail

Unread post by Awake » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:26 pm

Have just got back from the Wolhuter Trail.
Thanks to Gordon and John for a fantastic trip.
Gordon, your knowledge of the bush is fantastic and John, you have the most incredible spotting abilities.
Johan also did a great job with the cooking.

The highlight of the trip was a Lichtenstein's Hartebeest.
According to Gordon, the first time he has seen one in the Wolhuter area.
Certainly a first for me too.

Keep up the good work!
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Scadoxus
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Scadoxus » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:13 pm

Here is an image of what the accommodation looked like:
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